Currently at .9371, Auburn is holding a solid lead over Oregon (.9069) with Boise State (.8846) and TCU (.8833) looming at three and four. The Tigers are ranked number one for the first time since late in September of 1985 following the announcement. That team moved to number one following a win over Southwest Louisiana and held it for two weeks until a loss to Tennessee. Now back in that unfamiliar spot, coach Gene Chizik said right now he and his team are just focusing on doing things the same way they've done all season.
"I go back to the same old boring stuff," Chizik said. "One day at a time, one play at a time, just don't change what you're doing in how you prepare. Everybody take a self-inventory and figure out how they can become better at their trade. I really believe that's the deal. Until we all do that together on the same page on the same day, I still say we're in search for our best game and it hasn't happened yet."
While Chizik and his staff can control what is emphasized in the athletic complex, at practices, and in the meeting rooms, things are much different outside of that bubble. That was apparent Sunday night as Zac Etheridge's phone was blowing up once the announcement was made. Chizik said all they can do is continue to move forward and try to take care of business.
"I can only control how we proceed in this building," Chizik said. "We had a team meeting and talked about being grounded and how every week is a new week and a new opportunity. It probably sounds to them the same ole sad song every week. That's what we do. Hopefully they'll continue to prepare every week and I don't see any reason why they wouldn't."
Judging by the reactions of the players, Chizik's talk at least hit home on Sunday. Saying the right things, the message is clear from Auburn's Tigers this day. Don't worry about the ranking, just play football.
"I wouldn't say it changes things because you've still got to go out there and win games," senior guard Mike Berry said. "It is more of a target. Now everybody is respecting us. I didn't feel like everybody respected us at the beginning of the season. It's one of those things where you have to come out and prove yourself because everybody is shooting for that top spot. You have to come out ready to play."
Auburn has put together a solid report card to this point in the season with wins over #12 LSU, #19 Arkansas, #20 South Carolina, and #21 Mississippi State in the BCS, but the tests aren't done just yet. With #7 Alabama still looming that could be the one that the Tigers are focused on but redshirt freshman Nosa Eguae said the team isn't concerned about anything other than Ole Miss.
"For us it's something we'll take," Eguae said of the top spot in the BCS. "It's not something that makes us. We have something we're trying to do here. We're trying to win championships. Right now being week nine and number one doesn't matter. It's at the end being number one. We know we have a lot to work on. We'll keep on grinding during practice to get a victory this Saturday."
The previous three weeks the number one team in the country has lost on the road, Alabama at South Carolina, Ohio State at Wisconsin and Oklahoma at Missouri. Eguae said that's something that will keep the team grounded and focused on the task at hand.
"You look at those types of things and you learn from them but for us we don't see us as those teams," Eguae said. "We're just focused on what we have to do and working in practice to make plays and get victories."