Notre Dame knocked out of Top 25
After a season on the outs, Michigan is back in the AP Top 25.
The Wolverines, unranked all last season while finishing 3-9, were No. 25 in The Associated Press college football poll released Sunday.
Michigan moved into the media ranking for the first time since the end of the 2007 season after a thrilling 38-34 victory against Notre Dame on Saturday. The loss dropped the Fighting Irish out of the rankings.
The top five of The Associated Press preseason poll:
|For the complete Associated Press Top 25 and USA Today coaches' poll, click here.|
No. 3 Southern California received a first-place vote for the first time this season after Matt Barkley and the Trojans used a late-fourth quarter touchdown to rally past Ohio State 18-15 on the road.
The Buckeyes' latest slip up on the big stage -- they've lost six straight against top-five teams -- cost them three spots in the poll. They dropped to No. 11.
Oklahoma State tumbled 11 places to No. 16.
No. 21 Houston joined Michigan as newcomers to this season's rankings, but unlike the Wolverines it's been years since the Cougars were a Top 25 team.
Houston's last time in the AP poll was Sept. 15, 1991. That year quarterback David Klingler and the Cougars were 1-0 and ranked 10th when they went to Miami and were blown out 40-10 by the Hurricanes. The next week Houston was No. 21 when it lost to 51-10 at Illinois.
The Cougars haven't been a player on the national scene since.
No. 7 BYU moved up two spots and also has its best ranking in more than a decade. The Cougars from Provo, Utah, were last ranked this high when they finished the 1996 season No. 5.
Michigan's victory, coming on a touchdown pass by freshman Tate Forcier with 11 seconds left, is the most significant of Rich Rodriguez's one-plus seasons as coach. And moving into the national rankings capped a tumultuous and exhilarating three weeks in Ann Arbor for the program.
The week before Michigan opened the season with a 31-7 victory at the Big House against Western Michigan, Rodriguez was rocked by a newspaper report that anonymously quoted current and former players alleging NCAA violations by the coaching staff.
Now Michigan is back in the national rankings, a place fans of college football's winningest program have grown accustomed to occupying, and headed for a soft spot on the schedule. The Wolverines play Eastern Michigan and Indiana at home before a trip to East Lansing for rival Michigan State on Oct. 3.
The forecast for the Wolverines is looking good. Just ask Forcier, who said this when asked if the Notre Dame victory proved that Michigan is really back as a Big Ten power: "Yeah, I really think it does."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press