tampabay.com

Volunteers plunge to rocky bottom

By wire services
Published October 31, 2005


Tennessee has gone from preseason No.3 to not receiving a vote in the Associated Press Top 25.

The Volunteers (3-4) fell from the rankings Sunday for the first time in three years after losing 16-15 to South Carolina and old nemesis Steve Spurrier. Josh Brown kicked a 49-yard field goal with 2:45 left as the Gamecocks snapped a 12-game losing streak to the Vols.

No.1 Southern California, No.2 Texas and No.3 Virginia Tech, all 8-0, hold the top three spots in the media poll for the sixth straight week. USC received 57 of 65 first-place votes, adding two from last week, and extending its record streak at No.1 to 28 straight polls.

Texas received eight first-place votes, down two from last week, after Vince Young rushed for a career-high 267 yards and two scores and threw two touchdown as the Longhorns, trailing by as many as 19, rallied in the second half to defeat visiting Oklahoma State 47-28.

Tennessee becomes the sixth team ranked in the AP preseason Top 15 to fall out at some point this season. The others are Michigan, Oklahoma, Iowa, Louisville and Purdue.

The last time the Volunteers dropped out of the rankings was Nov. 3, 2002. That season was similar to this one for the Vols. Tennessee started the 2002 season No. 5 and ended it unranked.

Colorado and Louisville moved back into the rankings and Northwestern fell out.

WESTERN WASHINGTON: Rob Smith, who has a record of 109-61-1 in 17 seasons at the Division II school in Bellingham, will resign as coach at the end of the season. The Vikings are 4-5, including 3-2 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

MSU gets Big Ten nod

CHICAGO - Coach Tom Izzo's Spartans drew the bull's-eye, picked as the Big Ten's preseason media favorite to win the men's basketball conference title. Michigan State returns four starters from last season's team that reached the Final Four.

"I think the players like it more than the coaches," Izzo said. "It's a compliment. Early in my career it was pressure, but I don't think it's any more pressure now if it's first, second or third."

Illinois, regular-season and conference champion that lost to North Carolina 75-70 in the NCAA title game, was picked to finish second, with Indiana third.

Izzo's counterpart, women's coach Joanne P. McCallie, had the better season last year, winning the regular season and Big Ten tournament and reaching the NCAA title game. But the Spartans were picked No. 2 behind Ohio State, which features the preseason player of the year, 6-foot-6 Jessica Davenport.

MEN'S SOCCER: Sophomore Rodrigo Hidalgo's goal in the 102nd minute of double overtime lifted USF (11-5-0, 9-2-0 Big East) past Cincinnati 2-1 late Saturday in the Bulls' regular-season finale. It was USF's eighth straight home win, its longest home win streak since nine straight in 1995-96.

WOMEN'S GOLF: Florida placed second at the Chrysler Challenge in Sandestin, climbing one spot and nearly overcoming a 20-stroke deficit to finish one behind tournament champion South Carolina at 904. Tiffany Chudy placed third individually at 9-over 222 (75-73-74). ... USF shot a final-round 309 to finish in a seventh-place tie at 938 at the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, N.C. Purdue won with 877. Jessica Buchta, who closed with 78, had a 54-hole total of 229, good for a tie for 17th overall.

VOLLEYBALL: Host Eckerd (12-10) was swept by West Florida 30-21, 30-27, 30-23 behind 15 kills from Naiara Fernandes. ... Host Florida State (6-15, 4-9 ACC) fell to Maryland 30-27, 30-25, 14-30, 30-22. Makini Thompson led the Seminoles with 17 kills. ... Host USF (3-18, 1-10 Big East) lost to UConn 30-16, 30-25, 33-31 despite Kristina Fabris' 15 kills. ... Sophomore setter Angie McGinnis recorded the first triple double in Florida (21-2, 11-1 SEC) history in the Gators' 30-22, 32-30, 19-30, 37-39, 15-12 loss at Tennessee.