Tennessee moved into a tie with Ohio State for the No. 2 spot in The Associated Press college football poll on Sunday to set up next week’s 1 vs. 2 with top-ranked Georgia.
Georgia-Tennessee will be the 25th regular-season game to match the top two teams in the AP poll and the third straight between teams from the Southeastern Conference. Neither the Bulldogs nor the Volunteers have ever gone 1-2 in the regular season.
Georgia remained No. 1 for the fourth straight week, earning 30 first-place votes and 1,528 points in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank.
The Volunteers moved up a spot with 18 first-place votes and 1,500 points to tie Ohio State. The Buckeyes received 15 first-place votes. The last time there was a tie for No. 2 in the AP poll was on Nov. 14, 2004, between Auburn and Oklahoma behind No. 1 Southern California.
On Saturday, Tennessee defeated Kentucky 44-6 and Ohio State won 44-31 at Penn State.
Tennessee hasn’t been ranked this high since 2001, when it was No. 2, a season the Vols finished fourth.
No. 4 Michigan, No. 5 Clemson, No. 6 Alabama, No. 7 TCU and No. 8 Oregon held the rankings. USC moved up a spot to ninth and No. 10 UCLA gave the Pac-12 three teams in the top-10 for the first time since November 2016.
The last time both Los Angeles schools were in the top 10 was in September 2015.
The first College Football Playoff rankings of the season will be released Tuesday night.
The final two games of the 1-2 regular season involved Alabama and LSU.
The Tigers were No. 1 in 2019, defeating the second-ranked Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, Alabama en route to the SEC and national championships.
In 2011, the top-seeded Tigers won over No. 2 Alabama in overtime, and the two SEC West rivals played again for the BCS National Championship. The Tide won the rematch and finished No. 1.
Including postseason games, this will be the 53rd game tied for AP No. 1 and No. 2 since the poll began in 1936.
Three teams in the Top 25 make their debut there this week.
— No. 23 Liberty was ranked for the first time since 2020, when the Flames were ranked for eight weeks, peaking at No. 17 in the season-ending poll.
— No. 24 Oregon State becomes the latest Power Five school to snap a long absence from the rankings. The Beavers have not been ranked since they were ranked No. 25 in the preseason poll in 2013. They have not been ranked in the regular season since 2012, when they finished No. 20.
Earlier this year, Kansas snapped a 13-year ranking drought, the longest in the Power Five. After that, Illinois snapped its second-longest drought and moved up the rankings for the first time since 2011.
Rutgers currently holds the longest AP Top 25 playoff drought among Power Five teams, dating back to 2012. Vanderbilt is next. The Commodores have not been ranked since the 2013 season.
— No. 25 UCF is ranked for the first time since Sept. 27, 2020.
SEC East rivals Kentucky and South Carolina fell out of the poll after absorbing their third losses of the season. The Gamecocks are out after just one week of ratings. The Wildcats are unranked for the first time this season.
Cincinnati also fell out of the rankings after a loss to UCF.
SEC — 5 (#1, 2, 6, 11, 15).
ACC — 5 (Nos. 5, 17, 20, 21, 22).
Pac-12 — 5 (#8, 9, 10, 12, 24).
Big Ten — 4 (Nos. 2, 4, 14, 16).
Large 12 — 3 (Nos. 7, 13, 18).
American — 2 (No. 19, 25).
Independent — 1 (No. 23).
RANKED vs. RANKED
A big weekend in the SEC with both divisions up for grabs.
No. 6 Alabama at No. 15 LSU. The first scoring game for the Crimson Tide and Tigers since that 2019 game 1 vs. 2.
No. 20 Wake Forest at No. 21 North Carolina State. For the second year in a row, the Demon Deacons and Wolfpack will meet as opponents.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.apppodcasts.com
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