‘Canes No. 2 in first BCS

The historically not so Miami Hurricane friendly Bowl Championship Series standings were released on Monday, and the ‘Canes see themselves ranked No 2. This marks the third consecutive season in which Miami appears to have been given the shaft, at least in the initial standings.

Miami, ranked No. 1 by both the Associated Press and the ESPN/USA Today coaches’ polls since the preseason, is ranked second with 6.41 points. Oklahoma heads the first BCS standings of the season for the second consecutive year with 3.92 points, while the surprising Fighting Irish of Notre Dame are right behind the ‘Canes in third place with 7.07 points.

“If we take care of our own business and win, things will work out,” said Miami head coach Larry Coker. “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.”

Big East foe Virginia Tech is ranked fourth with 8.63 points, followed in the top ten by Georgia, Ohio State, Washington State, Michigan, LSU and Texas.

The BCS rankings are a point system based on a formula that incorporates the combined rank of the AP and coaches’ polls, an average of seven computer rankings, strength of schedule rating, won-loss record and a bonus-point system. New this year is the elimination of margin of victory from the computer raking process. Teams are arranged in order from lowest to highest points.

The bonus award is based on a sliding scale from 1.0 points for beating a first place team to a .1 for a win over the 10th place-team.

“There’s still a long way to go,” new BCS coordinator Michael Tranghese told the AP. “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.”

Miami’s strength of schedule as of now is rated 27th. The best ranking Miami had in the computer rakings was one second-place ranking in the Richard Billingsley poll. However, ‘Canes fans should not worry, as the Miami schedule strength will improve with upcoming games against Tennessee and Virginia Tech.

“It really doesn’t matter at this time of the year and it’s something you don’t take to heart,” said Miami offensive lineman Sherko Haji-Rasouli. “The system has the two best teams playing for the national championship.”

Notre Dame, No. 6 in the AP poll, has the No. 1 ranked schedule and seemed to be the favorite of many of the computer rankings, receiving a computer raking average of 1.33. However, the Irish don’t have a walk in the park left on their schedule either, facing FSU (No. 12 in the BCS) tomorrow and ending the season at USC, a team that is extremely underrated.

Oklahoma stands atop the initial BCS poll for the second straight year. The Sooners have the 13th ranked schedule and that ranking will not improve mightily as the Oklahoma’s only tough remaining games are against No. 20 Colorado and at unranked Texas A&M and Oklahoma St.

A problem may arise if Oklahoma, Miami, and Notre Dame all finish undefeated. If Notre Dame finishes the season without a loss, then they would probably finish atop the BCS. Then if Miami and Oklahoma are also both undefeated, then they would be in an ever so close battle for the No. 2 standing. This would put the BCS under scrutiny for the third consecutive season.

Last season, Miami was ranked No. 4 in the first BCS standings, despite being ranked No. 1 in both the AP and ESPN polls. Despite the early shaft, the three teams ahead of Miami wound up losing and the ‘Canes finished the regular season atop the BCS.

However, the BCS was criticized when Nebraska got the nod to play Miami in the National Championship. Nebraska lost their final regular season game to Colorado, 62-36, and didn’t earn a chance to play in the Big 12 title game. The Cornhuskers still finished ahead of once-beaten Oregon and twice-beaten Colorado in the BCS.

Two season’s ago, Miami was robbed by the BCS, as the ‘Canes finished third in the BCS rankings behind Florida State and Oklahoma. Both the Seminoles and ‘Canes had one loss – FSU’s loss was to Miami.

In short, the BCS is a perfect system only if the season ends with two undefeated teams, or if only a single team finishes with one loss. This is yet to happen under the BCS format, and the public outcry for a college football playoff system will continue.

You can reach Brian Poliakoff at b.poliakoff@umiami.edu.