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UF No. 4 in BCS, back in title race

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- One night after wild upsets rocked the college football world, the Florida Gators found themselves even closer to being back on top of it. The Gators checked in at No. 4 in the BCS Standings unveiled Sunday night.

Florida coach Will Muschamp had a lot to cheer about over the weekend, as the Gators took care of business with a win and vaulted up the BCS standings.

Even better, at least one of the teams in front of Florida must lose, with No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia set to meet in the SEC Championship Game in two weeks.

That puts the Gators in position to potentially play for a national title if just one more upset goes its way -- and, of course, Florida takes care of business against No. 10 Florida State in Tallahassee next weekend.

Florida needs No. 1 Notre Dame to lose. And there's only one more chance for the Irish to do so: against a likely Matt Barkley-less USC team coached by Lane Kiffin.

If Notre Dame does lose, there's still a slim chance Florida misses out on the title game.

The Gators checked in at No. 5 in the Harris Poll and No. 6 in the Coaches Poll on Sunday, the polls that make up two-thirds of the BCS. Florida ranks much better in the computers, at No. 2, behind only the Irish.

Should Notre Dame lose and Florida win next weekend, the Gators would be virtually assured of the No. 1 computer ranking in the final BCS standings.

But what the human voters do with Florida is another story.

In the Harris Poll, Florida still sits one spot behind No. 4 Oregon. The Gators will likely move past the SEC title game loser (No. 2 Alabama or No. 3 Georgia). But will Harris Poll voters drop No. 1 Notre Dame past Florida with a loss to USC, especially if it's, say, a tight loss in overtime like Oregon's?

That's up for debate, particularly with fans and media grumbling about the possibility of another all-SEC title game.

The same is true in the Coaches Poll, where Florida sits at No. 6, also behind No. 4 Oregon and No. 5 Florida State. The Gators will be in virtually the exact same position as the Coaches Poll, vaulting past FSU with a win but still not sure if they'd make it past Notre Dame.

In all probability, the Gators jump the Irish with a win over Florida State and a Notre Dame loss. Oregon could be the bigger threat, though.

The Ducks watched their computer ranking tumble to No. 7 after slipping to Stanford. But assuming Oregon takes care of business and beats Oregon State in its season finale, the Ducks will be no worse than No. 3 in the human polls. If Notre Dame falls, the voters will likely have Oregon at No. 2, meaning it would be a battle of numbers between Florida and Oregon for the all-important No. 2 spot in the BCS.

Florida also needs to hope Oregon doesn't sneak its way into the Pac-12 title game, a chance to pick up another big win. The Ducks can get into the Pac-12 championship game with a UCLA win over Stanford this weekend.

The extra game would give Oregon an added boost in the computers, which for now, are certainly on Florida's side.

The voters, on the other hand, are already firmly in the Ducks' corner.

“I don’t really worry about the perception of what might be out there," coach Will Muschamp said Monday. "Unfortunately, in our profession, sometimes perception becomes reality. I don’t apologize for being 3-1 (against the BCS Top 10) and the only team in the BCS Top 10 that has that record and a better record than anyone else and has a tougher schedule than anyone else in the country."

The problem for Florida right now is that the perception of the Gators is not kind. Muschamp's team plays an ugly brand of football, while the Ducks dazzle voters with a high-flying offense.

Would that be enough to keep the Gators out of the title game?

Who knows? And it's all a moot point if Notre Dame wins or Florida loses Saturday. But Muschamp and the Gators won't want to be shy about campaigning at this point. They might very well need the help, despite having the most impressive resume in the country.

"I don’t know what else you need to do," Muschamp said.

Right now, it's simple.

Just win.

Then watch and wait and hope for the best.

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