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Florida Gators leap to No. 4 in AP poll; Florida State Seminoles No. 12

Florida leaped into the national title picture by going from No. 10 to No. 4 in the Associated Press college football poll Sunday, and FSU fell nine spots to No. 12 after its upset loss at N.C. State.

The Gators (5-0, 4-0 SEC) say their highest ranking since Sept. 4, 2010, doesn't mean much and that they will focus on one game at a time. But can they really not look past this week's game at Vanderbilt to an Oct. 20 home showdown with South Carolina that could determine the SEC East champion?

The Gamecocks (6-0, 4-0) jumped to No. 3 after their third straight win over Georgia.

"Have we ever been that high before? How about '84?" coach Steve Spurrier asked Sunday. South Carolina reached No. 2 late in the 1984 season.

"Well, we've still got a ways to go," Spurrier added, knowing the Gamecocks visit LSU on Saturday. "I would say we probably have the toughest schedule of those other teams (national title contenders).''

While it's clear the Gators are much improved from last season, coach Will Muschamp cautioned after Saturday's victory over LSU that a long season remains and the Gators can't start thinking they're all the way back — regardless of their ranking.

"I think we've improved,'' Muschamp said. "I think we've taken some steps forward, I'm not going to sit there and doubt that. But there are so many more things to accomplish as we move forward this season.

"When you continue to climb the mountain, the steps get a little more treacherous. And we've got to understand that. We have to understand we've got a lot of things we need to clean up.''

The players, admittedly thrilled with the progress, vowed to stay focused and unfazed by outside surroundings.

"We're playing for the coaches, we're playing for the players to the left and right of us,'' junior center Jonotthan Harrison said. "You cut out all the other stuff — the distractions."

"We're taking it game by game,'' senior safety Josh Evans said. "A lot of people look down on us and don't think we're quite there yet. But hopefully this is a good spot and a good position we're in now. We opened up a lot of eyes to show we're on the rise."

murray's house egged: Georgia linebacker Christian Robinson said after Saturday's loss at South Carolina the house he shares with quarterback and former Plant High standout Aaron Murray was egged and toilet-papered. He posted on his Twitter account: "Came to a house that was egged and rolled. Seems that people turn on you when you're not perfect. Thought we were in this together." Coach Mark Richt said every quarterback he has coached since he was an assistant at FSU has had to have unlisted telephone numbers "because you know there's going to be somebody to call and say something foolish after the emotion of a game. Unfortunately, it's part of it."

Illinois: Cornerback Terry Hawthorne, taken off the field in an ambulance after colliding with Wisconsin fullback Derek Watt, had a negative CT scan and will be okay.

Late Saturday

OREGON 52, WASHINGTON 21: Marcus Mariota threw for 198 yards and four touchdowns, including two to tight end Colt Lyerla, for the host Ducks. Oregon won its ninth straight overall dating to last season, as well as its ninth straight in the series against the Huskies.

CAL 43, UCLA 17: Zach Maynard matched his career high with four touchdown passes and the host Bears took advantage of six turnovers.

Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report.

Florida Gators leap to No. 4 in AP poll; Florida State Seminoles No. 12 10/07/12 [Last modified: Sunday, October 7, 2012 10:11pm]

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