Notre Dame is a top-10 team for the first time in three years, and Southern California has matched Miami for the longest stay at No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25.
Charlie Weis’ Fighting Irish are No. 10 in the AP media poll released Sunday, jumping 10 spots after upsetting Michigan 17-10 on the road on Saturday to improve to 2-0.
“I think too many times rankings are based off of reputation, not off what really happens,” Weis said Sunday when asked if he thought he had a top-10 team. “So maybe if you go by what you see, maybe the answer is yes. I’m not there to judge that.”
Weis is the first Notre Dame coach since Knute Rockne in 1918 to win his first two games on the road, helping the Fighting Irish to their highest ranking since they were seventh in late November 2002.
In 2002, Tyrone Willingham’s first season as coach, Notre Dame started 8-0 and reached as high as No. 4 in the AP poll before finishing 17th in the final poll. The Fighting Irish started the 2003 season ranked 20th, but were out of the poll for good by Sept. 14. They were ranked 24th twice in 2004.
Southern California now has been No. 1 for 21 straight polls, a run that dates back to late in the 2003 season and matches the record set by Miami from 2001-2002.
USC was idle this week, and Texas’ impressive 25-22 win at Ohio State helped the Longhorns make up some ground on the Trojans.
USC received 56 of 64 first-place votes, down from the 61 it had last week. Texas pulled in eight first-place votes, up from four in the first regular-season poll.
No. 3 LSU moved up two spots on the strength of a dramatic 35-31 win at Arizona State. The game was moved from Baton Rouge to Tempe to accommodate the recovery efforts for Hurricane Katrina going on in Louisiana’s capital city.
Virginia Tech is No. 4, the Hokies’ highest ranking since Oct. 19, 2003. Tennessee will be No. 5 when it plays at No. 6 Florida next Saturday. It’ll be the first time since 2002 the Vols and Gators will both be in the top 10 when they play.
No. 7 Georgia and No. 8 Florida State are followed by Ohio State and Notre Dame in the top 10.
NBA stars in Houston
Chris LaRoche doesn’t have any clothes, toys or a place to go home to, but on Sunday the 12-year-old’s dream came true when he played basketball against LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Chauncey Billups, Ron Artest and a host of other NBA stars.
LaRoche and about 1,100 other Hurricane Katrina evacuees living in Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center got a morning visit from about a dozen NBA players in town for a charity game.
“I can’t believe it,” LaRoche said, a huge grin on his face. “I was guarding LeBron. It was so crazy.”
James and the other players spent about 90 minutes playing with kids, signing autographs and greeting fans.
TNT basketball analyst Kenny Smith organized the game, played at the Toyota Center before a packed crowd that included at least 5,000 evacuees who were given free tickets to the game. Smith said each of the almost 30 players participating in the event donated a minimum of $10,000 in money or supplies to the relief effort.
Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu thanked the players and the city of Houston for its support before Jerry Stackhouse treated the crowd to a spirited rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
•The home of the Cleveland Cavaliers is now Quicken Loans Arena.
Dan Gilbert, who bought the Cavaliers this year, officially renamed the building after the online lending firm he founded.
Cuba upends Netherlands
Ormari Romero gave up four hits and struck out nine to lead defending champion Cuba over the Netherlands 3-1 at the Baseball World Cup in Amsterdam.
Cuba (8-0) leads Group A, with the Netherlands (7-1) in second place.
•The United States beat Cuba 3-2 to win the NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship volleyball final in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.
The Americans, who lost badly to the Cubans three days ago, won 25-13, 22-25, 27-25, 20-25, 15-10.
•A winter in Dubai has worked wonders for Stellar Jayne. The 4-year-old filly went wire-to-wire and won the $300,000 Ruffian Handicap in New York, re-establishing her credentials as a horse to beat on Breeders’ Cup day at Belmont Park on Oct. 29.
•Defending champion Roberto Heras took the overall lead in the Spanish Vuelta from Russia’s Denis Menchov after winning the 15th stage of the cycling race in Valgrande Pajares, Spain.
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