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CHAMPIONSHIP COUNTDOWN IN FINAL STAGES

The top teams keep winning and the bowl matchups keep waiting.

With two weeks to go in the regular season, No. 1 Tennessee, No. 2 Kansas State and No. 3 UCLA are still perfect as they fight it out for the Fiesta Bowl, where the national title is up for grabs on Jan. 4.

And let's not forget once-beaten Florida State, lurking at No. 4 and hoping for losses by two of the teams ranked ahead of them. And even if that doesn't happen, coach Bobby Bowden came up with another unlikely scenario.

"The only druthers I'd have is to go to Pasadena," Bowden said of the only major bowl game he has yet to experience, the Rose Bowl. "But that might be impossible."

It sure looks that way, even in the new and more complicated world of the Bowl Championship Series, which was created to match the top two teams in a national title game.

For now, the BCS standings have Tennessee and UCLA 1-2, with Kansas State a close third. The new standings were to be released today and when the computer comes up with its final numbers, the order could change.

As for the Rose, No. 10 Wisconsin (10-1) will be off to Pasadena to play either No. 7 Arizona (10-1), which would need to beat Arizona State on Friday, or perhaps No. 9 Notre Dame (9-1), which must beat USC on Saturday.

But the Fiesta is where the fun's at.

The Vols (10-0, 7-0 SEC), after a 59-21 rout of Kentucky on Saturday, should get a ticket to Tempe, with wins on Saturday against Vanderbilt (2-8) and an SEC title victory over either Arkansas or Mississippi State on Dec. 5.

"We've taken it and gotten it done," Vols coach Phillip Fulmer said. "Tennessee hasn't had an undefeated team since 1956, or a team that's this close to being in the national championship mix since 1951, and we're excited about being part of all of that."

K-State and UCLA is too close to call, especially since strength of schedule is a determining factor in the BCS standings.

The Wildcats (11-0, 8-0 Big 12) got past No. 24 Missouri, 31-25, and have a week off before playing No. 6 Texas A&M (10-1, 7-0) in the Big 12 title game in St. Louis on Dec. 5.

The Bruins (10-0, 7-0 Pac-10), who extended the nation's longest major-college winning streak to 20 games with a 34-17 victory over USC, close their regular season at No. 19 Miami on Dec. 5 -- the Hurricane Bowl if you will. The game was originally set for Sept. 26, but was postponed because of Hurricane Georges.

The final BCS standings will be released on Sunday, Dec. 6, and if the Vols, Wildcats and Bruins are still perfect, duck for cover. The odd-team out won't be happy.

If one of the top three teams lose, the decision is easy. If two lose, then the Seminoles are back in the hunt.

In the unlikely event all three lose, the title chase becomes wide open, with as many as nine one-loss teams in contention, including No. 5 Ohio State (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten).

The four BCS games -- the Fiesta, Rose, Sugar and Orange -- are filled with conference champions from the Big East, ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-10 and SEC. Two at-large teams are also selected, and that group would likely include Notre Dame (9-1), Ohio State and Texas A&M.

As of now, only Florida State (ACC) and UCLA (Pac-10) have clinched BCS spots. The winner of Saturday's Miami-Syracuse game will gain a BCS berth as the Big East champ. Syracuse is ranked 21st, while Miami is 19th.

Jackson to undergo MRI

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The Notre Dame dressing room was not a happy place Saturday after their 39-36 victory over LSU. The damaged medial collateral ligament in Jarious Jackson's right knee, and the bizarre way the injury was suffered, upset the Fighting Irish because of the indispensable leadership their quarterback has provided in a successful year-long effort to regain their self-respect.

But as the Irish prepare for USC, players, coaches and administrators will have to confront the ramifications of the unsuccessful effort to end their victory over LSU with Jackson taking an intentional safety. Notre Dame coach Bob Davie said Sunday that kill-the-clock situations had not been covered often enough against a live rush.

Jackson, exposed because of a missed block, was injured with 3 seconds to go on a play that did not eliminate the potential nightmare scenario of a free kick and a final LSU pass with 1 second to play from the Irish 46-yard line. An MRI is scheduled today. Davie said Jackson was expected to miss four weeks. Davie said he believes the quarterback could return for a bowl game, but the injury has jeopardized the conclusion of Notre Dame's season.

Huard to enter NFL draft

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Washington junior quarterback Brock Huard said he'll forego his final season of eligibility to enter the NFL draft. Huard, 22, made the announcement after Saturday's 16-9 win over Washington State.

The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Huard, who considered entering the NFL draft after his sophomore year, completed 168 of 315 passes for 1,924 yards with 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions this season. He missed two games with a partially separated left shoulder.

Huard's older brother, Damon, is the third-string quarterback for the Miami Dolphins.

Oklahoma fires its coach

NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma coach John Blake was fired Sunday after the worst three-year stretch in school history.

The school's regents voted, 4-2, Sunday to terminate Blake's contract after he went 12-22 in three years at Oklahoma.

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