Another topsy (25) turvy season closes with Rankman's final weekly poll release.
Rankman, like Rutgers, got off to a frigid start before finishing like Vince Carter at the rim.
Ohio State was a sorry excuse for a preseason No. 1 pick, and we deeply apologize for Clemson at No. 8.
Weeks ago, though, against a raging Crimson Tide, Rankman held back undefeated Alabama and elevated one-loss Florida to No. 1.
Last weekend, the Associated Press and Harris polls came aboard while Florida fell one point short of No. 1 in the USA Today coaches' pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey contest.
Kudos to editors who read comments and said "what?" and flagged Rankman for once posting two teams at No. 16 and, another week, for turning in a top 27.
The polling business isn't easy -- have you ever seen the bags under Gallup's eyes?
-- Chris Dufresne
*--* Rk. Team (Rec.) Comment (last week's rank) 1 FLORIDA (12-1) Gators so fast some players will run to BCS championship to save travel time. (1) 2 TEXLAHOMA (11/12-1) New Big 12 tiebreaker requires Longhorns- Sooners combo team to face Gators. (2) 3 OKLATEXAS (12/11-1) Stoops, Brown say coin flip will decide wheth- er Bradford or McCoy starts title game. (3) 4 UTAH (12-0) Can't wait to see football power with rich BCS tradition take on Alabama in Sugar Bowl. (5) 5 USC (11-1) Downtown Athletic Club rejects Heisman Trophy ballot shipped from Vegas in cake. (6) 6 ALABAMA (12-1) Players learn "Utah" is derived from Ute Indian word meaning "people of the mountain." (4) 7 PENN STATE (11-1) Paterno listened to early Rose Bowl broad- casts on radio given to him by Marconi. (7) 8 BOISE STATE (12-0) Bugs can't be worked out of Potato Bowl contract so Broncos will play in Poinsettia. (8) 9 TEXAS TECH (11-1) Instead of playing Florida for national title Red Raiders will play team that beat Florida. (9) 10 OHIO STATE (10-2) Engraver already carving "T" on this year's Fiesta Bowl Wanamaker Trophy. (10) 11 TEXAS CHR. (10-2) Good news/bad news: going to a bowl named after flower, but it's not the Rose. (12) 12 OREGON (9-3) Rankman learns succession plan for mascot narrowed down to Huey, Dewey or Louie. (13) 13 BRIGHAM YOUNG (10-2) Church officials approve Las Vegas Bowl trip after told lodging is at "Soft" Rock Hotel. (14) 14 CINCINNATI (10-2) Weekend luau at Waikiki Invitational almost resulted in Bearcats getting roasted. (16) 15 MISSISSIPPI (8-4) Will leave for Cotton Bowl right after annual "Take a Manning to School Day." (17) 16 OKLAHOMA STATE (9-3) Big-booster Holiday Bowl between T. Boone Pickens and Phil Knight. (19) 17 MICHIGAN STATE (9-3) Weeks off allow players to learn Japanese (naturally!) using Rosetta Stone. (20) 18 GEORGIA TECH (9-3) Every student who buys bowl ticket will get a free yellow book jacket. (16) 19 NORTHWESTERN (9-3) Bowl versus Missouri will highlight some of the nation's finest...journalism majors? (21) 20 GEORGIA (9-3) Bowl trip to Orlando a few hours away from one Bulldogs had in preseason mind. (22) 21 BALL STATE (12-1) Tough night for (dropped the) Ball State in MAC title loss to Buffalo Wild Wings. (11) 22 MISSOURI (9-4) School mulls writing check to "make the Oklahoma problem go away." (18) 23 PITTSBURGH (9-3) "Three Rivers Vacations" books fans to Sun Bowl with one change-of-boats to Juarez. (23) 24 OREGON STATE (8-4) Thrilled to learn they will play Pennsylvania team (Pittsburgh) in bowl after all. (24) 25 VIRGINIA TECH (9-4) Will represent ACC in Orange Bowl this year with orneriness and ordinariness. (NR) *--*