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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.

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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.

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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