Baylor rises to No. 3 in AP's Top 25
Baylor overtook Ohio State in The Associated Press college football poll and Alabama became just the seventh team to hold the No. 1 ranking for 13 straight polls in a season.
The third-ranked Bears slipped ahead of the fourth-ranked Buckeyes after Baylor beat Texas Tech 60-34 and Ohio State won 60-35 at Illinois on Saturday. Baylor has 1,351 points and Ohio State has 1,343.
Associated Press Poll
The top five teams in the AP poll:
The gap between the two has been shrinking for weeks, though the Buckeyes are still likely to hold on to third in the BCS standings when they are released later Sunday.
Neither Baylor nor Ohio State has played a particularly daunting schedule. Ohio State's rates No. 72 in Division I according to Sagarin ratings. Baylor is coming off its best two victories of the season against Oklahoma and now-fading Texas Tech, which has lost four straight.
Baylor plays No. 11 Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Saturday, its toughest test yet. Win that, and the Bears could start pulling away from the Buckeyes, who have won a school-record 22 straight games.
Alabama remained No. 1, with 55 first-place votes from the media poll released Sunday. No. 2 Florida State has five first-place votes.
Oregon was fifth and Auburn was sixth.
Alabama has been No. 1 since the preseason. Only six preseason No. 1 teams have had longer uninterrupted stays than the Tide, including USC in 2004 and Florida State in 1999, the only wire-to-wire champions.
The other four preseason No. 1 teams that have spent longer at No. 1 than Alabama all either lost in a bowl game (Nebraska, 1983; USC, 2005; Ohio State 2006) or lost in a conference title game (Oklahoma, 2003).
The Tide faces Chattanooga this week, part of the SEC's scheduling strategy to work in a late-season breather. Florida State has embraced it as well. The Seminoles play Idaho.
Auburn's remarkable turnaround season reached new heights in unfathomable fashion with a 43-38 victory over Georgia. The Tigers (10-1, 6-1), who are off this week, can win the SEC West by beating Alabama and make their way into the national championship discussion by winning the SEC title.
Stanford dropped five spots to No. 10 after losing 20-17 to USC, which moved back into the rankings at No. 23.
The Cardinal relinquished control of the Pac-12 North to Oregon, a week after beating the Ducks, but a BCS at-large bid is still a possibility if they don't win the conference.
As for USC, interim coach Ed Orgeron has orchestrated quite a turnaround since Lane Kiffin was fired, going 5-1. But the Denver Broncos confirmed USC athletic director Pat Haden interviewed Broncos defensive coordinator and former Trojan Jack Del Rio about the job.
Also moving into the rankings were No. 24 Mississippi and No. 25 Duke.
Duke moved into the rankings for the first time since 1994 after crushing Miami 48-30 on Saturday. The victory also puts the Blue Devils in control of the ACC Coastal division race.
If the Blue Devils (8-2) win their last two games (at Wake Forest and at North Carolina), they'll play Florida State in Charlotte for the ACC title on Dec. 7.
Just getting there would be enough to make a case for David Cutcliffe as coach of the year.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.