No. 3 Florida State will play for a national championship in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3. The opponent? Still to be decided.
The Seminoles (11-1) will face No. 1 Oklahoma (11-0) or No. 2 Miami (10-1) in the title game of the Bowl Championship Series.
An Oklahoma victory in Saturday night's Big 12 title game against No. 8 Kansas State would send the Sooners to the Orange Bowl. If they lose, Miami would play Florida State for the BCS championship. The Hurricanes beat the Seminoles 27-24 on Oct. 7.
In Monday's BCS standings, Oklahoma was still in first place after a 12-7 victory over Oklahoma State. But second-place Florida State picked up enough ground in the eight computer rankings to prevent third-place Miami from overtaking it no matter what happens in Sunday's final BCS standings.
"There's no way for Miami to make up the ground in the computers," said Jerry Palm, who operates a Web site that closely monitors the BCS standings. "Oklahoma is in with a win and Miami is in if Oklahoma loses."
For four weeks, Oklahoma, Miami and Florida State have been ranked 1-2-3 in the AP media poll and the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll, but it's the top two teams in the final BCS standings who play in the Orange Bowl.
The BCS standings are based on a formula that incorporates the two polls, eight computer rankings, schedule strength and number of losses.
Florida State coach Bobby Bowden was hesitant to celebrate early.
"Until I talk to someone from the Orange Bowl with an invitation in their hands, I won't feel like it's a sure thing," he said.
In this week's computer rankings, though, Florida State has six No. 1 votes - up from four a week ago - while Oklahoma has two No. 1s - down from four a week ago.
"Even if Oklahoma beats K-State by enough to pass Florida State in three computers where the teams are 1-2, but not by enough to pass Miami in the three computers where Oklahoma trails Miami, it's still not enough for Miami to move ahead of Florida State," Palm said.
Bowden doesn't believe Miami would be getting a bad deal if it fails to reach the Orange Bowl.
"The BCS was designed to determine who has been the best the whole season, not just one game," Bowden said. "It really comes down to who has the most valuable loss. We got a loss, Miami has a loss, Washington has a loss, Oregon State has a loss. That's where the computer and strength of schedule comes into play."
Oklahoma totaled 3.96 points this week - 1 point for poll average, 2 for computer-rank average, 0.96 for strength-of-schedule and zero for losses. Last week, the Sooners had 2.95 points.
Florida State had 5.18 points - 3 for poll average, 1.14 for computer-rank average, 0.04 for strength-of-schedule and 1 for losses. Last week, the Seminoles had 5.55 points.
Miami had 5.79 points - 2 for poll average, 2.71 for computer-rank average, 0.08 for strength-of-schedule and 1 for losses. The Hurricanes beat Boston College 52-6 on Saturday, but it was not enough to offset Florida State's gain in the computer rankings. Last week, the Miami had 6.06 points.
Should Miami fail to make it to the Orange Bowl, the Hurricanes would play in the Fiesta or Sugar bowl and create the possibility of co-national champions.
If the Seminoles barely beat the Sooners and the Hurricanes easily win their game, here's how the split can occur: The sports writers and broadcasters in The Associated Press media poll vote independently of the BCS; the coaches poll automatically crowns the Orange Bowl winner its national champ.
Also, if the polls remain the same and the Orange Bowl ends up with Oklahoma-Florida State, the coaches poll would not have its top two teams in a game where the winner becomes its national champion.
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