TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama's Nick Saban found plenty of lessons in the game that vaulted the Crimson Tide to No. 1 in the rankings.
The Tide survived its sloppiest game of the season in a 20-6 victory against South Carolina. Alabama committed four turnovers and 10 penalties for 113 yards and quarterback Greg McElroy had his worst game.
"I really think that's a sign of a good team," he said. "I'm proud of our players for being able to go out there and earn this and fight their way through it and doing what they need to do to win the game. You can say it's winning ugly or whatever, but it's still winning.
"There are lessons to be learned when you play games like this."
Alabama jumped Florida to land atop the rankings.
The Tide had one offensive touchdown but was bailed out by a monster game from relentless runner Mark Ingram, whose 246 yards rushing was the third-most in school history. Ingram was responsible for 269 of Alabama's 356 total yards, or about three-quarters of the production.
Saban wasn't surprised the Tide struggled some.
"I kind of had a feeling that this was going to be a really tough game," he said. "Psychologically this is a tough league to be at your best every week."
Florida, Alabama, Texas lead BCS standings. Florida, Alabama and Texas hold the top three spots in the first BCS standings and control their fates in the national championship race.
The Gators (.988) are in first, ahead of the Crimson Tide (.952). Texas (.891) is third.
Boise State (.808) is fourth, but the Broncos still seem to be a long shot to play for a national championship.
Florida is No. 1 in the two polls used by the Bowl Championship Series - the USA Today coaches' poll and Harris poll - and rated highest by the computers. The polls make up two-thirds of a BCS grade and a compilation of six computer ratings accounts for the other third.
Alabama is second in all the components. Texas is third in the two polls and sixth in the computer ratings.
Alabama and Florida would play each other in the Southeastern Conference championship game if each remains undefeated.
Rankings still don't matter much to Miami. For weeks, Miami coach Randy Shannon has said national rankings will not matter until after the season's sixth game.
Well, the Hurricanes are there.
But Shannon, he still couldn't care less about any sort of numerology.
Miami (5-1) climbed one spot to No. 8 in the AP Top 25 poll Sunday, plus was No. 10 in the season's first release of the Bowl Championship Series standings. Nonetheless, when the Hurricanes convened for practice that afternoon, Shannon was already thinking about this weekend's return to ACC play against Clemson and not about computers or voters.
"Not really," Shannon said. "Everybody says it makes a difference, and when the computer rankings come out, that's what you base it on. But for me and this football team, not really. We're back in our conference play now and conference games are more valuable than anything. We've got to keep worrying about our conference games and worry about Clemson this week."
Whether Shannon would say so or not, the BCS appearance carried some significance for the Hurricanes. They were the top-ranked ACC team in the BCS mix; Georgia Tech was No. 12, Virginia Tech No. 14.
Miami is among the BCS-ranked teams for only the second time since the end of the 2005 season.
"Like we said a couple weeks ago, we've got to keep on watching SpongeBob," quarterback Jacory Harris said.
The cartoon character has become a bit of a cultish accent piece for the Hurricanes.
One of the wasn't-supposed-to-get-out stories from the Miami locker room this season was born a couple weeks ago, when Harris - disappointed with the way the Hurricanes lost focus after quickly vaulting to No. 9 before playing Virginia Tech - challenged teammates to avoid watching people talking about football and rankings on television.
Harris said only two shows would be deemed acceptable for viewing: "48 Hours" and "SpongeBob SquarePants."
It's working: Since then, Miami is 3-0 and outscoring opponents 96-43, including Saturday's 27-7 win at Central Florida.
UConn mourns stabbing death of player. A Connecticut player who was an expectant father was stabbed to death early Sunday after an on-campus dance, just hours after helping his team to a homecoming victory.
Jasper Howard, 20, of Miami, and another student were stabbed during a fight after a fire alarm was pulled during a university sanctioned dance at the UConn Student Union just after 12:30 a.m., police said.
Police had not identified a suspect or released the name of the other victim.
Connecticut coach Randy Edsall said the team was heartbroken and devastated over the loss of Howard, a junior and the team's starting cornerback who came to the school to get away from the violence on the streets of his hometown. He became the first person in his family to go to college.
Edsall said Howard's death was especially tragic, because he was about to become a father. No additional information about the expectant mother, who Edsall identified as Howard's girlfriend, was provided by police or the university.