Oregon A Consensus No. 2 In Final Polls
Jan. 4, 2002
NEW YORK - So much for split champions. Miami made it all moot.
The Hurricanes won their fifth national title and first in 10 yearsunanimously, receiving all 72 first-place votes in the final AssociatedPress poll.
Miami (12-0) finished the season as the nation's only major unbeaten teamwith a 37-14 victory over Nebraska in the Rose Bowl on Thursday night.
In the final, post-bowl AP poll, the No. 1 votes from the sports writers andbroadcasters gave the Hurricanes 1,800 points.
'It's an unbelievable honor,' Miami coach Larry Coker said. 'It'stremendously gratifying to be around such great players, to be able to coachkids at such a high level.'
Coker joined Michigan's Bennie Oosterbaan (1948) as the only first-year headcoaches to win a national title.
A Nebraska win in the Rose Bowl might have created the fourth split titlesince 1990. The Cornhuskers would have automatically been crowned thechampion of the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll, but Oregon would have had ashot at being the AP winner, which is selected independently.
'I just would have liked to have a shot,' Ducks quarterback Joey Harringtonsaid.
The Ducks, who beat Colorado 38-16 in the Fiesta Bowl, finished No. 2 in theAP poll - their highest ranking ever. Florida was third, followed byTennessee and Texas. The coaches had the same Top Five as the AP.
Nebraska fell from No. 4 to No. 8, behind Oklahoma and LSU. Colorado andWashington State rounded out the Top 10.
Coker took over for Butch Davis after the Hurricanes finished No. 2 lastseason. The Hurricanes started the season ranked No. 2 and moved into theNo. 1 spot for good on Oct. 6 when Florida lost to Auburn.
The title completes Miami's return to prominence. The Hurricanes finishedwith a 5-6 record as recently as 1997, but Davis rebuilt the team beforeleaving to coach the Cleveland Browns.
Coker took over and moved Miami into fourth place for the most APchampionships ever, trailing only Alabama (six), Oklahoma (seven) and NotreDame (eight). The Hurricanes also won titles in 1983, '87, '89 and '91.
Maryland, which lost the Orange Bowl 56-23 to Florida, finished 11th,followed by Illinois, South Carolina, Syracuse and Florida State.
The Seminoles' streak of 14 straight Top Five seasons ended with theirlowest finish since being unranked in the final poll in 1986.
Stanford, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Washington, Michigan, Boston College,Georgia, Toledo, Georgia Tech and BYU were the final 10 teams.
Boston College and Georgia Tech moved into the final poll after bowl wins,while Ohio State and Fresno State dropped out after bowl losses.
The Southeastern Conference led the way with five teams in the Top 25, whilethe Big East, Pac-10 and Big 12 all had four.
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Sports Writer