Ducks Remain 5th In Latest BCS Rankings

Dec 3, 2001

AP Football Writer

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Nebraska is perhaps on the verge of its greatest comeback ever thanks to theBowl Championship Series standings.

The Cornhuskers, all but out of the national title chase after a 62-36 lossto Colorado on Nov. 23, would play No. 1 Miami in the BCS championship game ifLSU beats Tennessee on Saturday.

The BCS standings confirmed as much Monday, ranking Miami first, Tennesseesecond and Nebraska third - ahead of fourth-place Colorado, the team it lost toby 26 points - and fifth-place Oregon.

Expect Huskers fans everywhere to learn the words to 'Tiger Rag' and tunein when LSU (8-3) plays Tennessee (10-1) for the Southeastern Conference titleon the final night of the regular season.

The Vols, favored by seven points, can prevent what is certain to create ahuge controversy by winning and moving on to play the Hurricanes at the RoseBowl in Pasadena.

Miami (11-0) has 2.50 points in the BCS rankings, Tennessee (10-1) 4.79points, Nebraska (11-1) 8.39 points, Colorado (10-2) 9.88 points, and Pac-10champion Oregon (10-1) has 10.44 points.

Nebraska coach Frank Solich said his team deserves to be third in thestandings, adding that unlike Miami, Tennessee and Oregon, his team didn't haveany close-call victories.

'All of the games we won, we won by at least 10 points. We did not have towin a game by having a lucky bounce or a field goal at the end,' Solich said.'None of them came down to a 2-point conversion or went into overtime. Thegames were really decided either before or the middle of the fourth quarter.'

And what about the loss to the Buffaloes? 'We should have and could haveplayed better,' he said. 'Colorado is an excellent football team and that isplaying outstanding right now.'

BCS officials must be hoping for a Vols victory to avoid explaining how ateam can play for a national title even though it couldn't even win its owndivision of the Big 12 Conference.

Jerry Palm, who runs a Web site that closely monitors the BCS standings,says Oregon will have the biggest beef.

'The reaction if Nebraska gets in will be bad,' Palm said. 'It's hard tounderstand how a team that doesn't qualify for a conference title gets to playfor a national title. Oregon has a stronger argument since Colorado has twolosses and that's tough to overcome. But that's kind of the way it goes in theBCS.'

An LSU win also creates the possibility of split national champions. IfOregon wins its BCS game and Nebraska beats Miami in the Rose Bowl, the Duckscould be voted No. 1 in the final AP poll.

The AP voters cast their final Top 25 ballots following the Rose Bowl, andall I-A team are eligible to finish No. 1. Not so in the USA Today/ESPN coachespoll, which automatically crowns the Rose Bowl winner its national champion.

The BCS standings, set up to determine which teams play in a title game, usea formula that incorporates the AP media and coaches' polls, eight computers,strength of schedule, won-lost record and bonus points for big wins.

The BCS aligns six major conference champions with four big bowl games, theRose, Sugar, Fiesta and Orange. Two at-large teams are then selected to fillout the field.

Nebraska moved into contention following a series of upsets on Saturday.Florida and Texas, second and third in last week's BCS standings, fell out ofcontention with losses. That allowed the Huskers to improve from fourth tothird and the Vols from sixth to second.

Miami's 2.50-point breakdown was: 1 point for poll average, 1 point forcomputer average, .60 for strength of schedule, 0 for won-loss record and a .1bonus point deduction for a 65-7 win over Washington on Nov. 24. The Hurricanesclinched a Rose Bowl spot with a 26-24 win over Virginia Tech on Saturday.

The bonus award - new this season - is based on a sliding scale from 1.5points for beating a first-place team down to .1 for a win over the 15th-placeteam. The bonus is awarded after the other elements are calculated.

Tennessee (4.79) had 2 points for poll average, 2.83 points for computeraverage, .16 for strength of schedule, 1 for won-loss record and a 1.2 pointbonus deduction for beating sixth-place Florida 34-32 on Saturday.

Nebraska (8.39) had 4.5 points for poll average, 2.67 for computer average,0.72 for strength of schedule, 1 for won-loss record and a .5 bonus deductionfor beating 11th-place Oklahoma 20-10 on Oct. 27.

The final BCS standings will be released Dec. 9.

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