UM Looking Up In BCS - This Week

Aside from a one week absence, the University of Miami has enjoyed positioning at the top of both major college football this season as the No. 1 team in the country.

That lofty status didn't benefit the Hurricanes too much Monday night, Oct. 22.

Miami, the top-ranked team in the AP and coaches' poll, was ranked fourth in the first of eight installments of the Bowl Championship Series standings.

The Hurricanes (5-0) have a 12.01 point total and trail Oklahoma (3.06), Nebraska (6.40) and UCLA (8.34). Oklahoma and Nebraska, ranked two and three in the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls this week, meet each other Saturday afternoon, Oct. 27, in Lincoln.

Virginia Tech is fifth in the BCS standings, followed by Texas, Michigan, Maryland, Tennessee and Washington State. Rounding out 11-15: Florida, Washington, Oregon, Stanford and South Carolina.

The BCS rankings will determine which top two teams will play for the national championship in the Rose Bowl, next January. The rankings are compiled through a formula that includes both polls, strength-of-schedule, number of losses and eight computer formulas.

Additionally this season, bonus points will be awarded to a team for a victory over a top-15 BCS squad.

Miami's strength of schedule (92nd out of 117 Division I teams) was partly to blame for their current BCS status.

The Hurricanes first five opponents have a combined record of 11-19 and have been outscored by UM 234-62. Miami still has games remaining against Syracuse (5-2), Virginia Tech (6-0) and Washington (5-1).

Hurricanes head coach Larry Coker impressed little concern over his team's current standing in the BCS and expects plenty of changes in the rankings within the next several months.

"It really doesn't make a bit of difference right now because we have to win every game to get where we want to go," Coker said. "Sure, you'd like to be No. 1 or No. 2, but its there for the taking if you do your job. There is still a lot of tough football to be played in November and December."

The Nebraska-Oklahoma outcome is just one of several that could cause a shake-up in next week's standings and as a result send the Hurricanes upward. Also on deck Saturday: UCLA (6-0) at Stanford (4-1); Florida (5-1) meets Georgia (5-1); South Carolina (6-1) at Tennessee (4-1); Maryland (7-0) at Florida State (4-2); and Oregon (6-1) travels to Washington State (7-0).

In a best case scenario, the Hurricanes could find themselves at No. 2 in the BCS if the they defeat West Virginia combined with a UCLA loss in Palo Alto. Miami will likely move up to No. 3 as a result of a Nebraska or Oklahoma loss.

Although, the Hurricanes could make a move in the BCS this week, they could easily take a tumble in the coming weeks because of other team's strength and schedule and game results. Miami would most likely be left out of the title game if Nebraska or Oklahoma, along with a Pac-10 team, finish the season undefeated.

The Hurricanes remember what happened last year. Last season, after Miami finished the regular-season 10-1 they were sent to the Sugar Bowl with Florida State getting the nod to play for the national title in the Orange Bowl. All this after UM had beaten FSU 27-24 earlier in the season.

Miami players may hide their displeasure publicly, but the thought of getting left out of the national championship game is fresh in their minds.

"I don't like it and I wish we could play one of those teams each week," said Miami linebacker Jonathan Vilma."All we can do is go out and win every week. Things will take care of themselves.

Coker said earlier in the week that it's ‘impossible' to keep his players from talking or noticing the BCS.

"You have to totally brain dead not to notice it," Coker said."These guys now its out there. The thing I continue to stress is that we're still in this as long as we keep winning. Florida and Oregon probably felt the same way until last week."

Oklahoma were ranked first in four of the eight computer rankings, with Nebraska and UCLA splitting the other four remaining votes. The Hurricanes are second in two computer rankings and were ranked 13th in another.

The BCS was created three years ago to determine a No.1-No. 2 national championship game without the need for a playoff system. The first two seasons the top two teams in the polls went on to play for the national title. That changed last season when No.2 Miami was leapfrogged by the Seminoles.

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