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Tennessee Rules New BCS Poll

After sharing the top spot in the coaches poll and taking the No. 1 position in the Associated Press poll, Tennessee staked its claim Monday to the top of the Bowl Championship Series in the latest rankings of college football's elite.

The Volunteers (8-0) took advantage of Ohio State's stunning loss to Michigan State to become the new No. 1 in the BCS. With an overall total of 3.92, Tennessee is almost two full points lower than UCLA (8-0), which climbed to second with 5.73 points.

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  • The Buckeyes (8-1), who fell to seventh in both polls after their loss to the Spartans, are eighth in the BCS with 18.75 points. Kansas State (9-0), which shares the top spot in the coaches poll with the Volunteers, is third with 6.99 points.

    There is a falloff of almost three points to fourth-ranked Florida State (9-1), which is one-tenth of a point better than Florida (8-1). The two schools collide in Tallahassee on Nov. 21.

    After the Gators, there is another enormous gap -- this one more than six points -- to Texas A&M (9-1), which has 16 points. Arkansas (8-0), which can thrust itself into the BCS picture with a victory against Tennessee this weekend, is seventh with 18.60 points. After Ohio State, Wisconsin (9-0) is ninth with 20.23 points. Arizona (9-1) rounds out the Top 10, less than four-tenths of a point behind the Badgers.

    The second 10 starts with Nebraska (8-2), followed by Notre Dame (7-1), Missouri (7-2), Oregon (7-2) and Texas (8-2) in slots 11-15, respectively. ulane (8-0) is the lowest of the unbeaten teams at 16, followed by Georgia (6-2), Penn State (6-2) and Michigan (7-2) in spots 16-19, respectively.

    The BCS extended itself to No. 20 for Virginia Tech (7-1), the top-ranked team from the Big East Conference.

    If these were the final BCS ratings, the Volunteers would play UCLA for the national championship in the Fiesta Bowl, though the crown would be disputed. Kansas State, with the toughest schedule according to the Sagarin Rankings and a share of the No. 1 spot in the coaches poll, also could lay claim to the title.

    The BCS weighs the old-fashioned subjective polls of the media and coaches and the ratings of the three respective computers, in addition to win-loss records and an index to determine strength of schedule.

    The BCS bowls -- formerly the Bowl Alliance or Super Alliance games -- each will continue to have its respective conference ties. When applicable, the Rose Bowl will get the Pac-10 and Big Ten winners. The Orange Bowl deals with the Atlantic Coast Conference and Big East and the Sugar with the Southeastern Conference.

    The poll component is determined on the simple average ranking between the coaches poll and the Associated Press media poll. The average ranking is the number of points awarded in the BCS.

    The computer rankings will be averaged to make the second component of the formula, though there is a built-in safety net should a team be ranked considerably lower by one of the machines.

    To reach the adjusted number, the average of the two highest rankings is determined first. Then 50 percent of that number is taken and added to the average of the two highest, creating a new, third number. The average of the top two computer numbers and the new third number are averaged to create the value taken into account in the BCS formula.

    Strength of schedule takes into account the win-loss record of a school's opponents and the marks of the opposition's opponents at the end of the season. The opponents' records are two-thirds of the BCS mark and the opposition's opponents comprise the other third.

    When the national strength of schedule placing is determined, it is divided by 25 to give the BCS point total, which favors low numbers.

    The final component is win-loss record, where a loss results in the addition of a BCS standings point.

    All four of the individual component numbers are added together to come up with the final BCS standings number. The team with the lowest number in the BCS index is the top team.

    © 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved

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