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Ohio State No. 1 in BCS

November 12, 2002|Chris Dufresne | Times Staff Writer

One day after Miami was hailed with unanimous consent as the nation's top team in the writers' and the coaches' polls, the Hurricanes got news Monday that Ohio State was the new No. 1 in the bowl championship series standings.

The BCS ... go figure.

So, does Ohio State owe its position to that whopping 10-6 victory at Purdue?

Actually, it was former BCS No. 1 Oklahoma's loss at Texas A&M that pushed the Buckeyes, for now, to the top.

Ohio State and Miami, Nos .2 and 3 in last week's BCS standings, each moved up one position this week and seized at least temporary control of the national title race.

Ohio State is first with 3.41 points. Miami is second at 4.10.

Although well off the pace, Washington State jumped two spots to No. 3 this week with 8.77 points, followed by No. 4 Oklahoma with 10.05 and No. 5 Texas at 11.50.

Ohio State's lead hangs on its advantage over Miami in the quality-win component. Ohio State trails Miami by .11 in the composite total, but gets a .8 deduction for having defeated No. 3 Washington State.

A school is rewarded for wins against top-10 opponents, but that point deduction is based on where the defeated team finishes in the final BCS standings.

Miami has yet to earn quality win points, but would get a deduction if No. 11 Florida State cracks the BCS top 10.

Washington State was a big weekend winner, although it remains to be seen whether the Cougars, who have two byes over the next three weekends, can hang onto that spot.

The schools with the two lowest totals in the final BCS standings -- a point system based on poll average, a computer component, losses, strength of schedule and quality wins -- will play for the BCS national title in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3.

Ohio State and Miami figure to be a lock for the title game, so long as they finish the season as the only undefeated teams in Division I-A football.

It doesn't matter to Miami and Ohio State whether they finish first or second in the BCS, although it could be very important to the Rose Bowl.

If Ohio State is No. 1, the Rose Bowl will get the first pick among remaining at-large selections. If Miami is No. 1, the Orange Bowl will get the pick. This could be critical in a possible battle over Notre Dame if it is BCS eligible.

The Rose Bowl also faces the prickly possibility of having to snub 11-1 Iowa, even though the Hawkeyes would be the Rose Bowl's preferred choice to replace Ohio State.

"It appears there is a set of circumstances that could be problematic," Rose Bowl CEO Mitch Dorger said.

Under BCS rules, Texas is guaranteed an at-large berth if the Longhorns finish No. 3 in the final BCS standings (Texas gets in at No. 4 under certain circumstances) and Notre Dame, No. 7 this week, is guaranteed a berth if it finishes sixth or better.

The Rose Bowl could end up with Notre Dame, not a bad fallback position, at the expense of Iowa, a member of a conference, the Big Ten, that shares a long partnership with the Rose Bowl.

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BCS Standings

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