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Chat wrap: BCS rankings spark
By Jack Arute
Special to

On Oct. 23, the initial BCS rankings were announced, and ABC's Jack Arute made an appearance in the chat room to discuss them. Arute, who predicted an Orange Bowl matchup of Nebraska and Virginia Tech, gave his feelings on the rankings, Saturday's game between Oklahoma and Nebraska, and what teams still have a chance.

If Nebraska loses to Oklahoma, what rank would they have after their loss?

Jack Arute
The loss would immediately add one point to their 3.16 total, but they would most certainly drop to at least third and more likely fourth in both the AP and ESPN polls. Add a computer drop as well and you would most likely see them show up no better than fourth in next week's BCS standings.

Why did Kansas State not get a higher ranking?

Jack Arute
The Oklahoma loss hurt the Wildcats, but their schedule strength is the third worst of the top 15 BCS schools. Strength of schedule is a very important factor in the BCS.

Does Florida State have a chance to get into the No. 2 spot?

Jack Arute
Yes. Nebraska would have to beat Oklahoma Saturday (or vice versa) and the loser would have to win in a Big XII Championship rematch. Miami would have to beat Va. Tech, and then maybe Florida State could find themselves No. 2.

Husker Dawn
Everyone says the 'Huskers "haven't played anyone yet." If strength of schedule is so important, how is it that they are No.1 then?

Jack Arute
Schedule strength ranks teams to other Division I-A teams they have played, then divided by 25. The records of teams' opponents and teams' opponents' opponents come into the equation. Based on that, Nebraska's current strength of schedule is the 26th toughest in Division I-A. Oklahoma's strength of schedule is 18th. The difference for Nebraska, however, is the current No. 1 ranking in both polls and an average of 1.57 in the computer rankings.

Is a Nebraska-Miami matchup in the Orange Bowl a good possibility?

Jack Arute
Yes, but Nebraska would have to do it the hard way. It would require two straight wins over Oklahoma (providing the Sooners go to the Big XII Championship). I definitely like Miami's prospects (see this week's column).

How did Purdue rank ahead of Notre Dame when the Irish beat Purdue and almost took Nebraska in OT?

Jack Arute
Good question, but Irish fans not fear. Remember, if Notre Dame ends up 9-2, they are guaranteed an at-large BCS bid.

John Kimbrough
How is Florida No. 6 after its loss to Mississippi State? Also, if schedule difficulty is a major factor then how is TCU ranked No. 13?

Jack Arute
It all comes down to strength of schedule. No. 7 Clemson's computer average is one full point less than that of Florida, and the Tigers' strength of schedule is 97th. The only team in the Top 10 with a worse strength of schedule is TCU at 109. Florida's strength of schedule is the 21st toughest.

Don't forget. The strength of schedule calculations will change week by week, and one-third of the component is dictated by opponents' opponents. Confused yet?

Aaron Bogacik
How did the Hokies strength of schedule end up so high? I have always heard they play weak teams.

Jack Arute
Again, the factor that helps the Hokies is their opponent's opponents. The Hokies have the 13th toughest schedule in the country. Miami, by the way, has the toughest schedule in the BCS top 15 -- third in the country -- based upon the strength of schedule component.

I suggest that those of you that want a better feel for how this week's BCS broke out, link over to the full rankings chart.

If Virginia Tech beats Miami, should I book my plane tickets for the Orange Bowl?

Jack Arute
I would. In fact, with both my daughter and son-in-law being Hokie grads, I might see you there.

If K-state wins out and also wins the Big XII Championship Game, what bowl do you think they will go to?

Jack Arute
It would take a minor miracle for K-State to reach the Orange Bowl. If that scenario plays out, I do not believe K-State can leapfrog ahead of teams like Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech -- or whoever wins the Miami-Va. Tech game.

The Big XII champion would, however, go to the Fiesta Bowl.

Jack Maniscalco
What are the chances of a Florida State-Miami rematch for the national championship?

Jack Arute
It's possible, and slightly probable. But so is a World Series championship for the Mets.

Georgia came in at 12th in the BCS rankings. How far back is too far back to make it to the Orange Bowl? Should 'Dawg fans pull for the Sugar Bowl as our best hope?

Jack Arute
Before you can think Sugar, you have to think SEC championship. You better think this weekend too (Florida).

Jesse Horner
Why is Oregon ranked below teams that they are most likely better than, and what is the Ducks' strength of schedule like?

Jack Arute
The Ducks have a decent SOS of 15. Their problem is the long climb they have had to make through the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls.

Willie Gilbert
Do you think that Florida could get a BCS bid?

Jack Arute
Yes. If they win the SEC championship, they would go to New Orleans and most likely play a BCS at-large team.

I don't see an Orange in their future, just Nokia Sugar.

The bottom line is that there are four teams that now control their own destiny: Nebraska, Oklahoma, Va. Tech and Clemson. Do you see any of these teams running the table?

Jack Arute
Virginia Tech has the best possibility, but Miami looms large just 12 days away.

It looks like this Saturday's Nebraska-Oklahoma game is going to be 1970-1971 all over again . What do you think?

Jack Arute
Absolutely. It's a classic old-time Big Eight slugfest.

Here's a hint: The team that wins this weekend, loses in the Big XII Championship Game.

Do you believe TCU might get an invitation to a BCS bowl if they look convincing?

Jack Arute
TCU's only shot is a BCS at-large berth. To gain a guaranteed BCS berth, they must somehow jump from their current 13th BCS spot to sixth or better. In my opinion, that is a very tough situation. Can you say Tulane?

Suppose Ohio State wins out against Purdue, Michigan State, Illinois, and Michigan. Would it then be conceivable for them to edge out another 1-loss team like Florida State or Miami?

Jack Arute
It's possible, but more than likely, they would face Oregon in a classic Pac-10/Big Ten Rose Bowl.

Your screeners have done a great job avoiding my questions and comments.

Jack Arute
We're not screening at all. It's just that more than 1,000 questions have been submitted.

Who do you think will play for the national title?

Jack Arute
Well, I know it won't be Alabama-Texas as ABC's Ed Cunningham predicted before the season. I really like Oklahoma, but wouldn't be surprised if Nebraska makes one of its many trips to the Orange Bowl (this time, like so many others, playing for the national championship). While I do think Miami is on a roll, I have to stick with my Hokies or I won't get any Christmas presents from my daughter's family.

All in all, this should be the most exciting road to No. 1 that we have enjoyed in recent history. It all starts Saturday when the current 1-2 BCS teams face off in Oklahoma, and will continue the following week when Va. Tech invades the "real" Orange Bowl to play Miami. Let's not forget the classic Florida-Florida State showdown and the instant classic Clemson-Florida State Bowden Bowl. These are just a few of the great matchups that remain. The potential for changes in the BCS standings between now and their final publication on Dec. 3 are great.

My thanks to all of you. I am sorry we could only answer a few of the more than 1,300 questions submitted. It just goes to show you that college football is living large. Take that Dennis Miller to the Tigris and Euphrates.

BCS rankings set up meeting between No. 1 and 2

Chat wrap: It's tough to bet against Nebraska

Arute: Black day in Blacksburg

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

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