September 7, 2011 in Sports

LSU now No. 2 after beating Ducks

Associated Press photo

LSU’s T-Bob Hebert (53) celebrates Spencer Ware (11) scoring a touchdown.
(Full-size photo)

Winning the biggest game of college football’s opening weekend boosted LSU to No. 2 in the Associated Press Top 25.

No. 1 Oklahoma held on to the top spot in the first regular-season rankings, while the Tigers used their 40-27 victory against Oregon to jump rival Alabama, which slipped to No. 3.

“It’s way too early to feel like we have accomplished anything,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “Our guys understand the need to improve each game.”

The Sooners received 32 of 60 first-place votes and 1,448 points. LSU received 17 first-place votes and 1,415 points.

Alabama had nine first-place votes, and two voters had No. 4 Boise State top-ranked after the Broncos’ impressive 35-21 win against Georgia. Florida State moved up to No. 5.

Oregon dropped nine spots to No. 13 and defending national champion Auburn, which started the season at No. 23, fell out of the Top 25 after needing a late rally to beat Utah State 42-38 at home.

The Tigers became just the second defending national champions since the preseason poll started in 1950 to fall out of the rankings after the first week of the season in the first regular-season poll – though the circumstances were far different the first time it happened.

Alabama, the 1964 AP champion, started the ’65 season ranked No. 5. The Crimson Tide lost 18-17 to Georgia to open the season and dropped out, but the Associated Press only ranked 10 teams that season. Alabama eventually returned to the Top 10 and won another national title.

The 1961 Minnesota team is the only defending champion to be unranked in the preseason poll.

Moving into this week’s rankings were No. 20 Baylor, which beat TCU 50-48, and No. 22 South Florida, 23-20 winners at Notre Dame.

Also ranked for the first time this season were No. 23 Penn State and No. 24 Texas. The Longhorns started the season unranked for the first time since 1998.

Penn State moves into the rankings ahead of Saturday’s home game against third-ranked Alabama. It’s the only game this week matching ranked teams.

TCU dropped 11 spots to No. 25.

Notre Dame and Georgia tumbled out of the Top 25 after losses. Like Auburn, Southern California, which opened the season ranked 25th, fell out of the rankings after a victory. USC beat Minnesota 19-17.

USC reinstates Tyler

Southern California reinstated tailback Marc Tyler from suspension Tuesday, clearing last season’s leading rusher to play Saturday against Utah.

Tyler missed USC’s season-opening win over Minnesota and much of training camp for a series of disciplinary problems culminating in a rant on TMZ. Tyler has been quiet ever since, and he met several unspecified requirements from coach Lane Kiffin and athletic director Pat Haden to earn reinstatement.

Kiffin said Tyler has been “doing everything right” since his suspension July 18. Tyler returned to practice Aug. 24, working with the Trojans’ scout team.

Tyler, the son of former NFL running back Wendell Tyler, was suspended indefinitely after TMZ’s cameras recorded him outside a West Hollywood nightclub implying the Trojans pay their players. Tyler appeared to be drunk and joking, but USC wasn’t amused.

Irish starting Rees

Tommy Rees is in and Dayne Crist – benched after halftime of Notre Dame’s ugly 23-20 loss to South Florida – is out.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly announced a quarterback switch Tuesday with the Irish coming off a dreadful showing in their opener and facing a Saturday night game against Michigan in the Big House.

Just two weeks ago, Crist was announced as the starter after beating out Rees in training camp. Kelly said at the time he expected the senior to keep the job for the rest of the season.

But Crist’s uneven performance on Saturday and Rees’ strong relief job in the second half prompted the change.

“A very difficult situation that I felt needed to be addressed,” Kelly said.

“I want to win right now. I believe Tommy gives us the best chance to win against Michigan.”

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