Losses Saturday by the Nos. 4 and 5 teams in the BCS standings -- Baylor and Oregon, respectively, should leave Ohio State as the clear No. 3 team in the BCS when the official numbers come out Sunday evening.
A week ago, Baylor moved to within .0013 of the Buckeyes in the BCS and was projected to hop OSU had it won this weekend, but instead the Bears were drubbed by a 49-17 score at No. 10 Oklahoma State.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Oregon was eliminated from Rose Bowl and national title contention with a 42-16 loss to an Arizona team coached by former Michigan mentor Rich Rodriguez.
Now with their closest competition having fallen by the wayside, the Buckeyes now appear to know what has to happen for them to end up in the final BCS National Championship Game in Pasadena.
OSU likely won't catch No. 1 Alabama, which shut out FCS team Chattanooga today, or second-ranked Florida State, which drubbed Idaho, without either of those teams losing. But the Buckeyes do not appear to have to worry about teams coming from behind (at least for the moment), either. Sixth-ranked Auburn was idle today, and the Tigers (.7860) began the day more than a full point behind the Buckeyes (.8869) in the BCS standings.
So it appears the Buckeyes must win out at Michigan and vs. Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis while also receiving help in the form of a loss by either the Crimson Tide or Seminoles to make the title contest.
Alabama finishes its regular season vs. Auburn next week before the SEC title game, while Florida State hosts rival Florida before its appearance in the ACC championship contest.
If Ohio State stays unbeaten but does not make the title game, it would play either Stanford or Arizona State in the Rose Bowl. A loss to the Spartans or Wolverines would likely send OSU to a BCS bowl away from Pasadena.