Penn St., Alabama surge up polls

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Alabama’s move came after a 31-3 rout of Florida in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Gators dropped eight spots to No. 13 after their first loss under Urban Meyer. Penn State gets its chance to make a big jump next Saturday, when Ohio State comes to Happy Valley. No. 8 Tennessee, Miami and California round out the top 10. In the USA Today coaches’ poll, the top three are USC, Texas and Virginia Tech. Georgia is No. 4 and Florida State is No. 5. Power numbers down throughout baseball — Penn State is back and Alabama is moving up in The Associated Press Top 25. The 16th-ranked Nittany Lions moved into the rankings Sunday for the first time since the final media poll of the 2002 season. The Crimson Tide jumped eight places to No. 7, its highest ranking since being third in the Sept. 3, 2000 poll. The top three spots were unchanged. USC, with 24 consecutive polls at No. 1, again received 59 first-place votes and the other six went to No. 2 Texas. Virginia Tech is No. 3 and Florida State is up to No. 4 with Georgia at No. 5 and Ohio State at No. 6. Penn State and coach Joe Paterno, coming off four losing seasons in the last five years, leapt into the rankings with a 44-14 win at State College, Pa., on Saturday over then-No. 18 Minnesota. The loss knocked the Gophers out of the rankings. center_img NEW YORK — Major league power numbers dropped in 2005, the first season in which players were suspended after their first positive test for steroids. An average of 2.06 home runs per game were hit, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, down 8 percent from 2.25 last year. The average was well below the record 2.34 in 2000 and had not been that low since 1997, when it was 2.05. Nine players hit 40 or more homers to match last year’s total but below the record 16 in 2000. There were 27 who hit 30 or more, the fewest since there were 21 in 1995 and almost half the record total of 47 in 2000. Just 27 players had 100 or more RBIs, the fewest since there were 19 in 1995 and less than half the record 59 in 1999. Gene Orza, the chief operating officer of the players’ association, said drawing a link between drug testing and the home run average was an oversimplification. He pointed out the level approximately was the same as the 2.09 average for 2002. Nine players, including Baltimore star Rafael Palmeiro, tested positive for steroids this season and were suspended 10 days each. Astros sign Biggio to one-year deal HOUSTON — The Houston Astros reached the playoffs again Sunday, then made sure Craig Biggio would be back for another season. Amid the champagne celebration in the clubhouse after clinching the wild card with a 6-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs, the Astros announced a one-year, $4 million contract extension for Biggio through 2006, which will be his 19th season — all in Houston. Biggio hit .264 with a career-high 26 home runs and 69 RBIs this season. On Saturday, he hit the first pitch for his league-record 44th leadoff homer, and on Sunday he hit Greg Maddux‘s second pitch for a double. Biggio would like to end his career in Houston, but isn’t saying if 2006 — when he will be 40 years old — will be his last season. Houston made the playoffs for the ninth time, and this will be Biggio’s sixth trip to the postseason. He was a first-round draft pick in 1987 and made his major league debut the following year. Notable SOCCER: Mexico won its first Under 17 World Championship on Sunday by beating Brazil 3-0 in goals by Carlos Vela, Omar Esparza and Ever Guzman. TENNIS: Jonas Bjorkman defeated third-seeded Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-6 (4) Sunday to win the inaugural Vietnam Open for his first ATP title since 2002. — From staff, wire reports 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img