Oklahoma Back at No. 1 in FB Poll

Monday, October 30th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Oklahoma's Burcham signals victory against Nebraska.

Oklahoma is No. 1 for the first time in 13 years and it was almost unanimous.

With their 31-14 victory over Nebraska, the Sooners soared to the top spot in The Associated Press Top 25 poll Sunday, replacing the Cornhuskers, who were No. 1 in every other poll except one this season.

Oklahoma was last ranked No. 1 after a 17-7 win over Nebraska in the final game of the 1987 regular season. But the Sooners were beaten by Miami 20-14 in the Orange Bowl and ended up No. 3 in the final poll.

This time, the Sooners (7-0) have a chance to hang on to No. 1 a bit longer, with four games remaining in the regular season, followed by the Big 12 title game and, possibly, another trip to the Orange Bowl to play for a national title.

Oklahoma received 69 of 70 first-place votes and 1,749 points from the sports writers and broadcasters on the AP panel.

Nebraska (7-1) dropped to No. 5, as only two teams from last week's Top 25 — No. 2 Virginia Tech and No. 7 Oregon — held the same position.

The Hokies (8-0) needed a last-minute field goal to beat Pittsburgh 37-34 on Saturday, but hung on at No. 2 with 1,633 points — 31 ahead of No. 3 Miami, which beat Louisiana Tech 42-31. Virginia Tech is at Miami next Saturday.

The Hurricanes (6-1) moved up a spot from last week, and were followed by No. 4 Florida State (8-1), Nebraska, No. 6 Florida (7-1) , Oregon (7-1), No. 8 Washington (7-1), No. 9 TCU (7-0) and No. 10 Clemson (8-1). The Seminoles had one first-place vote.

Three unbeaten teams remain — Oklahoma, Virginia Tech and TCU, which beat Rice 37-0. Like Nebraska, Clemson also fell from the unbeaten ranks, losing 31-28 to Georgia Tech.

Oklahoma was No. 19 in the preseason poll, rose to No. 10 by the end of September, advanced to No. 8 after a 63-14 win over then-No. 11 Texas and to No. 3 after a 41-31 win over then-No. 2 Kansas State on Oct. 14.

Sooners coach Bob Stoops said the No. 1 ranking, ``means you're doing very well,'' but he's more concerned about winning the Big 12 South title and advancing to the league's championship game.

``To be No 1, it's not one of our goals to be No. 1 part way through the year,'' he said. ``It has no bearing on anything we're doing.''

Purdue, with a 31-27 win over Ohio State, jumped five spots to No. 11, followed by Michigan, Southern Mississippi, Oregon State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Georgia, Mississippi State, Kansas State and Texas.

Northwestern, a last-play, 41-35 winner over Minnesota, was No. 21, followed by South Carolina, Auburn, Texas A&M and Georgia Tech.

In the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll, the top six were: Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Miami, Florida State, Florida and Nebraska.

The updated Bowl Championship Series standings, which determine the teams that will play for a national title, will be released Monday.

The big shuffle in the AP poll came about after eight of the Top 25 teams lost — Nebraska, Clemson, Kansas State, Ohio State, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina State and Arizona.

N.C. State, a 58-14 loser to Florida State, and Arizona, beaten 27-24 by UCLA, fell out of the Top 25. Texas A&M, a 26-10 winner over Kansas State, and Georgia Tech moved into the poll.

The three Florida schools are in the top six for the first time since Oct. 6, 1996, when — Florida was No. 1, Florida State No. 3 and Miami No. 6.