Nebraska Solidifies No. 1 Ranking

Monday, October 16th 2000, 12:00 am

By: News On 6

Oklahoma is back in familiar territory.

While Nebraska maintained a firm grip on No. 1, the Sooners soared to No. 3 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll Sunday after a convincing 41-31 victory over Kansas State.

It is the highest ranking for Oklahoma since 1987, when the Sooners were ranked No. 1 in the final regular-season poll before losing to Miami in the Orange Bowl. Oklahoma was last No. 3 in the fourth poll of the '88 season.

The Cornhuskers (6-0) beat Texas Tech 56-3 Saturday and collected 66 first-place votes and 1,770 points from the 71 sports writers and broadcasters on the AP panel.

Virginia Tech (6-0), which beat West Virginia 48-20 Thursday night, moved up a spot to No. 2 with one first-place vote and 1,656 points.

The Sooners (6-0) advanced five places from last week and received four first-place votes and 1,603 points.

Kansas State (6-1) and Ohio State (5-1) took expected tumbles after losing for the first time this season. Both fell eight spots — the Wildcats from No. 2 to No. 10, the Buckeyes from No. 6 to No. 14 after a 29-17 loss to Minnesota. The Golden Gophers (5-2) cracked the Top 25 for the first time this season at No. 22.

Miami (4-1), idle on Saturday, remained at No. 4, followed by No. 5 Clemson (7-0), No. 6 Florida State, No. 7 Oregon, No. 8 Florida, No. 9 Washington and No. 10 Kansas State.

TCU (5-0), also idle over the weekend, moved up a spot to No. 11, followed by No. 12 Georgia, No. 13 Mississippi State, No. 14 Ohio State, No. 15 Southern Mississippi, No. 16 Michigan, No. 17 Purdue, No. 18 South Carolina, No. 19 Oregon State and No. 20 Notre Dame.

Arizona, after a 53-47 triple overtime win against Washington State, was No. 21, followed by No. 22 Minnesota, No. 23 UCLA, No. 24 North Carolina State and No. 25 Northwestern.

The top five in the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll are Nebraska, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Oklahoma and Miami.

Texas, despite a 28-14 win over Colorado, and Auburn, a 38-7 loser to Florida, dropped out of the AP Top 25. North Carolina State, 5-1 after its 38-20 win over North Carolina, made the poll for the first time since early last season.

The Big 12 has three teams in the Top 10 — Nebraska, Oklahoma and Kansas State. The ACC, Big East and Pac-10 have two apiece — Clemson and Florida State from the ACC, Virginia Tech and Miami from the Big East and Oregon and Washington from the Pac-10.

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