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The Big Picture

November 02, 2003|Elliott Teaford

With the Miami Hurricanes getting blown away at Virginia Tech, the nation's top three teams now would appear to be Oklahoma, Florida State and USC.

So let the great debate begin as to which of the three doesn't rate an invitation to the BCS title game Jan. 4 at New Orleans.

You can't assume they will be Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in the final edition of the BCS standings, although Oklahoma and USC might have a better shot at it than Florida State.

There should be no argument that an unbeaten Oklahoma will have earned its way into the Sugar Bowl, and the same probably could be said for USC if the Trojans finish the regular season with only one loss.

Oklahoma has games against Texas A&M, Baylor, Texas Tech and (probably) Kansas State in the Big 12 title game.

Texas Tech figures to be the toughest test for the Sooners simply because the Red Raiders pass the ball so often.

USC plays Arizona, UCLA and Oregon State. Obviously, the Trojans' rivalry against the Bruins could produce a surprise, but with consecutive routs of Stanford, Notre Dame, Washington and Washington State, they appear to be gaining strength.

Florida State faces Clemson, North Carolina State and Florida. The Seminoles might have the toughest stretch run of all, especially against the rejuvenated Gators.

A real playoff system could solve the question of Oklahoma's title game opponent by having the Seminoles and Trojans play for the right to face the Sooners.

But that's a topic for another day.

-- Elliott Teaford

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