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Beamer Leans Toward Favoring Four-Team Playoff for Title

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By Mark Schlabach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 2, 2005

BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 1 -- With his Hokies third in the Bowl Championship Series ratings, Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer is starting to say a lot of the same things Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville said a year ago.

For the first time this season, Beamer on Tuesday said he believes college football might be better off using a plus-one system to determine its national championship. Under that scenario, the top four teams in the BCS standings would play in two bowl games, and then the winners would meet in a championship game.

"I think the BCS is closer than ever to getting it right," said Beamer, whose undefeated Hokies play No. 5 Miami Saturday night at Lane Stadium. "I think if somehow we can win our football games against the competition we've got, I think the computers would put us up there. I think some voters would put us up there. I think the right thing would happen."

The top two teams in the final BCS standings, released on Dec. 4, will play in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 4 to determine at least half of college football's national championship. The Associated Press asked the BCS not to use its top 25 poll as part of the BCS formula, and AP voters are not obligated to crown the Rose Bowl winner as the national champion. Two-time defending national champion Southern California is No. 1 in the BCS standings, followed by Texas, Virginia Tech, Alabama and UCLA. Those are the remaining unbeaten teams in Division I-A. "I'm telling you, we've got a hard road," said Beamer, whose team also plays at Virginia and at home against North Carolina and possibly in the inaugural ACC championship game in Jacksonville, Fla., on Dec. 3. "But with as many undefeated teams as there are now, I think there are going to be three undefeated teams" left at the end of the regular season.

Auburn finished 12-0 after the regular season last year but was left out of the BCS title game because Southern California and Oklahoma were ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in the final BCS standings. Tuberville lobbied for the plus-one system after the Tigers finished 13-0, beating the Hokies, 16-13, in the Sugar Bowl.

"I still believe the system as it is now is right," Beamer said. "I think it's going to work out right. But maybe this is a solution."

Imoh Slowed

Senior tailback Mike Imoh (Robinson High) sprained his right ankle on the first play of last week's 30-10 victory over then-No. 13 Boston College. Imoh returned to that game and ran 16 times for 60 yards, but he was bothered by the injury over the weekend. Imoh, the Hokies' leading runner with 400 yards and four touchdowns on 97 carries, missed the Marshall game earlier this year because of a badly sprained left ankle. He practiced Tuesday night, but Beamer seems cautious about his return.

"We feel like he's going to be back, but we want to see what he does this week," Beamer said. "This is one game, I promise you, you better be full speed."

Senior Cedric Humes ran 13 times for 40 yards against Boston College, only 19 days after breaking his right forearm against the Thundering Herd. Humes said his arm "felt great. I had no problem with it."

Speedy Hurricanes

Beamer said Miami's players are as fast as ever -- wide receiver Sinorice Moss and cornerback-kick returner Devin Hester are as explosive as any players in college football.

But Hokies defensive end Darryl Tapp might have exaggerated when he offered this assessment of the Hurricanes' team speed: "Miami is well known for its speed. I think Coach [Larry] Coker could go out there and run a 4.5 if he wanted to. That's just the way Miami is."

Extra Points

Miami ranks No. 1 among 117 Division I-A teams in total defense, giving up 221.6 yards per game; Virginia Tech is No. 2 at 231.2. Tech has yielded only 9.1 points per game; the 'Canes are giving up 10.9. . . .

Virginia Tech junior Nic Schmitt, who has averaged 42.6 yards per punt and has downed 10 of his 30 punts inside opponents' 20-yard line, was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award, which goes to college football's top punter. . . .

Tech has allowed a total of seven points in the first quarter of its eight games. The Hokies have won seven of their last 10 games against Miami.


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