Houston loss has big-time BCS implications

It didn’t take long today for the Bowl Championship Series to get a significant shake up. Sure, we already know who’s going to play in the national title game — because if we’ve learned nothing this year, it’s that every game matters … unless you play in the SEC — but the other games still were up for grabs today.

Houston, which had gone through the season unbeaten and found itself in the top 10, had the inside track to the Sugar Bowl as the top non-AQ school in the country with a ranking inside the top 12. I’m not sure if today’s loss to Southern Mississippi would knock the Cougars outside of the top 12 (it probably should), but it doesn’t matter, as they’re not Conference USA champions, meaning they’d have to get in as an at-large. Good luck with that.

So who gets the spot? Well, if Houston falls behind Michigan, it’s likely enough to get the Wolverines into the top 14, making them a shoe-in for an at-large spot. Then again, Michigan is likely to get there anyway, and most projections have them playing in the Sugar Bowl against Houston already. TCU would be the non-AQ school with the best chance, as it sits at No. 18 in the BCS standings right now, and only needs to get to No. 16 to earn an auto-bid. Head spinning yet? If a non-AQ school wins its conference and finishes in the top 16, it can get an automatic berth in a BCS game provided the champion from at least one AQ conference is ranked below it. Thank you, Big East.

If TCU doesn’t jump two spots (which is possible but not all that likely), then an at-large selection would fill the slot. The most likely choices are Boise State, Kansas State and, if it loses today, Oklahoma State.

As for the Big East, Cincinnati’s win against UConn leaves a three-way tie at the top of the league, so the final BCS standings will determine who gets the bid. Barring something crazy, that will be West Virginia, which is currently the only Big East team in the top 25, sitting at No. 23.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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