Miami's status improves

Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Miami spoke, and even the BCS computer listened.

The Hurricanes surged closer to first-place Nebraska and pulled further away from third-place Oklahoma in the Bowl Championship Series standings released Monday. Two days after its 59-0 rout of Syracuse, Miami was second again, but this week the Canes should feel much more secure about playing for a national championship in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 3.

Should Nebraska (11-0) and Miami (9-0) win the rest of their games, it appears unlikely a one-loss team such as Florida or Oregon could pass them when the final standings are released on Dec. 9. The BCS ratings are based on a formula that incorporates the AP media and coaches' polls, eight computers, strength of schedule, won-lost record and bonus points for big wins.

Nebraska, idle on Saturday, had 2.87 points, while Miami had 5.25 points. Oklahoma, a 30-13 winner over Texas Tech on Saturday, had 8.13 points.

Last week, Miami trailed Nebraska by 5.11 points -- now the lead is down to 2.38 points -- and led Oklahoma by .51 points -- now it's a 2.88-point advantage.

The Hurricanes are not about to get carried away with the latest BCS numbers.

''You've got to realize that there's two more games to go,'' tackle Joaquin Gonzalez said. ''It's not like these two teams are going to fall down and go, 'OK, you guys go to the Rose Bowl.' It's out there, we just have to go take it.''

Miami, No. 1 in the AP poll, made up ground in three categories -- the polls, the computers and strength of schedule. The Canes replaced the Huskers at No. 1 in the coaches' poll, received first-place ratings in two computers, and saw their strength of schedule improve to 48th from 66th last week.

Florida (9-1) was fourth, with Oregon (9-1) fifth, followed by Texas (9-1), Tennessee (8-1), Illinois (9-1), Stanford (7-2) and Michigan (8-2).

BYU (11-0), the only other major undefeated team, remained 13th in the 15-team BCS standings.

Nebraska's 2.87-point breakdown was: 2 points for poll average, 1.17 points for computer average, 1 for strength of schedule, 0 for won-loss record and a 1.3-bonus point deduction for beating Oklahoma on Oct. 27.

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

Miami (5.25) had 1 point for poll average, 2.33 for computer average, 1.92 for strength of schedule, 0 for won-loss record and no bonus-point deduction.

Oklahoma (8.13) had 4 for poll average, 3.33 for computer average, 0.80 for strength of schedule, 1 for won-loss record and a 1-point deduction for beating Texas on Oct. 6.

Nebraska is at Colorado (8-2) on Friday, and a win puts the Huskers in the Big 12 title game on Dec. 1, likely against Oklahoma.

Oklahoma plays Oklahoma State (3-7) on Saturday.

Miami has two games left -- home to Washington (8-2) on Saturday and at Virginia Tech (8-2) on Dec. 1.

''Two wins give us an undefeated season and a shot at the Rose Bowl,'' Miami running back Clinton Portis said. ''We're close, we're close.''

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