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Trojans Not Yet in Good Standing

USC, No. 4 and No. 5 in the polls, debuts at No. 7 in the BCS, but is still positioned to contend for national title. Oklahoma and Miami are 1-2.

October 21, 2003|Chris Dufresne | Times Staff Writer

Oklahoma and Miami were the top two teams in Monday's first bowl championship series standings, but you really didn't need a complex formula to figure that out.

The Sooners and Hurricanes were already No. 1 and No. 2 in the Associated Press and coaches' polls and the clear-cut top teams in the minds of most.

Oklahoma's total of 2.77 placed it comfortably ahead of Miami at 4.10. The schools with the lowest BCS totals at the end of the season will meet in the Sugar Bowl for the national title.

The interesting news Monday was buried in the BCS subtext, as only 3.6 points separate No. 3 Virginia Tech from No. 7 USC.

Should the top teams stumble down the stretch, the race for the Sugar Bowl could involve several one-loss teams and might be decided by decimal points.

Although USC took a first-round BCS hit, falling more than two pegs lower than its national poll average of 4.5, the Trojans remain very much in the national-title hunt. USC wasn't the only Pacific 10 Conference team hurt by the BCS computer index. Washington State, with a 6.5 poll average, opened at No. 9.

Also of note was the No. 10 debut of Northern Illinois, a non-BCS team trying to crash this major-college party.

The Huskies would need to finish No. 6 or better in the BCS to guarantee a spot in a major bowl game, but already may have topped out in terms of BCS standings potential.

Scott Cowen, the University of Tulane president who is leading a campaign for better access for non-BCS schools, said Monday he didn't expect Northern Illinois to be able to reach the No. 6 spot even if the Huskies finish the season undefeated.

"This is just an example of one of the weaknesses we see in the current arrangement," Cowen said.

This month, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on possible antitrust action involving the BCS. In September, the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony in Washington. Meanwhile, presidents from BCS and non-BCS conferences will meet next month in New Orleans to discuss the issues.



BCS Standings

The bowl championship series formula is used to ultimately determine the Nos. 1 and 2 teams that will play for the national championship in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4. Standings are for games through Oct. 18.

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