UCLA Atop First BCS Poll

Strength-of-schedule counts.

And because of that, the No. 1 team in the nation is No. 2 in the Bowl Championship Series standings.

UCLA was No. 1 and Ohio State No. 2 in the first BCS standings released on Monday night, with the Bruins' strength-of-schedule rated toughest in the nation among top teams and giving them the edge over the Buckeyes.

The new standings, based on polls, computer ratings, strength-of-schedule and losses, will determine the two teams in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 4 for a chance at the national championship.

"We can't worry about the BCS ratings, just like we can't worry about our rankings in the national polls," Ohio State coach John Cooper said. "I can say that we are happy to be ranked as high as we are in the polls. We've been the No. 1 team in both the major polls all season and we are just going to keep working hard to try and win football games. Winning takes care of everything."

Since the preseason, Ohio State (7-0) has been an overwhelming No. 1 choice in The Associated Press' media poll and the USA Today-ESPN coaches' poll. UCLA (6-0) has been No. 2 in the polls the past three weeks.

In the BCS, though, who's No. 1 isn't the major objective, since the top two teams in the final standings on Dec. 6 get tickets to Tempe, Ariz. The BCS will list 20 teams in its standings each week, assigning a point total based on the averages of each of the four categories. The team with the lowest point totals is rated highest.

Although the Bruins were No. 2 in both polls, the BCS said they had the toughest schedule, and each of the three computer ratings had them ranked first. Ohio State's strength-of-schedule was rated 16th.

UCLA leads the standings with a 3.04 point total two points for poll average, one for computer average, 0.04 for strength-of-schedule and zero for losses. Ohio State has 4.31 points one for poll average, 2.67 for computer average, 0.64 for strength-of-schedule and zero for losses.

"It really doesn't matter to me whether we are ranked first or second in the BCS poll," UCLA coach Bob Toledo said. "The important thing is to have a chance to play in the championship game, and you can do that being ranked first or second."

Tennessee was third, followed by Kansas State, Florida State, Nebraska, Florida, Texas A&M, Wisconsin and Penn State.

The standings select the Fiesta Bowl teams only. The other BCS bowls the Rose, Sugar and Orange then follow a predetermined selection process.

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