Washington Nears Miami in One Poll, Ties in Another

From Times Wire Services

The specter of a second consecutive season of dual national college football champions loomed larger Sunday when the USA Today/CNN coaches’ poll showed Washington tied with Miami for No. 1.

Miami retained its No. 1 spot in the Associated Press poll after beating San Diego State, 39-12, though the Hurricanes’ lead over Washington shrank for the second week in a row.

Last season, Georgia Tech was the national champion, according to the United Press International coaches’ poll, which was taken over by the USA Today/CNN poll. Colorado was the AP champion.

Miami Coach Dennis Erickson seemed resigned to the whims of the polls.


“We won the game (over San Diego State) convincingly, and I can’t ask the players to do any more than they’ve done,” Erickson said. “Then it’s in the hands of the people who vote, and I have no control over that.”

The Hurricanes took over the top spot on Nov. 17 after beating previously No. 1-ranked Florida State. Miami led Washington in that AP poll by 40 points and 32 first-place votes.

The Hurricanes then struggled in beating Boston College, 16-14, and saw their lead over Washington shrink to 20 points, 1,476 1/2 to 1,456 1/2, and in first-place votes to 15, 37 1/2 to 22 1/2. Sunday’s poll, the final of the regular season, showed the lead had dropped to 14 points, 1,475-1,461, and 14 first-place votes, 37-23.

The USA Today/CNN voting had Miami and Washington both with 1,443 points, though Miami led in first-place votes, 31-28.


The national championship will come down to the Jan. 1 bowl games, when Miami plays No. 11 Nebraska in the Orange and Washington meets No. 4 Michigan in the Rose. History favors Miami in the AP poll. No top-ranked team in the AP poll has won a bowl game and failed to win the national title.

But Washington’s opponent, Michigan (10-1), is ranked third and offers an opportunity for the Huskies to impress voters in the Rose Bowl, should Miami struggle on its home field.