Ohio State closes gap on FSU in latest BCS

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Updated: 11/24/2013 9:19 pm

Irving, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Florida State continues on its collision course to a berth in the BCS Championship Game, while Alabama remains in the top spot in the most recent rankings heading into its colossal showdown in the Iron Bowl.

Meanwhile, Ohio State is still lurking close to the top two occupants with just two games remaining for each contender prior to when the BCS makes its selections on Dec. 8.

The Buckeyes (11-0, .9200) still rank third in the overall standings behind Alabama and FSU, though they were able to gain some ground on the Seminoles for the all-important No. 2 position. Florida State (11-0, .9697) owns a lead of .497 percentage points over the Buckeyes, down from a .792 margin a week ago.

Ohio State may be able to narrow the gap further due to its remaining schedule, which contains a trip to rival Michigan next Saturday and a matchup with No. 11 Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game on Dec. 7.

The Seminoles will visit a reeling Florida program coming off a loss to FCS- level Georgia Southern this past weekend prior to its appearance in the ACC Championship against an opponent yet to be determined.

Alabama (11-0, .9881) has by far the hardest road to navigate to earn a third straight appearance in the national title game. The Crimson Tide head to Auburn, which vaulted two spots to No. 4 in the latest standings, on Saturday in a game that will decide the SEC West winner.

Should Alabama prevail, it will have to face either No. 5 Missouri or 10th- ranked South Carolina in Atlanta in the SEC Championship.

Auburn (10-1, .8236) was able to climb following upset losses to Baylor and Oregon on Saturday. The Bears' 49-17 shellacking by Oklahoma State dropped them from fourth to ninth in the standings, while the Ducks fell from fifth to 13th after losing to Arizona.

Missouri (10-1, .8077) also remains in the hunt and climbed three spots to No. 5 after downing Ole Miss on the road over the weekend. The Tigers will earn a spot opposite either Alabama or Auburn in the SEC Championship should they defeat No. 21 Texas A&M this coming Saturday.

Oklahoma State also rose three positions off its big win over Baylor, moving from 10th to seventh. Clemson is one spot ahead of the Cowboys in sixth, with Stanford, Baylor and South Carolina rounding out the top 10.

Another major shift in this week's rankings took place among the non- qualifiers, where Northern Illinois moved in front of Fresno State as the two smaller-conference schools battle for only one possible spot in a BCS bowl.

Northern Illinois (11-0, .4620) went from 16th to 14th in the latest rankings, while Fresno State (10-0, .4124) dropped a spot to 16th despite a 69-28 rout of New Mexico on Saturday.

The higher of those two programs will receive an automatic selection for a BCS bowl should they finish in the top 16 and are ahead of a champion from one of the qualifying conferences. UCF, the current front-runner in the American Athletic, presently sits behind both the Huskies and Bulldogs in 19th place.

This is the final year the national championship will be determined by the BCS standings, which factor in the USA Today Poll, the Harris Poll and six computer rankings.

A highly anticipated four-team playoff will be installed for the 2014 season.

Alabama and Notre Dame played in the BCS final last year, and the Crimson Tide won handily, 42-14, en route to their third championship in four years. The win also extended the SEC's streak to seven consecutive national champions.

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