Alabama reaches No. 1; Florida No. 2

Updated: October 18, 2009, 5:32 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- After a steady climb, Alabama has reached the top of the AP poll.

The Crimson Tide jumped Florida and landed at No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 on Sunday.

Poll Positions

The top five of The Associated Press poll:

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For the complete Associated Press Top 25 poll, click here.

The unbeaten Gators had been in the top spot since the preseason, but the Crimson Tide has been gaining ground for weeks by winning more convincingly than the Gators.

The final surge came after Alabama beat South Carolina 20-6 and Florida needed a field goal in the waning seconds to beat Arkansas 23-20 at home.

The Crimson Tide, which received 10 first-place votes last week, got 39 out of 59 from the media panel. Florida received the other 20 first-place votes.

Texas is No. 3, followed by Southern California, Cincinnati and Boise State at No. 6. The Broncos dropped a spot.

The first BCS standings also came out Sunday and Florida was in first place, followed by Alabama, Texas and Boise State.

Unbeaten Iowa moved up four places after beating Wisconsin 20-10 on the road. Miami, LSU and TCU round out the top 10.

Alabama started the season ranked fifth, then immediately moved up a spot to fourth after beating Virginia Tech to start the season. After two weeks at No. 4, the Crimson Tide moved up another spot to No. 3.

After three weeks behind Florida and Texas, Alabama jumped the Longhorns last week and finished the climb to No. 1 on Sunday.

Alabama was No. 1 for five weeks in the second half of last season, including two weeks when SEC rival Florida was No. 2.

The Gators, the defending national champions, came into the season as an overwhelming No. 1, receiving the highest of percentage of first-place votes ever in the preseason poll.

But Tim Tebow and the Gators have sputtered offensively and had trouble putting away the better teams on their schedule. They had 10-point victories against Tennessee and LSU before beating Arkansas on a field goal with 9 seconds left.

Alabama's four SEC victories have been by an average of 19 points, with the closest margin being 14 against South Carolina.

Florida's four SEC wins have been by an average of 14 points, but that was padded by a 34-point victory against Kentucky.

"Saturday, after watching Florida give up big plays to an offense Alabama completely shut down, I decided to make the switch," said Andy Staples of SI.com. "Alabama, at the moment, seems to have fewer weaknesses than anyone else."

Alabama also has a nonconference victory against No. 15 Virginia Tech. Florida has played only one ranked team, LSU.

"I had been reluctant to make a switch at No. 1, even though Alabama has looked good all year," wrote Mike Strain, of the Tulsa World, in an e-mail. "But after Saturday, I voted Alabama No. 1, because I think the Crimson Tide has produced more impressive performances than Florida so far."

Georgia Tech made the biggest jump in the rankings this week, moving up eight spots to No. 11 after beating Virginia Tech 28-23.

The Hokies dropped 11 spots from No. 4 to 15. Ohio State also dropped 11 spots to 18. The Buckeyes were upset 26-18 at Purdue.

Oregon is No. 12, followed by Penn State and Oklahoma State.

No. 16 BYU then Houston, Ohio State, Utah and Pittsburgh finish the first 20.

Pitt, No. 21 Texas Tech and No. 22 West Virginia are ranked for the first time this season.

No. 23 South Carolina, No. 24 Kansas and No. 25 Oklahoma all lost, but remained ranked.

The Sooners, who have lost three games to ranked teams by a combine five points -- with Sam Bradford missing most of each game -- are the first team to be ranked with a 3-3 record since Tennessee in Oct. 23, 2005.

The Volunteers finished that season unranked and with a sub-.500 record.

Falling out of the rankings this week were Notre Dame, South Florida and Nebraska.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press