NEW YORK -- Here we go again.
Alabama and LSU are Nos. 1 and 2. It's almost as if last season never ended. The Crimson Tide and Tigers held the top two spots for eight weeks in 2011 before finally playing a rematch of a regular-season game for the BCS title, which Alabama won.
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The difference this year is Alabama is No. 1 and LSU is No. 2, instead of vice versa.
Blame Southern California for the latest Southeastern Conference takeover.
USC was preseason No. 1 in a close vote and slipped to No. 2 after Alabama throttled Michigan to start the season. Then on Saturday night, Stanford handed the Trojans their first loss, 21-14 on the Farm.
So we're back where we were last season, waiting for Alabama and LSU to play in the first weekend of November, and wondering if either will be upset along the way.
It doesn't seem likely.
"We have really been fighting against allowing ourselves to accept average," Tide coach Nick Saban said after a 52-0 demolition of beleaguered Arkansas.
The Tide faces Florida Atlantic and Mississippi over the next two weeks, and then takes a week off. After that come road games at Missouri and Tennessee, followed by a visit from No. 23 Mississippi State on Oct. 27.
The big game in Baton Rouge, La., is on Nov. 3.
LSU, which has outscored its opposition 145-37, has played an easier schedule than Alabama to this point. But going forward, its slate is tougher than the Tide's. The Tigers are at Auburn next week, followed by a home game against Towson. Then comes a road trip to No. 14 Florida and a home game against No. 7 South Carolina. Those could be tricky.
A game against Texas A&M and a week off precede the Alabama game. The Tigers finish with home games against Mississippi State and Mississippi and a road game at Arkansas.
And what about another rematch of LSU-Alabama in the title game?
Well, let's get to Round 3 first before we start that again.
No. 24 Boise State and No. 25 Nebraska, after brief exits, are back in the rankings, and No. 23 Mississippi State is in the Top 25 for the first time in a bit more than a year.
The Bulldogs are 3-0 for the first time since 1999, though getting there was tougher than most probably expected. Mississippi State won 30-24 at Troy on Saturday.
"We jumped into the polls and we did not perform at our best. I hope it's a real motivating factor," Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said Sunday.
Falling out were Tennessee, BYU and Virginia Tech.
The Hokies suffered maybe the most surprising loss of the weekend, falling 35-17 to previously winless Pittsburgh. Virginia Tech is unranked for the first time since October 2010, snapping a string of 29 polls.