The Irish (12-0) completed their regular season last week and will play No. 2 Alabama in the BCS championship game in Miami on Jan. 7. Notre Dame is a unanimous No. 1 for the second straight week.
The Tide holds its spot in the rankings after beating Georgia 32-28 in the Southeastern Conference title game.
Ohio State (12-0), which is banned from the postseason because of NCAA sanctions, moves up a spot to No. 3. Florida is No. 4, Oregon is fifth and Georgia fell to sixth.
Northern Illinois jumped to No. 16 after beating Kent State for the Mid-American Conference title. Kent State dropped seven spots to No. 25.
Louisville, the Big East champion, moved back into the rankings at No. 22.
No. 24 San Jose State is ranked for the first time since Nov. 24, 1975.
Texas and Oklahoma State dropped out of the rankings.