The Georgia Bulldogs mascot cheers with fans during the third quarter of the 2012 SEC Championship game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at the Georgia Dome. (Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports)
NEW YORK -- Alabama claimed the top spot in the final Associated Press Poll of the season after earning its second straight BCS Championship with Monday's convincing 42-14 victory over Notre Dame.
Notre Dame ended the regular season as the top-ranked college football team in the AP poll for the first time since 1988, but dropped down to fourth following the lopsided defeat.
Oregon jumped up into the second spot with its own convincing victory over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl, while Ohio State remained in third place as the lone undefeated team in the country.
The Buckeyes, however, were ineligible for the postseason in Urban Meyer's first year as coach after the NCAA levied a one-year bowl ban as part of penalties stemming from Jim Tressel's tenure.
Georgia and Texas A&M share the fifth spot, with Stanford, South Carolina, Florida and Florida State rounding out the top-10.
The second 10 consists of Clemson, Kansas State, Louisville, LSU, Oklahoma, Utah State, Northwestern, Boise State, Texas and Oregon State.
San Jose State, Northern Illinois, Vanderbilt, Michigan and Nebraska are the last five teams ranked.
Texas and Vanderbilt jumped into the rankings following victories in the Alamo Bowl and Music City Bowl, respectively.