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Notebook: Alabama No. 1 for eighth straight week

Nick Saban’s Tide is working on trying to win their third national title in the last four seasons.

Wade Payne/Associated Press

Nick Saban’s Tide is working on trying to win their third national title in the last four seasons.

Even better than the Bear.

Alabama is No. 1 in the AP poll for the eighth straight week, the longest run atop the rankings in the history of the storied program.

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The Tide have twice previously been No. 1 for seven consecutive weeks — in 1979 when Bear Bryant coached ’Bama to his last national title and in 1980 when the Tide finished sixth.

Nick Saban’s Tide is working on trying to win their third national title in the last four seasons.

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Alabama’s latest No. 1 ranking came with just the slightest smudge. The Tide received 59 of 60 first-place votes after being a unanimous top pick for the last three weeks.

Oregon is No. 2 for the fifth consecutive week, though the gap between the Ducks and No. 3 Florida narrowed after the Gators beat South Carolina, 44-11, on Saturday.

Alabama is about to enter the difficult part of its schedule. The Tide are home against unbeaten and No. 13 Mississippi State on Saturday. The next week is the latest installment of Alabama’s Game of the Century series with LSU. After that, No. 22 Texas A&M comes to Tuscaloosa. South Carolina was the only team ranked in the top 16 last week to lose Saturday, so the top half of the latest poll only had minor adjustments.

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Kansas State stayed at No. 4 after beating West Virginia 55-14. Notre Dame is No. 5 after a 17-14 victory against BYU, and LSU remained sixth with a 24-19 victory at Texas A&M.

South Carolina dropped from ninth to No. 17.

In the BCS standings, Kansas State moved ahead of Oregon and up to No. 3 behind SEC rivals Alabama and Florida. The Wildcats’ big victory Saturday at West Virginia was enough to nudge them past the Ducks, who are No. 2 in both polls but are getting held back by computer ratings that lag behind the other highly ranked teams.

Fourth-place Oregon (.8966), coming off a 43-21 win at Arizona State, is sixth in the computer ratings. Notre Dame is fifth in the standings heading into its game at Oklahoma. The Sooners are eighth.

Out in Idaho

Idaho fired coach Robb Akey with the team 1-7 and coming off a blowout loss. The school promoted offensive coordinator Jason Gesser to interim coach. Gesser, a former Washington State quarterback, has been on the Idaho staff for two seasons. Akey was 20-50 at Idaho since taking over in 2007. He had one winning season with the Vandals, going 8-5 in 2009 and beating Bowling Green, 43-42, in the Humanitarian Bowl. Idaho lost, 70-28, to Louisiana Tech and allowed 839 yards Saturday . . . Oklahoma State quarterback J.W. Walsh will miss the rest of the season because of a knee injury that he was able to play through while throwing for a career-high 415 yards in a 31-10 victory over Iowa State . . . Maryland quarterback Perry Hills will have an MRI Monday to determine the damage to his injured left knee. Hills was carted off the field in the second quarter of Saturday’s game against North Carolina State . . . South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier expects star running back Marcus Lattimore back in the starting lineup this week against Tennessee.

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