Once again, Oklahoma was knocked out of the national championship chase with a surprising loss to Oklahoma State.
The third-ranked Sooners (10-2) were upended 38-28 by the Cowboys Saturday and fell from title contention with their second loss of the season. Last year, Oklahoma also had a loss before falling to Oklahoma State 16-13 late in the season.
Oklahoma can still play in a Bowl Championship Series game if it beats Colorado next Saturday for the Big 12 Conference title. The winner receives an automatic BCS bowl bid, and would most likely play in the Orange or Sugar bowls.
No. 1 Miami (11-0), meanwhile, remained on track to play No. 2 Ohio State (13-0) for the BCS national title in the Fiesta Bowl Jan. 3. The Hurricanes routed Syracuse 49-7 Saturday to clinch a BCS berth as Big East champions. A win over Virginia Tech (9-3) next Saturday and it's off to Tempe, Ariz.
No. 6 USC enhanced its BCS bowl chances with a 44-13 victory over No. 7 Notre Dame Saturday night. The Trojans (10-2) have two shots to get into a BCS game - in the Rose Bowl as Pac-10 champs if Washington State loses to UCLA next week, or as one of two at-large teams.
Notre Dame (10-2), which is not in a conference, took a BCS bowl game hit. The Fighting Irish need to finish in the top six of the final BCS standings Dec. 8 to clinch a BCS spot (they were seventh last week). Otherwise, they may be competing with USC for the final at-large berth.
Iowa (11-1) is all but set for the Rose Bowl as Big Ten co-champs.
Florida State (9-4), which beat Florida 31-14 Saturday night, had already clinched a BCS spot as Atlantic Coast Conference champion. The Seminoles probably are headed to the Orange or Sugar bowls.
Several bowl games began taking shape, though:
West Virginia (9-3) and North Carolina State (10-3) probably will meet in the Gator Bowl Jan. 1. The Mountaineers finished second in the Big East with a 24-17 victory over Pittsburgh Saturday; North Carolina State completed its season last week.
Pittsburgh (8-4) appears headed to the Continental Tire Bowl in Charlotte, N.C., to play an ACC team Dec. 28.
Maryland (10-3) will play in the Peach Bowl Dec. 31 against a team from the Southeastern Conference. The Terrapins beat Wake Forest 32-14 Saturday.
The Liberty Bowl Dec. 31 is set: TCU (9-2) vs. Colorado State (10-3), champions of the Mountain West. TCU beat Memphis 27-20 Saturday and clinched at least a share of the Conference USA crown.
Also, Georgia Tech (7-5), despite a 51-7 loss to Georgia, is likely headed to the Seattle Bowl Dec. 30; Arizona State (8-5), a 34-20 winner over Arizona Friday, probably will play in the Sun Bowl Dec. 31; New Mexico (7-6) will play in either the Las Vegas or San Francisco Bowl; and Mississippi (6-6) could end up in the Independence or Music City Bowl.
Virginia Tech's 21-9 win over Virginia did not shed much light on either team's bowl future. The Hokies could end up in the Insight Bowl; the Cavaliers (8-5) the Tangerine or Continental Tire Bowl.
The winner of next week's SEC title game between No. 5 Georgia (11-1) and Arkansas is set for the Sugar Bowl.
Nebraska, which played for a national title last year, finishing 7-6 after a 28-13 loss to Colorado Friday. The Huskers, though, will likely play in the Independence Bowl Dec. 27 - their 34th consecutive bowl appearance.
Before the weekend, several other teams clinched bowl spots: North Texas (New Orleans Bowl); Marshall (GMAC); Hawaii (Hawaii); Boise State (Humanitarian); Fresno State (Silicon Valley).