BYU now No. 9; OU drops to 13th

Updated: September 9, 2009, 2:00 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- BYU barged into the top 10 of The Associated Press college football poll, making the biggest jump of any team from the preseason rankings after scoring the biggest upset of the opening weekend of the regular season.

The Cougars jumped 11 spots to No. 9 in the Top 25 released Tuesday, three days after they stunned Oklahoma 14-13 as three-touchdown underdogs.

Cougars quarterback Max Hall said the victory has energized Provo, Utah, and the BYU campus.

Poll Positions

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"For the first time there were people at the airport to greet the team. About 2,000 people were out there when we got back," he said. "The overall atmosphere has been really cool and we're enjoying it."

Florida was still an overwhelming No. 1, receiving 56 of 60 first-place votes, two less than last week. Texas held steady at No. 2, with two first-place votes.

USC will be No. 3 when it visits No. 8 Ohio State on Saturday in one of the biggest nonconference games of the season. The Trojans moved up a spot this week and the Buckeyes fell after narrowly escaping with a 31-27 victory against Navy.

No. 4 Alabama moved up one spot after its 34-24 victory against Virginia Tech and persuaded two voters to pick them as the top-ranked team in the country.

No. 5 Oklahoma State moved up four spots after an impressive 24-10 victory against Georgia. The Cowboys have their best ranking since October 1985. The loss dropped the Bulldogs eight spots to No. 21.

No. 6 Mississippi, No. 7 Penn State and No. 10 California round out the top 10.

Oklahoma dropped 10 spots to No. 13 after losing, but all things considered the Sooners are probably feeling much better about their long-term outlook now than they were Saturday night at Dallas Cowboys Stadium.

Oklahoma lost Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford to a shoulder injury late in the first half against BYU. He is expected to miss two to four weeks, but will not need surgery and could be back by the time the Sooners play their next big game -- against Miami Hurricanes on Oct. 3.

BYU is no stranger to the top 10. The Cougars were ranked as high as eighth last season. But BYU stumbled in its biggest games, suffering lopsided losses to Mountain West Conference rivals TCU and Utah, then losing to Arizona in the Las Vegas Bowl.

"Our football team, we have three goals ... winning a conference championship, winning the state championship and going to a bowl game and winning it. We didn't do any of them," Hall said during a conference call with reporters. "Even though we won 10 games, we were upset with the way it ended."

BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said the Oklahoma victory should give a boost to the whole Mountain West Conference, which has been fighting for more access to the Bowl Championship Series.

"I do think that the game and how we played helped our conference, helped our team and helped the exposure of the fight that we're all kind of engaged in as our league is trying to gain credibility," Mendenhall said.

BYU travels to New Orleans to face Tulane on Saturday before playing their first home game on Sept. 19 against Florida State, one of three teams to fall out of the rankings this week.

Oregon and Iowa also fell out. Moving into the Top 25 were Miami, Cincinnati and Missouri.

LSU was No. 11 and No. 12 Boise State moved up two spots after beating Oregon 19-8 on Thursday.

Virginia Tech's opening loss dropped the Hokies seven spots to No. 14.

No. 15 Georgia Tech, was followed by TCU and Utah.

Notre Dame's 35-0 victory against Nevada helped the Fighting Irish climb five spots to No. 18.

North Carolina was No. 19 and Miami moved into the poll at No. 20 after a thrilling 38-34 victory Monday night against Florida State in Tallahassee.

The final five were Georgia, Nebraska, Cincinnati, Kansas and Missouri.

The Big 12 has six ranked teams, most of any conference.

Cincinnati, the defending Big East champions, is the first team from the conference to be ranked this season. The Bearcats started their season Monday with a 47-15 road victory against Big East rival Rutgers.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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