Irish sit atop poll for first time in 19 years

Notre Dame has ascended to the top of the latest Associated Press college football poll after a second straight Saturday of upsets.

The Fighting Irish improved to 11-0 with a 38-0 rout of Wake Forest on Saturday afternoon, then watched both Oregon and Kansas State fall a few hours later.

Notre Dame received all 60 first-place votes and a total of 1,500 points from a nationwide media panel. The Irish were last ranked No. 1 back in November 1993, and are now a victory over Southern California away from a likely trip to the BCS National Championship Game.

Alabama, a week after slipping to No. 4 following a loss to Texas A&M, moved up to second following a 49-0 thumping of Western Carolina. Georgia also moved up two spots to third. Should the Crimson Tide slip past a 3-8 Auburn squad in the Iron Bowl next Saturday, Alabama and Georgia will play for the SEC title the following week in Atlanta.

Ohio State, which is also undefeated after an overtime win at Wisconsin on Saturday, moved up to fourth. The Buckeyes, in their first year under Urban Meyer, are ineligible for postseason play in the wake of NCAA sanctions from Jim Tressel's tenure.

Oregon dropped from first to fifth after a 17-14 overtime loss to Stanford and is followed by Florida, Kansas State, LSU, Texas A&M and Florida State. Kansas State tumbled five spots from second after a 52-24 thrashing at Baylor.

The second 10 consists of Stanford, Clemson, South Carolina, Oklahoma, UCLA, Oregon State, Nebraska, Texas, Louisville and Michigan. Stanford's big win vaulted the Cardinal three spots from 14th, while UCLA moved up two places following its 38-28 victory over arch-rival USC.

Southern California will stand in the way of Notre Dame's perfect season next Saturday at the Coliseum and will do so as an unranked squad. The Trojans were the top team in the preseason poll, but have dropped completely out of the rankings after Saturday's loss to UCLA.

The last teams ranked this week are Rutgers, Oklahoma State, Kent State, Northern Illinois, Utah State and Mississippi State. Utah State and Mississippi State, both among this week's newcomers, are tied for 25th.

Oklahoma State moved into the poll for the first time this season after a 59-21 victory over Texas Tech, which was 23rd last week and fell out of the poll. Northern Illinois, which has won 10 straight since a season-opening 18-17 loss to Iowa, joins Kent State from the Mid-American Conference.

Utah State also joined the poll for the first time this season, knocking Louisiana Tech out of the rankings with a 48-41 overtime win in Ruston. The Bulldogs had been 19th. Mississippi State is back in the poll after a one-week absence, rolling to a 45-14 win over Arkansas on Saturday after consecutive losses to SEC heavyweights Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU.

Thanksgiving week features an abundance of ranked matchups, including the annual grudge match between Michigan and Ohio State at the Horseshoe and the Civil War between Oregon and Oregon State in Corvallis. The Bedlam Series between Oklahoma State and Oklahoma takes place this year in Norman, while Florida and Florida State square off in Tallahassee with both teams at 10-1 and clinging to slim hopes of reaching the BCS title game.

Also Saturday, Stanford and UCLA meet in the Rose Bowl with a potential second matchup set for the following week in the Pac-12 title game if the Cardinal first beat the Bruins. South Carolina and Clemson renew their annual rivalry in Death Valley.