Florida (13-1) finished No. 1 in the Ipsos Fan First college football poll after defeating No. 3 Oklahoma (12-2) 24-14 in the BCS championship game.
The fans, however, broke with the sportswriters' and the coaches' polls in the voting for No. 2, giving Texas (12-1) the nod.
The Longhorns, who beat No. 10 Ohio State 24-21 in the Fiesta Bowl, finished fourth in the sportswriters' poll and third in the coaches'.
Rounding out the Top 10 were No. 4 Southern California (12-1), which beat No. 6 Penn State 38-24 in the Rose Bowl and was ranked second in the coaches' poll and third in the sportswriters' poll; No. 5 Utah (13-0), which was ranked second in the sportswriters' poll and fourth in the coaches' poll after defeated No. 7 Alabama 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl; No. 8 Texas Tech, which lost to No. 22 Mississippi (9-4) in the Cotton Bowl; and Boise State (12-1), which lost to TCU 17-16 in the Poinsettia Bowl.
While the national champion Gators won the fans' vote by wide margins in all regions of the country, the vote for No. 2 took on a strong regional tilt. Texas finished second in the Northeast and the South, while Oklahoma finished in the runner-up spot in the Midwest, while Southern California finished second in the West.
Utah, the only team to finish with a perfect record, finished behind Florida, Texas and Oklahoma in each region.
The Ipsos Fan First Poll gives a voice to the true die-hards — the men and women who devote their fall Saturdays to the gridiron because of their love of the schools, the game or the rivalries.
Ipsos' online poll starts with a representative sample of 1,007 Americans, then screens them for their interest in college football.
Other surveys are filled out by coaches and sportswriters, who are paid to follow the sport.
The Ipsos Fan First Poll
1 Florida (13-1) ..... 1 (previous ranking)
2 Texas (12-1) ..... 4
3 Oklahoma (12-2) ..... 2
4 USC (12-1) ..... 5
5 Utah (13-0) ..... 8
6 Penn State (11-2) ..... 6
7 Alabama (12-2) ..... 3
8 Texas Tech (11-2) ..... 7
9 Boise State (12-1) ..... 9
10 Ohio State (10-3) ..... 10
11 Georgia (10-3) ..... 14
12 TCU (11-2) ..... 15
13 Cincinnati (11-3) ..... 11
14 Virginia Tech (10-4) ..... 17
15 Oregon (10-3) ..... 20
16 Ball State (12-2) ..... 12
17 Oklahoma State (9-4) ..... 13
18 BYU (10-3) ..... 16
19 Missouri (10-4) ..... 22
20 Tulsa (11-3) ..... 23
21 Florida State (9-4) ..... Unranked
22 Ole Miss (9-4) ..... Unranked
23 Georgia Tech (9-4) ..... 19
24 Iowa (9-4) ..... Unranked
25 Michigan State (9-4) ..... 18
METHODOLOGY AND FAN SELECTION
For this survey, a national representative sample of 1,007 respondents from Ipsos' U.S. online panel was interviewed online (631 college fans and 270 avid college fans). Weighting was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects the U.S. adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. Statistical margins of error aren't applicable to online polls because they're based on samples drawn from opt-in online panels, not on random samples that reflect the population within a statistical probability ratio. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to, coverage error and measurement error.
Fans in this poll are selected in a rigorous multistage process. First, a representative sample of U.S. adults is selected from the Ipsos online panel. Of this sample, about 63 percent are college football fans, who are defined as watching at least one college football game in a year. Ipsos then selects "avid football fans," representing about 43 percent of all football fans, or 27 percent of the adult population. The definition of "avid football fans" is based on an index of how often the fan watches college football games on television, listens to them on the radio and attends games in person as well as reads newspaper and magazine articles related to college football.
McClatchy Newspapers 2008