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'Canes, Sooners tied for top spot

Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2002

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Miami and Oklahoma, the last two national champions, hope to wind up playing in the Fiesta Bowl in January for another title.

For now, they'll share in a little history.

Without playing a game, Oklahoma moved into a tie with the Hurricanes for No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll. It's just the fourth tie in the 66-year history of the poll.

''Some people must have snuck in to see how well we played in practice last week,'' said Sooners coach Bob Stoops, whose team last held the No. 1 spot after winning the 2000 national championship.

Oklahoma can thank Florida State, which began the season at No. 3 but fell to fifth this week after having to hold on for a 38-31 victory over Iowa State on Saturday night.

Miami, which also hasn't played a game this season, and Oklahoma each received 27 first-place votes and 1,758 points in the media poll. Texas and Tennessee moved up one spot apiece, to third and fourth, respectively.

In the USA Today/ESPN poll of coaches, Miami remained No. 1, followed by Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Florida State.

The last tie in the AP poll came Oct. 18, 1992, between Washington and Miami. The other ties were Nov. 27, 1939 (Texas A&M and Southern California), and Oct. 27, 1941 (Minnesota and Texas).

This marks the first time the two teams sharing No. 1 received the same number of first-place votes.

''It makes no difference,'' Miami coach Larry Coker said. ''We're right where we want to be. We're in striking distance. We're one, four, five -- that really makes no difference now.''

The Sooners, ranked No. 2 in the preseason poll, open their season Friday at Tulsa. Miami begins defense of its national championship Saturday night at home against Florida A&M.

Stoops doesn't give much weight to early season rankings and projections. He pointed out that his Oklahoma team started the 2000 season ranked well down in the polls but wound up winning the national title.

''I'm confident our players understand, as much as anything here, you earn your way,'' he said. ''We determine our fate, nobody else.''

Florida remains sixth this week, followed by Colorado and Georgia. Nebraska used its 48-10 victory over Arizona State to move up one spot to ninth, with Ohio State at No. 10, up three places after a 45-21 victory over Texas Tech.

The shuffling by Nebraska and Ohio State resulted in Washington falling from ninth to 11th.

The rest of the top 20 were Washington State, Michigan, LSU, Oregon, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Michigan State, Marshall and Southern Cal.

Maryland, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Penn State and North Carolina State round out the poll.



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