NEW YORK —All the national title contenders took care of business and the BCS standings were unchanged at the top Sunday, with Alabama and Texas Tech holding the first two spots and Florida, Texas and Oklahoma poised to move up.
The Crimson Tide ran away from Mississippi State in the second half of a 32-7 victory Saturday that kept Alabama on top of both the USA Today coaches’ poll and the Harris poll. The Tide has a .9787 BCS average.
Texas Tech (.9698) remained second in the polls and first according to the computer ratings during a week off. The Red Raiders head into their fourth straight game against a ranked opponent, this time at Oklahoma, in control of their national title and Big 12 championship hopes.
The Sooners also had the week off, while Florida and Texas both had blowout victories Saturday.
Florida and Alabama will play for the Southeastern Conference title on Dec. 6, and if they can avoid losing before they get there, the game will probably amount to a national semifinal with the winner advancing to play for the national championship.
Southern California, also a big winner Saturday, is still stuck behind the top five and in need of at least a couple upsets to reach the national championship game.
USC also needs help to win the Pac-10 championship and earn a trip to the Rose Bowl. Oregon State, which beat the Trojans in September, can earn a Rose Bowl bid with victories at Arizona and against Oregon.
The Trojans, however, would be a prime candidate to receive an at-large bid to the BCS if they finish the season with victories against Notre Dame and UCLA.
Penn State and Utah can both lock up spots in the Bowl Championship Series on Saturday with victories.
The Nittany Lions can win the Big Ten title and a spot in the Rose Bowl by beating Michigan State in Happy Valley.
Utah would lock up an automatic BCS bid if it can complete its perfect season with a victory against BYU. The Utes, from the Mountain West Conference, are seventh in the BCS standings and need to finish in the top 12 to earn their second BCS appearance since 2004.
Boise State is ninth in the standings and unbeaten. The Broncos can be eligible for an at-large BCS berth if they win out and are Western Athletic Conference champions, but they’ll need Utah to lose to earn an automatic bid to one of the five marquee bowl games for the second time in three seasons.
Also on Sunday, BCS coordinator John Swofford responded to a playoff push by President-elect Barack Obama that was broadcast on CBS’ “60 Minutes.
“First of all I want to congratulate newly elected President Obama and I am glad he has a passion for college football like so many other Americans,” Swofford said in a statement. “For now, our constituencies—and I know he understands constituencies—have settled on the current BCS system, which the majority believe is the best system yet to determine a national champion while also maintaining the college football regular season as the best and most meaningful in sports.”
Swofford added: “We certainly respect the opinions of president-elect Obama and welcome dialogue on what’s best for college football.”
Obama said he will use his influence to create such a system.
“If you’ve got a bunch of teams who play throughout the season, and many of them have one loss or two losses, there’s no clear decisive winner. We should be creating a playoff system,” he told reporter Steve Kroft.
According to Obama’s proposed system, eight teams would play over three rounds to settle the national champion.
“It would add three extra weeks to the season,” he said at the conclusion of a wide-ranging interview. “You could trim back on the regular season. I don’t know any serious fan of college football who has disagreed with me on this. So, I’m going to throw my weight around a little bit. I think it’s the right thing to do.”