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Looking at Florida's BCS prospects

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Florida Gators stayed at No. 6 in the BCS standings following their narrow 27-20 win over Louisiana, but there was some shakeup in front of them that has shifted the team's BCS outlook.

Florida celebrates after its 27-20 victory over Louisiana, which kept the Gators at No. 6 in the BCS standings.

Alabama's loss to Texas A&M over the weekend knocked the Crimson Tide out of the top spot, as it tumbled to No. 4. The Top 5 in the BCS standings this week are as follows: 1) Kansas State, 2) Oregon, 3) Notre Dame, 4) Alabama, 5) Georgia.

So how exactly has Florida's postseason outlook changed?

Well, Alabama's loss takes it out of the driver's seat in the national title race. Before this weekend, the projection was that Alabama would wind up in the BCS Championship Game, leaving a vacant slot for the SEC in the Sugar Bowl.

Assuming Florida had won out (along with Alabama), the Sugar Bowl likely would have taken the Gators to fill in for the Tide in New Orleans. But with Alabama losing, the SEC now stands on the outside looking in in terms of the BCS title race.

Barring upsets of two of the top three teams, it's unlikely Alabama or Georgia, neither of which has a particularly strong computer ranking, gets back into the top two spots. Thus, the winner of the SEC Championship Game will likely play in New Orleans.

With three SEC teams in the current Top 6 of the BCS, though, and LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina trailing at spots 7, 8 and 9, respectively, the SEC will have at least one more team in a BCS Bowl.

How the national title picture shapes up in the final weeks of the season will determine which at-large spots open up. If Oregon and Kansas State play for all the marbles, there will be at-large spots in each of the four BCS Bowls, including two in the Fiesta Bowl.

The SEC champion plays in the Sugar Bowl, which would rule out a second SEC team from playing there. In Florida's case, the Orange Bowl would also be an unlikely at-large destination if Florida State wins the ACC's automatic bid there in order to avoid a rematch.

Notre Dame would be the best bet to fill in for Oregon in the Rose Bowl assuming it stays in the upper echelon of the BCS standings, leaving Florida's most likely destination if it wins out as the Fiesta Bowl.

But the Gators will have to watch closely what the human voters do with the team after another cupcake game against Jacksonville State next week. A win over Florida State would provide Florida with a solid argument to remain far enough ahead of LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina to earn the SEC's second BCS bowl bid -- but it could be close enough to make Gators fans nervous.

Florida currently sits at No. 3 in the computer rankings, No. 6 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 7 in the Harris Poll.

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