Politics & Government

Alabama continues holding onto No. 1 spot in fan poll

WASHINGTON — Alabama (11-0) stayed atop the Ipsos Fan First College Football Poll this week, while Oklahoma (10-1) jumped four spots into No. 2 after its 65-21 unraveling of then-No. 2 Texas Tech (10-1), which dropped to No. 6.

The Crimson Tide, the only undefeated BCS team, was coming off a bye week before its annual Iron Bowl game on Saturday against archrival Auburn, and then No. 5 Florida (10-1) in the SEC championship game on Dec. 6 in Atlanta.

Rounding out the Top Five were three teams that remained in the same spots from the week before: No. 3 Texas (10-1), which had a bye week before taking on rival Texas A&M on Thanksgiving Day; No. 4 Penn State (11-1), Rose Bowl-bound after a 49-18 regular-season finale over Michigan State; and No. 5 Florida, which clobbered outmanned Citadel 70-19.

Following Texas Tech at No. 6 come this season's three other undefeated -- but non-BCS -- teams, with Boise State (11-0), which beat Nevada 41-34, at No. 7; Utah (12-0), which beat cross-state rival BYU 48-24, at No. 8; and Ball State (11-0), which beat Western Michigan 45-22 on Tuesday night, at No. 10. Southern California (9-1), coming off a bye week before taking on rivals Notre Dame on Saturday and traveling up the road to Pasadena on Dec. 6 to play UCLA, was at No. 9.

Four teams moved into the Ipsos Fan First Poll -- Georgia Tech (8-3) at No. 20, Boston College (8-3) at No. 22, Northwestern (9-3) at No. 23 and Iowa (8-4) at No. 25. -- while four others -- Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Maryland and defending national champion LSU -- dropped out.

The Ipsos Fan First Poll rankings reflect the confusion surrounding a season with one undefeated BCS team and six one-loss teams. While Alabama leads the Ipsos, BCS, sportswriters' and coaches' polls, what follows is a jumble: Oklahoma is second in the Ipsos and coaches' polls but third in sportswriters' and BCS polls. Texas is third in the Ipsos, second in the BCS and fourth in the coaches' and sportswriters' polls. Florida is fifth in the Ipsos but second in the sportswriters', third in the coaches' and fourth in the BCS. Southern California is ninth in the Ipsos but fifth in the other three polls, while Penn State is fourth in the Ipsos, sixth in the sportswriters' and coaches' polls and eighth in the BCS.

Playoff, anyone?

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 Alabama (11-0) ..... 1 (last week)

2 Oklahoma (10-1) ..... 6

3 Texas (10-1) ..... 3

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

5 Florida (10-1) ..... 5

6 Texas Tech (10-1) ..... 2

7 Boise State (11-0) ..... 9

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

9 USC (9-1) ..... 7

10 Ball State (11-0) ..... 13

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

12 Oklahoma State (9-2) ..... 12

13 Georgia (9-2) ..... 14

14 TCU (10-2) ..... 17

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

16 Missouri (9-2) ..... 15

17 Michigan State (9-3) ..... 16

18 Cincinnati (9-2) ..... 19

19 Florida State (8-3) ..... 24

20 Georgia Tech (8-3) ..... Unranked

21 Oregon State (8-3) ..... 23

22 Boston College (8-3) ..... Unranked

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

24 Oregon (8-3) ..... 21

25 Iowa (8-4) ..... Unranked

METHODOLOGY AND FAN SELECTION:

For this survey, a national representative sample of 628 respondents from Ipsos' U.S. online panel were interviewed online (329 college fans and 189 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 52 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 57 percent of all football fans, or 30 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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