NEW YORK — While Boston College gained some cushion on third-place LSU in the Bowl Championship Series standings and Ohio State held firm to first place, Arizona State moved into position to make a big stretch run.
The unbeaten Sun Devils raised their BCS average to .849 after beating California 31-20 on Saturday. Arizona State, with its most challenging games still to play, might not need teams ahead of it to lose to move up the standings.
The Sun Devils play at Oregon, which is fifth in the BCS standings, on Saturday, then finish with games against USC, UCLA and Arizona.
“If they win all of those games, that type of run would be difficult for voters to ignore,” said BCS analyst Jerry Palm, who runs collegebcs.com.
The top seven teams in the BCS standings remained the same this week, with Ohio State and Boston College still in position to play for the national title in New Orleans on Jan. 7 if they can maintain their rankings.
Ohio State was No. 1 in both the Harris and coaches’ polls and tied for second in the computer ratings with Arizona State. The Buckeyes had a BCS average of .976.
BC was second in both polls and first in the computer rankings. The Eagles have a BCS average of .956 and a lead of .068 on LSU.
The Tigers who were off this week, have a BCS average of .888.
Ohio State, Boston College and LSU also are the top three teams in the AP Top 25.
Both the Eagles and Buckeyes are coming of big road wins. Boston College rallied from 10 points down in the final 2:11 behind quarterback Matt Ryan to beat Virginia Tech 14-10 on Thursday night.
Ohio State had little problem staying unbeaten at Penn State, beating the Nittany Lions 37-17 on Saturday night.
The rest of the BCS top 10 was Oklahoma in sixth place, followed by West Virginia, unbeaten Kansas, Missouri and Georgia.
Unbeaten Hawaii moved up three spots to 14th place in the BCS standings. The Warriors of the Western Athletic Conference need to be in the top 12 of the final BCS standings to earn an automatic bid to one of the five marquee bowl games.
BUCKEYE BUZZ: It’s taken more than two months but — at least for a week — there were few of the earthshaking upsets that have marked this college football season.
For instance, there was only some minor position-jumping in the latest Associated Press media poll that came out Sunday, about 16 hours after top-ranked Ohio State put a 37-17 whipping on No. 24 Penn State. After the Buckeyes built a big lead and then kept adding to it, it appeared all that “White Out” talk revolved around the ashen faces of the 110,134 on hand in (not-so) Happy Valley.
The Buckeyes received 59 of a possible 65 first-place votes, with No. 2 Boston College receiving one, No. 3 LSU getting three and sixth-ranked Arizona State picking up one.
Oh, and you know all that discussion about how down the Big Ten is? The polls support it. Other than Ohio State, only one other conference school even rates a mention in the Top 25 — rival Michigan which slid into 15th after its seventh consecutive win.
NO DISAGREEMENT: Coaches and reporters seldom see eye to eye, on anything. But the USA Today Top 25, based on the voting of coaches, has the exact same teams listed 1 through 10 as the AP’s media poll.
NUMBERS: Ohio State won its 19th consecutive Big Ten game on Saturday, tying the conference record while adding to the school mark. Michigan won 19 league games in a row from 1990-92. The Buckeyes have also won a school-record 27 straight regular-season games dating back to a loss at Penn State in 2005. The previous Ohio State mark for regular-season wins in a row was 21, set from 1967-69.
PAST: Here’s one more shot across the bow of Ohio State’s schedule: Of the nine teams the Buckeyes have played, eight of them lost on Saturday. And the only winner was Purdue, which beat ANOTHER Buckeyes opponent (Northwestern).
AND FUTURE: The Buckeyes’ final three opponents (Wisconsin, Illinois, at Michigan) all won on Saturday. They are a combined 20-7, a winning percentage of .741. The previous nine victims have an aggregate record of 37-41, a .474 success rate.