It was college football's day of decision, an extravaganza of pitching and catching, blocking and tackling to determine who had the best team in America. It was a day of many surprises and a night with one clear winner: Oklahoma.

Penn State, which started the day ranked No. 1, could have clinched the national championship with a victory over No. 3 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl last night. But Oklahoma pulled out a 25-10 victory over the Nittany Lions and, quite likely, the top spot.

Both Oklahoma and Penn State are 11-1.

Miami, ranked No. 2, was hoping Oklahoma would win, since Miami had beaten Oklahoma, 27-14, during the season. But Miami hadn't counted on losing, 35-7, to No. 8 Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl last night.

The Rose Bowl, another game featuring a team with a shot at the title, also went contrary to expectations. No. 4 Iowa had its hopes crushed as freshman Eric Ball rushed for 227 yards and four touchdowns to lead No. 13 UCLA to a 45-28 upset.

The day's other two games had no bearing on the national championship. Michigan rallied from a 14-3 halftime deficit to beat Nebraska, 27-23, in the Fiesta Bowl and Texas A&M beat Auburn, 36-16, in the Cotton Bowl even though Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson scored two touchdowns.

The sportswriters who vote in the Associated Press poll and the coaches who vote in the United Press International Poll will make their national championship picks official today, making this the real day of decision for college football.