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Alabama Closing Gap on Clemson for No. 1

Clemson remained No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll on Sunday, but not by much.


Trevor Lawrence’s absence because of COVID-19 and the Tigers’ narrow win over Boston College created a divide among the 62 writers and broadcasters on the voting panel.


Clemson received 33 first-place votes — 19 fewer than last week — and has only a two-point lead over No. 2 Alabama heading into a huge ACC matchup at fourth-ranked Notre Dame this week.


Alabama, which handed Mike Leach his first shutout as a head coach with a 41-0 victory over Mississippi State, got the other 29 first-place votes.


The rest of the top five remained the same, with Ohio State at No. 3, followed by Notre Dame and Georgia.


The unbeaten Liberty Flames, in their third year in the Football Bowl Subdivision, entered the rankings for the first time at No. 25. Penn State is out for the first time since 2016 following consecutive losses.


No. 13 Indiana has its best ranking since it was as high as No. 11 in 1987.


No. 1 Clemson at No. 4 Notre Dame is another “biggest game of the year” — until the next one. DJ Uiagalelei takes his show on the road while Lawrence remains in the COVID-19 protocol. The Irish defense has been tough, but the Tigers are a different animal.




Michigan was a more than three-touchdown favorite against Michigan State on Saturday. After a 27-24 loss, however, voters in the Coaches Poll top 25 have the Wolverines barely hanging on.


Michigan dropped 11 spots from No. 14 to No. 25 after its stunning defeat, dropping it to 1-1 on the season. The Wolverines' next two games are against ranked opponents: No. 13 Indiana and No. 11 Wisconsin. 


North Carolina also fell 11 spots after its come-from-behind effort against Virginia fell short. The Tar Heels have lost two of their last three games and still have No. 4 Notre Dame and No. 10 Miami (FL) on the back end of the schedule. 


The top five remained the same after each team won in convincing fashion. Oklahoma State, who came into the week No. 6, fell to No. 12 after being upset at home by Texas. Cincinnati took its place following its demolition of Memphis. Kansas State and Penn State fell out of the rankings entirely following losses to West Virginia and Ohio State, respectively. Auburn and Boise State were the newest programs to join the ranks.

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