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Archive for Monday, November 21, 2005

LSU, Penn State move up in football poll

November 21, 2005

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LSU and Penn State each moved up a spot in the Associated Press Top 25 football rankings, taking advantage of Miami's loss to move behind unbeaten Southern California and Texas.

The Tigers were No. 3 with 1,449 points in the media poll Sunday, ahead of the Nittany Lions' 1,390 points.

Penn State coach Joe Paterno's resurgent team, which had won a total of seven games the past two seasons, won his second Big Ten title on Saturday with a 31-22 victory at Michigan State. The Nittany Lions (10-1) will play in the Bowl Championship Series for the first time and they'll do it with their highest ranking since they were No. 2 entering November of 1999.

LSU (9-1) beat Mississippi 40-7 and needs only a victory over Arkansas to earn a spot in the Southeastern Conference title game Dec. 3.

Top-ranked USC survived another scare, defeating Fresno State 50-42 for its 33rd straight victory. The Trojans have run their record streak of No. 1 rankings to 31 straight polls, but their fight to the finish against the Bulldogs cost USC six first-place votes.

USC (11-0) received 50 first-place votes, and 1,616 points. No. 2 Texas, which has been on the Trojans' tail since the preseason, received 14 first-place votes and 1,550 points.

Jeff Parson of the Wichita Eagle switched his first-place vote from USC to Texas this week, because the Longhorns haven't played as many close games as the Trojans.

"Another factor for me is how good Ohio State is playing," he said. "Texas won at their place and I think that's even more impressive than (USC's) Notre Dame victory.

"It's really close to me but if they played right now I'd favor Texas and this is the first time I've felt this way."

The Longhorns (10-0) were off Saturday and play next Friday at Texas A&M. The Trojans are off until Dec. 3, when they play UCLA. A USC-Texas Rose Bowl for the national championship still looms.

The closest competition was for the fifth and sixth. Virginia Tech moved up after beating Virginia 52-14 to No. 5, two points ahead of No. 6 Notre Dame.

No. 7 is Ohio State, followed by Oregon, Auburn and Miami, which fell seven spots after losing 14-10 at home to Georgia Tech.

In the USA Today coaches' poll, USC lost six first-place votes (49-13) to Texas. LSU, Penn State and Virginia Tech rounded out the top five. In the Harris Interactive poll, the top four teams occupied the same spots as in the AP poll - with Notre Dame fifth, Virginia Tech sixth and Ohio State seventh.

UCLA is No. 11 in the AP poll, followed by West Virginia, Georgia and TCU. No. 15 Alabama fell six more spots after losing 28-18 to Auburn. It was the Crimson Tide's second straight loss after a 9-0 start.

Fresno State held on to the 16th spot after pushing USC to the edge. Louisville is No. 17, ahead of Texas Tech and Florida.

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