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Irish, SEC need help to get in

NEW YORK — Kansas State and Oregon are now on course to play for the BCS national championship.

After Alabama was upset Saturday by Texas A&M, the BCS standings released Sunday have Kansas State (.9674) first and Oregon (.9497) second (standings, 3C).

Notre Dame (.9396) is third, not too far behind but most likely in need of a loss by Oregon or Kansas State to reach the title game on Jan. 7 in Miami.

"These teams are in their order, and the only way that order changes is if somebody gets beat," said Jerry Palm, of CBS Sports and collegebcs.com. "Notre Dame is not going to jump (Oregon and Kansas State) without their help. The voters are not on board with Notre Dame."

As for Alabama's run at three championships in four seasons, and the SEC's string of six straight BCS titles, both are in peril.

Five SEC teams follow Alabama in the standings: Georgia, Florida, LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina. But it will take a couple of upsets to give the SEC champion a shot to reach the BCS title game.

Alabama's BCS computer numbers could take a big hit the next two weeks, against Western Carolina and Auburn (2-8, 0-7 SEC).

"Two of the three national championship teams that I coached lost a game," Tide coach Nick Saban said, counting one at LSU. "There's still a lot for this team to play for."

Saturday night, Oregon turned a tight game into a blowout to remain undefeated. Marcus Mariota threw the third of his school- record-tying six touchdown passes on the first play after an interception to break open a 59-17 rout of host California.

This week Oregon hosts Stanford, with the Cardinal's bruising style an interesting challenge as the Ducks battle significant injuries on defense. Then Oregon visits Oregon State. The Ducks can clinch the Pac-12 North by beating Stanford and would play UCLA or Southern Cal in the league title game.

Kansas State's next game, at Baylor (4-5), is dangerous only because it could be a trap before closing the season at home against Texas.

Notre Dame plays weak Wake Forest then visits USC. Yes, SEC fans, Trojans coach Lane Kiffin, reviled after his short, controversial stay at Tennessee, could provide help getting the conference back into the national title game.

fsu-maryland at noon: FSU's game at Maryland on Saturday was set for noon on ESPNU. A Seminoles win clinches the Atlantic Division title.

manziel trademark? Texas A&M and the family of quarterback Johnny Manziel are working together to trademark his nickname, "Johnny Football.''

auburn: Coach Gene Chizik said he can turn the program around after going from a national title two years ago to speculation he will be fired. Chizik said this season "prompts you to really go back and start all over and evaluate" every aspect of the program. After Saturday's 38-0 loss to Georgia, first-year defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder said the defense he inherited "is not built with size, strength and power right now." Chizik's response: "I don't really know how I interpret that.''

Kent State: The Golden Flashes are No. 25 in the Associated Press poll, ranked for the first time since Nov. 5, 1973, when they were No. 19.

Notre Dame: Receiver DaVaris Daniels is out until a bowl game after having surgery Sunday to repair a broken left clavicle.

Washington State: President Elson Floyd called for a review of claims of abusive behavior by the coaching staff. On Saturday receiver Marquess Wilson quit the team, saying coach Mike Leach and his staff "preferred to belittle, intimidate and humiliate us," and that included physical abuse. Wilson had been suspended for leaving a rigorous conditioning practice on Nov. 4. Leach said of Wilson's claims: "I'm not going to talk about anyone that isn't here."

Late Saturday

UCLA 44, WASH. STate 36: Brett Hundley threw three touchdowns and the visiting Bruins won their fourth straight.

Irish, SEC need help to get in 11/11/12 [Last modified: Sunday, November 11, 2012 10:29pm]
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