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Computers hurt Utah's BCS hopes

wire services
Published November 9, 2004

A perfect record probably won't be enough to get Utah into the BCS. Texas passed the Utes for sixth Monday, which could cost them about $13-million.

The top five stayed the same: Southern Cal, Oklahoma, Auburn, Cal and Wisconsin. The Sooners, who beat Texas A&M 42-35 Saturday, increased their lead on the idle Tigers by moving into first in the computer rankings. The top teams in the final standings play in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4.

Utah is trying to become the first team from a non-BCS conference (Mountain West) to play in a game (Orange, Sugar, Rose and Fiesta). It is guaranteed a berth and about $14-million if it finishes in the top six. A top-12 finish makes Utah eligible but guarantees nothing beyond the Liberty Bowl and $1.35-million for winning its conference.

Like two weeks ago when they moved up to sixth, Utes coach Urban Meyer found out from his wife his team dropped to seventh.

"She had a little reaction. I won't use the language she did," he said. "In three weeks, we'll have a reaction. There's too much football to be played yet."

Meyer tried to be diplomatic.

"Is the sky blue?" he said when asked if the BCS system should be changed. "Absolutely. And it will happen. Logical thinking will eventually take over."

Texas, which gained .0335 points, rallied from down 35-7 to beat Oklahoma State 56-35 Saturday. Utah's lopsided wins over conference opponents, including 63-31 Saturday over Colorado State, aren't helping enough. It gained only .0053 points.

The Utes kept their spots in the writers (seventh) and coaches (eighth) polls but dropped from sixth to eighth in the computer rankings. The Longhorns (sixth in the writers, seventh in the coaches) moved up to fifth in the computer rankings.

Georgia, which finishes with Auburn and Georgia Tech, and Michigan (Northwestern and Ohio State) sit eighth and ninth, respectively, but could pass Utah (Wyoming and BYU) because the computer rankings take strength of schedule into account. Texas faces Kansas and Texas A&M and potentially could play in the Big 12 title game.

Six I-A teams remain unbeaten: Southern Cal, Oklahoma, Auburn, Wisconsin and Boise State, which moved up two spots to 10th.

Florida State moved up one to 12th, and Miami, which has lost consecutive games, fell 10 to 17th.

KENTUCKY: The NCAA granted receiver Tommy Cook a sixth season of eligibility. He redshirted as a freshman while recovering from a broken hand and sustained a season-ending knee injury during April's spring game. Cook has 63 catches for 796 yards and six touchdowns. SYRACUSE: Leading rusher Walter Reyes will sit out Saturday against Temple after tearing a muscle in his right shoulder Saturday. Junior Damien Rhodes will get the bulk of the carries. Saturday, he gained 103 yards and scored the winning touchdown in the second overtime. UTAH STATE: Coach Mick Dennehy was fired after a five-game losing streak but will coach the Aggies, 2-7 overall and 1-4 in the Sun Belt, for their last two games. In his fifth season, Dennehy, who previously coached I-AA power Montana, went 18-36. His best seasons were 4-7 in 2001 and 2002, which included games at Nebraska, LSU and Iowa.

VANDERBILT: Coach Bobby Johnson will wait to name a starting quarterback for Saturday against Kentucky. Jay Cutler sprained his right ankle when he was sacked by Florida's Marcus Thomas. Steven Bright then went 12-of-23 for 118 yards and rushed for a team-high 77 yards.

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