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Sunday, October 6
Updated: October 8, 6:21 PM ET
 
Winning is all that matters

By Brad Edwards
Special to ESPN.com

It's been a long time since we entered the second week in October without considering the Florida Gators a contender for the national title, but after a second loss this season -- the earliest they've had two losses since 1992 -- this is definitely not their year.

Many other top teams were also taken to the wire on Saturday but managed to dodge a few bullets to preserve their championship aspirations for at least another week.

Just Win, Baby!
If nothing else, the decision to eliminate margin of victory from the BCS computers has certainly simplified things. Three top-five teams -- Texas, Oklahoma and Ohio State -- all won games by lower than expected margins on Saturday, but now they don't have to feel the wrath of David Rothman's computer as a result of it.

A win is a win, which makes schedule strength the major factor influencing movement in the computer ratings. To roughly estimate how a team did in the computers on Saturday, take the record of that day's opponent and add the weekend results of its previous opponents. If that totals more losses than wins, there's a decent chance the team could slide.

For example, Georgia added a 4-1 Alabama team to its schedule and also got wins from September foes South Carolina and New Mexico State. Including Clemson's loss on Thursday, the Bulldogs added six wins and only two losses to their opponents' record over the weekend. You'll see below what this did for their overall placement in the BCS Rankings.

Luck Of The Irish
Many fans were in an uproar last week when the BCS announced it had changed its stance on the exempt status of the Kickoff Classic and will now allow that win by Notre Dame to count toward the nine the Irish need for BCS at-large eligibility. Even though the decision was justified, a whole lot of ND haters considered this to be preferential treatment for a team that could help BCS attendance and TV ratings.

The truth is that Saturday's win over Stanford rendered the announcement less significant, and a win over Pittsburgh this week will make it almost meaningless. There are two conditions for BCS at-large eligibility, and having nine wins is only one of them. The other is that a team must be ranked in the Top 12 of the final BCS Standings.

In order for the Kickoff Classic victory to matter, the Irish would have to finish the regular season at exactly 9-3. They are now 5-0, which means they would have to go 4-3 the rest of the way to get there. It is highly unlikely that a team could drop three of its last seven games and still finish in the Top 12 of the rankings. It would be almost impossible to lose three of your last six and do so.

BCS Projection
The Anderson & Hester ratings had a long holdout this week, finally posting on Tuesday afternoon, and their new numbers caused a change at the top of the projected BCS Rankings. Virginia Tech jumped Miami into the No. 1 overall spot, and Ohio State climbed over Georgia to reach No. 3.

1. Virginia Tech
2. Miami
3. Ohio State
4. Georgia
5. Notre Dame
6. Oklahoma
7. Florida State
8. Oregon
9. Texas
10. NC State

Miami's fall from the top spot can can be attributed to ratings of sixth or worse in five of the BCS computers. But don't fret, Miami fans. A win over FSU should push you right back to the top spot.

The Best Team Ever?
The current version of the Miami Hurricanes has received much less national hype than teams from the Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson eras, but some signs indicate that the program may be better now than it was back then. This week is Miami's 18th straight at the top of the AP poll, which ties for the longest streak in history at No. 1.

Most Consecutive Weeks at No. 1
AP Poll History (Since 1936)

Years Team Weeks 2001-pres. Miami 18 1972-73 USC 18 1999 Florida State 17 1983 Nebraska 15 1971-72 Nebraska 15 1944-45 Army 15

These Hurricanes may be more than just the top team in the polls and the BCS Rankings. Another eight wins in a row could define this as of the most dominant runs in college football history ... and right now, there aren't too many people betting against it.

Brad Edwards is a college football researcher for ESPN. Inside the BCS appears weekly.







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