Bowls 2001-02
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Thursday, January 3
Updated: January 4, 4:04 AM ET
Coaches, writers make it unanimous for Miami news services

NEW YORK -- So much for split champions. Miami made it all moot.

The Hurricanes won their fifth national title and first in 10 years unanimously, receiving all 72 first-place votes in the final Associated Press poll. The winner of the BCS championship game is automatically crowned champion in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll.

Miami (12-0) finished the season as the nation's only major unbeaten team with a 37-14 victory over Nebraska in the Rose Bowl on Thursday night.

In the final, post-bowl AP poll, the No. 1 votes from the sports writers and broadcasters gave the Hurricanes 1,800 points.

"It's an unbelievable honor," Miami coach Larry Coker said. "It's tremendously gratifying to be around such great players, to be able to coach kids at such a high level."

Coker joined Michigan's Bennie Oosterbaan (1948) as the only first-year head coaches to win a national title.

A Nebraska win in the Rose Bowl might have created the fourth split title since 1990. The Cornhuskers would have been crowned the champion of the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll, but Oregon would have had a shot at being the AP winner, which is selected independently.

"I just would have liked to have a shot," Ducks quarterback Joey Harrington said.

The Ducks, who beat Colorado 38-16 in the Fiesta Bowl, finished No. 2 in both polls -- their highest ranking ever. In both polls, Florida was third, followed by Tennessee and Texas.

In the AP poll, Nebraska fell from No. 4 to No. 8, behind Oklahoma and LSU. Colorado and Washington State rounded out the Top 10.

The coaches ranked Oklahoma, Nebraska, LSU, Colorado and Maryland sixth through 10th.

Coker took over for Butch Davis after the Hurricanes finished No. 2 last season. The Hurricanes started the season ranked No. 2 and moved into the No. 1 spot for good on Oct. 6 when Florida lost to Auburn.

The title completes Miami's return to prominence. The Hurricanes finished with a 5-6 record as recently as 1997, but Davis rebuilt the team before leaving to coach the Cleveland Browns.

Coker took over and moved Miami into fourth place for the most AP championships ever, trailing only Alabama (six), Oklahoma (seven) and Notre Dame (eight). The Hurricanes also won titles in 1983, '87, '89 and '91.

Maryland, which lost the Orange Bowl 56-23 to Florida, finished 11th in AP voting, followed by Illinois, South Carolina, Syracuse and Florida State.

The Seminoles' streak of 14 straight Top Five seasons ended with their lowest finish since being unranked in the final poll in 1986.

Stanford, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Washington, Michigan, Boston College, Georgia, Toledo, Georgia Tech and BYU were the final 10 teams.

Boston College and Georgia Tech moved into the final poll after bowl wins, while Ohio State and Fresno State dropped out after bowl losses.

The Southeastern Conference led the way with five teams in the Top 25, while the Big East, Pac-10 and Big 12 all had four.

In the coaches' poll, Washington State was 11th, followed by Illinois, South Carolina, Syracuse and Florida State.

Rounding out the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 were Louisville, Stanford, Virginia Tech, Washington, Michigan, Marshall, Toledo, Boston College, Brigham Young and Georgia.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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