New York, NY -- Notre Dame is still a unanimous choice as the top-ranked college football team in the nation after completing an undefeated regular season on Saturday night, while the only other unbeaten, Ohio State, remained fourth in the latest Associated Press poll.
The Fighting Irish will head to the BCS National Championship Game in January with the No. 1 ranking thanks to a 22-13 win at Southern California on Saturday night. Notre Dame, which received all 60 first-place votes from a nationwide media panel for the second week in a row, finished the season 12-0 and will try for its first national championship since 1988.
Alabama or Georgia will be the Irish's likely opponent in Miami. The second- ranked Crimson Tide and third-ranked Bulldogs will square off in the SEC Championship Game next Saturday in Atlanta in what amounts to a de facto national semifinal.
While Notre Dame might not finish the season unbeaten, Ohio State definitely will. The Buckeyes finished 12-0 on Saturday with a 26-21 win over arch-rival Michigan to complete the sixth perfect season in school history, but are ineligible for the postseason in Urban Meyer's first year after the NCAA levied a one-year bowl ban as part of penalties stemming from Jim Tressel's tenure.
Ohio State cannot win the BCS title, but there are no restrictions in the media balloting. The Buckeyes became the first team ineligible for postseason play to finish unbeaten since Auburn was 11-0 under Terry Bowden in 1993.
Florida and Oregon swapped places in this week's poll, with the Gators moving up to No. 5 after a win over Florida State. Kansas State, Stanford, LSU and Texas A&M complete this week's top 10. Stanford, which knocked off a No. 1 Oregon squad last week, moved up three spots from 11th after winning at UCLA on Saturday to set up a rematch with the Bruins in the Pac-12 title game.
The second 10 consists of South Carolina, Oklahoma, Florida State, Nebraska, Clemson, Oregon State, UCLA, Kent State, Northern Illinois and Utah State. Kent State and Northern Illinois each moved up five places from last week and will meet for the Mid-American Conference title on Friday.
Michigan, Northwestern, Texas, Oklahoma State and Boise State are the last five teams ranked. Texas tumbled five places after a home loss to TCU on Thanksgiving, while Northwestern and Boise State are newcomers.
Northwestern, which was ranked for a week earlier this season after a 5-0 start, wrapped up a 9-3 season. Boise State has been in and out of the poll all season and is back after a three-week absence.
Louisville and Rutgers each dropped out of the rankings after losses this weekend. The Cardinals fell in overtime at home against Connecticut and have lost two in a row after a 9-0 start, while the Scarlet Knights lost at Pittsburgh. The teams will meet Thursday in Piscataway. A Rutgers win clinches an outright Big East title and a BCS berth, while a Louisville victory forces at least a three-way tie for the title between the Cardinals, Scarlet Knights and Syracuse, with Cincinnati also still alive for a share.
The Big 12 title is also up for grabs with Kansas State and Oklahoma still in contention. Kansas State will host Texas on Saturday, while Oklahoma will visit TCU.
The Sports Network