After another impressive weekend, Alabama and Notre Dame are the obvious top two teams in the USA TODAY Sports NCAA Re-Rank 1-127 as the regular season turns the calendar to December.
No. 1 Alabama had a smooth Iron Bowl win against Auburn with interim coach Steve Sarkisian in place of Nick Saban, who was unable to spend Saturday with the team after testing positive for COVID-19. The 42-13 victory included another banner day from quarterback Mac Jones, who threw for 302 yards and five touchdowns.
No. 2 Notre Dame turned the tables on North Carolina after a fast-paced first quarter that seemed to play in the Tar Heels' favor. Instead of engaging in a shootout with an opponent more than happy to run at a high tempo, the Irish slowed down the pace and smothered UNC for a 31-17 win.
Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) breaks free for a touchdown against Auburn at Bryant-Denny Stadium. (Photo: Mickey Welsh, The Montgomery Advertiser)
Once again, the Notre Dame defense turned in a terrific performance against a top-notch offense. The Irish have held the last six opponents under 100 yards rushing and have allowed just one team, Clemson, to average more than 5.7 yards per play.
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The Top 25 included solid gains from teams in the Big 12 and the Group of Five. No. 13 Iowa State and No. 14 Oklahoma moved up five spots and No. 19 Oklahoma State moved up four. There are four teams from the Group of Five in the top half of the Top 25: No. 5 Cincinnati, No. 8 Brigham Young, No. 11 Coastal Carolina and No. 12 Louisiana.
It wasn't a great week for projected Pac-12 favorite Oregon, which lost to rival Oregon State and falls 13 spots to No. 22. That slide is offset slightly by No. 21 Washington's climb into the Top 25 after digging out of a 21-0 hole to beat Utah 24-21.
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