Horns Climb In Polls; Now It's Up To The Computers

UT's poll position remained unchanged with the release of the final regular season rankings Sunday -- No. 5 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and No. 6 in the Associated Press poll -- but the Horns gained valuable ground in the rankings within the rankings.

Texas' movement in points in both polls vis a vis Cal will translate into an improved BCS poll average which, combined with the final computer rankings due later today, could catapult the Horns above the Golden Bears for the No. 4 spot and automatic at-large berth in a BCS bowl.

Texas moved to within five points of Cal in the coaches' poll, moving from 1266 points last week to 1281 this week while the Bears dropped from 1314 to 1286 after a relatively unimpressive final game win over Southern Miss Saturday night. The Horns closed the gap in the writers' poll as well, turning last week's 1410-1325 Cal advantage to 1399-1337 this week. The movement in the two polls alone is enough for Texas (10-1) to overtake the Bears (10-1) in the BCS if the computer rankings remain static.

The final BCS rankings and bowl destinations for the BCS teams will be released during ABC's BCS Selection Show at 4 p.m. this afternoon. If the UT does indeed take over the No. 4 spot in the final BCS rankings, the Horns will head to either Pasadena for a Rose Bowl date with Michigan or to the Fiesta Bowl vs. Big East champ Pittsburgh. If Cal holds on, the Bears will take on Michigan in the Rose Bowl and Texas will spend New Year's Day in Dallas at the Cotton Bowl vs. SEC East champ but title game loser Tennessee.

The top three spots remained unchanged in both polls, setting up a probable national championship Orange Bowl matchup between No. 1 USC (12-0) and No. 2 Oklahoma (12-0). No. 3 Auburn (12-0) appears to be the odd team out, getting a consolation appearance in the Sugar Bowl vs. ACC champ Virginia Tech.

The rest of the top 10 looks like this: 11-0 Utah (No. 5 AP, No. 6 coaches), 10-1 Louisville (No. 7 AP, No. 8 coaches), 9-2 Georgia (No. 8 AP, No. 7 coaches, 10-2 Virginia Tech (No. 9 in both polls) and 11-0 Boise State (No. 10 in both polls).

Texas A&M earned a No. 22 final ranking in the AP poll and No. 25 in the coaches' poll. Texas Tech, No. 21 in the coaches' poll and No. 23 in the AP, is the only other ranked team from the Big 12.

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