Texas A&M No. 16 in first BCS poll

In the first BCS rankings of the 2004 season, red-hot Texas A&M, led by quarterback Reggie McNeal, has garnered the No. 16 spot in the poll. In only their second season under head coach Dennis Franchione, the 5-1 Aggies have already surpassed their four win total from last year.

After a torrid start that has the college football world singing the praises of Franchione and his young Aggie team, Texas A&M finds itself sitting at the No. 16 spot in the first Bowl Championship Series standings of the 2004 season. The poll, released Monday, features Southern California in the top slot, followed by Miami, then Oklahoma.

Texas A&M (5-1, 3-0 Big 12) is ranked 20th by the coaches and 17th by the AP. The Aggies' AP ranking is their highest since 1999 when the team was ranked 13th prior to an Oklahoma trip in late October.

The BCS average is calculated by averaging the percent totals of the Associated Press, USA Today/ESPN Coaches', and Computer polls. The AP and coaches' polls each count for one-third of a team's total score, while the other third is made up of a compilation of six computer rankings. After last season's split national championship, the new BCS formula relies more on the human polls than in years past.

USC, No. 1 in both the Associated Press rankings and the coaches' poll, was a clear choice for No. 1. Surprising most poll-gazers however, was Miami's No. 2 ranking. The Hurricanes, ranked no higher than No. 3 in either the AP or coaches' poll, sit in front of the Oklahoma Sooners in the BCS. Oklahoma, ranked second in both the AP and coaches' polls, fell to third in the BCS due to a No. 5 ranking from the computers.

The BCS consists of the Rose Bowl, Nokia Sugar Bowl, FedEx Orange Bowl and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Conferences with automatic BCS berths include the Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and the Southeastern Conferences. This season, the Orange Bowl will host the top two teams in the final BCS standings on Jan. 4 for the national title.

Texas A&M, led by junior quarterback Reggie McNeal, convincingly upset Oklahoma State 36-20 in Stillwater on Saturday, answering many lingering questions regarding the true validity of this young team. The Ags now find themselves in the thick of the Big 12 race heading into the most challenging portion of their schedule, which includes home games against Colorado, Texas Tech and Oklahoma, as well as a road game against arch rival Texas in Austin.

McNeal, who was named the national offensive player of the week by the Walter Camp Football Foundation Sunday, set a career-high in single game total offense with 386 yards as he completed 19-of-25 passes for 288 yards while rushing for 98 yards on 14 carries. It marked the third best total offense day ever by an Aggie.

A&M hosts Colorado on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Kyle Field.

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