ESPN Network: | |  ABCSports |  EXPN |  INSIDER  |  FANTASY

Black day in Blacksburg
By Jack Arute
Special to

Comment to Jack Arute.

It should be no surprise that Nebraska sits atop the BCS standings in the first Y2K edition, but if you live in Blacksburg, Va., there is some surprise with that Oklahoma leapfrogged the Hokies into second.

David Tyree
Va. Tech punter Robert Peaslee had a punt blocked by Syracuse. The Hokies got the boot in the initial BCS rankings.
The difference, my friends, can be traced to the eight different computers that account for the Hokies' computer average of 4.14. These electronic marvels are just not impressed with Michael Vick and Co. Maybe they tapped in to watch the Hokies' come-from-behind win over Syracuse. The only computer still posting Virginia Tech as one of the top two teams is the New York Times poll, while others dropped the Hokies after their upstate New York dome performance.

Oklahoma didn't play, but will certainly have to this weekend as the Sooners face No. 1 Nebraska. Let's call it a national championship prelude. It will showcase the two "if the season ended today they would play in the Orange Bowl" teams. It also presents a fascinating contrast of quarterbacks between the 'Huskers' Eric Crouch and the Sooners' Josh Heupel. I'm sure the pages on this site will be filled with analysis of that game, so let's get back to the BCS and the trends that I see in this first go-round.

The one team that stands out is Miami. The Hurricanes' schedule rank is the toughest of the current Top 10, yet their computer average is identical to the Hokies. The difference maker is Miami's loss to Washington. Without the slip-up in Seattle, Miami would be one point better, and the 'Canes' current poll average would also be higher. In a sense, Miami controls its own destiny. Ditto for Virginia Tech. These two will meet in two weeks under similar circumstances of this week's Nebraska-Oklahoma game.

The biggest surprise in this first BCS poll: Clemson. Strength of schedule just kills the Tigers. Both Florida State and Florida have strengths-of-schedule almost three times tougher.

If there is one team with a bullet and on the rise, it's the Oregon Ducks. Are they strong enough to break into the upper echelon? Probably not. But a trip to the Rose Bowl is not a bad parting gift.

Kansas State must circle its upcoming game with Nebraska if the Wildcats have any aspirations of moving up in the BCS. Let's face it, all the BCS does is determine No. 1 and No. 2 and a trip to the Orange Bowl. The conference affiliations for the Fiesta, Sugar and Rose Bowl put the emphasis solely on 1 vs. 2 for the BCS.

The missing link in this first BCS posting -- can you say Notre Dame? Should the Irish go 9-2, they are already automatically issued an at-large bid and a trip to one of the big four bowls.

So stay tuned folks. A lot will happen between now and December and the final BCS posting.

Jack Arute writes a column every Monday for  

Comment to Jack Arute:

Your Name:

Your e-mail address:

City and state/province:

Your comments on Jack's column:


Weekend wrap-up

Chat wrap: It's tough to bet against Nebraska

Arute: Coaches give Sooners the slip

Arute: Don't count Florida State out yet

Arute: Strength-of-schedule is getting more and more important

Arute: Big Ten troubles

Arute chat wrap: Penn State's woes

Arute: Pasadena demons

Arute: Room for upsets

Arute: Scanning the Net

Arute: Va. Tech's worries

Arute: No reason for preseason polls

 Purdue's Ashante Woodyard takes a blocked field goal 27 yards for the winning touchdown in OT.
avi: 2144 k
RealVideo: 56.6 | ISDN | T1

 Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick's 55-yard touchdown dashes Syracuse's hopes for an upset.
avi: 1060 k
RealVideo: 56.6 | ISDN | T1

 Maurice Jackson's 54 yard juggling act sets up Syracuse's first touchdown of the game.
avi: 1200 k
RealVideo: 56.6 | ISDN | T1

 Santana Moss races 71 yards on a punt return for a touchdown.
avi: 1521 k
RealVideo: 56.6 | ISDN | T1

 Santana Moss hauls a Ken Dorsey pass and reaches the end zone 67 yards later.
avi: 1045 k
RealVideo: 56.6 | ISDN | T1

 FSU's Marvin Minnis lays out to haul in a 30-yard TD pass from Chris Weinke.
avi: 1276 k
RealVideo: 56.6 | ISDN | T1