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AP voters move Utah to No. 9

No. 1 Trojans widen lead over No. 2 Sooners

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On the eve of the season's first Bowl Championship Series standings, No. 1 Southern California increased its lead on No. 2 Oklahoma and the Utes moved to ninth in The Associated Press Top 25 on Sunday.

Auburn slipped ahead of Miami to No. 3 in the media poll for the first time this season.

Last week, the gap between the Trojans and Sooners had closed to 19 points — the smallest it has been all season — after USC edged California and Oklahoma shut out Texas. But on Saturday the Trojans played their best game, beating previously unbeaten Arizona State 45-7.

"This was an important statement — we left no doubt about it," USC coach Pete Carroll said.

The voters apparently took notice. USC received 50 first-place votes and 1,610 points and now leads Oklahoma by 43 points.

The Sooners received 13 first-place votes, down 10 from last week, and 1,567 points. Oklahoma beat Kansas State 31-21.

No. 3 Auburn received the remaining two first-place votes and slipped by No. 4 Miami after the Hurricanes had to rally for a 41-38 victory over Louisville last Thursday. The Tigers were 30 points ahead of Miami.

Florida State is No. 5, and Wisconsin is sixth after winning a battle of unbeatens at Purdue.

Auburn received its highest ranking in the AP poll since 1994. Wisconsin had its best showing since Sept. 10, 2000, when the Badgers were No. 4.

California, Texas, unbeaten Utah (6-0) and Georgia round out the first 10.

Notre Dame, which BYU defeated in the opening week, moved into the rankings for the first time this season at No. 24, while Ohio State dropped out for the first time in three seasons.

The first BCS standings will be released Monday. The new formula to determine a team's BCS points will take the AP and coaches poll into account more than ever before.

Those polls will each count for one-third of a team's BCS ranking with a compilation of six computer rankings making up the other third. Also for the first time, the BCS standings will take into account how many votes a team receives in the polls, not just its ranking.

In the latest ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, USC and Oklahoma are Nos. 1 and 2, but Miami has a slight lead on No. 4 Auburn with Florida State No. 5. So expect the Trojans and Sooners to hold the coveted first two spots in the BCS standings. The top two teams after the regular season play in the Orange Bowl for the national championship.

The second 10 in the AP poll starts with Tennessee, followed by Purdue and Michigan. The Big Ten rivals meet next week in West Lafayette, Ind.

Virginia fell eight spots to No. 14 after a 36-3 loss at Florida State. West Virginia and Louisville tied for No. 15. The Cardinals moved up three spots after an impressive showing at Miami. Texas A&M moved up six spots to No. 17 after beating Oklahoma State, which fell six spots to No. 22. No. 18 LSU, unbeaten Boise State and Florida complete the top 20.

Arizona State is No. 21 and the final three teams were unranked last week. No. 23 Virginia Tech and Notre Dame made their season debuts in the poll, and No. 25 Iowa is back in after falling out a month ago.

The last time Notre Dame was ranked was Sept. 7, 2003. Ohio State, which has lost three straight, had been in every poll since the final one of the 2001 season.