Despite that inherent east coast bias, UCLA is picking up respect in the form of votes and points in the latest Top 25 polls.
Even though UCLA's victory over Cal finished at about 1:45 a.m. for East Coast viewers, the Bruins are closing the gap in points in the rankings, thanks to the media voters and coaches in this week's Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Polls. That respect is evident in the voting point totals this week as compared to last week.
In the AP Top 25, while UCLA remained No. 4 in the poll, the voting numbers tightened up. Last week UCLA had 1,530 voting points, compared to this week's total of 1,602, a gain of 72 points. The Bruins have picked up votes on every team in the AP Top 5.
Miami, which was idle this past weekend, actually lost a point from a week ago, dropping from 1,772 to 1,771. Second-ranked Oklahoma picked up two points, going from 1,739 to 1,741. Third-ranked Nebraska lost five voting points, dropping from 1,631 to 1,626. Previously fifth-ranked Oregon dropped out of the top 10, and was replaced at No. 5 by Virginia Tech. The Hokies moved up one spot but only gained 40 voting points in the poll jumping from 1,473 to 1,513.
The Bruins moved up one spot to No. 5 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, the spot previously owned by Oregon. UCLA had 1,277 points this week, a gain of 38 points, which is the biggest increase in the polls' top five teams.
Miami's total this week was identical to last week with 1,481 points in the ESPN/USA Today poll. Oklahoma picked up four points, moving from 1,440 to 1,444. Nebraska picked up only three voting points, going from 1,382 to 1,385. Virginia Tech, ranked fourth, picked up 19 points, jumping from 1,279 to 1,298.
This week the Bruins closed the gap on Nebraska. UCLA is only 24 points behind the Huskers whereas last week the Bruins were 101 points behind.
As UCLA has continued to win, the recent trend in the polls is that UCLA continues to pick up converts, with the Bruins picking up more and more votes and points each week. And every point counts, especially down the line in the BCS rankings. If three teams are left undefeated by the end of the season, what determines which two teams play in the BCS championship game in the Rose Bowl could be decided by a few little points here and there. If UCLA is among the three undefeated teams, continuing to pick up points from poll voters could enable the Bruins to possibly pick up places in the polls on Nebraska or Oklahoma, which would boost UCLA's chances of playing in the Rose Bowl significantly.