Sports

No change for a change at the top of AP poll

NEW YORK -- For a change, there was little change at the top of the Top 25.

Ohio State was No. 1 with Boston College second and LSU third, which is how they they lined up last week. It's just the second time this season the top three was unchanged, the other being Week 1, when the preseason top three held their spots in the first regular season poll.

The only changes in the top seven this week were minor with No. 4 Oregon and No. 5 Oklahoma switching places and No. 6 Arizona State and No. 7 West Virginia flip-flopping.

Ohio State received 59 of 65 first-place votes. BC got one first-place vote, LSU had three and Arizona State received two.

Stability at last? Not quite.

The remainder of the media poll received a major shake-up, with five teams falling out and Connecticut moving into the ranking for the first time in school history.

The Big East-leading Huskies, who became a full-fledged member of Division I-A in 2002, were No. 16 after beating South Florida 22-15 on Saturday. Division I-A is now called the Bowl Subdivision.

For the past month, the top of the poll has been scrambled weekly. Please see complete AP poll in Scoreboard on this page.

This week, the entire top seven either won or was off.

So the scrambling started at No. 8, where unbeaten Kansas landed after moving up four spots. No. 9 Missouri also moved up four and Georgia jumped 10 places to No. 10 after beating Florida 42-30.

• COLLEGE BASKETBALL -- Michigan State coach Tom Izzo is back in a familiar spot -- expected to win the Big Ten title.

Izzo's Spartans were selected by the media Sunday as the preseason favorites to win the conference championship for the first time since 2000-01.

The dean of Big Ten coaches has already notched four conference championships in his 13 years at Michigan State, but he isn't taking success in the league for granted. Two-time defending champion Ohio State brought in another highly touted recruiting class, and Indiana was chosen a close second behind the Spartans.

Adding to the pressure: Big Ten teams will play 18 league games this year, instead of 16.

Michigan State guard Drew Neitzel was selected as the preseason player of the year.

Joining him on the preseason all-Big Ten team are Illinois forward Shaun Pruitt, Indiana forward D.J. White, Ohio State guard Jamar Butler and Penn State guard Geary Claxton.

Ohio State was picked to win the women's conference title and Wisconsin's Jolene Anderson was named the preseason player of the year.

• PRO TENNIS -- Roger Federer beat Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-4 to win his second straight Swiss Indoors and clinch the No. 1 ranking for the fourth consecutive year.

Federer joins Pete Sampras, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl as the only men's players to end the season ranked No. 1 four or more times since the inception of the ATP rankings in 1973.

Federer, who had failed to win his home tournament six straight times before winning last year, captured a tour-high seventh title of the season.

"It's nice to win again and go into the next year as No. 1 again," said Federer, who won three Grand Slam titles this year and has 12 overall, two fewer than the record 14 won by Sampras.

Federer broke on a forehand error by Nieminen to lead 2-0, and he closed out the first set with a volley in 27 minutes.

• David Nalbandian beat Nicolas Almagro of Spain 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the second round of the Paris Masters.

Almagro saved 10 break points against his Argentine opponent but lost serve once in each set. Nalbandian next plays 14th-seeded Carlos Moya of Spain.

In the only other first-round match, Gilles Simon of France beat Potito Starace of Italy 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. He faces eighth-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain in the second round.

• Second-seeded Andy Murray won his third career title Sunday, beating sixth-seeded Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-3 in the final of the St. Petersburg Open.

Earlier this season, Murray defended his title in San Jose and was runner-up at Doha and Metz.

With the victory, the 20-year-old Briton has improved to 41-13 this season and boosted his chances of qualifying for the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, starting Nov. 11.

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