UF finishes No. 12


Published: Friday, January 6, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 6, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
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Urban Meyer coach of the Florida Gators holds the Outback Bowl Trophy after defeating the University of Iowa during Outback Bowl College Football Game Monday Jan. 2, 2006 in Tampa, Fla.

AP Photo/Robert Azmitia
Winning a bowl game is good for momentum and recruiting and it also provides a boost in the final polls.
The Florida Gators are finding this out for the first time since 2001, the last time UF won a bowl game.
UF's 31-24 victory over Iowa in the Outback Bowl on Monday gives Urban Meyer's first season in Gainesville an attractive final look: a 9-3 record and No. 12 ranking in The Associated Press Top 25, which was released Thursday. The Gators are No. 16 in the final ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll.
By breaking a three-game bowl losing streak, the Gators climbed back into the AP poll after falling out of last year's final rankings following a Peach Bowl loss to Miami. Under Ron Zook, the Gators finished unranked in the AP poll two out of three years.
In the final coaches' poll, the Gators now have been ranked for 16 consecutive seasons, the second-longest streak in the nation behind Florida State (22 years).
Texas, of course, finished first in both polls by virtue of the Longhorns' dramatic 41-38 victory over former No. 1 Southern Cal on Wednesday night in the Rose Bowl.
UT finishes No. 1 in the final AP poll for the first time since 1969.
Not only did Texas end USC's 34-game winning streak, the Longhorns snapped USC's record string of 33 consecutive polls as No. 1.
Texas opened the season No. 2 behind USC and coach Mack Brown and his players never grumbled about being stuck behind the two-time defending national champions.
The Longhorns were fine with waiting for a chance to prove they were the best on the field - and they did.
Vince Young ran and passed for 467 yards and scrambled 8 yards for the winning score with 19 seconds left for Texas (13-0).
"It's incredible," Texas tackle Justine Blalock said. "It's been a long time coming for the state of Texas."
The Longhorns received all 65 first-place votes.
USC was second, ahead of Joe Paterno and Penn State, which had its highest final ranking since finishing No. 2 in 1994.
Ohio State was fourth, and West Virginia finished fifth.
LSU, Virginia Tech, Alabama, Notre Dame and Georgia rounded out the AP top 10.
It's been more than a decade since Notre Dame finished a season ranked this high. Behind coach Charlie Weis the Irish have their best ranking in the final poll since 1993, when they finished No. 2 behind Florida State.
The last time the Crimson Tide were a top-10 team at the end of the season was 1999.
No. 11 TCU (11-1) just missed the Top 10, but still grabbed its best final ranking since 1959, when the Horned Frogs were seventh.
Florida shares the No. 12 ranking with Oregon.
Auburn was 14th and Wisconsin 15th in coach Barry Alvarez's final season.
The Southeastern Conference had five teams in the top 15.
UCLA was No. 16, followed by Miami, Boston College, Louisville and Texas Tech.
The final five were Clemson, Oklahoma - which finally got back in the rankings after falling out in September - Florida State, Nebraska and California.
The Cornhuskers haven't been ranked since the end of the 2003 season.
Nebraska beat Michigan to win a wild Alamo Bowl, 32-28, to knock the Wolverines from the rankings.
Michigan didn't make the final AP poll for the first time since the 1984.
The Associated Press contributed to this repot. You can reach Robbie Andreu by calling 374-5022 or by e-mail at andreur@gvillesun.com.

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