Final BCS rankings match sooners vs. seminoles in orange bowl

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 4, 2000

The Associated Press

So far, so perfect for No.

Monday, December 04, 2000

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So far, so perfect for No. 1 Oklahoma.

Not only are the Sooners playing for their first national championship since 1985, they get to do it in one of their favorite games – the Orange Bowl.

”Oklahoma traditionally has played extremely well in the Orange Bowl,” Sooners coach Bob Stoops said Sunday. ”Our players understand that Oklahoma plays well in the Orange Bowl, and you can bet we’ll watch a bunch of those highlights.”

Of Oklahoma’s five national titles, three were clinched with Orange Bowl victories; the other two were accomplished with perfect records, but without playing in a bowl game. The Sooners are 11-5 in Orange Bowls.

This time, Oklahoma (12-0) goes against No. 3 Florida State (11-1) in the Orange Bowl, the Bowl Championship Series’ designated title game, on Jan. 3.

While the Sooners are back in the championship chase, Florida State seems to be in the mix every year – no matter what system college football uses.

For the fourth time in the five seasons, the Seminoles will play with the national title on the line thanks to Sunday’s final BCS standings, which rated them second behind Oklahoma but ahead of Miami (10-1), which beat Florida State 27-24 on Oct. 7.

”I feel lucky, but the thing is this formula was made before the season ever started,” Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said of the system of rating teams using polls, computers, schedule strength and losses. ”The formula spit this thing out that it was us, therefore I feel good about it.”

The matchup creates the possibility of split national champions. The AP media poll and the coaches’ poll have Oklahoma and Miami ranked 1-2. If Florida State beats Oklahoma and Miami beats Florida in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2, there’s a chance for co-champions.

The AP poll’s sports writers and broadcasters vote independently of the BCS, but the coaches’ poll crowns the Orange Bowl winner as its champion.

”If that happens, then that will be what it is,” BCS coordinator John Swofford said. ”The BCS doesn’t eliminate that possibility." We’ve known that all along. It does minimize the chances for it happening.”

Bowden understands he could share the title this season.

”It’s No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the BCS and if we were to beat Oklahoma, then I think we should be No. 1 in the nation in the BCS,” he said. ”But that probably won’t happen in the AP unless Florida beats Miami.”

Miami coach Butch Davis said his team did its best to reach the BCS title game, being played in its own backyard. Instead, the Hurricanes will renew their rivalry with Florida (10-2) in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2. The teams last played in 1987.

”Regardless of how it turned out, it can’t take anything away from our great season,” Davis said. ”We had some great games, against Florida State and then Virginia Tech. We’ve won nine in a row and did everything we think we could have.”

Stoops doesn’t have to explain how his team landed where it did.

”I’m just glad there isn’t any debate on us,” he said. ”For a month, I’m glad I certainly don’t have to defend our position.”

In the final BCS standings, Oklahoma had 3.30 points, Florida State 5.37 and Miami 5.69. The clinching category for the Seminoles was computer rankings, where the Seminoles had a 1.28-point edge over the Hurricanes.

Last year, the BCS matched unbeatens Florida State against Virginia Tech, which were ranked 1-2 in both polls, in the Sugar Bowl. The Seminoles won their second national title with a 46-29 victory.

In the 1998 season, Florida State lost to Tennessee in the Fiesta Bowl – the BCS’ first title game – and the ‘Noles were beaten by Florida in the Sugar Bowl after the ’96 season.

The rest of the bowl pairings were finalized Sunday.

In the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, it’s No. 5 Oregon State (10-1) vs. No. 10 Notre Dame (9-2), putting the schools in a BCS game for the first time, and leaving No. 6 Virginia Tech (10-1) with a Gator Bowl date against No. 16 Clemson (9-2).

”This game is big for us,” Irish coach Bob Davie said. ”Usually at the end of the season when you play a ball game, you feel like it’s a reward for your football team. I have a different feeling about this football game. I think we’re a team that’s improving.”

The Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 has been set for weeks – it’s No. 4 Washington (10-1) vs. No. 14 Purdue (8-3).

It was the Huskies who handed the Hurricanes their only loss of the season, 34-29 on Sept. 9. And coach Rick Neuheisel says if Miami has a claim on No. 1 when the bowls are finished, so does his team.

”I tend to favor those who kind of keep their mouths shut and play,” Neuheisel said. ”It’s not that I have a problem with Butch’s stance, there’s certainly an argument to be made. If they have an argument, so do we.”

Each team playing in a BCS game receives $13.5 million, but only Notre Dame, an independent, keeps all the money. The other teams split the payout with conference members.

For Oregon State, a trip to the Fiesta Bowl came a day after coach Dennis Erickson signed a four-year contract extension amid reports he was being wooed by Southern California.

”People nationally recognize who we are, know what kind of a football team we have and what kind of a program we’re developing,” Erickson said. ‘And getting in this bowl really tops it off.”

Earlier in the week, Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen threatened to pull his league out of the BCS if the Beavers were overlooked.

But Fiesta Bowl officials maintained his comments had no impact on their decision.

”We selected Oregon State because they deserved it and won it on the field of battle,” bowl president John Junker said.

The other bowl matchups:

Citrus (Jan. 1): Michigan vs. Auburn

Cotton (Jan. 1): Tennessee vs. Kansas State

Gator (Jan. 1): Virginia Tech vs. Clemson

Outback (Jan. 1): Ohio State vs. South Carolina

Independence (Dec. 31): Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State

Silicon Valley (Dec. 31): Fresno State vs. Air Force

Alamo (Dec. 30): Nebraska vs. Northwestern

Holiday (Dec. 29): Texas vs. Oregon

Liberty (Dec. 29): Colorado State vs. Louisville

Peach (Dec. 29): Georgia Tech vs. LSU

Sun (Dec. 29): UCLA vs. Wisconsin

Humanitarian (Dec. 28): Boise State vs. Texas El-Paso (Dec. 28): Iowa State vs. Pittsburgh

Micronpc (Dec. 28): Minnesota vs. North Carolina State

Music City (Dec. 28): West Virginia vs. Mississippi (Dec. 27): Texas Tech vs. East Carolina

Motor City (Dec. 27): Marshall vs. Cincinnati

Aloha (Dec. 25): Arizona State vs. Boston College

Oahu (Dec. 24): Virginia vs. Georgia

Las Vegas (Dec. 21): UNLV vs. Arkansas

Mobile Alabama (Dec. 20): TCU vs. Southern Mississippi