BCS stands still: Ala., Texas Tech stay on top

The Baltimore Sun

All the top teams took care of their business and the Bowl Championship Series standings were unchanged at the top yesterday, with Alabama and Texas Tech holding the top two spots and Florida, Texas and Oklahoma poised to move up.

The Crimson Tide ran away from Mississippi State in the second half of a 32-7 victory that kept Alabama on top of both the USA Today coaches' poll and the Harris poll. Alabama has a .9787 BCS average.

Texas Tech (.9698) remained second in the polls and first according to the computer ratings during a week off. The Red Raiders head into their fourth straight game against a ranked opponent, this time at Oklahoma, in control of their national title and Big 12 championship hopes.

The Sooners also had the week off, while Florida and Texas both had blowout victories.

Maryland was No. 25.

AP Top 25: : Miami stormed into the Associated Press poll for the first time in more than two years. Having won five straight games, the Hurricanes entered at No. 23. Also, Maryland re-entered the poll at No. 22. Otherwise, it was a remarkably stable week for the rankings. The first 16 teams held their places from last week. No. 1 Alabama received 42 first-place votes and 1,601 points. No. 2 Texas Tech received 21 first-place votes and 1,574 points. Florida, coming off a 56-6 victory against South Carolina, took two first-place votes away from Alabama and received 1,476 points. Texas was No. 4, followed by Oklahoma, Southern California and Penn State. Texas Tech plays at Oklahoma on Saturday in a game that could decide the Big 12 South title and clear up the national championship race if the Red Raiders win. Unbeaten Utah was eighth and undefeated Boise State was ninth. The Utes try to complete a perfect regular season Saturday against in-state rival and No. 16 BYU. Ohio State was 10th. Miami went 21 straight weeks at No. 1 from 2001-02, winning the '01 national title - its fifth overall - and losing the championship game after the '02 season to Ohio State in overtime. But the Hurricanes hit hard times the previous two seasons and had been missing from the previous 41 polls. The Hurricanes last took the field as a ranked team Sept. 16, 2006, against Louisville, when they were 17th. They lost, 31-7, and fell out of the AP Top 25 the next day, ending a streak of 107 straight appearances in the rankings. Miami finished that season 7-6 and coach Larry Coker was fired. Randy Shannon, a longtime Miami assistant and former player, took over and went 5-7 last year. Now Shannon's Hurricanes are in position to go to their first Atlantic Coast Conference title game this season. Miami (7-3, 4-2) beat Virginia Tech, 16-14, on Thursday and holds sole possession of first-place in the Coastal Division, with a one-game lead on Georgia Tech. The Hurricanes visit the Yellow Jackets on Saturday. "The only thing that matters to us is that we've got an opponent on the road that's playing very well in Georgia Tech," Shannon said. "They play very good at home, they can run the football and they've got great defensive players. That's the only thing that can matter to us right now." In the latest poll, No. 11 Oklahoma State was followed by Missouri, Georgia, Ball State, TCU and BYU, just like last week. Michigan State moved up one spot to No. 17 and LSU jumped a spot to No. 18. No. 19 is Cincinnati and No. 20 is Pittsburgh. The Big East rivals play Saturday with first place on the line. The final five are Oregon State, Maryland, Miami, Oregon and North Carolina, which slipped eight spots after losing, 17-15, to the Terrapins.

Notre Dame: : Wide receiver Michael Floyd and linebacker Brian Smith will miss the final two regular-season games because of knee injuries they suffered Saturday against Navy.

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