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Tide, Irish control own destiny

A potential showdown between the University of Alabama and Notre Dame took major steps toward becoming reality Sunday after college football enjoyed an epic night of upsets.

Thanks to Kansas State and Oregon loising, Alabama has a shot to play for No. 15.

With the Crimson Tide needing two of three teams to lose between Kansas State, Notre Dame and Oregon on Saturday to control its own destiny, that’s exactly what happened with the Wildcats stunned by unranked Baylor 52-24, and Oregon, ranked No. 2 in the Bowl Championship Series knocked off at home by No. 13 Stanford 17-14.

According to the Associated Press, it was the first time since Dec. 1, 2007, that the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the AP Top 25 lost on the same day. That year, Missouri and West Virginia were the upset victims, giving Ohio State and LSU a chance to play for the national title. The Tigers won.

Saturday re-opened the door for both the Crimson Tide and the Southeastern Conference, which has won the last six titles. Coming off a 29-24 loss to Texas A&M, Alabama took care of business with a 49-0 win against Western Carolina, all but guaranteeing that should it beat Auburn next week the winner of the SEC Championship Game against Georgia will be heading to the title game in Miami.

In the 76-year history of the AP poll, Alabama and Notre Dame have won the most AP national titles, both with eight. The last time they met with the title on the line was 1974, at, you guessed it, the Orange Bowl.

The BCS rankings will be released at 7:30 p.m., live on ESPN.

Notre Dame closes its regular season Saturday at Southern California (7 p.m. ABC). Alabama hosts Auburn on Saturday (2:30 p.m., CBS), and if it wins plays the SEC Championship on Dec. 1 (3 p.m., CBS).

Overall, Notre Dame is 5-1 against Alabama, with the lone loss 28-10 in 1986 at Legion Field. Perhaps its most famous meeting was the first, Dec. 31, 1973 at the Sugar Bowl, with the Irish winning the Paul W. "Bear" Bryant-Ara Parseghian matchup that saw six lead changes. It was decided by a 19-yard field goal by Bob Thomas with 4:26 remaining.

Because the coaches' poll was held before the game was played, it's one of the 14 national championships that Alabama claims.

Alabama is two wins from playing for this.

In Sunday’s AP rankings Notre Dame was a unanimous No. 1, and ranked first for the first time since 1993. The coaches followed suit with 56 of 59 first-place votes.

Alabama, fourth in the BCS last week, was second, followed by SEC rival Georgia. Ohio State, which his not eligible for the postseason, was fourth in the AP poll.

The top three were the same in the Harris Poll, which is part of the BCS formula along with the coaches' poll and the computers.

AP Top 25
Rank, Team, Record, Points

1 Notre Dame (60) 11-0 1500
2 Alabama 10-1 1399
3 Georgia 10-1 1316
4 Ohio State 11-0 1292
5 Oregon 10-1 1246
6 Florida 10-1 1171
7 Kansas State 10-1 1064
8 LSU 9-2 1048
9 Texas A&M 9-2 1028
10 Florida State 10-1 1026
11 Stanford 9-2 991
12 Clemson 10-1 874
13 South Carolina 9-2 795
14 Oklahoma 8-2 734
15 UCLA 9-2 624
16 Oregon State 8-2 599
17 Nebraska 9-2 559
18 Texas 8-2 498
19 Louisville 9-1 362
20 Michigan 8-3 282
21 Rutgers 9-1 265
22 Oklahoma State 7-3 240
23 Kent State 10-1 155
24 Northern Illinois 10-1 144
25 Mississippi State 8-3 82
25 Utah State 9-2 82
Dropped from rankings: Louisiana Tech 19, USC 21, Texas Tech 23
Others receiving votes: Boise State 20, Northwestern 20, Washington 20, Arizona 13, USC 12, Tulsa 10, San Jose State 8, Fresno State 7, Louisiana Tech 4, Wisconsin 4, San Diego State 2, TCU 1, Iowa State 1, Baylor 1, Vanderbilt 1

Coaches poll
Rank, Team, Points

1 Notre Dame (56) 1469
2 Alabama (2) 1386
3 Georgia (1) 1348
4 Oregon 1227
5 Florida State 1199
6 Florida 1166
7 LSU 1062
8 Kansas State 1056
9 Clemson 1029
10 Texas A&M 994
11 Stanford 934
12 South Carolina 853
13 Oklahoma 798
14 Nebraska 654
15 Texas 593
16 UCLA 590
17 Oregon State 563
18 Louisville 453
19 Rutgers 408
20 Michigan 289
21 Oklahoma State 258
22 Boise State 243
23 Northern Illinois 149
24 Mississippi State 99
25 Kent State 86
Dropped from rankings: Louisiana Tech 19, USC 21, Texas Tech 25
Others receiving votes: Utah State 74, Northwestern 59, Louisiana Tech 36, Washington 36, Tulsa 14, USC 14, San Jose State 7, San Diego State 6, Arizona 5, Vanderbilt 4, Wisconsin 4, Fresno State 3, Middle Tennessee 3, Arkansas State 2, Cincinnati 1, Texas Tech 1

Harris poll
Rank Team

1 Notre Dame (107)
2 Alabama (8)
3 Georgia
4 Oregon
5 Florida
6 Florida State
7 Kansas State
8 LSU
9 Clemson
10 Texas A&M
11 Stanford
12 South Carolina
13 Oklahoma
14 Nebraska
15 Oregon State
16 UCLA
17 Texas
18 Louisville
19 Rutgers
20 Michigan
21 Boise State
22 Oklahoma State
23 Mississippi State
24 Northern Illinois
25 Kent State

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