Notre Dame is 1 and waiting for SEC to play out

Breaking down the AP college football poll after Week 13 of the regular season.

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MAKING A STATEMENT

Notre Dame is No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 with nothing left to do but wait to find out its opponent for the national championship game.

Toward the bottom of the rankings, there was plenty of movement. Ten Top 25 teams lost this weekend, the most since Oct. 11, 2003, but for the most part the national championship race was unchanged.

No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia, both easy winners in rivalry games Saturday, held their spots in the rankings and in the BCS standings. They will play for the SEC title in Atlanta next weekend.

The winner is a lock to move on to Miami for the BCS championship game on Jan. 7, trying to extend the Southeastern Conference’s string of six straight titles.

But will the right SEC team be getting a shot? Florida coach Will Muschamp doesn’t think so.

“We should be playing for the national championship,” he said after the Gators beat Florida State 37-26 in Tallahassee, Fla., on Saturday.

He’s got a point.

The Gators (11-1) checked in at No. 4 in the AP poll this week, up one spot, and fourth in the BCS standings.

Their lone loss was to Georgia and it was enough to settle the SEC East in the Bulldogs’ favor.

But playing in the same division doesn’t mean playing the same competition. Not even close in these days of expanding conferences.

The Gators have clearly played a tougher schedule than the Bulldogs. The Sagarin computer ratings have Florida’s strength of schedule at 13th in the nation. Georgia’s is 42nd. Alabama’s is 39th, by the way, but let’s keep the focus on Florida and Georgia because they played each other.

Florida also played No. 9 LSU and No. 10 Texas A&M as its two SEC West opponents, combined record 20-4. Georgia played Auburn and Mississippi from the west, combined record 9-15.

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