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Notre Dame Narrows Gap

In BCS race for No. 2 spot, Fighting Irish close to within .33 points of Miami. Oklahoma retains No. 1 position.

October 29, 2002|Chris Dufrense | Times Staff Writer

Oklahoma held the top spot in the second bowl championship series standings while the race for the coveted No. 2 position got tighter as Notre Dame inched closer to Miami.

Notre Dame, boosted by a 34-24 win at Florida State, closed to within .33 points of Miami with the chance to pass the Hurricanes next week.

Oklahoma, No. 2 in both national polls, maintained a comfortable lead in the BCS with a total of 3.33 points, followed by Miami at 6.69 and Notre Dame at 6.99.

The schools with the two lowest point totals in the final BCS standings on Dec. 8 will play for the BCS national title in the Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 3.

Rounding out the BCS top 10 are Georgia, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Texas, Washington State, North Carolina State and Iowa.

USC moved up three spots, from 14th to 11th, and overtook Notre Dame for the No. 1 spot in strength of schedule.

Despite the jump, however, the Trojans' only realistic shot at playing in a BCS game is via the Pac-10 champion's automatic berth to the Rose Bowl.

The BCS standings are a four-part rating system composed of polls, computer average, strength of schedule and losses. Quality win points are also awarded for victories against teams that finish in the BCS top 10.

Notre Dame picked up a full BCS point by moving from No. 6 to No. 4 in the Associated Press poll, which enabled the Irish to cut Miami's lead in half from last week, .66 to .33.

The Irish could not overtake Miami because they slipped a bit in the strength-of-schedule and computer-poll components, due in part to losses suffered by Notre Dame opponents: Michigan and Michigan State.

Should Oklahoma, Miami and Notre Dame remain unbeaten, the race for the No. 2 spot in the BCS could be another decimal-point thriller.

Notre Dame could pass Miami next week when the Irish play Boston College and the Hurricanes take on lowly Rutgers.

After that, though, it's anyone's guess. Notre Dame figures to lose BCS ground when it plays Navy and Rutgers in consecutive weeks, but Miami should get a boost if it beats Tennessee on Nov. 9.

The fight for the second BCS berth could come down to the final two weekends, when Notre Dame plays at USC on Nov. 30 and Miami plays host to Virginia Tech on Dec. 7.

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