Penn State title hopes evaporate
Posted: Monday, November 10, 2008 3:59 pm
By: BY RALPH D. RUSSO, AP College Football Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Penn State slipped to the back of the one-loss pack Sunday in The Associated Press college football poll, while No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Texas Tech strengthened their hold on the top spots.
The Nittany Lions fell four places to No. 7 in the Top 25 after losing for the first time this season. The 24-23 loss at Iowa on a field goal in the final seconds all but eliminated coach Joe Paterno’s team from the national title race and left only Alabama and Texas Tech as unbeaten teams from the six ECS conferences.
The Crimson Tide (10-0) needed overtime to stay perfect, beating LSU 27-21 in Nick Saban’s return to Baton Rouge, La., as Alabama coach. The Tide received 44 first-place votes and 1,604 points from the media panel.
The Red Raiders (10-0) followed up their big win over Texas last week with a resounding 56-20 victory over Oklahoma State. The impressive performance earned the Red Raiders the remaining 21 first-place votes, up from 12 last week, and 1,574 points.
Alabama plays Mississippi State at home on Saturday and Texas Tech has a week off before playing at Oklahoma on Nov. 22, the Red Raiders’ fourth consecutive game against a ranked opponent.
No. 3 Florida, No. 4 Texas, No. 5 Oklahoma and No. 6 Southern California, all with one-loss but still with national title hopes, all moved up one spot and are ahead of the Penn State.
No. 8 Utah (10-0) moved up two spots, jumping over Boise State (9-0) which stayed at No. 9. The Utes and Broncos are both trying to break into the Bowl Championship Series from conferences without an automatic bid to the big-money games.
Ohio State moved up two spots and completes the first 10.
Oklahoma State fell three spots to No. 11 and is followed by Big 12 rival Missouri.
No. 13 Georgia is one spot ahead of the other unbeaten team, Ball State (9-0) from the Mid-American Conference.
Mountain West rivals TCU and BYU are Nos. 15 and 16, respectively.
No. 17 North Carolina has its highest ranking since it started the 1998 season No. 12. That was the season after coach Mack Brown left Chapel Hill for Texas.
Michigan State is No. 18. LSU dropped three spots to 19th and Florida State moved up four spots to No. 20.
Pittsburgh moved up four spots to No. 21 and the final four teams were unranked last week.
Cincinnati is ranked for the first time this season at No. 22 after beating West Virginia 26-23 in overtime. The Mountaineers dropped out of the rankings.
Oregon State, which has won four straight and controls the Pac-10 race because it beat USC, also moved into the rankings for the first time this season. The Beavers are No. 23.
No. 24 South Carolina and No. 25 Tulsa both moved back into the rankings.
California, Georgia Tech and Maryland also dropped out after losses.