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Arizona State's Erickson takes his 4th team to AP Top 25

| Monday, Sept. 24, 2007

NEW YORK - No matter where Dennis Erickson goes, his teams usually end up in the Top 25.

Four games into his first season as Arizona State coach, Erickson has the Sun Devils unbeaten and in The Associated Press poll for the first time this season at No. 23.

Arizona State is the fourth school Erickson has guided into the rankings, along with Washington State, Miami and Oregon State. Only Lou Holtz, with five, has coached ranked teams at more schools. Holtz did it with North Carolina State, Arkansas, Minnesota, Notre Dame and South Carolina.

No. 1 Southern California and No. 2 LSU, as they have all season, head the Top 25.

USC received 43 first-place votes and 1,601 points. The Tigers got 22 first-place votes and 1,580 points. Both teams won convincingly at home Saturday. The Trojans routed Washington State 47-14 and the Tigers dominated South Carolina 28-16 on a rainy day in Baton Rouge, La.

No. 3 Oklahoma flip-flopped with No. 4 Florida after the Gators had a close call at Mississippi and the Sooner rang up their fourth blowout of the season.

West Virginia is No. 5, followed by California and Texas. Ohio State, Wisconsin and Rutgers round out the top 10.

The Harris poll was released for the first time this season Sunday, and USC was a decisive No. 1. LSU, Oklahoma, Florida and West Virginia rounded out a top-five that was the same as the AP's.

In the USA Today coaches' poll, the only difference in the top five was Florida at No. 3 and Oklahoma at No. 4.

The Bowl Championship Series uses the Harris and coaches' polls as part of the formula to determine which teams will play in the BCS national championship game in New Orleans on Jan 7. The first BCS standings will be released Oct. 14.

Cincinnati moved into the rankings at No. 24, marking the first time since 1976 the Bearcats have been in the poll. Like Arizona State, Cincinnati has a new coach. Brian Kelly, who took over after last year's regular season when Mark Dantonio left for Michigan State, has the Bearcats 4-0 for the first time since 1954.

Falling out of the rankings were Louisville, which was upset 38-35 by Syracuse, and Texas A&M, beaten 34-17 by Miami on Thursday.

The Sun Devils (4-0) remained unbeaten with a 44-32 comeback victory over Oregon State on Saturday night. For the second time in three weeks, ASU faced a double-digit deficit in the first quarter and for the second time the Sun Devils stormed back for a decisive victory.

"There's no question it was a great comeback," Erickson said after the victory in Tempe. "We weren't on all cylinders, but one thing about it, we kept competing."

Arizona State is Erickson's sixth stop as a college coach. He spent last season at Idaho, his second tour of duty with the Vandals, and also coached Wyoming in 1986 before moving to Washington State the next year. He won two national titles with Miami and took Oregon State to a Fiesta Bowl victory over Notre Dame.

Erickson coached in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.

No. 11 Oregon started the second 10 in the AP poll, followed by Boston College, Clemson, Kentucky and Georgia. At No. 14, Kentucky's ranking is its highest since it finished No. 6 in 1977.

South Carolina was No. 16 and Virginia Tech, South Florida, Hawaii and Missouri completed the top 20.

No. 21 Penn State dropped 11 spots after a 14-9 loss to Michigan and No. 22 Alabama fell six spots after losing 26-23 in overtime to Georgia. No. 25 Nebraska also dropped a spot after hanging on to beat Ball State 41-40 at home.

Appalachian State, the Championship Subdivision team that upset Michigan in the first week and prompted the AP to open poll voting to schools from all divisions, didn't appear on any ballots after its 17-game winning streak was snapped by Wofford. Appalachian State received votes in the previous two polls.

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