The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

November 25, 2013

NIU passes Fresno St in BCS standings; Ohio St 3rd

ENorthern Illinois moved ahead of Fresno State in the BCS standings and up to No. 14 as the Huskies and Bulldogs jockey to be the last BCS buster.

NIU jumped two spots Sunday and Fresno State slipped one to 16th.

The top three teams in the BCS standings were unchanged: Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State — the remaining undefeated teams in BCS automatic qualifying conferences.

The other major college unbeatens, Northern Illinois and Fresno State, are fighting for one automatic bid. They have to finish in the top 12 of the last BCS standings, which comes out Dec. 8, or finish in the top 16 while ranking ahead of an AQ-conference champion.

Central Florida is in position to win the American Athletic Conference auto-bid, but is 19th in the latest standings.

Northern Illinois reached the BCS last season by being ranked ahead of the champion of the Big East. The Huskies then lost to Florida State in the Orange Bowl.

Jordan Lynch and Northern Illinois overtook Derek Carr and Fresno State this week on the strength of better computer ratings. NIU is seventh in the computer ratings, while coming in 17th in the Harris poll and 20th in the USA Today coaches' poll. Fresno State is 13th in each poll, but 17th in the computers.

Jerry Palm, who analyzes the BCS for CBS.com, said he was surprised Northern Illinois made such a big move after winning at Mid-American Conference rival Toledo last week. Fresno State stayed unbeaten with a win against Mountain West Conference foe New Mexico. Neither team has played a strong schedule, Palm said.

"What baffles me is we have such a disparity in the computers between two teams that we're splitting hairs over," he said. "That's a head scratcher."

Palm said NIU's lead could be temporary as Fresno State plays tougher opponents the rest of the way.

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