The other team from Alabama surged toward the top of the AP poll while another set of Tigers has emerged as the Big 12's unexpected national title contender. Auburn jumped two spots to No. 3 behind top-ranked Oregon and Boise State in the media poll Sunday, and Missouri vaulted 11 spots to No. 7. Oregon, which moved to No. 1 for the first time last week and followed up with a 60-13 victory against UCLA on Thursday night, received 44 first-place votes. Boise State had 11, Auburn received three and No. 4 TCU received two. Auburn has its highest ranking since the Tigers were No. 2 in 2006 after beating LSU 24-17 on Saturday in a matchup of the Southeastern Conference's last unbeaten teams. Quarterback Cameron Newton ran for 217 yards, cementing himself as the Heisman Trophy front-runner. The Tigers started the season No. 22 and have been climbing steadily since. Michigan State is fifth and Alabama, last year's champion and the preseason No. 1, is sixth. Missouri's big move came after the Tigers beat previously undefeated Oklahoma 36-27. The Sooners dropped eight spots to No. 11. Missouri was last ranked this highly in 2007, when the Tigers reached No. 1 and finished the season No. 4. The rest of the top 10 is Utah, Wisconsin and Ohio State. No. 25 Baylor (6-2) is ranked for the first time since Sept. 5, 1993, when the Bears were No. 24 for a week. "It's certainly a step in the right direction, you know," third-year coach Art Briles said Sunday. "Important thing is to be in it when the season's over, that's the important thing, but it's definitely a positive step perception-wise, no doubt."
The Bears beat Kansas State 47-42 Saturday behind quarterback Robert Griffin III to become bowl eligible for the first time since joining the Big 12 in 1996. "It is a growing point for our football team and for Baylor nation in general," Briles said. The last time the Bears were ranked for more than a week was 1991, when they were still part of the Southwest Conference. To match that, they'll likely need to win at Texas this Saturday. Texas fell out of the rankings for the second time this season after being upset at home 28-21 by Iowa State. The last time the Bears and Longhorns played with Baylor ranked and Texas not was Nov. 22, 1986. The Bears beat the 'Horns 18-13 in Waco. West Virginia also dropped out of the rankings this week after a surprising 19-14 home loss to Syracuse. Southern California moved back in the poll at No. 24, just in time to play No. 1 Oregon at home. LSU's first loss of the season dropped the Tigers six spots to No. 12. Stanford, Nebraska, and Arizona round out the top 15. Florida State is 16th, followed by South Carolina, Iowa, Arkansas and Oklahoma State, which lost for the first time this season, 51-41 to Nebraska. Joining Baylor and USC in the final five were Virginia Tech, Miami and Mississippi State.