12/04/2001 12:00AM

Bowl schedule almost set


Miami-Fla. is headed to the Rose Bowl to play for the national championship. But that's the only thing we know for sure in the Bowl Championship Series.

Tennessee has the inside track for the other Rose Bowl berth if it beats LSU in the SEC title game on Saturday, but if the Vols fall (as Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas have done before them) then it's still up for grabs.

Nebraska is currently No. 3 in the BCS rankings, but there are rumblings that some coaches or AP voters might change their votes and help boost Oregon or even Colorado back into the title hunt. After what happened in last year's presidential election (with all the networks proclaiming Al Gore the winner and then backpedaling), there's no guarantees when it comes to any election process. Just makes you wonder how many older voters in Florida might be involved.

But the rest of the bowl schedule is just about set, so the Stardust is just about ready to post opening bowl lines. Sports book director Joe Lupo has been out of town for his mother's funeral. Assistant sports book director Bob Scucci said the plan is to put the lines up Thursday. I asked if it was possible to put up lines on Miami-Tennessee, Miami-Nebraska and any other combinations, and then refund wagers on any matchups that don't come to fruition.

Scucci said: "We might consider that if the games were next week, but we won't since they're almost a month away. It doesn't make sense to put up the lines and then have to refund a bunch of wagers just to say we had them up early."

Before the season began, the Stardust had Florida and Miami-Fla. as the 4-1 co-favorites to win the Rose Bowl. Nebraska was 7-1, while Oregon was 15-1 and Colorado 40-1.

Colorado was also the 12-1 fourth choice to win the Big 12 title, which it did last weekend. Tennessee was 3-1 to win this Saturday's SEC title game while LSU was 7-1.