NEW YORK -- Let's try this again.
Ohio State was No. 1 and LSU was 2 in the AP Top 25 on Sunday,
just as they were a month ago, before four weeks of upsets and
unlikely results capped the most unpredictable college football
season in recent memory.
Essentially, voters in the media poll hit the reset button on
the final regular season ranking.
After the top two teams in the rankings lost for the second
straight week, Ohio State jumped two spots to No. 1. The Buckeyes,
who haven't played since they wrapped up the Big Ten title with a
14-3 victory over Michigan on Nov. 17, received 50 first-place
votes out of a possible 65.
LSU moved up three spots from No. 5 after winning the
Southeastern Conference championship with a 21-14 victory over
Tennessee on Saturday. The Tigers got 11 first-place votes.
Ohio State and LSU (11-2) were also Nos. 1 and 2 in the coaches'
poll, with Oklahoma (11-2) third and Georgia (10-2) fourth.
Ohio State (11-1) was expected to be on top of the Bowl
Championship Series standings when they were released Sunday night
and earn a spot in the national championship game. The spot
opposite the Buckeyes was a tough call after Saturday night's
results, with several two-loss teams in the running.
The BCS uses the Harris poll and coaches' poll, along with
computer ratings to determine, which teams play for the national
The final AP poll will be released after the BCS title game.
Missouri and West Virginia were the latest teams unable to deal
with success and lose with the loftiest rankings in the AP Top 25.
When Missouri lost 38-17 to Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game on
Saturday, it marked the fourth time this season No. 1 has lost.
Ohio State was No. 1 when it lost on Nov. 10 to Illinois and LSU
has lost twice as No. 1, including a triple-overtime setback to
Arkansas the day after Thanksgiving.
The Tigers have also had two previous stints at No. 2, but
haven't lost ranked second in the nation. They should consider
themselves lucky. What a burden No. 2 has been this season.
West Virginia became the seventh team ranked No. 2 to lose this
season, when it fell 13-9 to Pittsburgh. The Panthers made it six
times that No. 2 has lost to an unranked team.
Oklahoma jumped six places to No. 3 and got a first-place vote,
as did No. 4 Georgia and No. 5 Virginia Tech, which won the
Atlantic Coast Conference with a 30-16 victory over Boston College.
No. 6 Southern California, which started the season as No. 1,
won the Pac-10 title with a 24-7 victory over UCLA on Saturday.
Missouri fell all the way to No. 7 and was followed by Kansas,
which dropped three spots to No. 8 a week after losing its big game
against the Tigers.
No. 9 Florida was followed by Hawaii. The 10th-ranked Warriors
are the only unbeaten team left in the major college football and
they also received a first-place vote.
West Virginia dropped nine spots to No. 11 and was followed by
Arizona State, Illinois, Boston College and Clemson.
Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, BYU and Cincinnati round out the
top 20. Virginia, Auburn, South Florida, Boise State and Arkansas
are the final five, with the Razorbacks re-entering the rankings
Falling out was Oregon, which finished its regular season with
three consecutive losses.
Three times this season Nos. 1 and 2 in the poll have lost in
the same weekend. The first time was Oct. 13 when No. 1 LSU lost at
Kentucky and No. 2 California fell to Oregon State.
Before that day, the top two teams in the AP poll hadn't lost in
the same regular-season weekend since 1996, when it happened to No.
1 Nebraska and No. 2 Tennessee.