Hurricanes ranked for first time in two years
NEW YORK -- Miami stormed into the Top 25 on Sunday for the first time in more than two years.
Having won five straight games, the Hurricanes entered The Associated Press poll at No. 23.
The top five of The Associated Press poll released Sunday:
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It was an otherwise 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 last 41 polls.
The Hurricanes last took the field as a ranked team was Sept. 16, 2006 against Louisville. No. 17 Miami 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.
Maryland jumped back into the ranking this week along with Oregon. The Terps have beaten four ranked opponents this season, more than any team in the country, but have lost to three unranked teams.
Maryland on Saturday hosts Florida State, which dropped out of Top 25 after to Boston College, in a key game in the ACC's Atlantic Division.
South Carolina and Tulsa, which lost 70-30 at Houston, both dropped out of the poll.
Tulsa is the third team to allow at least 70 points in a game when it was ranked.
Fresno State was No. 24 when the Bulldogs lost 73-18 against Northern Illinois in 1990. BYU was No. 9 when the Cougars lost 72-54 to Hawaii in 2001.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press