Poll position: Horns climb to No. 3

Texas, after completing a 10-1 regular season with its 21-7 victory over A&M at Kyle Field Friday, reaped the benefits of that win and the upset losses of both Nebraska and Oklahoma over the weekend, moving from No. 5 to No. 3 in both national polls released Sunday.

Unbeaten and 10-0 Miami, which thrashed previously No. 12 Washington 65-7 Saturday, and 9-1 Florida, which takes on 9-1 Tennessee this coming Saturday, came in ahead of UT at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in both the AP and the ESPN/USA Today rankings. The Vols and Oregon, at No. 4 and No. 5, round out the top five in the coaches' poll, while the Ducks edged out Tennessee for the No. 4 spot in the writers' poll. Nebraska fell to sixth in both polls, while Colorado, which battered the Huskers 62-36 in Boulder Friday, moved up to No. 9 in AP and No. 10 in ESPN/USA Today. Oklahoma fell all the way to No. 11 after its 16-13 loss to Oklahoma State in Norman.

The Horns' Sunday poll climb should presage a similar move in Monday's BCS standings. Texas held the No. 6 spot in last week's rankings, behind Nebraska, Miami, Oklahoma, Florida and Oregon. In the standings scheduled for release Monday afternoon, the Hurricanes should be the runaway leader, followed by the idle Gators, with either UT or Oregon grabbing the No. 3 spot. Obviously, with two weeks remaining before the final BCS standings release, that probable No. 3/4 ranking would put the Horns within' striking distance of a top two finish, and thus a Rose Bowl berth, with a win Saturday over the Buffs in the Big 12 Championship Game and with a little help from elsewhere.

The scenario: UT over CU and either (or both) Miami losing this Saturday to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg or the winner of this Saturday's match-up between Florida and Tennessee losing in the SEC Championship Game to that league's West Division champ (plus, an Oregon loss to Oregon State this Saturday may also be needed). The result: the Horns in the Rose Bowl.

If Texas handles Colorado but stays outside of the BCS top two, the 11-1 Horns could still wind up in either the Fiesta or the Sugar Bowl. The Big 12 champ, if not in the Rose Bowl, is scheduled to play in Phoenix (probably vs. Oregon), but there is some speculation that the Fiesta could "trade" UT to the Sugar in exchange for Nebraska.

The Horns also could sneak into the Sugar even with a loss to the Buffs this Saturday, although the New Orleans bowl is more likely to take 11-1 Nebraska in that scenario, sending 10-2 Texas to either the Cotton or the Holiday Bowl.


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