Pencil the University of Miami's third-ranked football team into the Orange Bowl against Nebraska or Oklahoma for the national championship, put Syracuse in the Sugar Bowl against the Southeastern Conference winner, and write in Notre Dame for the Cotton Bowl against the Southwest champion. Sources familiar with negotiations said that this should be the New Year's Day bowl schedule, after a round of wheeling, dealing and second guessing this week.

The Orange Bowl is leaning toward giving Miami an unconditional invitation, as Coach Jimmy Johnson demanded earlier this season, if it is undefeated on Nov. 21, despite games remaining against Notre Dame on Nov. 26 and South Carolina Dec. 5, sources said. That was after a week of frantic talks between bowls, heated selection committee meetings, and efforts to sense school preferences. The Fiesta Bowl and its $2 million payday is a likely destination for No. 4 Florida State against a variety of choices: the Oklahoma-Nebraska loser, No. 6 Syracuse, No. 9 Clemson, or a Southeastern or Pac-10 runner-up.

"Of course, all hell could break loose this weekend," one source said.

That is the danger, and a number of bowls may hesitate to make the usual informal agreements this weekend because of the upset-ridden nature of the season thus far, which has muddled the bowl picture to an unusual degree. "I haven't seen a year like it," Sugar Bowl representative Jerry Romig said. Orange Bowl selection chairman Pete Williams said of his committee meetings: "We run it by them very week, and every week we have a screaming match."

Williams would not comment on specific agreements, and maintained Florida State and Syracuse, which is a good bet to be undefeated if it gets by Boston College, are still on his list. But, he acknowledged, "Miami would have to be the focal point. There would have to be a major upset for them not to be undefeated."

Ultimately, the Orange Bowl will continue to hope that schools don't commit this weekend, leaving options open as late as possible in its efforts to secure a sure-thing national championship game. "They're still trying to keep everyone on that limb," one bowl representative said. "It's a gutsy move." Anderson Takes Over

Oklahoma quarterback Jamelle Holieway was released from Baptist Hospital in Oklahoma City yesterday after undergoing extensive surgery earlier in the week for damaged ligaments and cartilage in his right knee that ended his season.

His loss would seem to jeopardize seriously the No. 1 Sooners' chances at a national championship. But redshirt freshman quarterback Charles Thompson quickly established himself as a voice to be listened to when he replaced Holieway last week against Missouri. Thompson, who will start the rest of the season, has rushed for 514 yards (8.9 yards a carry) and nine blindingly fast touchdowns as a reserve.

"We were used to cutting up in the huddle with Jamelle," lineman Mark Hudson said. "When Charles came in, he just said, 'Huddle.' We were still cutting up, so he yelled 'Huddle' again. He said, 'This is my huddle, not Jamelle Holieway's.' We looked at each other, and huddled." . . .

Michigan's Jamie Morris appears to be out of the Heisman Trophy running as Notre Dame's Tim Brown continues to dazzle the country, but he will take a respectable place in the record books. Morris needs 139 yards to become only the third Big 10 player to rush 4,000 yards in a career. Archie Griffin of Ohio State was the first, Lorenzo White of Michigan State the second. Last week Morris became Michigan's all-time leading rusher with 3,861 yards.

Speaking of White, he, too, can move up in the record books this week. With 4,129 yards in his career, he needs 51 to break into the NCAA's all-time top 20. The 20th spot is held by Navy's Napoleon McCallum, who rushed for 4,179.

Indiana also has a player who has been overshadowed, if not outright ignored, in the year of Tim Brown. Receiver Ernie Jones, who has the ill luck to play in the same state as Brown, has far better stats than the Notre Dame wingback. Jones has 54 catches for 1,017 yards and 12 touchdowns, compared to Brown's 28 catches for 615 yards and three touchdowns. But Jones does not do quite as many things as Brown, who is second in the nation in all-purpose yards, averaging 176.88. Jones averages 156.33 . . .

One of the more curious seasons is that of Alabama, where Coach Bill Curry has acquired a reputation as one who can fashion great upsets, but has trouble winning the lesser games. The Crimson Tide has reflected that this season by losing to Memphis State, only to defeat Southeastern leader LSU last week, and some have accused the Tide of playing on emotion rather than ability. But Curry discounted that theory in an interesting way.

"You don't win on emotion," he said. "Emotion disappears about the sixth time that guy hits you in the mouth and you realize those tears in your eyes are not because of dear old alma mater."

Normally, the Tide shouldn't have a problem getting emotionally up for Notre Dame. But this week's game falls between the LSU game and an all-important SEC contest with Auburn next week. "I've been asked is it possible a team could look past Notre Dame, usually a team you'd get up for," Curry said. "For probably the only time in history, I have to think about that." Reed Seeks Title

Howard University's Harvey Reed, the leading rusher in the country in either Division I-A or I-AA, has been getting extensive use despite the No. 20 Bisons' lopsided scores. The tailback who averages 146 yards a game was still playing late last Saturday as the Bison led Division II Morehouse by 48-0. They eventually won by 54-7.

Reed remained in the game despite a sore left ankle that has troubled him a few weeks, a puzzling move by Coach Willie Jeffries. This week Jeffries admitted he is keeping Reed in the game so he can win the national rushing title.

"I was a bit concerned about it {the ankle}, but to be frank, we left him in to get close to his average," Jeffries said.