Oct. 10, 2004
SportsLine.com wire reports

The gap between No. 1 USC and No. 2 Oklahoma is smaller than it's been all season.

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The Sooners' 12-0 shutout of Texas and Southern California's close call against California persuaded some voters in the Associated Press Top 25 released Sunday to change their first-place vote.

USC received 41 first-place votes, a season low, and 1,601 points in the media voting. Oklahoma got a season-high 23 first-place votes and 1,582 points, leaving the Sooners 19 points behind the Trojans with the Bowl Championship Series standings just a week away from making their 2004 debut.

The BCS will release its newly formulated standings on Oct. 18. The AP poll will count for one-third of a team's BCS points this year. Thecoaches poll will also count for a third and a compilation of computer rankings will make up the remaining one-third.

In the latest coaches poll, USC is No. 1, followed by Oklahoma, Miami, Auburn and Purdue.

The polls and rankings released on Oct. 17 and 18 will determine the first BCS standings. The top two teams in the BCS standings at the end of the regular season will play in the Orange Bowl for the national title.


Oklahoma and RB Adrian Peterson ran past Texas Saturday to close in on No. 1 USC in the polls. (AP)
USC and Oklahoma have been 1-2 in the AP and coaches polls since the preseason, but before the Trojans' 23-17 victory over Cal on Saturday the points differential between the teams was more than double what it is now.

Voters may have been impressed by the performance of Sooners freshman running back Adrian Peterson, who proved himself a more-than-capable complement to Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jason White by rushing for 225 yards against the Longhorns.

"We expected to be able to run the football, and it wasn't just Adrian," Stoops said. "I think our offensive line and the way they played are all part of running the ball. We're improving with it."

Georgia had been No. 3, but a 19-14 loss at home to Tennessee on Saturday dropped the Bulldogs to No. 12.

Idle Miami moved up one spot to No. 3. No. 4 Auburn received the remaining first-place vote and Purdue moved up four spots to No. 5.

Auburn's ranking is the Tigers best since Nov. 6, 1994. Purdue hasn't been ranked this high in 25 years. On Sept. 10, 1979, the Boilermakers were ranked fifth in the country.

Unbeaten Virginia is No. 6 and No. 7 is Florida State. The Cavaliers and Seminoles will play in Tallahassee on Saturday.

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Cal slipped one spot to No. 8; Texas dropped four spots to No. 9; and undefeated Wisconsin is 10th.

The second 10 starts with No. 11 Utah, followed by Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan and No. 15 Arizona State. The unbeaten Sun Devils get their chance to break USC's 14-game winning streak on Saturday in Los Angeles.

"Every weekend we know we've got that bull's-eye on our back," USC defensive end Shaun Cody said after Saturday's win. "It's awesome, it's fun. Every team is going to get after you and it makes you focus on every play."

Oklahoma State is No. 16, followed by West Virginia, Louisville, which plays at Miami on Thursday, Minnesota and LSU.

The final five includes two teams making their season debuts in the Top 25 - No. 23 Texas A&M and No. 24 Southern Mississippi.

The Aggies are in the rankings for the first time since early in the 2002 season. The last time the Golden Eagles were in the Top 25 was Nov. 12, 2000.

Boise State is No. 21, Florida is No. 22 and Ohio State is No. 25 after losing its second consecutive game.