Ole Miss back in AP Top 25

NEW YORK — Ole Miss, California and North Carolina, teams that started the season with lofty expectations before stumbling, have surged back into the AP Top 25 college football poll.

There was little change, however, at the top of The Associated Press rankings Sunday after a weekend when most of the highly ranked teams had easy victories or time off.

No. 1 Florida was followed by fellow unbeatens Alabama, Texas, TCU, Cincinnati and Boise State. Also holding their places were No. 7 Georgia Tech, No. 8 Pittsburgh and No. 9 Ohio State.

The Gators received 36 first-place votes, Alabama had 13 and Texas 11.

The only change in the top 10 came at No. 10. Oregon moved up a spot after LSU slipped seven places to No. 17 after losing 25-23 at Ole Miss.

The Rebels (8-3) started the season ranked in the top 10, touted as a threat to Alabama in the Southeastern Conference’s West Division. Ole Miss reached as high as No. 4 in September before stumbling all the way out of the rankings with three losses.

But the Rebels extended their winning streak to three games by edging LSU in a wild finish and they moved back into the media rankings at No. 20.

Cal was also a top-10 team in September, considered a Pac-10 title contender. Consecutive blowout losses to Oregon and Southern California sent the Golden Bears tumbling, but they have won five of six since, including Saturday’s 34-28 victory at archrival Stanford.

Cal was No. 21 in the latest poll.

North Carolina was expected to challenge Virginia Tech in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division and was ranked in the first four polls this season. The Tar Heels reached as high as No. 19, but they lost their first three ACC games and fell out of the rankings.

North Carolina moved back into the Top 25 at No. 23 after winning its fourth straight game, 31-13 at Boston College. UNC’s reappearance in the poll gives the ACC five ranked team, the most of any conference.

Dropping out of the rankings after losses this week were Stanford, Wisconsin and Rutgers.

Oklahoma State was No. 11, followed by Penn State, Iowa, Virginia Tech and Clemson.

Oregon State moved up four spot to No. 16. The Beavers and Ducks meet in the Civil War rivalry on Thursday, Dec. 3, to decide the Pac-10 title and Rose Bowl berth.

The last time Oregon and Oregon State played with such high rankings was 2000, when the No. 5 Ducks lost to No. 8 Oregon State.

No. 17 LSU, along with BYU, Miami and Ole Miss round out the top 20.

Joining Cal and North Carolina in the last five are No. 22 Utah, No. 24 Southern California, which slipped two spots during an off week, and No. 25 Houston.

Ralph D. Russo/The Associated Press