Texas climbed to No. 3 in today's coaches poll, passing Florida, to boost the Longhorns' hopes of staying ahead of Oklahoma when the updated BCS standings are released later this afternoon.
The South Division co-champion that finishes highest in today's BCS standings -- Texas (11-1, 7-1 in Big 12), Oklahoma (11-1, 7-1) or Texas Tech (11-1, 7-1) -- will represent the South Division in Saturday's Big 12 Championship Game against Missouri, the North Division representative.
The Longhorns, who were fourth in last week's coaches poll, climbed to third and came within one point of tying Oklahoma for second on this week's ballots. OU finished with 1,397 points. Texas had 1,396. Oklahoma received two first-place votes, down from four last week, and Texas received none.
Alabama (12-0) remained No. 1 in the coaches poll, getting 58 of 61 first-place votes. The other first-place vote went to Florida, which finished with 1,385 points. The coaches poll is one-third of the BCS forumla. The other two elements are the Harris Interactive poll and the computer rankings, which will be released later today.
In last week's BCS standings, Texas was No. 2 and OU was No. 3. The teams were separated by .0084 in their BCS averages, largely because Texas had a superior rating with the six sets of computer rankings used to tabulate the BCS standings.
In the only set of computer rankings released thus far today, Jeff Sagarin has moved Oklahoma ahead of Texas. Sagarin's rankings, released through USA Today, show OU at No. 1 and Texas at No. 2. Last week, Sagarin had Texas at No. 1 and Oklahoma at No. 4.
Sagarin's top six, as of today, are OU, Texas, Florida, USC, Texas Tech and Alabama.
The irony in today's coaches poll is that, if Texas had been placed one spot higher on one coach's ballot, the Longhorns and Sooners would have shared the second spot and further clouded the poll voters' element of the BCS standings. Texas coach Mack Brown, who has a vote in the coaches poll, did not place his team No. 1 because the Longhorns were shut out of first-place votes. OU coach Bob Stoops does not vote in the coaches poll, a voluntary decision he made before this season. Stoops, a voter in 2007, was invited to return this season but declined.
_ Jimmy Burch