National

Penn State moves into No. 1 spot in fan poll

WASHINGTON — Texas' last-second loss to Texas Tech helped push Penn State to the top of the Ipsos Fan First Poll this week.

The Nittany Lions (9-0), coming off a bye week, moved up one spot after the Red Raiders (9-0), led by quarterback Graham Harrell's 474 yards passing, beat the Longhorns (8-1) 39-33 in Lubbock.

The fans looked much more favorably on Penn State than did the BCS rankings or the sportswriters' poll, which ranked the Nittany Lions third behind Alabama (9-0) and Texas Tech, or the coaches' poll, which ranked Penn State No. 2, after Alabama.

Texas Tech ranked second in the Fan First Poll, followed by Alabama, with Texas and Oklahoma (8-1) — fourth in the coaches' poll and sixth in the BCS and sportswriters' polls — rounding out the Top Five.

Florida (7-1) — ranked fourth in the sportswriters' poll and fifth in the BCS and coaches' polls — moved up four spots to No. 6 in the Fan First Poll after its 49-10 dismantling of Georgia (7-2).

Oklahoma State (8-1) dropped one place to No. 7 after crushing Iowa State 59-17.

The next two spots were unchanged from last week, with Southern California (7-1) at No. 8 after whitewashing Washington 56-0 and Utah (9-0) at No. 9 after squeaking past New Mexico 13-10.

Rounding out the Top 10 was Ohio State (7-2), up one spot from last week after a bye.

Three previously unranked teams moved into the Fan First Poll Top 25, with California (7-2) at 21st, Northwestern (7-2) at 22nd and West Virginia (6-2) at 24th.

The Ipsos Fan First Poll gives a voice to the true die-hard, the men and women who devote their fall Saturdays to the gridiron because of the love of schools or the game or rivalries.

Ipsos' online poll starts with a representative sample of 1,013 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.

Ipsos Fan First Poll

1. Penn State (9-0)........2

2. Texas Tech (9-0)........4

3. Alabama (9-0)........3

4. Texas (8-1)........1

5. Oklahoma (8-1)........5

6. Florida (7-1)........10

7. Oklahoma State (8-1)........6

8. USC (7-1)........8

9. Utah (9-0)........9

10. Ohio State (7-2)........11

11. Boise State (7-0)........13

12. TCU (9-1)........12

13. Georgia (7-2)........7

14. BYU (8-1)........16

15. Ball State (8-0)........14

16. Missouri (7-2)........21

17. Michigan State (7-2)........19

18. LSU (6-2)........20

19. Georgia Tech (7-2)........25

20. Florida State (6-2)........17

21. California (7-2)........Unranked

22. Northwestern (7-2)........Unranked

23. North Carolina (6-2)........22

24. West Virginia (6-2)........Unranked

25. Minnesota (7-2)........15

METHODOLOGY AND FAN SELECTION:

For this survey, a national representative sample of 1,013 respondents from Ipsos' U.S. online panel were interviewed online (653 college fans and 231 avid college fans). Weighting then was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of 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 mirror 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, here defined as watching at least one college football game in a year. Ipsos then selects "avid football fans," representing about 35 percent of all football fans, or 22 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.

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