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Illinois has moved up to No. 14, with Tennessee at No. 2

Tennessee moved into a tie with Ohio State for No. 2 in Sunday’s Associated Press college football poll to set up a 1-on-2 matchup with top-ranked Georgia this week.

Georgia-Tennessee will be the 25th regular-season game in which the top two teams in the AP poll meet, and the third in a row involving teams from the Southeastern Conference. Neither the Bulldogs nor the Volunteers went 1-2 in the regular season.

After that, Illinois moved up three spots to No. 14 beating Nebraska 26-9 for their sixth straight win. It’s the program’s highest ranking in the AP poll since the Illini finished 13th in the 2007 regular-season final poll.

The Illini (7-1, 4-1) lead the Big Ten West by one game over Purdue (5-3, 3-2). The teams will meet on Nov. 12 in Champaign after hosting Illinois State of Michigan on Saturday.

Georgia remains No. 1 for the fourth straight week with 30 first-place votes and 1,528 points.

The Volunteers moved up one 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 second in the AP poll was Nov. 14, 2004, between Auburn and Oklahoma behind No. 1 USC.

Tennessee crushed Kentucky 44-6 on Saturday and Ohio State won 44-31 at Pennsylvania.

The Vols haven’t been ranked this high since they were ranked No. 2 in 2001, a season in which they were ranked No. 4.

No. 4 Michigan, No. 5 Clemson, No. 6 Alabama, No. 7 TCU and No. 8 Oregon retained their spots. USC moved up to ninth and No. 10 UCLA gave the Pac-12 three top-10 teams for the first time since November 2016.

The first College Football Playoff rankings of the season will be released Tuesday night.

The final two games of the regular season are 1-2 with Alabama and LSU.

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The Tigers were No. 1 in 2019 when they beat the second-ranked Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, Ala., en route to the SEC and national championships.

In 2011, the top-ranked Tigers defeated No. 2 Alabama in overtime, and the SEC West rivals again played in the BCS National Championship Game. The Tide won the rematch to take 1st place.

Including postseason games, this will be the 53rd game between the AP’s No. 1 and No. 2 teams since the poll began in 1936.

Three teams made their season debut in the top 25 this week.

  • Liberty was ranked No. 23 for the first time since 2020, when the Flames were ranked for eight weeks and reached No. 17 in the final poll.
  • No. 24 Oregon State became the latest Power Five school to remain unranked for a long time. The Beavers haven’t been ranked since they were ranked No. 25 in the 2013 preseason poll. They haven’t been ranked in the regular season since 2012, when they finished 20th.

Earlier this year, Kansas snapped a 13-year ranking drought that was the longest among the Power Five conferences. Then Illinois snapped the next-longest drought, moving up the rankings for the first time since 2011.

Rutgers has the longest streak in the AP top 25 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 September 27, 2020.
  • SEC East rivals Kentucky and South Carolina were both eliminated from the poll after their third losses of the season. The Gamecocks were eliminated after just one week in the rankings. The Wildcats are unranked for the first time this season.
  • Cincinnati also fell out of the rankings after losing to UCF.
  • SVC — 5 (No. 1, 2, 6, 11, 15).
  • ACC — 5 (No. 5, 17, 20, 21, 22).
  • Pac-12 — 5 (No. 8, 9, 10, 12, 24).
  • Big Ten — 4 (No. 2, 4, 14, 16).
  • Big 12 — 3 (No. 7, 13, 18).
  • American — 2 (No. 19, 25).
  • Independent — 1 (No. 23).

Big weekend in the SEC as both division leaders are up for grabs.

  • No. 6 Alabama at No. 15 LSU. The first ranked matchup between the Tide and Tigers since going 1-on-2 in 2019.
  • 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 ranked opponents.


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