USC Returns to Top 5; Vols flops in 9th place after blowout

USC made the top five in The Associated Press’s college football poll for the first time in five years on Sunday.

Georgia again received 62 of the 63 votes for first place in the AP Top 25 as the top four teams maintained their spots after playing unevenly tight games on Saturday.

No. 2 Ohio State received the other first vote. Michigan was again No. 3, followed by TCU.

The fifth-placed Trojans moved up two spots after a thrilling win over rivals UCLA. The last time USC finished in the top five was September 2017 when it started at No. 4 but spent most of the season in their teens before finishing 12th.

Lincoln Riley’s first season as USC coach has produced one of the best turnarounds in the country, with the Trojans going from four wins to 10 and the regular-season finals against No. 13 Notre Dame and a Pac-12 championship game still to go .

“If you told me at the end of last season that I could be here with this group of guys and play for a championship, I would have called you a dead liar. To be honest with you,” said USC Fourth. Year-old wide receiver Kyle Ford told reporters after the UCLA game. “I’m just so grateful for everyone on this team.”

LSU stayed at No. 6. Clemson moved up two spots to No. 7. Alabama stayed at number eight, and Tennessee fell four places to number 9 after getting upset over a blowout in South Carolina.

In their 63-38 win, the Gamecocks scored more points against a top-five team as an unranked team than any other in AP Poll history.

Oregon rounded out the top 10 after the Ducks defeated Utah in the Pac-12’s other marquee game Saturday night.

CHOICE POINTS

Georgia set a school record with its 10th appearance at No. 1 this season. Last year, the Bulldogs had nine No. 1s, the most in school history.

Georgia has ranked No. 1 a total of 34 times, tying Michigan for 12th most in the history of the AP poll, which goes back to 1936.

USC is a top five team for the 283rd time in poll history. That’s seventh place, 13 behind Nebraska.

The top 5 within the top 5: Alabama (451), Oklahoma (430), Ohio State (418), Notre Dame (318), and Michigan (306).

IN

Texas again.

The 24th-ranked Longhorns, who started the season unranked, have advanced into the top 25 four times. They didn’t manage to stay there for more than two weeks.

A stunning win over Kansas put the Longhorns back in the standings as they head towards a season finale against Baylor.

OUT

Oklahoma State lost its rivalry game to Oklahoma, falling to 7-4 and falling out of the rankings again.

TELEPHONE CONFERENCE

Pac-12 — 6 (#5, 10, 12, 14, 17, 22)
SEC — 5 (#1, 6, 8, 9, 20)
ACC–3 (#7, 16, 18)
American — 3 (Nos. 19, 21, 25)
Big Ten — 3 (Nos. 2, 3, 11)
Big 12 — 3 (Nos. 4, 15, 24)
Sun Belt — 1 (No. 23)
Independent — 1 (No. 13)

RANKED vs RANKED

Rivalry Weekend High Stakes Games:

• No. 19 Tulane at No. 21 Cincinnati, Friday. The winner hosts the American Championship game.

• No. 10 Oregon at No. 22 Oregon State. For the first time since 2012, both are counted.

• No. 3 Michigan at No. 2 Ohio State. Both are 20th unbeaten as they meet for their annual rivalry match.

• No. 13 Notre Dame at No. 5 USC. Both are ranked for the first time since 2017.

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