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Iowa tops the list of unbeatens waiting to sneak into the BCS title game should the Big Three falter
Not since 2004, when Auburn was passed over for the BCS championship game in favor of USC and Oklahoma, have more than two teams gone into bowl season undefeated. In fact, in each of the last three years, the teams that played for the title had at least one loss each. But heading into the final month of this regular season, seven teams still haven't lost a game. Chances are, the BCS title game will match an undefeated SEC champion (Florida or Alabama) against Texas, which is rolling through the Big 12. Should at least two of the Big Three stumble, however, the door opens for one of the following teams to jump to No. 2 in the BCS if they remain perfect. (All rankings below are BCS, which uses the USA Today and Harris polls and the rankings calculated by six computers.)
No. 4 Iowa
Of the seven undefeateds, the Hawkeyes are the lowest-ranked in the Harris poll and only sixth-best in the USA Today rankings, but according to the computers used in the BCS formula, they should be No. 2. A victory over Ohio State in the Horseshoe on Nov. 14 would strengthen Iowa's case with voters in the two polls.
No. 5 Cincinnati
With Big East games coming up against West Virginia and No. 13 Pitt, the bad news for the Bearcats is that they have the most difficult remaining schedule among the four teams. The good news is, they should get a nice bump from the computers (which currently rate Cincinnati No. 5) if they run the table. The Dec. 5 trip to Pitt (7--1) looms especially large.
No. 6 TCU
Thanks largely to victories at Clemson and BYU, the Horned Frogs are ranked fourth in the USA Today poll. A Nov. 14 date with No. 16 Utah is pivotal because even if TCU doesn't get to the national title game, a victory would help solidify the Frogs as the program from outside the power conferences most worthy of receiving an at-large BCS bid (and a $17 million payday).
No. 7 Boise State
While the season-opening victory over No. 8 Oregon gets more impressive by the week, the Broncos figure to get penalized by their soft remaining schedule. If there's a trap game, it's the Nov. 27 date with a Nevada team that leads the country in rushing and is averaging 47.2 points during its current five-game winning streak.