WASHINGTON — Although both teams struggled last week, Florida and Alabama were ranked 1-2 in the 2009 college football season's first Ipsos Fan First Poll.
The Gators overcame two Tim Tebow interceptions returned for touchdowns to beat Mississippi State 29-19, while the Crimson Tide blocked a Tennessee field goal on the game's last play to beat the Volunteers 12-10.
Texas, which crushed Missouri 41-7, was ranked third. The Ipsos top three mirrored the BCS, sportswriters and coaches rankings.
The fans, like the BCS, had Iowa at No. 4. The sportswriters and the coaches put Southern California in the fourth spot, however, while the fans put the Trojans at No. 8. Iowa was seventh in the sportswriters' and eighth in the coaches' polls.
Following Iowa was Cincinnati, which beat Louisville 41-10 with backup Zach Collaros filling in for injured star quarterback Tony Pike, at No. 5, and No. 6 Boise State, which traveled to the Aloha State to crush Hawaii 54-9.
Penn State, which beat Michigan 35-10, was a surprise seventh in the fans poll. The Nittany Lions didn't get nearly the same respect in the other polls. JoePa's boys were ranked 12th by the BCS and AP and 10th in the coaches poll.
Rounding out the Top 10 were TCU, which had no trouble beating BYU 38-7, at nine and LSU, which beat Auburn 31-10, at No. 10.
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 the love of schools or the game or rivalries.
Ipsos' online poll starts with a representative sample of 2,014 Americans, and then screens them for their interest in college football.
Other surveys are filled out by busy coaches who don't have time to watch other teams or jaded sportswriters who are paid to follow the sport.
IPSOS FAN FIRST POLL
1. Florida Gators (7-0)
2. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0)
3. Texas Longhorns (7-0)
4. Iowa Hawkeyes (8-0)
5. Cincinnati Bearcats (7-0)
6. Boise State Broncos (7-0)
7. Penn State Nittany Lions (7-1)
8. USC Trojans (6-1)
9. TCU Horned Frogs (7-0)
10. LSU Tigers (6-1)
11. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-1)
12. Pittsburgh Panthers (7-1)
13. Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-1)
14. Oregon Ducks (6-1)
15. Ohio State Buckeyes (6-2)
16. West Virginia Mountaineers (6-1)
17. Houston Cougars (6-1)
18. Utah Utes (6-1)
19. South Carolina Gamecocks (6-2)
20. Virginia Tech Hokies (5-2)
21. Miami Hurricanes (5-2)
22. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-2)
23. Ole Miss Rebels (5-2)
24. Oklahoma Sooners (4-3)
25. Arizona Wildcats (5-2)
METHODOLOGY AND FAN SELECTION
For this survey, a national representative sample of 2,014 respondents from Ipsos' U.S. online panel was interviewed online, including 1,223 college football fans and 464 avid college fans. Weighting then was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflected 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 coverage error and measurement error.
Fans were selected in a rigorous multistage process. First, a representative sample of U.S. adults was selected from the Ipsos online panel. Of this sample, about 60 percent were college football fans, defined as watching at least one college football game in a year. Ipsos then selected "avid college football fans," representing about 38 percent of all college football fans, or 23 percent of the adult population. The definition of "avid football fans" was based on an index of how often the fan watches college football games on television, listens to games on the radio or attends games in person, as well as reads newspapers and magazine articles related to college football.
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