Sports 101

A battle is brewing in the state of Florida - and it has nothing to do with swinging-door, pregnant, or hanging-door ballot chads.

At stake is a berth in college football's national championship game. Miami, Florida State, and Florida are Nos. 2, 3, and 4 in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) rankings (Oklahoma is ranked No. 1). Here's how the battle of Florida is shaping up.

Q: How does the BCS work?

A: The teams that finish No. 1 and No. 2 in the final standings released Dec. 3, will play a national title game in Miami's Orange Bowl Jan. 3. The standings are based on a formula that combines the Associated Press poll, the coaches' poll, eight computer rankings, strength of schedule, and number of losses.

No. 2 Miami (8-1)

At Syracuse tomorrow; hosts Boston College Nov. 25.

Miami jumped to the No. 2 spot this week after beating Pittsburgh, 35-7. The Hurricanes next play Syracuse (5-4), while No. 3 Florida State hosts No. 4 Florida (9-1). The Florida State-Florida winner could pass Miami because the BCS awards points in part based on the strength of the defeated opponent.

No. 3 Florida State (9-1)

Hosts No. 4 Florida tomorrow night.

If the Seminoles beat Florida, they will likely move up to the No. 2 spot. In any event, Florida State has already clinched a berth in one of the lesser BCS bowl games (the Rose, Sugar, or Fiesta).

No. 4 Florida (9-1)

At Florida State tomorrow night. Plays in SEC title game Dec. 2.

The Gators haven't won at Florida State's Doak Campbell Stadium since 1991. But anything can happen in this high-stakes matchup. If Florida wins, it will likely play in the Orange Bowl for the national championship.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.