Southern California and Texas were Nos. 1 and 2 in the first Bowl Championship Series standings of the season Monday, just as they have been in the polls since the preseason.
The first-place Trojans are No. 1 in both the USA Today coaches' poll and the Harris Interactive poll, and they graded out best in the six computer rankings. USC has a BCS grade of .9923, giving the Trojans a solid cushion over the second-place Longhorns (.9591).
The top two teams in the final BCS standings will play in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 4 for a national title.
Virginia Tech (.9067), Georgia (.8933) and Alabama (.8220) followed USC and Texas in the standings released Monday.
Notre Dame (.3985) is 16th - the computer rankings were not kind to the Fighting Irish (4-2).
The BCS formula is the same as last season, with each poll counting for one-third of a team's grade and the computer ratings making up the remaining third. The highest grade possible is 1.000.
The difference this year is that the Harris poll has replaced the Associated Press Top 25. The AP asked BCS officials to stop using the media poll in the formula for determining which teams play for a national title after last season.
The Harris poll panel is comprised of former players, coaches and administrators, along with media members.
Notre Dame is 11th in the Harris poll, 12th in the coaches' poll, but no better than 21st in the six computer rankings. The Fighting Irish are not even among the best 25 teams in the country in two computer ratings.
In the AP poll, USC is No. 1, Texas is No. 2, and Notre Dame is No. 9.
Last year, the BCS found itself with a problem for which it had no solution.
The regular season ended with three unbeaten teams - USC, Oklahoma and Auburn - at the top of the polls. The Tigers were the odd team out, and the Trojans and Sooners played in the Orange Bowl for the national title. USC won, 55-19, and now is in position to play for a third straight national title.
Texas hasn't won an outright national title since 1969 and has yet to play in a BCS national-title game.
With seven weeks left in this season, there are seven unbeaten teams in Division I-A - USC, Texas, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Alabama, Texas Tech and UCLA.
The Red Raiders (.7034) are seventh in the BCS standings, behind once-beaten LSU (.7078). Miami is eighth (.6928), UCLA is ninth (.6675), and Penn State (.5860) is tenth.
The Bowl Championship Series was implemented in 1998 by the leaders of college football's six high-revenue conferences - Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Atlantic Coast Conference, Pac-10 and Southeastern Conference - and Notre Dame.
The champion of each of those conferences earns an automatic bid into the four BCS games - the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta bowls.