- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 18, 2001

Florida's loss to Auburn last week put the "C" back in BCS.
Thanks to the Gators' shocking stumble on the Plains on Saturday, the Bowl Championship Series is back on track to provide us with a relatively controversy-free national title game. Assuming no major upsets this weekend, the BCS will give us the following Rose Bowl contenders when its first set of standings is released Monday: (1) Oklahoma, (2) UCLA, (3) Oregon, (4) Nebraska, (5) Virginia Tech, (6) Miami and (7) Fresno State.
Just a cursory look at those projected standings should spark the following realizations:
First, three remaining regular-season games match two of the top six teams in the rankings. In a nicely staggered fashion over the next six weeks, Oklahoma travels to Nebraska (Oct. 27), Oregon faces UCLA in Pasadena (Nov. 10) and Miami meets Virginia Tech in Blacksburg (Dec. 1).
Common sense tells you that those three games will eliminate three teams from the Rose Bowl jackpot. That being the case, Fresno State should move into the top six in the standings (thereby earning an automatic berth in a BCS bowl) if the Bulldogs (6-0) can manage to dispatch the remaining chaff on their schedule: Boise State, Hawaii, Rice, SMU, Nevada and San Jose State.
The other fact that jumps out from this first set of standings is that the team ranked No. 1 in both major polls (Miami) wouldn't be anywhere near the smog-shrouded San Bernadino Mountains if the Rose Bowl were played next weekend.
"Our biggest opponent now is the computer," said Miami running back Najeh Davenport after the 'Canes (5-0) pasted Florida State 49-27 last week.
Well, not exactly. Miami has dropped three straight to the Hokies (6-0) at Lane Stadium, which tends to turn into chillblain stadium in December. And nobody has ever accused the 'Canes of being a cold-weather juggernaut.
But Davenport's assessment is still somewhat relevant in that Miami definitely will be the odd team out if both the Oklahoma-Nebraska and UCLA-Oregon winners run the table. It would be a sadistic twist of fate if an undefeated Miami team was shut out of the Rose Bowl a year after the computers jobbed the 'Canes out of a date with Oklahoma in favor of a Florida State team Miami beat. But that's the risk you run when Troy State, Rutgers and Temple appear on your schedule.
In fact, it's extremely unlikely that three major conference teams will wind up undefeated. Oklahoma would have to beat Nebraska twice, once in Lincoln and then again in the Big 12 title game (Dec. 1), as well as Texas A&M.; Nebraska (7-0) faces the same doubleheader, plus games against Kansas State and at No. 14 Colorado (Nov. 23). Aside from its matchup with Oregon, UCLA (5-0) still has treacherous road dates left against Stanford, Washington State and Southern Cal. And even if the Ducks (6-0) survive their tussle with the Bruins, their schedule is also littered with other possible pitfalls: Stanford, at Washington State and Oregon State.
Our midseason Rose Bowl pick: Virginia Tech is the only top-six team to slip through unscathed, and the Hokies meet once-beaten Florida in Pasadena while undefeated squads from Fresno State and BYU cry foul. Oh, well, maybe the BCS is still destined to disappoint.

Wildcats
No, that isn't Goldie Hawn on the Arizona sidelines, it's journeyman coach John Mackovic. After being dismissed by Texas four years ago to make way for the Mack Brown regime, Coach Mac was supposed to make like the Phoenix in Tucson. Instead, his desert sham defense has given up an average of 49.7 points en route to an 0-3 start in the Pac-10.

Paean to college ball
This week's top five reasons why college football is far more entertaining than the NFL:
(1) Unranked Auburn, which was blown out earlier this season by a pedestrian Syracuse bunch, upsets No. 1 Florida.
(2) Clemson army of one Woody Dantzler racks up 517 yards of total offense and six touchdowns against N.C. State. Michael Vick was electric, but Dantzler is on pace to become the first player in Division I-A history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in the same season.
(3) UCLA's DeShaun Foster rushes for a school-record 301 yards and four touchdowns against Washington, furthering his quest to become the first Pac-10 player since Marcus Allen to win the Heisman Trophy (1981).
(4) Scoffing at near-certain defeat, Fresno State senior quarterback David Carr and the Bulldogs take possession of the ball at their own 20-yard line trailing Colorado State 22-19 with just 27 seconds remaining in regulation. Carr completes three straight passes, driving the Bulldogs 49 yards in 24 seconds to set up a game-tying 48-yard field goal by Asen Asparuhov. The No. 8 Bulldogs (6-0) keep their miracle run alive by winning 25-22 in overtime.
(5) Marty Schottenheimer does not coach college football; Ralph Friedgen does.

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