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Miami wins fifth national title

NEW YORK (AP) – There’s no debate. Miami is No.1.

The Hurricanes ended talk of a split nationalchampionship, completing a perfect season to win their fifthnational title and first in 10 years unanimously.

Miami (12-0) received all 72 first-place votes in thefinal, post-bowl Associated Press poll of sports writers andbroadcasters early Friday morning to earn 1,800points.

The Hurricanes finished the season as the nation’s onlymajor unbeaten team with a 37-14 victory over Nebraska in the RoseBowl on Thursday night.

”It’s an unbelievable honor,” Miami coach Larry Cokersaid. ”It’s tremendously gratifying to be around such greatplayers, to be able to coach kids at such a highlevel.”

Coker joined Michigan’s Bennie Oosterbaan (1948) as theonly first-year head coaches to win a national title.

A Nebraska win in the Rose Bowl might have created thefourth split title since 1990. The Cornhuskers would haveautomatically been crowned the champion of the USA Today-ESPNcoaches’ poll, but Oregon would have had a shot at being the APwinner, which is selected independently.

”I just would have liked to have a shot,” Ducksquarterback Joey Harrington said.

Oregon, which beat Colorado 38-16 in the Fiesta Bowl,finished No. 2 in the AP poll – its highest ranking ever. Floridawas third, followed by Tennessee and Texas. The coaches had thesame Top Five as the AP.

Nebraska fell from No. 4 to No. 8, behind Oklahoma andLSU. Colorado and Washington State rounded out the Top10.

Coker took over for Butch Davis after the Hurricanesfinished No. 2 last season. The Hurricanes started the seasonranked No. 2 and moved into the No. 1 spot for good on Oct. 6 whenFlorida lost to Auburn.

The title completes Miami’s return to prominence. TheHurricanes finished with a 5-6 record as recently as 1997, butDavis rebuilt the team before leaving to coach the ClevelandBrowns.

Coker took over and moved Miami into fourth place forthe most AP championships ever, trailing only Alabama (six),Oklahoma (seven) and Notre Dame (eight). The Hurricanes also wontitles in 1983, ’87, ’89 and ’91.

Maryland, which lost the Orange Bowl 56-23 to Florida,finished 11th, followed by Illinois, South Carolina, Syracuse andFlorida State.

The Seminoles’ streak of 14 straight Top Five seasonsended with their lowest finish since being unranked in the finalpoll in 1986.

Stanford, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Washington,Michigan, Boston College, Georgia, Toledo, Georgia Tech and BYUwere the final 10 teams.

Boston College and Georgia Tech moved into the finalpoll after bowl wins, while Ohio State and Fresno State dropped outafter bowl losses.

The Southeastern Conference led the way with five teamsin the Top 25, while the Big East, Pac-10 and Big 12 all hadfour.