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Coaches tab FSU No. 1

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden has been here before with mixed results, but he never gets tired of starting a football season ranked No. 1.

The Seminoles occupy the top spot in the preseason ESPN/USA Today coaches poll released Thursday. Defending national champion Tennessee is second, with Arizona, Penn State and Florida completing the top five.

"Here we go again," said Bowden, who has 18 starters back from last year's 11-2 team. "This is something like the fifth time since 1988 that we will be preseason No. 1 in a poll and we've got just one trophy to show for it."

The Seminoles, who lost 23-16 to Tennessee in the national championship Fiesta Bowl, received 36 of a possible 59 first-place votes from a panel of Division I-A coaches. It is the fourth time since 1991 that FSU has been the preseason No. 1 in the coaches poll.

"We know what it means to be ranked No. 1," said Bowden, who is eight victories from his 300th career win. "No matter where you start, you've got to go out and do it. We don't hide the fact that we are No. 1. In fact, we'd like to be No. 1 all the time. I tell our players that we want to be No. 1 every day."

Florida State's only national championship came in 1993, when the Seminoles became the only school in the past 10 seasons to start and finish No. 1 in the coaches poll.

Nebraska, Michigan, Texas A&M, Ohio State and Wisconsin round out the Top 10. Miami is 12th.

Several early games feature Top 10 matchups: Arizona visits Penn State for the Pigskin Classic on Aug. 28; Tennessee plays at Florida on Sept. 18; Michigan visits Wisconsin on Sept. 25.

ALABAMA: Alabama reached a $350,000 settlement with an employee who had accused coach Mike DuBose of sexual harassment and sexual discrimination, and DuBose apologized for embarrassing the university.

An emotional DuBose, reading a brief statement, said he had reached a settlement in the case but did not disclose details.

School officials said DuBose's contract will be cut from five years to three and his salary will be cut by $360,000 in the three years, almost the same amount being paid to the university employee who filed the complaint. DuBose agreed to the cuts.

DuBose admitted to misleading the public in May when he denied what he called "unfounded rumors and innuendoes" about his personal life.

"To say I am sorry is not enough, I know," he said. "I was wrong but I cannot change the past. Today I accept the university's discipline and punishment."

DuBose did not take questions from reporters and left the room with his wife, Polly, immediately after reading the statement.

CENTRAL FLORIDA: Coach Mike Kruczek and his staff welcomed 33 newcomers for a three-day rookie camp. The full squad reports Saturday. The first practice is Tuesday.

IOWA: Kahlil Hill, Iowa's leading receiver and kickoff return specialist, has been suspended for the season for violating team rules, first-year coach Kirk Ferentz said.

Steve Roe, associate director of men's sports information, said Hill had violated a team policy, nothing that would involve court charges.

Hill will have two years of eligibility remaining.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS: The NCAA Division I board of directors decided there is "no compelling reason" to change Proposition 16 requirements on freshman eligibility, pending a legal challenge.

Proposition 16 requires freshmen athletes have a high school diploma and a minimum grade-point average in 13 core courses with the GPA contingent on an indexed, sliding scale with a student's score on a standardized test. Those scoring less than 820 on the SAT, or 16 on the ACT, cannot participate, regardless of other academic credentials.

In March, a federal judge said the NCAA bylaw dictating requirements for freshmen at the association's 302 Division I schools had an "unjustified disparate impact on African-Americans."

Arguments are scheduled to be heard Sept. 14.

AUBURN: Signee Casinious Moore, a running back, had knee surgery and will be redshirted.

_ Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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preseason poll

First-place votes in parentheses, final records, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and last season's final ranking:

Rec Pts Pv

1. FSU (36) 11-2 1,447 3

2. Tennessee (13) 13-0 1,369 1

3. Arizona (2) 12-1 1,301 4

4. Penn State (8) 9-3 1,267 15

5. Florida 10-2 1,113 6

6. Nebraska 9-4 1,095 20

7. Michigan 10-3 1,094 12

8. Texas A&M 11-3 1,051 13

9. Ohio State 11-1 1,024 2

10. Wisconsin 11-1 902 5

11. Georgia Tech 10-2 748 11

12. Miami 9-3 704 21

13. Georgia 9-36 711 4

14. Virginia Tech 9-3 626 19

15. UCLA 10-2 596 8

16. Texas 9-3 497 16

17. Colorado 8-4 470 _

18. Notre Dame 9-3 422 22

19. Kansas State 11-2 379 9

20. Alabama 7-5 367 _

21. Southern Cal 8-5 360 _

22. Arkansas 9-3 325 17

23. Purdue 9-4 291 23

24. Virginia 9-3 191 18

25. Arizona State 5-6 167 _

Others receiving votes: BYU 118, Syracuse 79, Mississippi State 75, Marshall 55, LSU 48, North Carolina 46, Air Force 35, Washington 35, Michigan State 33, Missouri 28, Texas Tech 20, Oregon 18, N.C. State 17, Louisville 16, Southern Miss 15, TCU 14, West Virginia 13, Clemson 10, Auburn 7, Miami, Ohio 4, Mississippi 3, Oklahoma 3, Tulane 2, Wyoming 2, Duke 1, Fresno St. 1.