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Alabama claims top spot over FSU

Alabama’s Nick Perry (27) breaks up a pass intended for AD'haquille Williams of Auburn. Saturday’s convincing win vaulted the Tide to No. 1 in the AP poll. (Associated Press)
Alabama’s Nick Perry (27) breaks up a pass intended for AD'haquille Williams of Auburn. Saturday’s convincing win vaulted the Tide to No. 1 in the AP poll. (Associated Press)
Associated Press

Alabama is No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll for the first time this season, replacing undefeated Florida State in a vote that was about as close as it could get.

The Crimson Tide (11-1) received 25 of a possible 59 first-place votes from the media panel and 1,426 points. The Seminoles (12-0) have 29 first-place votes and 1,423 points.

The last time the No. 2 team had more first-place votes than the No. 1 team this late in the season was Nov. 25, 1968, when No. 1 Ohio State had 21 1/2 first-places votes to Southern California’s 24 1/2.

Alabama is No. 1 for the 72nd time overall and first since it lost last year’s Iron Bowl.

It is also the seventh straight season the Crimson Tide has been No. 1 at some point, the longest such streak since Miami from 1986-92.

Florida State is the first team to lose the No. 1 ranking twice in a season since Penn State in 1997.

No. 3 Oregon received five first-place votes in the latest poll. TCU jumped two spots to No. 4. Baylor slipped one to No. 5 and Ohio State moved up one to No. 6. No. 7 is Michigan State, followed by Arizona and Kansas State. Mississippi State fell six places to No. 10 after losing to Mississippi.

The Tide and Seminoles play conference championship games on Saturday and both, along with Oregon, seem to have a clear path to the College Football Playoff if they win.

Johnson fired

Auburn fired defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson a day after the Tigers gave up 55 points to rival Alabama.

The 20th-ranked Tigers gave up 539 yards to the top-ranked Crimson Tide on Saturday night in the highest-scoring Iron Bowl. They allowed an average of 483 yards and 39 points over their last six SEC games, losing four of them.

“At this time I felt it was best for our program to make a change with our defensive coordinator,” Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn said. “Ellis is a true professional and I would like to thank him for his contributions at Auburn.”

Jones steps in

For the second time in four months, Ohio State is turning to a backup quarterback to lead the way because of a season-ending injury to the starter.

Coach Urban Meyer will go with Cardale Jones, replacing Heisman candidate J.T. Barrett who broke his ankle in Saturday’s win over Michigan, when the sixth-ranked Buckeyes take on No. 11 Wisconsin on Saturday in the Big Ten championship game.

Braxton Miller, the Buckeyes’ three-year starter and two-time Big Ten MVP, was lost for the year two weeks before the season opener against Navy when he re-injured his right (throwing) shoulder, requiring surgery.

Quick kicks

Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris will be SMU’s new football coach, a source told the AP. … Troy will introduce former Kentucky OC Neal Brown as its new coach.

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