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Monday, October 21
Updated: October 23, 2:40 PM ET
Despite leading both polls, Miami is No. 2

Associated Press

Miami is No. 1 just about everywhere but where it counts most -- in the Bowl Championship Series standings.

The Hurricanes, No. 1 since the preseason in The Associated Press media and coaches' polls, were second behind Oklahoma in the first BCS standings released Monday. And look who's third -- Notre Dame!

Thanks to friendly computer ratings and a schedule rated toughest in the nation, the Fighting Irish are in position to make a run at the national championship.

The BCS standings are used to determine which teams play in a national title game. The teams that finish 1-2 in the final BCS standings on Dec. 8 will play for the title in Tempe, Ariz., at the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3.

"If we take care of our own business and win, things will work out,'' Miami coach Larry Coker said. "The system is designed to have the top two teams meet at the end of the year, and I am confident that will be the case.''

Notre Dame may be No. 6 in the AP poll, but the Fighting Irish were ranked first by four of the seven computers used by the BCS. Only the top six rankings are used in the BCS calculations.

The best the Hurricanes could do in the computers was one second-place ranking. Miami's strength of schedule was rated 27th, but it will get stronger with upcoming games against Tennessee and Virginia Tech.

The Hokies were fourth, followed by Georgia, Ohio State, Washington State, Michigan, LSU and Texas. The first six teams are undefeated.

Notre Dame visits Florida State -- 12th in standings -- on Saturday.

"All of our focus right now is on the Florida State game this week,'' Notre Dame coach Tyrone Willingham said. "However, it's certainly better to be ranked than not ranked.''

The BCS formula uses the AP media and coaches' polls, the computer polls, strength of schedule, won-loss record and a bonus-point system. New this year is the elimination of margin of victory from the computer ranking process.

"There's still a long way to go,'' new BCS coordinator Michael Tranghese said. "The strength-of-schedule component will come into play, and so will the bonus points. The biggest surprise is there are still so many undefeated teams at this stage, halfway through the season.''

For the second straight year, Oklahoma starts out in first place. The Sooners, 6-0 after a 49-3 win over Iowa State, had 3.92 points -- 2 for poll average, 1.50 for computer-rank average, 0.52 for strength-of-schedule, zero for losses and a one-tenth of a point bonus deduction for a victory over Texas.

Miami had 6.41 points -- 1 for poll average, 4.33 for computer average, 1.08 for strength of schedule, zero for losses and no bonus-point deduction.

Notre Dame had 7.07 points -- 6 for poll average, 1.33 for computer average, 0.04 for strength of schedule and three-tenths of a point bonus deduction for a win over Michigan.

Virginia Tech was at 8.63, Georgia at 8.69 and Ohio State at 8.89.

The bonus award is based on a sliding scale from 1.0 points for beating a first-place team down to .1 for a win over the 10th-place team. Last year, the sliding scale started at 1.5 points.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops says the standings don't matter -- yet.

"It's too early right now for us to care one way or the other,'' Stoops said. "What we do care about is winning. We're going to keep our focus and total concentration on winning the Big 12 South first.''

The BCS standings will be released each Monday throughout the season.

The BCS was started four years ago to create a national title game without playoffs.

Champions of six conferences -- the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC -- qualify for a BCS game, and two at-large teams are selected to fill out the field. Notre Dame, an independent, automatically qualifies for a BCS game with nine wins and a top-six finish in the final standings.

Last year, the BCS system was sharply criticized when Nebraska was chosen to play first-place and unbeaten Miami. The Cornhuskers lost their last game of the regular season to Colorado, 62-36, and didn't even earn a chance to play in the Big 12 title game. With one big loss, Nebraska finished second ahead of once-beaten Oregon and twice-beaten Colorado.

The seven computer polls are operated by Anderson & Hester, Richard Billingsley, Colley Matrix, Kenneth Massey, The New York Times, Jeff Sagarin's USA Today, and Peter Wolfe.

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