Bama, Oregon, K-State, ND rise to top of AP poll

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A BCS mess looms. Alabama’s position as No. 1 is safe as long as the defending national champions keep winning. The other three will jockey for the position behind the Tide, and voters (both in the AP poll and the two used in the BCS standings) will parse scores and schedules, looking for the slightest flaws to separate the Ducks, Wildcats and Irish.

Good luck with that.

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MOVING UP

Dismissed after getting thumped at South Carolina, No. 7 Georgia moved up five spots in the latest rankings and moved into position to win a second straight SEC East title.

The Bulldogs put together by far their best defensive performance of the season against the Gators. It really came out of nowhere. Georgia, with a lineup full of future NFL draft picks, had been allowing more than 200 yards per game on the ground over its last three.

All-American linebacker Jarvis Jones, who has been slowed by injuries, was spectacular with 13 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles. Florida ran for only 81 yards.

Georgia needs to beat Mississippi and Auburn to book a trip to the Southeastern Conference title game for the sixth time in 12 seasons under coach Mark Richt. Yes, the Bulldogs have benefited from a favorable schedule the past two seasons, missing the best teams from the SEC West. But you can only play the teams on your schedule and Georgia has beaten almost all of them.

Still, many Bulldogs fans have been exasperated by their team and coach in recent seasons. Georgia hasn’t won the SEC since 2005, and while Florida, Alabama, Auburn and LSU have won the last six national titles, Georgia hasn’t won any.

That’s a high standard to meet, but that’s where the bar is set for the top SEC programs these days.

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MOVING DOWN

USC, now that’s a disappointing team.

Even after losing at Stanford in September, the Trojans were No. 10 with a chance to work their way back into the national title race. Another sloppy performance led to their second loss of the season.

The Trojans had more than 600 yards, including 493 passing by Barkley, against Arizona. Star receiver Marqise Lee had 16 catches for a Pac-12 record 345 yards. But USC committed five turnovers and 13 penalties and let a 15-point, second-half lead slip away.

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