BCS makes Nebraska new No. 1

Oklahoma stays ahead of Miami

October 30, 2001|By Andrew Bagnato | Andrew Bagnato,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Despite losing to Nebraska on Saturday, Oklahoma remained an eyelash ahead of Miami in the latest Bowl Championship Series rating yesterday.

But the third-place Hurricanes aren't panicking yet. They have closed to 0.12 of the Sooners and figure to pass them if they win their remaining games.

Two days after Nebraska defeated Oklahoma, 20-10, in Lincoln, the Cornhuskers and Sooners flip-flopped at the top of the standings. The top two teams in the final BCS standings Dec. 9 will meet in the Rose Bowl.

The BCS formula measures five major components: the two major polls; eight computer ratings, with each team's best and worst ratings thrown out; schedule strength; number of losses; and victories over Top 15 teams, a bonus that was added this season. BCS officials added the bonus after the BCS snubbed Miami a year ago in favor of a team it defeated, Florida State.

The bonus was meant to give teams credit for important victories, but it has worked against Miami so far. Oklahoma earned a bonus for beating Texas earlier this season, but Miami, which has played a relatively weak schedule, has not received any quality-win bonuses.

Without the quality-win factor, Miami would have been in second place this week. Still, it seems only a matter of time before the Hurricanes ease past the Sooners. After this week's game against lowly Temple, the Hurricanes close with Boston College, No. 19 Syracuse, No. 11 Washington and No. 12 Virginia Tech. If Miami wins out, it's widely believed that it would pick up enough strength-of-schedule points to pass any once-defeated team in the BCS standings.

Meanwhile, the new standings bolstered Michigan's hopes for a Rose Bowl berth. The Wolverines jumped to fourth from seventh and put 2.5 points between themselves and No. 5 Texas. If Miami and Nebraska stumble, the Wolverines are in prime position to earn an invitation to Pasadena.

Michigan is the beneficiary of some curious BCS math. The once-beaten Wolverines are nearly 13 points ahead of once-beaten Washington, which beat the Wolverines, 23-18, in Seattle on Sept. 8.

Andrew Bagnato is a reporter for the Chicago Tribune.

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