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Academic Bowl Championship Series Rankings: Penn State Football Tops Academic Poll (SLIDESHOW)

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Penn State finished first in the 2011 Academic Bowl Rankings. | Getty Images

According to a poll recently released by the New America Foundation, the Penn State football program ranked first in academic performance among team's currently ranked in the top 25 of the final BCS standings.

According to New America's website, four factors are calculated in the rankings:

The football team's graduation rate relative to the school overall; the difference between black and white graduation rates on the team; the difference between black and white graduation rates at the school overall; and the difference between the graduation rates of black players on the football team and the school's overall black student population.

Penn State was followed in the rankings by Mountain West conference schools (for now) Boise State and TCU, respectively. Stanford, who topped last season's Academic Bowl rankings, dropped to fourth.

Although the legacy of longtime Penn State football coach Joe Paterno appears to be irreparably tarnished by the child abuse scandal -- and potential cover up -- involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, this ranking shows the side of the program that had been championed before the scandal broke.

Kayla Webley of Time.com contends that "Winning the top honors in the academic bowl further proves the success of Paterno's "grand experiment," which was his idea that major-college athletes could contend for national championships while excelling in the classroom."

Alabama and LSU, who will play one another to another to decide the BCS National Championship on January 9th, ranked 5th and 13th in the poll, respectively.

You can view where the other schools in the final BCS top 25 ranked below:

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