NEW YORK Surprise! Surprise! Two straight weekends of seismic upsets not only sent tremors throughout college football from the Deep South to the Pacific Northwest, they've all but cleared the way for two marquee teams and best-known brands to play for the national title.
Notre Dame was No. 1 in the Associated Press poll Sunday, ending its longest such drought at 19 years, and Alabama was No. 2 after two stunning Saturday night upsets rearranged the rankings.
When the BCS standings came out later Sunday, they lined up the same way.
Notre Dame needs only to beat struggling rival USC (7-4), without star quarterback Matt Barkley (sprained shoulder), to play in the BCS title game for the first time. In the 76-year history of the AP poll, Notre Dame has been crowned national champion by the media panel eight times, the last in 1988.
The only other school with as many AP titles is Alabama.
The Tide is at home Saturday against rival Auburn (3-8) and, if it beats the Tigers, advances to the Southeastern Conference championship game against No. 3 Georgia on Dec. 1. Win that one, too, and it will be Notre Dame and Alabama playing in Miami on Jan. 7 for the championship.
Saturday's first shocker came when then-No. 2 Kansas State lost at Baylor. Then Stanford surprised then-No. 1 Oregon in Eugene, Ore.
Tennessee Coach Derek Dooley was fired after posting the Volunteers' longest run of consecutive losing seasons in more than a century.
Dooley went 15-21 (0-15 against Top 25 teams) at Tennessee. He was 4-19 in SEC competition and had lost 14 of his past 15 league games.
The Vols (4-7, 0-7) must beat Kentucky on Saturday to avoid going winless in SEC play for the first time in school history. Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney will serve as Tennessee's interim coach.
Tennessee's 41-18 loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday guaranteed the Volunteers their third consecutive losing season, a first since 1909-11.
Cal On the day after the end of Cal's worst football season in 11 years, there was no decision on coach Jeff Tedford's future. Tedford was scheduled to meet Sunday with athletic director Sandy Barbour after she watched the Bears lose 62-14 at Oregon State on Saturday night.
Minnesota A.J. Barker, the Gophers' leading receiver, quit the team in a blistering email to coach Jerry Kill that the player subsequently made public through his personal blog. Barker said Kill yelled at him in front of the team Thursday for not following team orders on his rehabilitation from a sprained ankle.