Tressel skips coaches' vote; Gators vault Michigan

Florida passed Michigan and returned to No. 2 in The Associated Press Top 25 and the coaches' poll on Sunday, pushing the Gators into the Tostitos BCS National Championship against Ohio State.

The Gators had a slim lead of three points over Michigan in the AP poll and were 26 points ahead of the Wolverines in the USA Today poll.

The coaches' poll is one of three components used in the Bowl
Championship Series Standings, along with the Harris poll and a
compilation of six computer ratings.

After the numbers were crunched, the Gators had a BCS average of
.944, and the Wolverines were at .934. They were tied in the
computer rating, and Florida had a 38-point lead in the Harris poll.

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel has a vote in the coaches' poll but abstained this week.

"After consultation with my director of athletics, Gene Smith,
and based upon our unique position in the BCS standings, I believe
it is only fair that we not participate the final poll," he said
in a statement.

Monte Lorell, USA Today's managing editor for sports, said Sunday in a statement, "We are disappointed with coach Tressel's decision, but our oversight role does not grant us authority to compel his participation. The agreement with the American Football Coaches Association obligates the panel of coaches to disclose final regular season ballots, without exception.

"Coach Tressel's future involvement in the poll will be part of
our annual review with AFCA executive director Grant Teaff."

Told that USA Today was unhappy with him on Sunday night, Tressel acted surprised.

"Maybe they'll fire me as a pollster," he said, half joking.

The Gators and Wolverines are vying for a spot in the BCS Championship Game opposite No. 1 Ohio State on Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz.

Teaff, a former coach, said Tressel's decision was "not something that we would like to have happen, but it's kind of an unusual circumstance."

Until last year, the coaches' ballots were not made public. Now, the final regular-season ballots are released.

"It's just a tough situation," Teaff said.

Florida, which defeated Arkansas 38-28 on Saturday night to win
the Southeastern Conference title, jumped two spots from No. 4 and
passed idle Michigan. The Wolverines haven't played since losing
42-39 to the Buckeyes in Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 18.

Southern California's 13-9 loss to UCLA caused the shake-up at
the top of the rankings. The Trojans became the sixth team ranked
No. 2 to lose this season, joining Texas, Notre Dame, Auburn,
Florida and Michigan. USC fell six spots to No. 8.

No. 4 LSU was followed by Big East champ Louisville, Wisconsin
and Big 12 champion Oklahoma.

After USC, Boise State was No. 9 and Auburn was 10th, giving the
SEC three top-10 teams.

Notre Dame was 11th and Arkansas slipped four spots to No. 12
after its loss to Florida.

No. 13 West Virginia was followed by Virginia Tech, Atlantic
Coast Conference champ Wake Forest and Rutgers. Tennessee, Texas,
BYU and California round out the first 20.

Texas A&M, Nebraska and Boston College are next and the final
two teams are new to the rankings.

No. 24 Oregon State beat Hawaii 35-32 Saturday night to knock
the Warriors out of the rankings and put the Beavers in for the
first time since 2002.

TCU, which began the season ranked but fell out in September, is
back in at No. 25.

Also falling out of the rankings was Georgia Tech, which lost
the ACC championship game Saturday to Wake Forest.