FOOTBALL: Tuberville, Tigers eye BCS bowl

The first Bowl Championship Series rankings were released Monday, and Kentucky's opponent this week, Auburn, is ranked fourth. It probably will be a big deal for Auburn fans, but the Tigers know they can't afford to pay much attention at this point.

"It's great talk for all of the fans," Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said. "Our players and coaches are just blocking it out. We are a pretty good football team and are looking to get better."

The Tigers (7-0, 4-0 SEC) appeared to be fully focused on their business Saturday, taking a 30-0 lead before settling for a 38-20 victory over Arkansas. In the process, the Tigers also received two first-place votes in the AP Top 25 poll and moved from fourth to third, jumping ahead of Miami.

"I thought we were very convincing," Tuberville said. "We played well on both sides of the ball. We dominated offensively in the first half. ... We are playing with a lot of confidence right now. We don't talk about the other team. We just talk about us."

Auburn seemed to prove all that from the start with quarterback Jason Campbell hitting Devin Aromashodu with a 67-yard touchdown pass on the third play of the game. The Tigers then went on to gain 227 total yards in the first quarter and score on their first five possessions on the way to a 30-7 halftime lead.

The defense also did its part with some help from Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones, who suffered a groin pull on the Razorbacks' first offensive play. Jones passed for two touochdowns, but it was too little too late for Arkansas.

"They have a chance to do something special this year," Jones said of Auburn. "They have a chance to go to the SEC championship game and possibly the national championship game."

That looks good on paper this week, but it doesn't mean much for the Tigers. They can't beat USC, Oklahoma or Miami this week, let alone Georgia or Alabama.

Instead, the Tigers need to stay focused on beating Kentucky and getting better week by week.

"Really, we try not to think about it," linebacker Travis Williams said. "We could play Kentucky or Ole Miss and lose those games and the BCS wouldn't matter. We're not trying to be third or fourth. We want to be No. 1. Our goal is to make it to Atlanta, and if we do that everything else will take care of itself."

NOTES, QUOTES
GAME BALL GOES TO: QB Jason Campbell -- It helps when teams crowd the line to stop RBs Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown, but Campbell continues to his part exceptionally well, completing hit 17 of 19 passes for a career-high 297 yards and three touchdowns. "Jason was remarkable. What, 17-for-19? Just an unbelievable performance out of him," Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said.

KEEP AN EYE ON: RBs Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown -- The Razorbacks tried to stop the run and didn't work. Williams ran for 71 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and Brown took over and rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I told Jason before the game it's not as important how many you hit, but that you hit the right ones. I didn't know he would hit them all." -- Auburn offensive coordinator Al Borges on QB Jason Campbell.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: The numbers would seem to indicate Saturday was Auburn's worst game of the season since the Tigers did allow a season-high 20 points and a season-high 337 yards offense. However, the Tigers kept the Razorbacks and QB Matt Jones under wraps until they had the game well in hand. They refused to give up a running touchdown for the seventh time in seven games this season. "It's just big," defensive coordinator Gene Chizik said. "I'm so proud of our guys. They keep on plugging. Bad things happen during the game and they just keep on coming back. I think that's the sign of a team that is maturing."

STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: Jones is usually hard to sack but he played on Saturday with a pulled groin and the Tigers missed several opportunities to pin him down. They also failed to force any turnovers against a team that entered the game with a minus-one turnover margin.

ROSTER REPORT: For the fourth consecutive game a big lead allowed the Tigers to play a multitude of players. Those big leads have helped the Tigers survive a period of seven consecutive games without an open date. "Normally after six or seven week you get a little tired," coach Tommy Tuberville said. "But these guys are not showing anything whatsoever of fatigue. They're pushing themselves hard."


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