Notre Dame (11-0) completes its season Saturday at Southern California. Losses by Oregon -- to Stanford in overtime -- and Kansas State -- by 28 points at Baylor -- took out the other two major-college teams that entered the week undefeated.
(Ohio State is also undefeated but ineligible for post-season consideration.)
Notre Dame was No. 24 in the coaches' pre-season poll but worked its way up the rankings, culminating with 56 of the 59 first-place mentions this week in moving from third to No. 1. It is the first time since November 1993 that the Fighting Irish have led the poll.
Alabama (10-1), which was on top of the poll for 10 weeks this season until a loss to Texas A&M two weeks ago, gets two first-place votes and is second, narrowly ahead of third-ranked Georgia (10-1), which received the other first-place mention. They are the likely opponents in the SEC Championship game and two of six SEC teams ranked in the Top 12.
Oregon (10-1) slides from No. 1 to fourth while Florida State (10-1) and Florida (10-1), which play each other this week, each improve one place to fifth and sixth, respectively. Kansas State (10-1) drops from second to eighth while Clemson (10-1) and Texas A&M (9-2) keep the Nos. 9 and 10 spots.
Stanford (9-2) is up two places to 11th, pushing South Carolina (9-2) down one place to 12th and Oklahoma (8-2) down one to No. 13. Nebraska (9-2) remains 14th and Texas (8-2) is again in the 15th spot.
UCLA (9-2) comes in 16th followed by No. 17 Oregon State (8-2) and 18th-ranked Louisville (9-1), all unchanged from last week. Rutgers (9-1) is up one to 19th and Michigan (8-3), 23rd a week ago, is 20th.
Oklahoma State (7-3) moves to 21st and Boise State (9-2) followed by, in order, new poll entrants Northern Illinois (10-1), Mississippi State (8-3) and Kent State (10-1).
Louisiana Tech, Southern California and Texas Tech drop out of the Top 25 this week.
In addition to the Florida at Florida State game, another SEC-ACC intrastate rivalry takes place, South Carolina at Clemson. In the Pac-12, Oregon travels to Oregon State and Stanford plays at UCLA. Also, Oklahoma plays host to Oklahoma State.
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