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The Race For No. 1

September 19, 2004|Jim Barrero

Louisiana State, the defending BCS champion, already had looked shaky in a narrow overtime victory over Oregon State in its season opener.

Now the No. 5 Tigers have stumbled after a 10-9 road loss to No. 14 Auburn. The good news for LSU is that voters tend to be more forgiving with September losses, so LSU could still bounce back. But consecutive road games against Georgia and Florida to begin October will make it tough.

People in the West know how good No. 1 USC is, so the Trojans took the chance to show the nation as well. USC poured it on late in a 42-10 victory at Brigham Young that could make many forget the Virginia Tech struggles.

No. 2 Oklahoma again rode the shoulders of freshman running back Adrian Peterson in a 31-7 victory over Oregon, but the Sooners are far from the team that has dominated the Big 12 the last several seasons. Then again, the Big 12 is weaker in 2004, so it might not hurt Oklahoma in the end.

No. 3 Georgia looked very average in a 13-3 victory over Marshall, No. 4 Miami routed Louisiana Tech, 48-0, as expected, and No. 7 West Virginia kept its BCS hopes alive with a 19-16 overtime victory over No. 21 Maryland. The Mountaineers play at Virginia Tech on Oct. 2 in a potential stumbling-block game but could have clear sailing from there.

-- Jim Barrero

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