Next up as No. 1 is ’Bama
Posted: Monday, November 3, 2008 6:01 pm
By: BY RALPH D. RUSSO, AP College Football Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Next up at No. 1, Alabama.
The Crimson Tide became the fifth team this season to sit atop the AP Top 25, moving up a spot Sunday after previously top-ranked Texas was toppled by Texas Tech.
The Red Raiders, who scored a touchdown with a second left at home to beat the Longhorns 39-33 Saturday night, jumped four spots and past No. 3 Penn State to No. 2. The unbeaten Nittany Lions were idle.
No. 4 Florida moved up one place after its 49-10 rout of Georgia and Texas dropped four spots to No. 5.
The Crimson Tide, which beat Arkansas State 35-0, received 46 of a possible 65 first-place votes from the media panel and 1,600 points. Texas Tech got 12 first-place votes and 1,528 points and Penn State had six and 1,525. The Gators received the other No. 1 vote.
The top spot in the poll hasn’t been held by this many teams since 1990, when Miami, Notre Dame, Colorado, Michigan and Virginia all had a turn at No 1.
Georgia started this season No. 1 and was replaced by Southern California after the opening week.
USC lasted four weeks before being upset by Oregon State and Oklahoma took the top spot. The Sooners were No. 1 for two weeks, then lost to Texas, which held the top spot for three weeks.
Now it’s Alabama’s turn.
The Crimson Tide hasn’t been No. 1 since finishing that way after the 1992 season, when coach Gene Stallings, quarterback Jay Barker and a ferocious defense won the last of the Tide’s six AP national championships.
Alabama’s first game as a No. 1 team since October, 27, 1980, will be Saturday at LSU, a date that was one of the most anticipated in the Southeastern Conference even before this season.
Tide coach Nick Saban will be coaching in Baton Rouge, La., for the first time since he left the Tigers for the NFL after the 2004 season. Saban led LSU to a ECS national title in 2003.
So the Tide, with its new lofty status, will face a stiff test immediately. Same goes for Texas Tech, which had never been ranked higher than No. 5. The Red Raiders host No. 8 Oklahoma State on Saturday, then have a week off before a road trip to No. 6 Oklahoma.
Penn State next plays at Iowa.
Seven ranked teams lost last weekend, most from the lower half of the rankings, so the back end of the Top 25 got a shake-up, too.
Southern California is No. 7, and the final two spots in the top 10 are held by potential ECS Busters — No. 9 Boise State of the Western Athletic Conference and No. 10 Utah, which hosts Mountain West Conference rival and No. 11 TCU in a Thursday night game that could decide the league title.
Ohio State is No. 12, followed by Missouri, Georgia and LSU.
No. 16 Ball State is the lowest ranked of the six remaining unbeaten major college teams in the country. The Cardinals of the Mid-American Conference play Wednesday night against Northern Illinois.
No. 17 BYU, Michigan State, North Carolina and West Virginia, back in the rankings after falling out in mid-September, complete the top 20.
No. 21 California, No. 22 Georgia Tech and No. 25 Pittsburgh re-entered the rankings.
Maryland is No. 23 and No. 24 Florida State dropped eight spots after losing at Georgia Tech.
Falling out of the Top 25 were Minnesota, Tulsa, Oregon and South Florida.