Miles downplays LSU's top ranking
By CARL DUBOIS
Published: Oct 8, 2007
One week after climbing to No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 college football poll for the first time in nearly half a century, the LSU Tigers became No. 1 in the two polls of the Bowl Championship Series.
The USA Today Top 25 Coaches' Poll and the Harris Interactive College Football Poll, each a one-third component of the BCS, ranked LSU at the top Sunday. The Tigers defeated reigning national champion Florida 28-24 Saturday night.
The victory earned LSU a unanimous No. 1 ranking in the AP poll, also released Sunday.
LSU coach Les Miles downplayed his team's status as the consensus No. 1.
"There isn't any question that you respect the opinion of the voters," Miles said, "but in reality, it's like being ahead at halftime: There's nothing more insignificant."
Stanford's 24-23 upset of the University of Southern California opened the door for LSU's substantial boost in this week's polls. The Trojans were No. 1 in the two BCS polls and a close No. 2 in the AP poll last week.
All 65 voters in the AP poll Sunday ranked LSU No. 1. The Tigers are the unanimous No. 1 team in the Harris poll, which has 113 voters.
The Harris poll, which was created in 2005 to replace the AP poll in the BCS formula, compiles rankings submitted by former coaches, players and administrators and current and former members of the media.
Fifty-eight of 60 coaches who vote in the USA Today poll ranked LSU first. Ohio State, ranked No. 3, received the other two first-place votes.
Miles, who votes on that poll, didn't reveal the identity of the team he voted at No. 1.
The Bowl Championship Series, which debuted in 1998, matches the top two teams in the complicated BCS standings after the regular season in a championship game."We're going to be close enough, we hope, if we just focus on our opponents, do the things that we need to do week by week," Miles said, "then we'll get the opportunities that this season may hold for us later."
Miles complimented Florida, which dropped from No. 4 to No. 9 after a Sept. 30 loss to Auburn and from No. 9 to No. 13 after losing to LSU.
"The second loss was the reason (for the drop)," Miles said, adding that if LSU is No. 1, the Gators looked like No. 2 on Saturday. "They should move up."
Cal is the new No. 2 after USC's drop.
Fans will have a new set of rankings to look at Sunday when the first weekly BCS standings of the season are released. The BCS formula is made up of an average of six computer rankings and the USA Today and Harris polls as equal components.
LSU won the BCS championship for 2003 by defeating Oklahoma 21-14 in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. The same season, the AP declared the University of Southern California its champion after the Trojans won the Rose Bowl.
Because the site of the BCS title game rotates every year among four metropolitan areas, the BCS Championship Game for this season is again scheduled for the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.
The BCS changed its format last season, deciding its championship in a separate game one week after the traditional bowl game in its host city. The switch increased the number of BCS bowl games from four to five, giving two more teams a spot in a BCS bowl.
At the same site of the Fiesta Bowl in suburban Phoenix, Florida defeated Ohio State 41-14 for the BCS championship of the 2006 season one week after the Fiesta Bowl.
The Sugar Bowl is scheduled for Jan. 1 in the Superdome. The BCS Championship Game is scheduled for Jan. 7 on the same field. LSU's victory Saturday against Florida came in the Tigers' first home game as the No. 1-ranked team since Oct. 31, 1959. LSU rallied to defeat No. 3-ranked Ole Miss 7-3 on Billy Cannon's famous 89-yard punt return in the fourth quarter of that game.
A week later, LSU lost its No. 1 ranking because of a 14-13 loss at Tennessee. LSU didn't become No. 1 again in the AP poll until eight days ago.
The Tigers moved up from No. 2 following their 34-9 victory against Tulane, moving ahead of USC by one first-place vote and two points overall despite USC's 27-24 victory at Washington.
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