Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Do the Math -- FSU No. 2 'Noles to Play for National Title

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Do the Math -- FSU No. 2 'Noles to Play for National Title

Article excerpt

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, born in 1929, learned math with the help of an abacus. But there is little doubt he has a growing appreciation for today's computer age.

Bowden's faith in the Bowl Championship Series poll's computer rankings will be officially rewarded on Sunday, but the Seminoles have already begun preparations for a Jan. 3 Orange Bowl appearance with a national championship on the line.

Without playing a game, and despite Miami's 46-point drubbing of Boston College on Saturday, the Seminoles strengthened their hold on the coveted No. 2 position following yesterday's release of the BCS rankings.

"That's what they're telling us," Bowden said, "but until I talk to someone from the Orange Bowl with an invitation in their hand, I won't feel like it's a sure thing."

While unbeaten Oklahoma maintained its overall No. 1 ranking, the Sooners paid dearly for their 12-7 victory over Oklahoma State. FSU picked up two more No. 1 rankings from Oklahoma and is now the nation's top-rated team in six of eight computer polls that comprise one quarter of the BCS equation. Coupled with their No. 1 strength-of-schedule rating -- which accounts for another quarter of the BCS poll -- the Seminoles pushed their lead to .61 over No. 3 Miami; up .10 from last week's margin.

Jerry Palm, a Chicago-based mathematician who has been accurately predicting the weekly BCS polls for three years on his Web site, maintains that FSU is a mathematical lock for an Orange Bowl appearance.

"There's no way for Miami to make up the ground in the computers," Palm said.

Who the Seminoles will meet in their third consecutive national championship game appearance remains a mystery. Oklahoma can lock up an Orange Bowl berth with a victory over Kansas State in Saturday's Big 12 Championship game. A loss by the Sooners would thrust the Hurricanes (10-1) into the title game, a place they feel they belong given their 27-24 win over FSU on Oct. …

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