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Ohio State

OSU among 16 BCS candidates

DALLAS - Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon and UCLA are among the 16 teams under consideration for a spot in the Bowl Championship Series.

BCS officials yesterday released the list of teams still in the running to play in college football's four marquee bowl games.

The Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the final BCS standings on Dec. 4 play in the Rose Bowl for the national title. The Fiesta and Sugar bowls will be played Jan. 2. The Orange Bowl will be played Jan. 3.

The champions of the Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and Southeastern Conferences automatically qualify for a BCS game, and there are two at-large berths available.

Penn State has already clinched the Big Ten's BCS bid and Southern California is an automatic qualifier from the Pac-10.

Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon and UCLA are only eligible for an at-large berth.

The Fighting Irish need to beat Stanford on Saturday to reach the nine wins they need to become eligible for BCS selection.

The other teams that can earn either an automatic bid as a conference champ or an at-large bid are: Florida State, Miami and Virginia Tech from the ACC; Pittsburgh, South Florida and West Virginia from the Big East; Colorado, Iowa State and Texas from the Big 12; Auburn, Georgia and LSU from the SEC.

TCU/HOUSTON BOWL: TCU accepted an invitation yesterday to play in the Houston Bowl, and extended the contract of coach Gary Patterson through 2012.

The No. 15 Horned Frogs (10-1) have a nine-game winning streak going into the Dec. 31 bowl game against a Big 12 team. The Southeastern Conference doesn't have enough bowl-eligible teams to fill its spot in Houston, which opened up the at-large spot for TCU.

BYU/VEGAS BOWL: Brigham Young accepted a bid yesterday to play in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 22, its first appearance in the postseason since the 2001 Liberty Bowl. BYU's opponent for the game will be invited later.

POINSETTIA BOWL: Colorado State will play Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl, the Rams' ninth postseason appearance in 13 seasons under head coach Sonny Lubick. Navy (6-4) accepted an invitation to the game earlier.

Colorado State director of football operations Tom Ehlers confirmed the Rams (6-5, 5-3 Mountain West) will play in the Dec. 22 game in San Diego.

EMERALD BOWL/UTAH: Utah accepted an invitation to the Emerald Bowl.

The game is Dec. 29 in San Francisco and most likely will be against an opponent from the Atlantic Coast Conference, although Stanford still has an outside shot if it beats Notre Dame on Saturday.

O'BRIEN AWARD: Southern California's Matt Leinart and Texas' Vince Young are two of the three finalists for the Davey O'Brien Award, given to the nation's best quarterback. Notre Dame's Brady Quinn is the other finalist.

Leinart, the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner, has thrown for 3,217 yards and 24 touchdowns for top-ranked USC. The senior is fourth in the country in passing efficiency (161.9).

Young, a junior, is sixth in the nation in total offense at 318 yards per game and second in passing efficiency with a 169.8 rating.

Quinn, a junior, has thrown for 3,201 yards with a school-record 29 touchdown passes.

OUTLAND/FINALISTS: Minnesota center Greg Eslinger, Auburn offensive tackle Marcus McNeill and Oregon defensive tackle Haloti Ngata are the finalists for the Outland Trophy, given to the best interior lineman in college football.

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