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Sooners, Seminoles to face off for crown

Posted: Monday, December 04, 2000

Florida State always seems to be in the mix no matter what system college football uses to decide a national champion.

For the fourth time in five years, the No. 3 Seminoles (11-1) will play for a national title -- this time vs. No. 1 Oklahoma (12-0) in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3.

Florida State opened as an 11-point favorite.

The Bowl Championship Series' system of rating teams using polls, computers, schedule strength and losses, placed the Seminoles second behind the Sooners in its final standings released Sunday.

The matchup creates the possibility of split national champions. The AP media poll and the coaches' poll have Oklahoma and Miami ranked 1-2. If Florida State beats Oklahoma and Miami beats Florida in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2, there's a chance for co-champions.

The AP poll's sports writers and broadcasters vote independently of the BCS, but the coaches' poll crowns the Orange Bowl winner as its champion.

''If that happens, then that will be what it is,'' BCS coordinator John Swofford said. ''The BCS doesn't eliminate that possibility. We've known that all along. It does minimize the chances for it happening.''

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden understands his team could share a national title with the Hurricanes, who beat the Seminoles 27-24 on Oct. 7. Still, he says the BCS formula proves his team deserves to play in Miami.

''Everything was run through the computer,'' Bowden said. ''We had nothing to do with it. The facts were fed in during the season and it came out ranking us second. We will accept that.

''It's No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the BCS and if we were to beat Oklahoma, then I think we should be No. 1 in the nation in the BCS. But that probably won't happen in the AP unless Florida beats Miami.''

Miami coach Butch Davis said his team did its best to reach the BCS title game, being played in its own backyard.

''Regardless of how it turned out, it can't take anything away from our great season,'' Davis said. ''We had some great games, against Florida State and then Virginia Tech. We've won nine in a row and did everything we think we could have.''

Sooners coach Bob Stoops doesn't have to explain how his team landed where it did.

''I'm just glad there isn't any debate on us,'' he said. ''For a month, I'm glad I certainly don't have to defend our position.''

Oklahoma, the nation's only major unbeaten team after its 27-24 win over Kansas State in the Big 12 title game Saturday night, is gunning for its sixth national title and first since 1985.

Florida State (11-1) is trying to become just the seventh school to win back-to-back national titles and the first since Nebraska in 1994-95.

The teams last met in the Orange Bowl in 1981, with the Sooners winning 18-17.

In the final BCS standings, Oklahoma had 3.30 points, Florida State 5.37 and Miami 5.69. The clinching category for the Seminoles was computer rankings, where the Seminoles had a 1.28-point edge over the Hurricanes.

Last year, the BCS matched unbeatens Florida State against Virginia Tech, which were ranked 1-2 in both polls, in the Sugar Bowl. The Seminoles won their second national title with a 46-29 win.

In the 1998 season, Florida State lost to Tennessee in the Fiesta Bowl -- the BCS' first title game -- and the 'Noles were beaten by Florida in the Sugar Bowl after the '96 season. Florida State won its first national title in 1993.

The BCS standings were set up to determine the top two teams, with the three other bowls in the series choosing from the remaining qualified schools. Six major conferences received automatic bids, and Oregon State and Notre Dame received at-large selections.

Other BCS bowl matchups also were announced, along with most remaining bowl pairings.

In one of the more intriguing games, Miami (10-1) and Florida (10-2) renew a heated rivalry that ended in 1987. The Big East champion Hurricanes and SEC champion Gators are scheduled to play again in 2002.

Because Florida State beat Florida 30-7, Miami may need to win by a similar or greater margin to have a chance at a co-national title.

In the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, it's No. 5 Oregon State (10-1) vs. No. 10 Notre Dame (9-2), putting both schools in a BCS game for the first time, and leaving No. 6 Virginia Tech (10-1) with a Gator Bowl date against No. 16 Clemson (9-2).

''This game is big for us,'' Irish coach Bob Davie said. ''Usually at the end of the season when you play a ball game, you feel like it's a reward for your football team. I have a different feeling about this football game. I think we're a team that's improving.''

The Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 has been set for weeks -- No. 4 Washington (10-1) vs. No. 14 Purdue (8-3).

Each team playing in a BCS game receives $13.5 million, but only Notre Dame, an independent, keeps all the money. The other teams split the payout with conference members.

For Oregon State, a trip to the Fiesta Bowl came a day after coach Dennis Erickson signed a four-year contract extension amid reports he was being wooed by Southern California.

''People nationally recognize who we are, know what kind of a football team we have and what kind of a program we're developing,'' Erickson said. 'And getting in this bowl really tops it off.''

Earlier in the week, Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen threatened to pull his league out of the BCS if the Beavers were overlooked.

But Fiesta Bowl officials maintained his comments had no impact on their decision.

''We selected Oregon State because they deserved it and won it on the field of battle,'' bowl president John Junker said.

Other bowl matchups:

Citrus (Jan. 1): Michigan vs. Auburn

Cotton (Jan. 1): Tennessee vs. Kansas State

Gator (Jan. 1): Virginia Tech vs. Clemson

Outback (Jan. 1): Ohio State vs. South Carolina

Independence (Dec. 31): Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State

Silicon Valley (Dec. 31): Fresno State vs. Air Force

Alamo (Dec. 30): Nebraska vs. Northwestern

Holiday (Dec. 29): Texas vs. Oregon

Liberty (Dec. 29): Colorado State vs. Louisville

Peach (Dec. 29): Georgia Tech vs. LSU

Sun (Dec. 29): UCLA vs. Wisconsin

Humanitarian (Dec. 28): Boise State vs. Texas El-Paso (Dec. 28): Iowa State vs. Pittsburgh

Micronpc (Dec. 28): Minnesota vs. North Carolina State

Music City (Dec. 28): West Virginia vs. Mississippi (Dec. 27): Texas Tech vs. East Carolina

Motor City (Dec. 27): Marshall vs. Cincinnati

Aloha (Dec. 25): Arizona State vs. Boston College

Oahu (Dec. 24): Virginia vs. Georgia

Las Vegas (Dec. 21): UNLV vs. Arkansas

Mobile Alabama (Dec. 20): TCU vs. Southern Mississippi

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