Who's No. 1? See tomorrow's paper Michigan, Virginia among possibilites

October 08, 1990|By Ray Parrillo | Ray Parrillo,Knight-Ridder News Service

The world of college football became a land of confusion Saturday, leaving voters in the wire-service polls scratching their heads over just who should be No. 1.

All anyone knows for sure is that last week's No. 1, Notre Dame, will not be atop this week's polls because the Irish were stunned by so-so Stanford, 36-31. It was only the third time that a Notre Dame team ranked No. 1 had lost in South Bend, Ind., and the first time a team other than Purdue was the spoilsport.

Florida State, which went into the weekend No. 2, won't be on top either, because Miami ran all over the Seminoles in a 31-22 victory.

It is conceivable that five or more teams will get first-place votes in this week's polls, so there will be much to debate.

Should it be Michigan? The Wolverines (3-1) looked like the better team in a 28-24 loss to Notre Dame in their opener. They have perhaps the nation's best offensive line, a splendidly balanced offense and an excellent defense. And they've shown their resilience by recovering from a loss to blow away UCLA, Maryland and Wisconsin.

Should it be Virginia? The Cavaliers (5-0) have an impressive win, 20-7, over Clemson, which has since outscored its opponents, ++ 167-10. Otherwise, the Cavaliers have beaten up on Kansas, Navy, Duke and William and Mary simply by showing up. Among the powers, Virginia has the clearest path to an unbeaten season. Georgia Tech may be the only problem. The Cavaliers will have to prove their worth with a big win in a bowl game.

Should it be Auburn? The Tigers (3-0-1) have a tie against strong Tennessee. But they seemed to lose interest in their 16-14 win over Division I-AA Louisiana Tech on Saturday. They needed a field goal in the final seconds to win.

Should it be Oklahoma? The Sooners (5-0) are doing it with 80 scholarship players rather than the NCAA limit of 95. Not much was expected of them, so they started low in the polls and must work their way up, which they can continue to do against a credible schedule. But they were ranked No. 7 by The Associated Press last week, and not even in this mixed-up season can a team go from No. 7 to No. 1.

Should it be Tennessee? The Volunteers (3-0-2) have two ties, and that's too many to be No. 1 this early. They play Florida on Saturday in Knoxville, Tenn., and Notre Dame on Nov. 10, also in Knoxville.

Should it be Florida? The Gators (5-0) are not eligible for the United Press International poll (voting is done by coaches) because they are on National Collegiate Athletic Association probation.

Should it be Nebraska? The Cornhuskers (5-0) will have to overcome the stigma of playing an embarrassing schedule.

Should it be Miami? Right or wrong, when you lose is a factor in the polls. Miami lost its opener (at Brigham Young) and has been working its way back up since. The Hurricanes have beaten two solid teams in Iowa and Florida State, and their Oct. 20 game against Notre Dame will amount to an elimination match. No team with two losses ever has been voted No. 1.

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