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College football: Alabama back on top

Alabama head coach Nick Saban. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

 

By RALPH D. RUSSO AP College Football Writer

Alabama is No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll for the first time this year, extending its record of consecutive seasons with at least one week on top of the rankings to 13.

Notre Dame moved up two spots to No. 2 on Sunday after upsetting Clemson in a dramatic double-overtime game Saturday night. Ohio State remained No. 3. Clemson gave up the top spot for the first time this season and landed at No. 4.

The Crimson Tide, who had an open date, received 59 of 62 first-place votes. Notre Dame, which has its best ranking since it was No. 1 at the end of the 2012 regular season, received two first-place votes. Ohio State got one.

Texas A&M moved up two spots to No. 5, the Aggies’ best ranking since they finished fifth to end the 2012 season.

Florida jumped two spots to No. 6 after beating Georgia to snap a three-game losing streak against its SEC East rival. The Bulldogs fell eight spots to a season-low 13th.

No. 8 BYU, No. 9 Miami and No. 10 Indiana round out the top 10.

The Hoosiers moved up three spots after beating Michigan to receive their best ranking since they were No. 10 in 1969.

POLL POINTS

It’s no surprise when Alabama reaches No. 1, but it’s always historic.

The Crimson Tide’s streak of seasons with at least one appearance at No. 1 started in Nick Saban’s second year as coach in Tuscaloosa. The Tide reached the top of the poll for the first time under Saban on Nov. 2, 2008, the day after beating Arkansas State.

No. 1 Texas lost that week at Texas Tech — Graham Harrell to Michael Crabtree in the final seconds as the Red Raiders shocked the Longhorns — to open the door for Alabama to ascend.

The second-longest streak of consecutive years appearing at No. 1 in AP poll history belongs to Miami, which went seven seasons from 1986-92.

This No. 1 appearance is the 92nd under Saban and Alabama’s record 123rd overall. Take away Alabama’s other No. 1 appearances and just Saban’s appearances at No. 1 would rank as the fourth-most in college history behind Ohio State’s (105), Oklahoma’s (101) and Notre Dame’s (98). That’s also one more than Southern California (91) has ever had.

IN

— No. 23 Northwestern is ranked for the first time since the Wildcats finished the 2018 season at No. 21.

— No. 25 Louisiana-Lafayette returns to the rankings after cracking them earlier this season for the first time in almost 80 years.

OUT

— Boise State dropped out after getting run over by BYU on Friday night.

— Michigan is out for the first time this season after falling to 1-2. The Wolverines were last unranked while eligible for the poll at the end of 2017. Earlier this season, Big Ten teams were ineligible for the AP Top 25 because the conference was not planning to play a fall schedule.

CONFERENCE CALL

SEC — 5 (Nos. 1, 5, 6, 13, 24).

Big Ten — 4 (Nos. 3, 10, 12, 23).

Big 12 — 4 (Nos. 14, 17, 18, 21).

ACC — 3 (No. 2, 4, 9).

American — 2 (Nos. 7, 19).

Pac-12 — 2 (Nos. 11, 20).

Sun Belt — 2 (Nos. 15, 25).

C-USA — 1 (No. 16).

Independents — 2 (Nos. 8, 22).

RANKED vs. RANKED

After four Top-25 matchups this past weekend, there is none next week.

Blame LSU. The defending national champions have stumbled to 2-3, meaning for the first time since 2001, the Tigers will face Alabama as an unranked team.

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