Gus Malzahn (left) and quarterback Nick Marsh
all can make a run at the BCS title game if they take down Alabama. (Pouya Dianat/SI)
A week before one of the biggest Iron Bowls in SEC history, Auburn has moved to No. 4 in the latest BCS rankings.
The Tigers are set to face No. 1 Alabama at home on Saturday in a rivalry game that will determine the winner of the SEC West. The Crimson Tide remain atop the BCS this week, followed by Florida State, Ohio State, Auburn and Missouri.
This week's complete BCS rankings:
2. Florida State
3. Ohio State
7. Oklahoma State
10. South Carolina
11. Michigan State
12. Arizona State
14. Northern Illinois
16. Fresno State
21. Texas A&M
25. Notre Dame
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A few thoughts:
• One season removed from a 3-9 overall record and a winless mark in the SEC, Auburn is very much alive in both the SEC and BCS title pictures. Baylor's loss to Oklahoma State this weekend helped the Tigers move up to No. 4 in the rankings, and if Gus Malzahn's crew is able to knock off the Crimson Tide on the Plains they would likely face Missouri in the SEC Championship Game for a shot at a BCS-title berth. Not a bad turnaround for Malzahn's first season on the job.
• Most expected to see Baylor holding court at No. 3 in the BCS this week, but thanks to the Bears' shocking loss at Oklahoma State that didn't happen. Instead Ohio State remains the No. 3 team heading into this weekend's rivalry game with Michigan. If No. 1 Alabama falls in the upcoming Iron Bowl, could the Buckeyes jump a one-loss Crimson Tide squad in the BCS title hunt? And how would Auburn factor into the mix against an unbeaten Ohio State squad, one likely to boast a Big Ten title-game victory over Michigan State on its résumé?
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• Northern Illinois is suddenly the favorite for a BCS at-large bid among non-automatic qualifying conferences. Hailing from the MAC, the 11-0 Huskies
jumped two spots to No. 14 in the BCS this week. In last week's rankings, NIU trailed Fresno State of the Mountain West by one BCS spot. If the Huskies remain ranked ahead of UCF, which is the likely champ from the American Athletic Conference, we could be looking at Northern Illinois in a BCS bowl for the second straight season. More Jordan Lynch