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TROJANS, SOONERS APPEAR LOCKED IN

Southern California and Oklahoma remained first and second in this week's BCS standings, with OU increasing its lead over third-place Auburn.

Oklahoma is much closer to USC (0.147 points) than Auburn is to Oklahoma (0.286). Last week Oklahoma led Auburn by 0.271 points.

Unless there's an upset and/or a shakeup in the media polls -- Oklahoma is second and Auburn third in both -- USC and OU will meet in the Jan. 4 Orange Bowl for the national title.

Auburn looks as if it will be the team left out of the Orange Bowl no matter how it does in the Southeastern Conference championship game Dec. 4 against Tennessee.

USC finishes the season against Notre Dame on Saturday and UCLA on Dec. 4. The Sooners still have to play the Big 12 title game against Iowa State or Colorado.

California (.8504) is in fourth place and Texas (.8301) is fifth, with Utah (.8172) sixth.

The Utes (11-0) finished their season Saturday with a 52-21 win over BYU, all but ensuring themselves of being the first team from a non-BCS conference (Mountain West) to play in a BCS game.

Teams from outside the BCS conferences need to finish in the top six of the final BCS standings to guarantee a spot in one of the four $14-million bowl games.

Boise State moved up two spots, to seventh, after losses by Florida State and Michigan on Saturday. If Texas were to lose Friday and Boise -- as expected -- finishes its regular season Saturday with a victory over Nevada, the Broncos could move up to No. 6 next week. That would mean there could be two non-BCS league teams in the BCS this season.

Meanwhile, Fox and the BCS announced a four-year deal worth $320 million Monday that gives Fox the broadcast rights to the Fiesta, Orange and Sugar bowls from 2007-10 and the national title game from 2007-09.

ABC has held the broadcast rights to the BCS since college football's major conferences implemented the system to crown a national champion in 1998, but withdrew from the bidding last week.

ABC is currently paying a combined $25 million a year for the Orange, Sugar and Fiesta bowls under a contract that expires after the 2005 season. The network will pay $30 million annually for the Rose Bowl under its new deal.

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