Miami Still Behind In BCS

Two weeks of Bowl Championship Series standings have come and gone. One constant remains- the University of Miami is still trying to reach the top.

Even with an unblemished record and a No. 1 ranking in both major polls, the Hurricanes were ranked third in the second BCS installment released earlier in the week. The Hurricanes were fourth in the initial standings.

This week Miami trails both No. 1 Nebraska (2.02) and No. 2 Oklahoma (7.59), who played each other last Saturday. Even after losing 20-10 to Nebraska, the Sooners were selected over UM, The Hurricanes (7.71) trail Oklahoma by two, one-hundredths of a point.

The BCS standings will determine which No. 1 and No. 2 teams will play in the national championship game, Jan. 3 in the Rose Bowl. The rankings are based on a formula that incorporates both major polls, eight computers, strength of schedule, overall records and quality wins bonus points.

With six installments of the BCS standings remaining, University of Miami head coach Larry Coker is concentrating on his team's next opponent and not the current rankings.

Miami host Temple, Saturday (Nov. 3) in the Orange Bowl.

"As the game of the past weekend so strongly demonstrated, it is virtually important for us to keep our concentration for the remainder of the season. The only measure of control we have is to win over any of it is to win our games."

Five teams fell from the unbeaten ranks last week, including Oklahoma, UCLA and Maryland. The Bruins had been ahead of the Hurricanes in the first BCS standings.

But despite their current status in the BCS, the Hurricanes are almost assured one of the spots in the Rose Bowl if they win their remaining five games and stay atop the polls. Last week's changes in the BCS might not be the only ones in the standings from now until the end of the season.

The Hurricanes will have a hand in all those changes.

Miami's strength of schedule index will increase in the coming weeks. The Hurricanes, who have the 76th schedule based on strength, still have games remaining with Boston College (6-2), Syracuse (7-2), Washington (5-1) and Virginia Tech (6-1). Nebraska and Oklahoma have relatively softer schedules the rest of the season. Nebraska still has Colorado remaining on the schedule and could possibly meet Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game. The Cornhuskers or Sooners could be faced with another loss.

Miami's computer rankings will also move up based on their final four games.

"We have a lot of football to play. It's going to be a very tough schedule for us to finish up. The main thing we have to be concerned with is winning football games. I have no doubt about it – if we win out we will be where we want to be. Our strength of schedule is going to get increasingly better."

The Hurricanes, left out of the national title game last season after a 10-1 regular-season, could be facing the same scenario this season. Although, the Hurricanes are a lock for the title game with an undefeated season some think that Oklahoma could pass UM with a victory over Nebraska in the Big 12 title game.

It could still take several weeks, but the Hurricanes could very well pass Oklahoma in the BCS even if the Sooners continue to win. With future opponents Washington and Virginia Tech still in the BCs top-15, the Hurricanes could make a huge leap in the coming weeks as a result of their quality-wins bonus points rising. The Sooners had benefited in that category with a win over Texas earlier in the year.

Let the entire schedule play out and don't make any quick judgments regarding the Hurricanes previous opposition said Coker earlier this week.

"As you can see, Penn State came back on Saturday and beat Ohio State and Florida State beat a ranked Maryland team, so those teams aren't that bad. I don't think we're being penalized, that's just the way things worked and that's just the way the schedule is."

"I think our remaining opponents are playing extremely well and we have some tough games so we won't be penalized. Our strength of schedule will be there. The quality of wins factors in at the end of the season, not now."

No. 4 Michigan , No. 5 Texas, No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 Tennessee, No. 8 Florida, No. 9 UCLA, No. 10 Oregon, No. 11 Washington, No. 12 Washington State, No. 13 BYU, No. 14 Purdue and No. 15 Virginia Tech make up the rest of the BCS standings.

Stanford, with victories over previously unbeaten UCLA and Oregon in consecutive weeks, made the biggest move.

NO. 1 IN POLLS

Despite still playing catch up in the BCS, the Hurricanes remained the top-ranked team in the AP and ESPN/USA Today coaches' polls, released earlier this week.

Miami received 55 first-place votes and a total of 1,783 points from writers and broadcasters around the country to stay atop the AP poll. The Nebraska Cornhuskers, coming off a 20-10 victory over Oklahoma, moved into the No. 2 spot with 17 first-place votes . The Cornhuskers (1,745) are 38 points behind Miami. Nebraska is also No. 2 in the coaches poll. Oklahoma is No. 3.

The rest of the top-10 in the AP: No. 4 Florida (6-1), No. 5 Texas (7-1), No. 6 Michigan (6-1), No. 7 Tennessee (5-1), No. 8 Oregon (7-1), No. 9 UCLA (6-1), Stanford (5-1).

Virginia Tech (6-1) took the biggest tumble dropping from fifth to No. 12 after losing to Syracuse 22-14. The Orangemen cracked the AP poll at No. 19.

Stanford, off a 38-28 win over previous No. 4 UCLA, made the most significant move, jumping 10 spots.

Five teams-Maryland, UCLA, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma and Washington State- suffered their first defeats of the season last week leaving the Hurricanes, Nebraska and BYU (7-0) as the only undefeated squads in the nation.

Florida State and Oregon, who beat Maryland and Washington State, respectively, each moved up in the polls. Fresno State dropped out of the polls after losing their second straight game, 38-34 to Hawaii.

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