LSU, Tide top AP poll; matchup awaits

Updated: October 24, 2011, 9:25 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama have locked in their spots for the biggest regular-season game in Southeastern Conference history.

The Tigers and Crimson Tide held the first two spots in The Associated Press Top 25 released Sunday after huge victories a day earlier. With both heading into an off week, LSU and Alabama are virtually assured of meeting on Nov. 5 in Tuscaloosa as the top two teams in the country.

It'll be the second 1 vs. 2 matchup involving SEC teams, but the first time came in the conference championship game.

"It is going to be one of the best games ever," LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery said. "Basketball, football, video games, whatever -- it is going to be the most competitive thing that I have ever been a part of. These guys (Alabama) are just like us. They are big, fast and strong. Two great teams are going to be facing each other in two weeks."

Oklahoma, the preseason No. 1, dropped eight spots to No. 11 after its first loss of the season. The Sooners fell 41-38 to Texas Tech on Saturday night, snapping a 39-game home winning streak. The Red Raiders moved into the ranking for the first time this season at No. 19.

Wisconsin also dropped eight spots after its first loss of the season, falling to No. 12 following a 37-31 loss to Michigan State on the final play of the game. The Spartans moved up six spots to No. 9.

LSU received 49 first-place votes from the media panel. Alabama got nine and No. 5 Boise State had one.

Oklahoma State is No. 3, followed by fellow unbeatens Stanford, Boise State and Clemson. The Cowboys have their best ranking since Nov. 19, 1984, when they were also No. 3.

In the USA Today coaches' poll, LSU replaced Oklahoma as No. 1, followed by Alabama at No. 2, Stanford at No. 3, Oklahoma State at No. 4 and Boise State at No. 5.

The Harris poll top five was LSU, Alabama, Stanford, Oklahoma State and Boise State.

Those two polls are used in the BCS standings, which also had LSU and Alabama occupying the top two spots.

In the AP rankings, No. 6 Clemson has its highest ranking since 2000, when the Tigers spent four weeks at No. 5.

No. 7 Oregon, Michigan State, Arkansas and undefeated Kansas State round out the top 10.

Moving into the rankings this week along with Texas Tech were No. 20 Southern California, No. 21 Penn State and No. 24 Cincinnati, which is ranked for the first time this season.

Falling out after losses were Washington, Georgia Tech, Illinois and defending national champion Auburn.

Nos. 13-18 were Nebraska, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Michigan and Houston, which has its best ranking since 2009.

Joining the four teams moving into the rankings at the bottom were No. 22 Georgia, No. 23 Arizona State and No. 25 West Virginia.

For Alabama and LSU, the No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup likely will decide which of the SEC West rivals plays in the conference championship and could ultimately determine which teams plays for the national title in New Orleans on Jan. 9.

LSU's only appearance in a 1-2 game was in the BCS title game in 2008. This will be Alabama's sixth No. 1 vs. No. 2 game, but first in the regular season.

The last time there was a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in college football not played in a bowl or conference title game was 2006, when No. 1 Ohio State beat No. 2 Michigan on the final weekend of the Big Ten's regular season and went on to lose the BCS championship game to Florida. Earlier that season, top-ranked Ohio State also played No. 2 Texas.

LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said CBS has agreed to air next year's game at Tiger Stadium in prime time as part of the network's deal to move the start of the Nov. 5 showdown to a night game.

CBS' contract with the SEC gives it the first pick of games to broadcast Saturday afternoon, and one prime-time game per season. ESPN's contract gives it the rights to night games.

But CBS announced Sunday the 1-2 game on Nov. 5 would start at 8 p.m. ET instead of 3:30 p.m.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.