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Hokies prepare for Hurricane force winds
By Brent Musburger
Special to

Each Tuesday throughout the season, ABC's Brent Musburger will provide his five things to watch for the coming weekend.

Regardless of what happens Saturday against Virginia Tech, Miami has suffered a huge setback this week. The second BCS rankings placed Florida State ahead of the Hurricanes, and by a wide margin.

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It boils down to this: If both Florida State and Miami win out, the only way the Hurricanes can advance to the Championship Game would be for Oklahoma to lose. Stick with me on this -- OU has a tricky road ahead. A week from Saturday, Oklahoma visits College Station to play an improved Texas A&M team, but perhaps even tougher for the Sooners will be the Big XII Championship Game, on the night of Dec. 2 in Kansas City. Folks, I'm betting that the weather there favors the Northern Division winner.

But back to Miami and Florida State. It doesn't seem likely to me that Va. Tech can hold up against Miami Saturday if Michael Vick is anything less than 100 percent, and that doesn't seem likely, because he was seen wearing an aircast after his injury last weekend.

So a Miami fan would say to me, "Wait a minute, we've just knocked off Va. Tech. Shouldn't we be No. 2?" To that I say, "Not so fast." The 'Noles play Clemson Saturday, and even though Va. Tech's strength-of-schedule is tougher than Florida State's, FSU won't lose that much in the rankings.

The next question from a Hurricane fan would be, "How in the world we can be ranked behind Florida State after we beat them?" And that's a very good question. The coaches and the writers both have the 'Canes ahead of the 'Noles, but not one of the eight computers measured in the BCS rankings show Miami ahead of Florida State. What these computers know that we mortals do not is beyond me.

That's just the way it is. And that's the way it's likely to stay, because one of the computers, the Dunkel Index, says the 'Noles are the best team in the country. So to all the Dunkels of the world, Wide Right obviously doesn't count.

It appears to me that the 'Noles are headed for their third straight championship game.

1. Virginia Tech at Miami
This game revolves solely around Vick's physical condition. He's a splendid athlete, but anything less than full strength will make him an easy target for the speed of Miami's defense. Playing poorly last Saturday and being downgraded by the BCS computers will have Butch Davis' team in a foul mood.

Frank Beamer is one of the best coaches in the country, but the Hokies are in real deep Saturday.

2. Clemson at Florida State
The Tigers were caught looking ahead last week and were knocked off their perch by Georgia Tech. Do children beat up on their Hall of Fame fathers? I don't think so. Tommy Bowden came real close last year, and I still feel that Chris Weinke is the most underrated quarterback in the country this year.

Did somebody put an age limitation on the Heisman Trophy? How come I don't see Mr. Weinke's name up there in the lights with Vick, Drew Brees and Josh Heupel? Folks, this is age discrimination. Just because Weinke belongs to AARP doesn't make him ineligible for the hardware.

Zak Kustok and Northwestern are still in the Big Ten hunt.

3. Michigan at Northwestern
The Wolverines had a week off to prepare for the most dangerous fourth down offense in college football. That's right, fourth down. The Wildcats struck for four fourth-down touchdowns against Minnesota in their unbelievable comeback last Saturday.

It's like coach Randy Walker said, "The guy who invented the game gave us four downs, so why not use them?" But here's an alert for the Wildcat defense: you had trouble with Drew Brees, and you may have just as much trouble with Drew Henson to David Terrell.

This game has Rose Bowl implications, but Purdue is clearly in the driver's seat -- with wins over Michigan State and Indiana, the Boilermakers earn the invite to Pasadena.

4. Pac-10
The best game is Arizona at Washington, but the Huskies still trail Oregon in the BCS rankings and the Ducks have a layup at Washington State. The third team in the battle for the Rose Bowl out West, Oregon State, figures to handle Cal. The Huskies need a win in Seattle plus an Oregon loss somewhere along the line.

By the way, one of the BCS computers ranks the Huskies No. 3, ahead of all three teams from Florida. Which computer, you ask? The Seattle Times. I didn't know that computers could also be homers. Or maybe it's Marques Tuiasosopo operating the keyboard.

That same computer lists Oregon sixth. Simply baffling.

5. Oklahoma at Baylor
Any chance for an upset? Any chance for a letdown? Any chance for No. 1 to be knocked off?

The answers to all of the above: No, no, and no way.

Have a great weekend. Don't forget to vote next Tuesday, and drive safely. Adios.

Brent Musburger a regular contributor to

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