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‘BAMA DROPS TO NO. 7 AND OUT OF CONTENTION

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And then there were four.

Auburn's 30-20 victory over previously unbeaten Alabama dropped the Crimson Tide from No. 2 to No. 7 in the rankings and left only four teams in contention for college football's national championship - Colorado, Miami, Michigan and Notre Dame.Colorado remained on top for the second straight week in today's Associated Press poll, while Miami rose two spots to second. Michigan remained No. 3 and Notre Dame moved up one notch to No. 4.

BYU remained 19th, while Penn State - the Cougars' Holiday Bowl foe - stayed at No. 18.

Miami, Michigan and Notre Dame each finished the regular season with one loss, while Colorado is the only undefeated team in Division I-A. Because of the New Year's bowl matchups, those are the only teams with a realistic chance to win the national title. Colorado plays Notre Dame in the Orange, Alabama meets Miami in the Sugar and Michigan faces 12th-ranked Southern Cal in the Rose.

Colorado can claim the championship by beating Notre Dame. However, if Notre Dame wins and Miami and Michigan lose, the Fighting Irish would almost certainly be voted No. 1.

Miami, which snapped Notre Dame's 23-game winning streak two weeks ago, needs a win over Alabama and a Colorado loss to capture its third national championship of the decade.

Although Michigan is ranked third, it will be very difficult for the Wolverines to finish on top. They need an impressive win over Southern Cal, a Miami loss in the Sugar Bowl and a close Notre Dame victory in the Orange Bowl to have any chance. Even then, the Irish would probably get the nod because they would have beaten the No. 1 team and because they defeated Michigan 24-19 at the start of the season.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Florida State, Nebraska, Alabama, Tennessee, Auburn and Arkansas.

Florida State moved up one place to fifth after beating Florida 24-17 Saturday. Nebraska, which was idle, went from No. 7 to No. 6, Tennessee stayed No. 8 after defeating Vanderbilt 17-10, Auburn jumped two places to No. 9 following its victory over Alabama, and Arkansas fell one spot to No. 10 following a 38-24 win over Southern Methodist.

Illinois is 11th, followed by USC, Houston, Clemson, Virginia, Texas A&M, West Virginia, Penn State, BYU, Duke, Ohio State, Michigan State, Hawaii, Pitt and Texas Tech.