Southern California and Texas are in control at the top of the first Bowl Championship Series standings. Notre Dame, however, has a long way to go to become eligible for a spot in one of the college football’s four big-money bowl games.

The first-place Trojans are No. 1 in both the USA Today coaches’ poll and the Harris Interactive poll, and they graded out best in the six computer rankings. USC had a BCS grade of .9923 and a solid cushion over the second-place Longhorns (.9591) in the standings released Monday.

But second is as good as first in the BCS because the top two teams in the standings after the regular season play in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 4 for a national title.

Texas has a big lead over third-place Virginia Tech (.9067).

Georgia (.8933) is fourth and Alabama (.8220) fifth.

Lagging behind is Notre Dame (.3985). The Fighting Irish are 16th because of a poor showing in the computer rankings. To become eligible for selection to either the Sugar, Orange or Fiesta bowls, Notre Dame (4-2) needs to finish the season with nine wins and be in the top 12 of the final BCS standings.

“You start worrying about the BCS and what bowl you’re playing in, then BYU comes in and ends up beating you, which they are capable of doing, which we’ll talk about tomorrow, then you’ve made a bad miscalculation,” Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said shortly before the BCS standings were released Monday.

You won’t find the rookie Fighting Irish coach railing against the BCS or for a playoff in college football.

“I could care less,” he said. “Really, I could care less. I mean, whatever it is. Just tell me where we’re going and I’ll be there.”

The BCS formula is the same as last season, with each poll counting for one-third of a team’s grade and the computer ratings making up the remaining third. The highest grade possible is 1.000.

The difference this year is that the Harris poll has replaced The Associated Press Top 25. The AP asked BCS officials to stop using the media poll in the formula for determining which teams play for a national title after last season.

After a thrilling 34-31 loss to USC on Saturday, Notre Dame was 11th in the Harris poll and 12th in the coaches’ poll. But the Irish are no better than 22nd in the BCS’s six computer rankings, and they are not even among the best 25 teams in the country in computer rankings put out by Richard Billingsley and Kenneth Massey.

In the AP poll, USC is No. 1, Texas is No. 2 and Notre Dame is No. 9.

The Bowl Championship Series was implemented in 1998 by the leaders of college football’s six high-revenue conferences – Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Atlantic Coast Conference, Pac-10 and Southeastern Conference – and Notre Dame.

The champion of each of those conferences earns an automatic bid into the four BCS games.

The Fighting Irish have played in the BCS just once.

. After Notre Dame went 9-2 in the 2000 regular season, the Irish were beaten 41-9 by Oregon State in the Fiesta Bowl.

Last year, the BCS found itself with a problem for which it has no solution.

The regular season ended with three unbeaten teams – USC, Oklahoma and Auburn – at the top of the polls. The Tigers were the odd team out and the Trojans and Sooners played in the Orange Bowl for the national title. USC won 55-19, and is now in position to play for a third straight national title.

Texas hasn’t won an outright national title since 1969, and has yet to play in a BCS national title game.

With seven weeks left in this season, there are seven unbeaten teams in Division I-A – USC, Texas, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Alabama, Texas Tech and UCLA.

The Red Raiders (.7034) are seventh in the BCS standings, behind once-beaten LSU (.7078). Miami is eighth (.6928), UCLA is ninth (.6675) and Penn State (.5860) is tenth.

Texas Tech plays at Texas on Saturday.

AP-ES-10-17-05 1852EDT

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.