National

Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma top Fan First Poll

MCT

Alabama's shutout of Auburn to continue its undefeated season earned the Crimson Tide the top spot among fans for the fourth week in a row in the Ipsos Fan First Poll.

Alabama (12-0) will have a chance to show fans if their devotion is deserved this weekend, when it takes on No. 2 Florida (11-1) for the SEC championship. The Gators extended their winning streak to eight games last week when they beat intrastate rival Florida State 45-15, knocking the Seminoles (8-4) out of the Top 25 rankings.

The 61-41 free-for-all between home-state rivals Oklahoma and Oklahoma State gave the Sooners (11-1) the No. 3 spot and moved quarterback Sam Bradford 370 yards closer to a Heisman Trophy. With the loss, the Cowboys (9-3) held at No. 12 in the Ipsos fan poll, which asks die-hard football fans to rank the merits of college teams each week.

Texas (11-1) was No. 4 after another Heisman contender, quarterback Colt McCoy, led the Longhorns to a 49-9 win over Texas A&M. Penn State (11-1) was idle last week while it contemplated spending New Year's Day at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., and rounded out the top five.

Texas Tech (11-1) held onto the No. 6 spot by beating Baylor, and Southern California (10-1) moved up two slots to No. 7 by crushing Notre Dame 38-3.

Utah (12-0) and Ohio State (10-2) were eighth and ninth in the poll after idle weeks. Capping the Top 10 was Boise State (12-0), which crushed Fresno State 61-10 but still dropped three slots in the poll.

Cincinnati (10-2) got one of the biggest bumps of the week, moving to No. 13 from No. 18 after beating Syracuse 30-10.

In this online survey, a representative sample of adults is selected. Among the 61 percent of the 1,018 participants who are college football fans, Ipsos chose 235 avid football fans who follow the sport closely and interviewed them between Dec. 1-3.

Other well-known polls are voted on by sportswriters and coaches, but the Ipsos survey measures the respect of folks who watch college football on a flat-panel TV from the comfort of home or from the alumni section of a chilly stadium.

Ipsos Fan First Poll

1 Alabama (12-0) ..... 1 (last week)

2 Florida (11-1) ..... 5

3 Oklahoma (11-1) ..... 2

4 Texas (11-1) ..... 3

5 Penn State (11-1) ..... 4

6 Texas Tech (11-1) ..... 6

7 Southern Cal (10-1) ..... 9

8 Utah (12-0) ..... 8

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

10 Boise State (12-0) ..... 7

11 Ball State (12-0) ..... 10

12 Oklahoma State (9-3) ..... 12

13 Cincinnati (10-2) ..... 18

14 TCU (10-2) ..... 14

15 BYU (10-2) ..... 15

16 Georgia (9-3) ..... 13

17 Missouri (9-3) ..... 16

18 Georgia Tech (9-3) ..... 20

19 Boston College (9-3) ..... 22

20 Tulsa (10-2) ..... Unranked

21 Oregon (9-3) ..... 24

22 Michigan State (9-3) ..... 17

23 Oregon State (8-4) ..... 21

24 Pittsburgh (8-3) ..... Unranked

25 Northwestern (9-3) ..... 23

METHODOLOGY AND FAN SELECTION:

For this survey, a national representative sample of 1,018 respondents from Ipsos' U.S. online panel were interviewed online (614 college fans and 235 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 61 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 39 percent of all football fans, or 23 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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