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Seminoles cheer on Trojans' rivals

Florida State suddenly became a fan of Arizona, UCLA and Oregon State.

Those are the remaining opponents of Southern California, which on the strength of its 43-16 win against Washington State, jumped to No. 2 _ one spot ahead of No. 3 FSU _ in the Bowl Championship Series poll Monday.

"Our focus is on the remaining three games we have on our schedule," Trojans coach Pete Carroll said. "I don't pay much attention to the polls and the predictions and all that. And I really don't fully understand the mechanisms of how the BCS rankings are determined."

Oklahoma strengthened its position atop the all-important standings that will pit the top teams in the Jan. 4 Sugar Bowl. The Sooners (9-0), the only undefeated team from a major conference, got every first-place vote in the polls and were the top pick by the seven computers used in the BCS standings.

"There's no telling how it will shift with the next three games for everybody," Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden said. "They'll be some more upsets somewhere."

Go Wildcats, Bruins and Beavers?

Even if USC were to lose, it doesn't mean the Seminoles automatically would move up. Miami, which fell from No. 2 to No. 4 after its 31-7 loss at Virginia Tech on Saturday, trails FSU by 0.73 points.

The Hurricanes could gain ground in the AP, ESPN/USA Today coaches' and computer polls if they beat Tennessee this weekend.

"If we win the games, we're going to be fine," Hurricanes coach Larry Coker said. "We'll be where we want to be."

Lest anyone forget, Miami beat FSU 22-14 Oct. 11 in Tallahassee, and the game was that close only because the Seminoles scored on the final play. The BCS organizers added a head-to-head component when FSU finished ahead of the Hurricanes in 2000, though it lost to Miami.

"It's been good to us," Bowden said of the BCS. "It's not foolproof, but I like it better than a playoff. All we all can do is try to take care of business, and that's to get ready for the game that's immediately ahead of you."

For FSU, that's Clemson _ the new favorite team of those behind FSU in the BCS, including No. 5 Ohio State. The defending national champion Buckeyes could make a run to the No. 2 spot if they beat Michigan State, Purdue and Michigan.

Following the Hurricanes and Buckeyes are the other major one-loss teams: Virginia Tech (12.47) and LSU (14.92).

TCU, the only other undefeated team, moved up three spots to No. 9. The Horned Frogs are hurt by having the 98th toughest schedule out of 117 teams.

TCU needs to be in the top 12 to be eligible for one of the lucrative BCS games and the top six to guarantee a bid. There has been pressure from schools outside the big six conferences to improve access to the BCS bowls _ Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Rose.

"It's going to be very intriguing this year whatever happens," Bowden said.

The BCS was started five years ago to create a national title game without a playoff. Champions of six conferences _ the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC _ qualify, and two at-large teams are selected to fill out the field.

The seven computer rankings are operated by Anderson & Hester, Billingsley, Colley Matrix, Kenneth Massey, the New York Times, Jeff Sagarin's USA Today and Peter Wolfe.

_ Information from the Associated Press was used in the report.