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Polls: Wild, Wild West

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SEC’S WESTERN DIVISION PLACES SIX PROGRAMS IN THE TOP 20

How good is the Southeastern Conference’s western division?  Six of its seven teams are ranked in the top twenty – including four Top Ten squads.

Alabama (No. 2/3), Auburn (No. 5), Texas A&M (No. 6/7), Ole Miss (No. 10/11), Mississippi State (No. 14/16) and LSU (No. 17/18) represent the SEC West in the latest college football polls – with Georgia (No. 12) and South Carolina (No. 13/15) representing the conference’s eastern division.

That’s a ridiculous concentration of football strength, people … although expect a few of these powerhouse programs to see their standing slip when they start pummeling one another during the meat of the SEC schedule in October and early November.

Speaking of pummeling opponents, East Carolina entered the polls for the first time since September 2008 on the heels of a 70-41 dismantling of North Carolina. The No. 22/24 Pirates (3-1) are in their first season of competition in the American Athletic Conference – and have a favorable schedule the rest of the way with only one blemish (their week two loss to South Carolina) on their record.

The big mover in this week’s polls? No. 14/16 Mississippi State – which is ranked for the first time in two seasons following its 34-29 upset win on the road against then-No. 8 LSU.

Florida State (3-0, 0-0 ACC) remained No. 1 after escaping with a 23-17 overtime victory over then-No. 22 Clemson – which was bounced from the polls. Head coach Dabo Swinney’s Tigers now find themselves unranked for the first time since September 11, 2011 – snapping a streak of fifty consecutive polls that tied a school record.

Meanwhile South Carolina’s school-record streak continued.  The Gamecocks (3-1, 2-1 SEC) have now been ranked in 69 consecutive polls dating back to the second week of the 2010 season.

South Carolina hosts Missouri (3-1, 0-0 SEC) at Williams Brice Stadium this Saturday at 7:00 p.m. EDT.  ESPN is televising the game nationally, and the network’s Gameday program will air live on Saturday morning from the school’s historic Horseshoe campus.

The Gamecocks are coming off of a lackluster 48-34 win on the road over Vanderbilt, while then-No. 18 Mizzou was shocked at home by unranked Indiana.

Here are the complete rankings …

AP TOP 25 (September 21)

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1. Florida State (34) 3-0, 1439
2. Oregon (12) 4-0, 1400
3. Alabama (6) 4-0, 1377
4. Oklahoma (4) 4-0, 1343
5. Auburn 3-0, 1268
6. Texas A&M (4) 4-0, 1232
7. Baylor 3-0, 1143
8. Notre Dame 3-0, 967
9. Michigan State 2-1, 905
10. Ole Miss 3-0, 889
11. UCLA 3-0, 806
12. Georgia 2-1, 789
13. South Carolina 3-1, 764
14. Mississippi State 4-0, 706
15. Arizona State 3-0, 702
16. Stanford 2-1, 564
17. LSU 3-1, 541
18. USC 2-1, 459
19. Wisconsin 2-1, 451
20. BYU 4-0, 376
21. Nebraska 4-0, 296
22. Ohio State 2-1, 196
23. East Carolina 3-1, 180
24. Oklahoma State 2-1, 132
25. Kansas State 2-1, 131

Dropped from rankings: Missouri 18, Clemson 22.

Others receiving votes: Duke 86, Penn State 81, Clemson 48, TCU 35, Marshall 33, Utah 31, Washington 30, Georgia Tech 22, Boston College 19, West Virginia 15, Cincinnati 11, Arkansas 9, Arizona 9, Missouri 5, Oregon State 5, North Dakota State 3, Pittsburgh 1, Indiana 1.

AMWAY COACHES POLL (September 21)

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1. Florida State (36) 3-0, 1494
2. Alabama (11) 4-0, 1466
3. Oklahoma (12) 4-0, 1425
4. Oregon (3) 4-0, 1403
5. Auburn 3-0, 1316
6. Baylor 3-0, 1213
7. Texas A&M 4-0, 1197
8. Notre Dame 3-0, 1022
9. Michigan State 2-1, 920
10. UCLA 3-0, 899
11. Ole Miss 3-0, 875
12. Arizona State 3-0, 792
13. Georgia 2-1, 768
14. Stanford 2-1, 657
15. South Carolina 3-1, 630
16. Mississippi State 4-0, 523
17. Wisconsin 2-1, 518
18. LSU 3-1, 514
19. Nebraska 4-0, 433
20. Ohio State 2-1, 407
21. BYU 4-0, 381
22. USC 2-1, 309
23. Duke 4-0, 155
24. East Carolina 3-1, 153
25. Kansas State 2-1, 128

Dropped from rankings: Missouri 19, Clemson 24.

Others receiving votes: Oklahoma State 110, Penn State 67, Clemson 63, Washington 62, Arizona 45, TCU 44, Marshall 31, Georgia Tech 27, Oregon State 20, Arkansas 17, Missouri 13, Cincinnati 13, Utah 8, Boston College 7, North Carolina State 7, Louisville 6, Boise State 5, Memphis 3, West Virginia 3, Iowa 1.

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