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Texas Christian in rare BCS air

All those blowouts have carried Texas Christian to unprecedented heights in the Bowl Championship Series standings, giving the Horned Frogs hope — however slim — of becoming the first BCS buster to break into the national title game.

TCU took over fourth place in the BCS standings Sunday behind Florida, Alabama and Texas. It’s the highest BCS ranking ever for a team from a conference without an automatic bid to the big-money bowl games. No potential BCS buster ever had done better than sixth in the BCS standings.

Florida is first for the fourth straight week, and Alabama and Texas switched spots for the second week in a row.

The Gators and Crimson Tide have clinched their respective divisions in the Southeastern Conference and will meet Dec. 5 in the league championship game. One of them is all but guaranteed a spot in the BCS title game on Jan. 7 in Pasadena, Calif., if they can get through the next month without a loss.

The same goes for Texas, which has three regular-season games and possibly the Big 12 championship remaining.

The other undefeated teams — TCU, Cincinnati and Boise State — need the top three to stumble to have any shot of reaching the title game.

The Horned Frogs (.8620) moved up two spots and are just ahead of Cincinnati (.8579) and Boise State (.8125). Each is 9-0 with three games left.

TCU has been rising by racking up lopsided victories. The Horned Frogs have won their past four games by an average score of 44-8.

Meanwhile, Boise State has played close games against Tulsa and Louisiana Tech in the past month, two teams with losing records. Cincinnati struggled to put away Connecticut in a wild 47-45 win on Saturday.

TCU is ranked fourth in both the Harris and coaches’ polls and in the compilation of six computer rankings used by the BCS. Cincinnati is fifth in the two polls and third in the computer ratings, while Boise State is sixth across the board.

BCS analyst Jerry Palm said TCU, even if the teams in front of it lose and the Frogs keep winning, still could have a hard time getting into the BCS title game.

Cincinnati from the Big East has a tougher schedule down the stretch and could pass the Horned Frogs. Plus, there’s no guarantee that in the end a one-loss team would not get more support from poll voters than TCU.

"If they have to vote for No. 2, are they going to vote for a TCU team ahead of an 11-1 Georgia Tech or a 12-1 Alabama if their only loss is to Florida?" Palm said.

AP POLL — Over the past decade, Oklahoma rarely has been out of The Associated Press Top 25, and Stanford rarely has been in.

On Sunday, the Sooners and Cardinal sort of swapped places.

Oklahoma (5-4) dropped out of the poll for the first time since 2005, and No. 25 Stanford (6-3) moved into the rankings for the first time since 2001.

The six unbeaten teams held the first six spots, with Florida, Texas and Alabama making up the top three for the second consecutive week. Florida received 39 first-place votes, Texas received 10 and Alabama 11.

TCU moved up two spots to No. 4, bumping No. 5 Cincinnati and No. 6 Boise State back a spot.

The Horned Frogs have their highest ranking since Oct. 15, 1956, when they also were No. 4.

CALIFORNIA — Star tailback Jahvid Best was released from a hospital and will miss at least one game after sustaining a concussion on a terrifying fall in the end zone.

Best spent the night at Highland General Hospital in Oakland, Calif., for observation and tests after landing on the back of his head in the end zone and being briefly knocked unconscious in the Golden Bears’ 31-14 home loss to Oregon State on Saturday night.

The school said results from a CT scan and X-rays came back normal. Best will not play Saturday against Arizona. His status for future games will continue to be evaluated. This was the second straight week Best sustained a concussion.

FLORIDA STATE — Quarterback Christian Ponder has a separated right shoulder and will miss the Seminoles’ game this weekend against Wake Forest.

Ponder injured the shoulder of his throwing arm while making a tackle in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 40-24 loss to Clemson. Florida State is 4-5.

Redshirt freshman E.J. Manuel is expected to replace Ponder and would be making his first career start. Manuel has played in two games this season, completing 1 of 2 passes for 4 yards.

LOUISIANA STATE — Running back Charles Scott has a fractured collarbone and will miss the rest of the regular season.

Scott was injured in the second half of the Tigers’ 24-15 loss to Alabama on Saturday.

Scott leads No. 9 LSU in rushing with 542 yards and four touchdowns. He had 83 yards on 13 carries against Alabama before getting hurt while being tackled on a long run.

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