USC increases lead over idle Oklahoma, Auburn

A week after losing some support as the No. 1 team, Southern
California got it right back.

Top-ranked USC received 52 first-place votes, four more than
last week, and 1,610 points in The Associated Press Top 25 on
Sunday. In the previous poll, Southern Cal lost three first-place

With No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 3 Auburn idle, the Trojans pounded
Notre Dame 41-10 on Saturday night, persuading some more media
voters that they are the best team in the country. Irish coach
Tyrone Willingham sure was convinced.

"They are No. 1 for a reason," he said.

The Sooners and Tigers each had two fewer first-place votes than
last week, but Oklahoma extended its lead over Auburn by five

Oklahoma received seven first-place votes and 1,540 points.
Auburn got six first-place votes and 1,530 points.

When the Bowl Championship Series standings are released Monday,
no changes are expected at the very top. Last week, USC was first,
Oklahoma second and Auburn third.

All three play Saturday, trying to stay unbeaten. USC plays at
UCLA; Oklahoma meets Colorado in the Big 12 title game; and Auburn
faces Tennessee for the Southeastern Conference championship.

USC, Oklahoma and Auburn, in that order, also led the ESPN/USA
Today coaches' poll.

The top nine teams in the latest AP poll were the same as last
week. No. 4 California was followed by Utah, Texas, Louisville,
Georgia and Miami.

Virginia Tech moved up a spot to No. 10, flip-flopping with
unbeaten Boise State.

Three teams moved into the poll, including two for the first
time this season.

Pittsburgh vaulted in at No. 19 after beating West Virginia
16-13 last Thursday. The Panthers are in line for a BCS bid if they
can beat South Florida on Saturday.

"If we can take care of business Saturday and go to a BCS bowl,
it would be huge for this program," Pitt quarterback Tyler Palko

The Mountaineers fell out of the rankings for the first time
this season. They had been ranked as high as No. 6 early in the

Texas Tech is in for the first time this season at No. 23 after
beating Oklahoma State 31-15. The Cowboys dropped out of the

Ohio State is 25th, back in the rankings after a three-game
losing streak knocked it out in October.

UTEP, which was ranked in the AP poll for the first time in
school history, fell out after losing 37-35 to Tulsa. The Miners
were 24th.