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College football

Much-maligned BCS now boasts a dream lineup

By wire services
Published December 5, 2005

LOS ANGELES - A perfect championship game, a classic coaching matchup and Notre Dame.

The Bowl Championship Series couldn't have asked for more: a glitzy lineup with little for critics to gripe over. Only Oregon has a case to complain, as the Pac-10 has a 10-1 team left out of the marquee bowls for a second straight season.

"I certainly understand that there are teams that are not in these four games that have had a great season, as we have every year," BCS coordinator and Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg said Sunday. "I must say that there's a lot of consensus that we have quality matchups among highly regarded teams in this year's BCS games."

Southern California and Texas, the only unbeatens in Division I-A, will decide the national title Jan.4 in the Rose Bowl.

"They do have the No.1 team in the country," Texas coach Mack Brown said of the two-time defending champion Trojans. "They've just blown out people right and left and that will be challenge for us. But that's fun.

"For Texas not to be in the national championship game for 36 years and to see where (USC coach) Pete (Carroll) has brought their program the last three years, that's where we want to be. That's where we want to go."

Major-college football's winningest coaches, Penn State's Joe Paterno and Florida State's Bobby Bowden, will meet Jan.3 in the Orange Bowl.

The Fighting Irish are in the BCS after a five-year absence. Charlie Weis' team faces Ohio State Jan. 2 in the Fiesta Bowl.

The relocated Sugar Bowl will be played Jan.2 in Atlanta after being chased from New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, making it a quick and familiar trip for Southeastern Conference champion Georgia and its fans to the Georgia Dome. The Bulldogs, who won the SEC title by upsetting LSU in the Georgia Dome Saturday, meet Big East champion West Virginia.

Miami feeling Peachy

ATLANTA - The Peach Bowl matches Top 10 teams for the first time in its history, as No.9 Miami plays No.10 LSU on Dec. 30.

Miami was ranked third in late November after winning eight straight, including 27-7 over then-No.3 Virginia Tech.

"We're very excited about the matchup in this game," Miami coach Larry Coker said. "We're going to play an outstanding LSU team, and we think it's one of the best matchups of this bowl season. We have said all along we wanted to play the best opponent, and we got that."

Tickets will be available at 9 a.m. today through Miami at hurricanesports.com or by calling 1-800-462-2637 (1-800-GO-CANES).

UCF TO HAWAII: Capping a turnaround from a winless season, Central Florida (8-4) formally accepted a bid to the Dec.24 Hawaii Bowl, where it meets Nevada (8-3) of the Western Athletic Conference. It's the first bowl game in the program's 10-year history.

"This bowl is an excellent reward for our student-athletes and the coaching staff on a championship season," athletic director Steve Orsini said. "This is a trip of a lifetime for our players."

CAPITAL ONE BOWL: Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville had no gripes with the BCS this time.

The seventh-ranked Tigers had held out hope of a BCS invitation but instead will play No.21 Wisconsin Jan. 2 at Orlando's Florida Citrus Bowl. Tuberville complained loudly about his undefeated team getting shut out of a national championship shot last season but was more diplomatic this time.

"We were left out last year," he said. "You could say we were left out this year, but that's really not true. We're going to a great bowl."

CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL: Clemson accepted a bid to play Colorado on Dec.27 at the Florida Citrus Bowl. Clemson won its last three, including FSU and in-state rival South Carolina. Colorado has lost three in a row, including 70-3 Saturday against Texas in the Big 12 title game.

GATOR BOWL: After a week of waiting, Louisville finally has an opponent: The No.15 Cardinals play No.12 Virginia Tech on Jan.2 in Jacksonville.

[Last modified December 5, 2005, 03:00:29]


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