NEW YORK (AP) — Watch out, TCU. Boise State is gaining.
The Broncos narrowed the gap on the Horned Frogs in the Bowl Championship Series standings and put themselves in position to pass their BCS Buster rivals down the stretch.
Oregon and Auburn are still in the top two spots in the standings released Sunday. TCU remained third, but had a bad week in BCS terms.
The Horned Frogs and Broncos are vying for two prizes. The team in third place in the BCS standings is likely to be next in line for the national championship game if Auburn or Oregon slip up down the stretch.
Auburn plays Alabama the day after Thanksgiving and South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference title game.
Oregon has off this weekend, followed by a home game against Arizona and a road game against Oregon State.
Even if a title game spot doesn’t up, TCU and Boise State are still competing for an automatic BCS bid, one that would likely send the highest ranked team to the Rose Bowl while the other could get left out of the BCS all together.
The Horned Frogs played their closest game of the season Saturday, a 40-35 victory against San Diego State in which they allowed the Aztecs back in the game with two long fourth-quarter touchdown passes.
TCU also was hurt by Utah’s 28-3 loss at Notre Dame. The Horned Frogs beat the previously unbeaten Utes 47-7 in their prior game. It looked like a big win at the time and helped TCU widen its lead on Boise State in the BCS standings.
A week later, beating the Utes doesn’t look so impressive and Boise State has crept closer. The Broncos beat Idaho 52-14 on Friday night.
“It was as bad a day as you can have and not lose your game,” BCS analyst Jerry Palm said about TCU’s Saturday.
With three more games to play, compared with one for TCU, the Broncos might have enough left to edge past the Frogs.
Boise State jumped TCU and moved into third in both the Harris and coaches’ polls, though in both cases the Broncos and Frogs are separated by less than a dozen points. TCU still holds a decided edge in the computer ratings at third compared to Boise State’s sixth.
That leaves Boise State with a BCS average of .8634 and TCU with an average of .8966.
“A lot can happen in three weeks, (the Broncos) have a very slight lead in the polls, but they still have a lot of ground to make up and the strength of the conference schedule has yet to come,” Palm said.
Boise State plays Fresno State (6-3), Nevada (9-1), 18th in the BCS standings, and Utah State (4-6) over the next three weeks.
TCU has a week off before closing its season against New Mexico (1-9).
“TCU is done making their case. They’re out of the national spotlight,” Palm said. “Boise has the floor to themselves to do what they can. That’s an advantageous position to be.”