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Hokies headed for the big storm
By Jack Arute
Special to

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Virginia Tech received some good news and some very bad news this week when the latest BCS rankings were released Monday afternoon. The good news is that the Hokies retained their second place ranking. The bad news is that Miami dropped from third to fifth. It's bad enough that the Hokies must go to the Orange Bowl with a gimpy Michael Vick, but now the Hurricanes will take out their BCS frustrations on the boys from Blacksburg.

James Jackson
James Jackson leads Miami with 599 rushing yards and 7 TDs.
Extrapolating the factors that comprise the BCS identify the biggest problem for Miami. It's once again that culprit called computer strength. The computers are not impressed with the Hurricanes' performances. Eight computers make up the BCS computer average, and you drop the lowest ranking and average the rest. That means that Miami dropped its Scripps-Howard No. 9 ranking, but still had to deal with a No. 8 Seattle Times ranking and a No. 7 Kenneth Massey ranking. After all is said and done, Miami is more than three points behind Florida State, 2.57 behind Nebraska, and more than one worse than Va. Tech in the computer rankings.

Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the Sunshine State, Bobby Bowden and his Seminoles are right where they want to be. You can rest assured they will be watching the Virginia Tech-Miami contest closely this Saturday. They are less than eight-tenths of a point behind Virginia Tech. A loss by the Hokies would most certainly leapfrog the Seminoles to No. 2. But more importantly, a close game won by Va. Tech could negatively affect the Hokies' rankings. At present, Va. Tech's computer average is a solid 2.14 points worse than FSU.

No. 1 Oklahoma, on the other hand, deserves a week of celebrating. The Sooners literally swept the computers and the polls, and while Baylor will be an easy game, they still have two tough games (one for sure and one likely).

Arguments can be made that Texas A&M's victory over Kansas State is simply another chapter in the Wildcats' history of tanking after losing an emotional contest. It is more likely, however, that R.C. Slocum's Aggie squad is peaking at just the right time. The advantage still belongs to the Sooners. Any team that beats No. 2 one week and No. 1 two weeks later has my attention.

But Dec. 2 is the Sooners' biggest test. If Nebraska is their opponent at Arrowhead Stadium in the Big XII Championship Game, the Sooners will have to win again, and history shows that beating an opponent twice in the same year is the toughest task in football. Far be it for me to even hint that the boys from Norman can't score the double. They are this year's Cinderella story, and the clock is nowhere near midnight.

No. 6 Florida should start peeking at FSU tape if the Gators have their sights even slightly focused on a trip to Miami.

This week's TCU report: The Horned Frogs entered the BCS Top 10 at No. 9. Six is their magic number. A BCS berth and the millions that go with it certainly looms on the horizon, but at a shot at the national title is out of the question.

No. 14 Notre Dame (6-2) must run the table, and if the Irish do, they would most likely end up in Tempe enjoying some Tostitos. No. 12 Michigan has all but seen its Rose Bowl hopes evaporate, but the Wolverines' BCS strength leaves them in the mix for a BCS bowl.

All in all, this could be the most exciting and unpredictable college football season in the last 10 years.

Jack Arute writes a column every Monday for  

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Arute chat wrap: Penn State's woes

Arute: Pasadena demons

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Arute: Va. Tech's worries

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