New York Nick Saban needed three games to get Alabama back in the Top 25.
The Crimson Tide jumped into the Associated Press poll Sunday at No. 16, its first time in the rankings since the final poll of the 2005 season.
Saban, lured from the Miami Dolphins with a $4 million per year contract, earned his first important victory with the Tide on Saturday night. Alabama blew a big lead to Arkansas then responded with a late rally of its own to beat the Razorbacks 41-38 in front of a swooning Bryant-Denny Stadium crowd.
At the top of the poll, No. 1 Southern California recouped some of the first-place votes it lost to No. 2 LSU in the previous two weeks.
USC received 46 first-place votes, up six from last week, and 1,605 points after a 49-31 victory at Nebraska that was not as close as the final score.
The Tigers continued to impress with a 44-0 victory over Middle Tennessee, their second shutout of the season. LSU received 19 first-place votes and 1,577 points in the latest Top 25.
Florida slipped past Oklahoma into the third spot behind USC and LSU, but the Gators and Sooners are just three points apart (1,437-1,434).
Florida is coming off a 59-20 victory over Tennessee. Oklahoma has outscored its opponents by 158 points during a 3-0 start.
No. 5 West Virginia slipped a spot, California rose two places to No. 6 and Texas dropped a place to No. 7. No. 8 Ohio State moved up two spots, and fellow Big Ten teams Wisconsin and Penn State rounded out the first 10.
There were three other new teams in the Top 25 this week along with Alabama. No. 21 Kentucky, No. 23 South Florida and No. 25 Missouri entered the poll for the first time this season.