LSU takes over AP's top ranking

NEW YORK -- LSU reached No. 1 the hard way.

The Tigers edged past Southern California in the AP Top 25 on Sunday, even though the Trojans remained undefeated.

On a wild day in college football, when half the top 10 lost, USC avoided the upset bug that struck Oklahoma, Florida, Texas and Rutgers. But a sloppy 27-24 victory at Washington on Saturday night cost the Trojans the No. 1 ranking they've held all season.

USC is the first team to lose the No. 1 ranking after a victory since Nov. 3, 2002, when top-ranked Miami dropped after beating Rutgers 42-17 and No. 2 Oklahoma moved up after a 27-11 victory over No. 13 Colorado.

LSU, which recovered from its own first-half malaise to beat Tulane 34-9 on Saturday, received 33 first-place votes from the media panel and 1,593 points. USC got 32 first-place votes, 11 fewer than last week, and 1,591 points.

The voting was the closest since the second poll of the 2002 season, when Miami and Oklahoma tied for No. 1 and each received 27 first-place votes.

LSU is No. 1 in the AP poll for the first time since Nov. 2, 1959.

• PRO BASEBALL -- Despite missing the playoffs for the second year in a row, the Atlanta Braves plan to keep their entire coaching staff for 2008.

Shortly before the season finale at Houston, the Braves announced that all six coaches would return to manager Bobby Cox's staff next year.

Atlanta will keep bench coach Chino Cadahia, first base coach Glenn Hubbard, pitching coach Roger McDowell, hitting coach Terry Pendleton, bullpen coach Eddie Perez and third base coach Brian Snitker.

After winning 14 straight division titles from 1991-2005, the Braves have come up short two consecutive years. They were eliminated from this season's playoff race on Thursday and will finish third in the NL East for the second year in a row.

• BASKETBALL -- Tina Thompson scored 18 points to help the United States qualify for the 2008 Olympics with a 101-71 victory over Cuba in the gold medal game at the FIBA Americas tournament.

The U.S. (5-0) was forced to qualify for an Olympics berth for the first time since 1980 because of a third-place finish at the World Championships last year.

"It's a huge relief for us that we could win and punch the ticket to Beijing," USA Basketball president Val Ackerman said. "They did a terrific job. We had so many late arrivals to camp, it's great that the players did what they needed to do."

• SOCCER -- The unstoppable scorer from Brazil and the unbeatable goalkeeper from Germany stared at each other from 12 yards away -- the outcome of the Women's World Cup perhaps resting on this penalty kick.

The confrontation was won by goalie Nadine Angerer. And the World Cup was again won by Germany, a 2-0 victory in the final that was underlined by a flawless, unyielding defense.

In the third-place game Sunday, the United States defeated Norway 4-1 behind two goals by Abby Wambach.

• PRO TENNIS -- Top-seeded Venus Williams beat Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 in the championship of the Korean Open.

"Sometimes in the match I was a little disappointed with the errors I was making, and it made it a lot tougher for me," said Williams, who won her third title of the season.

Williams hadn't lost a set in the tournament heading into the final, but she had to work to improve to 3-0 in her career against Kirilenko, who had a nine-match winning streak.

• TRACK AND FIELD -- Mississippi sprinter Rodney Lydale Lockhart died from one gun shot to the front of his head, Lafayette County Coroner Lonnie Weaver said.

Lockhart, a junior psychology major and member of the gold medal-winning U.S. 1,600-meter relay team in the 2006 World Junior Championships in Beijing, was found shot to death Saturday at his apartment near the Ole Miss campus.