Florida ranked first, Alabama second in initial BCS rankings

By Steve Yanda
Monday, October 19, 2009

Jolted by a near upset Saturday and overtaken in the Associated Press top 25 poll Sunday, the Florida Gators nonetheless remained on top of the Bowl Championship Series ratings, which were released Sunday for the first time this season.

Alabama, which hopped past Florida for the top spot in the AP poll after an impressive win Saturday night over South Carolina, came in at No. 2 in the first BCS rankings.

Florida (6-0) and Alabama (7-0) do not play each other during the regular season, and because of the considerable lead both squads own over No. 3 Texas (6-0), it is possible the Gators and the Crimson Tide could meet in the Southeastern Conference title game and the BCS national championship game. Both teams would have to finish the regular season undefeated in order for that scenario to have a chance of playing out.

Boise State (6-0), a member of the Western Athletic Conference, whose champion does not receive an automatic berth in one of the five BCS bowls, is ranked No. 4. Big East leader Cincinnati (6-0) rounded out the top five. Boise State's relatively weak conference schedule will make it difficult for the Broncos to climb any higher, even if they remain unbeaten. In fact, both Cincinnati and No. 6 Iowa (7-0) could surpass Boise State provided they keep winning.

After a late game-winning field goal saved Florida from being upset by Arkansas on Saturday, the Gators ranked No. 1 in each of the three factors -- the Harris Poll, the coaches' poll and the computer rankings -- that are used to configure the BCS rankings.

Alabama, behind the efforts of one of the nation's stingiest defenses and a Heisman Trophy candidate at running back, already has handily defeated three ranked teams this season and finished second in each of the three BCS rankings components. Crimson Tide sophomore running back Mark Ingram rushed for a career-high 246 yards in Saturday's win over South Carolina and is just another reason to think Alabama can going undefeated in the regular season.

No. 7 Southern California, No. 9 Louisiana State and No. 10 Miami each own 5-1 records. No. 8 Texas Christian, the only top 10 representative outside the automatic-qualifying conferences aside from Boise State, holds a 6-0 mark. . . .

Connecticut starting cornerback Jasper Howard died Sunday after being stabbed in the early morning hours outside a university-sponsored dance. The incident occurred hours after Connecticut defeated Louisville on homecoming weekend.

Howard, 20, who soon was going to become a father, was one of two people stabbed during a fight after someone pulled a fire alarm during a dance at the school's student union. Local police told the Associated Press that investigators have leads but no suspects in Howard's murder. . . .

Clemson backup safety Kantrell Brown is expected to make a full recovery after spraining his neck Saturday against Wake Forest. Brown was taken off the field on a stretcher with his neck in a brace after a kickoff return by the Demon Deacons. Brown returned to campus later Saturday night. . . .

Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops told reporters Sunday he had no update on quarterback Sam Bradford, who re-injured his right (throwing) shoulder while being sacked early in Saturday's three-point loss to Texas. Bradford suffered a third-degree sprain on the same shoulder that caused him to sit out three games this season after he was originally injured on Sept. 5.

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