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Virginia Tech finishes 15th, 16th in final polls

FootballAuburn TigersTexas Christian Horned FrogsLSU TigersArmed Forces

Auburn finished No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll, completing an unprecedented climb to its first national title in 53 years.

The Tigers led the Top 25 following a 22-19 victory against Oregon in the BCS championship Monday night.

Auburn also was the overwhelming choice of voters in the voters in the USA Today poll.

"We're the best football team in the United State of America," Auburn coach Gene Chizik proclaimed after Wes Byrum's 19-yard field goal as time expired gave the Tigers a thrilling win.

Virginia Tech (11-3) finished 15th in the USA Today poll and 16th in the AP poll. Three other Atlantic Coast Conference schools made the final rankings. They were Florida State (17 AP, 16 USA Today), Maryland (23, 24) and North Carolina State (24, 25)

Auburn won its only other AP title in 1957, and the Tigers started 2010 further back than any champion since the poll expanded to 25 teams in 1989.

Auburn (14-0) began the season at No. 22. The previous lowest preseason ranking for a national champion in the Top 25 era was Oklahoma, which went from No. 19 to No. 1 in 2000. The Tigers received 56 of 59 first-place votes. One voter did not submit a ballot.

Undefeated TCU (13-0) had to settle for No. 2. The Horned Frogs received the other three first-place votes and had their best finish in the AP poll since winning the 1938 national title.

Oregon finished third, a spot ahead of Pac-10 rival Stanford. Ohio State was fifth.

Auburn's title makes it five straight for the Southeastern Conference, joining Florida (with two), LSU and Alabama.

The Tigers had three other SEC West rivals ranked ahead of them at the start of the season -- Alabama, Arkansas and LSU -- but nobody realized what a difference their new quarterback would make.

Cam Newton transferred in from junior college last spring, carried the Tigers to a national championship and won the Heisman Trophy along the way.

Horned Frogs fans probably wouldn't mind one more game and if any fans can relate to going unbeaten and not getting a shot at the national title, it's Auburn rooters.

The last time the Tigers had a perfect season was 2004, but Southern California and Oklahoma played for the national championship and Tommy Tuberville's team finished No. 2.

Auburn and its fans have never gotten over that, but this time around nothing could deny the Tigers -- and the SEC -- a title.

The nation's strongest conference finished with three teams in the top 10, five in the first 15 and six in the Top 25, more than any other league. LSU was eighth, Alabama 10th, Arkansas finished 12th, Mississippi State was 15th and South Carolina was No. 22.

The Big 12 had five teams in the final rankings -- No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 13 Oklahoma State, No. 18 Missouri, No. 19 Texas A&M and No. 20 Nebraska.

The Atlantic Coast Conference had four teams in the poll -- No. 16 Virginia Tech, No. 17 Florida State, No. 23 Maryland and No. 25 North Carolina State.

No. 7 Wisconsin and No. 14 Michigan State joined Ohio State to give the Big Ten three teams in the final poll.

Boise State finished at No. 9 and Western Athletic Conference rival Nevada, the only team to beat the Broncos this season, was 11th.

Conference USA also put two in the final rankings with No. 21 Central Florida and No. 24 Tulsa.

The Big East was the only conference with an automatic BCS bid to not have a team ranked in the final poll. Help is coming -- TCU will be leaving the Mountain West Conference and joining that league in 2012.

ASSOCIATED PRESS POLL

Record Pts Pv1. Auburn (56) 14-0 1,472 12. TCU (3) 13-0 1,392 33. Oregon 12-1 1,379 24. Stanford 12-1 1,300 55. Ohio St. 12-1 1,220 66. Oklahoma 12-2 1,108 97. Wisconsin 11-2 1,055 48. LSU 11-2 1,051 119. Boise St. 12-1 1,031 1010. Alabama 10-3 961 1511. Nevada 13-1 866 1312. Arkansas 10-3 863 813. Oklahoma St. 11-2 833 1614. Michigan St. 11-2 696 715. Mississippi St. 9-4 578 2116. Virginia Tech 11-3 577 1217. Florida St. 10-4 502 2318. Missouri 10-3 477 1419. Texas A&M 9-4 359 1820. Nebraska 10-4 334 1721. UCF 11-3 225 --22. South Carolina 9-4 169 1923. Maryland 9-4 144 --24. Tulsa 10-3 128 --25. N.C. State 9-4 119 --

Others receiving votes: Utah 98, Iowa 54, San Diego St. 52, N. Illinois 47, Miami (Ohio) 21, Florida 19, West Virginia 16, Notre Dame 9, Connecticut 8, Air Force 5, Navy 3, Hawaii 2, BYU 1, E. Washington 1.

USA TODAY TOP 25 POLL

Record Pts Pvs1. Auburn (56) 14-0 1,424 22. TCU (1) 13-0 1,336 33. Oregon 12-1 1,333 14. Stanford 12-1 1,254 55. Ohio State 12-1 1,197 66. Oklahoma 12-2 1,096 8t7. Boise State 12-1 1,012 108. LSU 11-2 1,007 128. Wisconsin 11-2 1,007 410. Oklahoma State 11-2 883 1311. Alabama 10-3 860 1812. Arkansas 10-3 818 8t13. Nevada 13-1 734 1514. Michigan State 11-2 676 715. Virginia Tech 11-3 636 1116. Florida State 10-4 506 2317. Mississippi State 9-4 505 2218. Missouri 10-3 473 1419. Nebraska 10-4 354 1620. Central Florida 11-3 328 2421. Texas A&M 9-4 277 1722. South Carolina 9-5 181 2023. Utah 10-3 156 1924. Maryland 9-4 111 NR25. North Carolina State 9-4 94 NR

Others receiving votes: Northern Illinois 82; Tulsa 41; San Diego State 36; West Virginia 35; Iowa 31; Miami (Ohio) 13; Florida 10; Connecticut 7; Air Force 4; Hawaii 4; Notre Dame 3; Washington 1.

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