With a .9036 average, the Tigers find themselves just behind the Sooners, who have a an average of .9161. The Trojans lead the way at .9912 while the Hurricanes are second at .9187. Coach Tommy Tuberville said it's nice to be included in the process this season, but there is a long way to go for his football team to reach its goals in 2004.
"All we want to do right now is focus on trying to get to Atlanta," Tuberville said. "If we can do that our next step would be to try to win that game. Our next step would be trying to get in the BCS and then if you fall in the right BCS game that works. There are so many factors involved that we're not even in control of."
Team percentages are figured by dividing a team's actual voting points by a maximum of 1625 possible points in the AP Poll and 1525 possible points in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll. Six computer rankings are also used. They are calculated in inverse order (25 for a number one vote and 1 for a number 25 vote, etc.) and are used to determine the overall computer component. The best and worst ranking for each team is dropped and the remaining four are added and divided by 100 to produce and Computer Rankings Percentage. Each computer ranking accounts for schedule strength in its formula. The BCS Average is calculated by averaging the percent totals of the AP, USA Today/ESPN Coach and computer polls.
The play of quarterback Jason Campbell is a big reason why Auburn finds itself near the top of the college football world.
This week Auburn is third in the AP, fourth in the coaches poll, but third in the computer rankings. Oklahoma was fifth in the computer rankings, which allowed Miami to jump the Sooners in the BCS standings for second place. USC is ranked first in both major polls and in the computer rankings. Tuberville said that this is a big step for the Auburn program, but there's still a long road ahead to compete for the big prize.
"When I came here our goal has been to win the National Championship," Tuberville said. "Every year we've made strides in one way or another to get to that point and have that opportunity. Now we've just taken the next step. It's been a major step for us to get to this point. Obviously most of the (top BCS) teams are undefeated or only have one loss, so it means you're playing pretty well.
"It's all just expectations now, it has nothing to do with reality. We can't really control it other than what we do on the field. There is going to be added incentive to the teams we're playing to play harder and play better and to prepare a lot better. It's just a bigger target on Auburn and our football team."
The gap between the first four and number five Florida State is a substantial one with the Seminoles almost a full percentage point behind Auburn at .8072. Wisconsin, Utah, California, Tennessee and Georgia round out the Top 10 in the standings. Other teams of note in the Top 25 are LSU at number 19, Florida at 22 and UAB at 24. The Blazers have the number 19 computer rating in the country this week.
A number four ranking for Auburn is the first for the program in any BCS standings since its inception. At 7-0 this season and 4-0 in the SEC, the Tigers have marched through the conference to this point and that has driven AU up the polls since starting the season number 17. Tuberville said that all his Tigers can do now is to keep doing what they've done all season because the road isn't going to get any easier.
"Number one our players will look at it and it will give them a little bit more incentive, hopefully, of studying film, of not getting in late season bad habits," Tuberville said. "It will also put a bigger target on us knowing that when we play at home and on the road people understand this team is ranked pretty high and they've got a good football team."
A big position for the ranking is the national attention it puts on your program, as Tuberville and his staff are quickly finding out. Known as solid recruiters, the staff has been getting calls from players all over the South that have become more and more interested in Auburn as the Tigers have kept winning. Tuberville said he feels like this is just another positive for the future of the program.
"We're making a lot of progress and we've got a lot of these guys coming back next year," Tuberville said. "Recruiting is really going well. We've got people calling us. People that committed to other teams are calling us now saying "we want to take an official visit." It's all about national exposure. Today we go from an 11:30 Jefferson-Pilot to a 7 p.m. nationally televised game (rescheduling of the Ole Miss game). That helps. This time of the year people are going to watch you play. It's big for the program, there's no doubt about that."
On Sunday the team turned its attention to Kentucky, but Monday's announcement will be talked about for days around the players, coaches and Auburn fans. Tuberville said that aspect of things is fun and he's excited about that, but the players and coaches will move forward and let the talk die down because the season is only halfway done and the Tigers hope for bigger and better things before it's finished.
"I think it's great for our fans and alumni," Tuberville said. "I think it's great to talk about, but again this is only a ranking. It has nothing to do with where you're really going to end up. We have to understand that. Hopefully we'll do that. Our players will look at it and we'll talk about it tomorrow (Tuesday) in our first team meeting. After that we won't bring it up until hopefully after our last game.
"I'm sure there is going to be a lot of talk about it, but as I said we'll address that tomorrow in our team meeting the very first thing. We will not have any talk about it around the office building or in the meeting rooms or on the practice field. I'm not naive enough to believe it's not going to be talked about somewhere else and that's fine, that's what it's all about. It should be fun. We also have to understand how we got here. One loss will pretty much kick us out of it."