Miami clinches spot in title game

Saturday, December 1st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Miami will get a chance to play for a national championship, while Tennessee knocked Florida out of the title chase.

No. 1 Miami beat No. 14 Virginia Tech 26-24 on Saturday to complete an 11-0 regular season and remove any possibility that it will drop out the top spot in the Bowl Championship Series.

In the locker room after the game, two Rose Bowl officials extended an invitation to Miami to play in Pasadena on Jan. 3.

Miami's opponent will be decided when the final BCS standings are released Dec. 9. The ratings use a formula that incorporates the AP media and coaches' polls, eight computers, strength of schedule, won-lost record and bonus points for big wins.

By completing the sixth undefeated regular season in school history, the Hurricanes get to play for the their fifth national title. Miami will be making its first appearance in the Rose Bowl, which will feature a non Big Ten-Pacific-10 matchup for the first time since 1946.

No. 2 Florida (9-2) fell out of the title picture with a 34-32 home loss to No. 5 Tennessee (10-1). The Gators could end up with an at-large BCS berth _ either in the Orange or Sugar Bowl.

Tennessee advanced to next week's Southeastern Conference title game against either No. 22 LSU or No. 25 Auburn, and has a chance to play Miami in Pasadena.

No. 3 Texas played No. 9 Colorado for the Big 12 title Saturday night and needed a win to stay in the title chase.

No. 4 Oregon beat Oregon State 17-14 to remain in contention for the Rose Bowl, but needed both Texas and Tennessee to lose. Otherwise, the Pac-10 champion Ducks (10-1) will play in the Fiesta Bowl.

No. 7 Maryland (10-1) and No. 8 Illinois (10-1) have clinched BCS spots. Maryland is expected play in the Orange, and Illinois is probably headed to the Sugar.

Brigham Young, the only other undefeated team, played at Mississippi State on Saturday night.

No. 6 Nebraska (11-1), which ended its regular season with a loss to Colorado, could get an at-large berth to the Sugar or Orange.