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Published: Tuesday, 11/5/2002

Ohio State overtakes Miami for No. 2 in latest BCS standings

BY ANDREA SZULSZTEYN
AP SPORTS WRITER

Look who's No. 2 in the new Bowl Championship Series standings.

Ohio State, helped by a big quality win over Washington State earlier this year and Miami's drop in The Associated Press poll, has overtaken the Hurricanes in the standings released Monday.

The Buckeyes jumped three spots and nudged past defending champion Miami, which stayed unbeaten while posting its school-record 30th straight win Saturday, 42-17 over Rutgers.

But the Hurricanes had to rally in the fourth quarter, and that cost them. Oklahoma remained No. 1 with 2.04 points, while Ohio State moved into second with 5.57 points, and Miami was third with 6.01 points.

The top two teams in the final BCS standings released Dec. 8 will play in the national title game at the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Ariz., on Jan. 3.

"We are proud of what our young men have done to date," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "But we know if we don't play our best road game of the year at Purdue, we won't be No. 2 next week."

Ohio State has a 6.17 composite total, compared with Miami's 6.01. But the Buckeyes got a 0.6 deduction for a 25-7 victory over Washington State on Sept. 14. Miami has no bonus-point deductions.

The quality win deductions were added last year after Miami failed to make the national championship game over Florida State following the 2000 season despite beating the Seminoles earlier in the year.

The Hurricanes' struggles against lowly Rutgers dropped them to No. 2 in the AP media poll. A component of the BCS standings includes the average of the AP media and coaches polls. Miami is No. 1 in the coaches poll, giving it a 1.5 poll average.

If Miami had stayed No. 1 in both polls, its poll average would have been 1 _ putting the Hurricanes 0.06 points ahead of the Buckeyes.

"I can't be overly concerned about what the pollsters do," Miami coach Larry Coker said Monday about the AP media poll. "First of all it will be easy to rate us if we don't play better. The thing we have to do is make sure we get it corrected and win the games. If we do that, the polls will take care of themselves.

"I know that sounds like a broken record, but I really believe it's true."

Miami (8-0) trailed 17-14 entering the fourth quarter at Rutgers. Oklahoma (8-0), meanwhile, dominated then-No. 13 Colorado 27-11, and that was enough to change the poll.

The Hurricanes lost 27 first-place votes to Oklahoma and had their record run of 21 consecutive polls at No. 1 snapped.

"Nobody wants us in the national championship game," Miami tailback Willis McGahee said. "The minute we lose we'll probably fall down to No. 10. I don't know why there are so many haters."

The BCS formula uses the AP media and coaches' polls, computer polls, strength of schedule, won-loss record and a bonus-point system.

Oklahoma has 2.04 points _ 1.5 for poll average, 1 for computer-rank average, 0.24 for strength of schedule, zero for losses and a 0.7 deduction for a victory over Texas.

Ohio State has 5.57 points _ 3 for poll average, 2.33 for computer-rank average, 0.84 for strength of schedule and a 0.6 deduction for the victory over Washington State.

Miami has 6.01 points _ 1.5 for poll average, 2.67 for computer-rank average, 1.84 for schedule rank and no bonus-point deduction.

Texas is fourth at 10.03 followed by Washington State (13.05) and Georgia (15.03). Notre Dame dropped four spots to No. 7 with 15.33 points after losing to Boston College.

In the next few weeks, the Hurricanes have a chance of passing the Buckeyes. Their strength of schedule will go up with games at Tennessee (5-3) this week, then No. 22 Pittsburgh (7-2), Syracuse (3-6) and No. 8 Virginia Tech (8-1).

Big wins in any of those games could put them back at No. 1 in the AP poll as well.

Ohio State, meanwhile, has games remaining at Illinois (3-6) and against No. 13 Michigan (7-2).

Oklahoma looks like it is in the driver's seat, with games remaining against Texas A&M (5-4), Baylor (3-6), Texas Tech (6-4) and Oklahoma State (4-4). But then the Sooners have to play in the Big 12 championship game.



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