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Louisville back in Top 25, and Nagle keeps eligibility

Louisville may be the bottom team in the Top 25, but coach Howard Schnellenberger is feeling on top of the world. "Hallelujah! That's like being knighted by the Queen of England," Schnellenberger said Monday after the Cardinals gained a ranking in the Associated Press college football poll for the first time in 18 years.

He was feeling even better after school officials announced later Monday that starting quarterback Browning Nagle will retain his eligibility for the rest of the season.

Nawal Lutfiyya, an assistant professor of communications, announced last week that she had petitioned for Nagle's removal from two of her classes. She said the former star at Pinellas Park High had been in her courses before and that he habitually missed classes and handed in late papers.

Removal would have dropped Nagle to part-time status and made him ineligible for play.

Louisville (7-1-1) moved into the poll at No. 25 after beating Western Kentucky 41-7 Saturday. Virginia remained No. 1, but unbeaten Auburn fell from second to fourth, and Notre Dame and Nebraska moved up a spot to second and third.

Miami, Florida State and Florida stayed put at 8, 12 and 15.

Louisville went 2-9, 3-8 and 3-7-1 in Schnellenberger's first three seasons before turning it around. Since the start of the 1988 season, the Cardinals are 21-9-1.

"Five years ago, we were the worst football team in America," said Schnellenberger, who led Miami to the 1983 national championship. "It was a slow, uphill struggle to arrive at this position in time. It is gratifying."

The Cardinals were snubbed by the bowls after going 8-3 in 1988, but that might change this year. They haven't made a post-season appearance since the 1977 Independence Bowl, a 24-14 loss to Louisiana Tech.

Virginia, which did not play Saturday, received 44 first-place votes and 1,462 points from a nationwide panel of sports writers and broadcasters. The Cavaliers (7-0) meet No. 16 Georgia Tech (6-0-1) in an Atlantic Coast Conference showdown Saturday.

Auburn (6-0-1) lost support after edging Mississippi State 17-16 on a blocked extra point with 2{ minutes left. Although Auburn is one of six unbeaten teams, three of its last four victories have come by three points or less. It plays Saturday at Florida (6-1).

Oklahoma, 22nd in last week's poll, and Texas Christian, 24th last week, fell out of the Top 25 and were replaced by Penn State (24th) and Louisville.


Southern Cal: Sophomore quarterback Todd Marinovich, suspended from the squad for last weekend's game against Arizona State, was reinstated Monday. He had been suspended for missing some classes.

SEC honors: Fullback Al Baker of Kentucky and linebacker Reggie Stewart of Mississippi State were named Southeastern Conference players of the week Monday. Baker ran for 133 yards on 24 carries and scored touchdowns on runs of 1 and 12 yards in a 26-24 victory over Georgia. Stewart set a school record with 26 tackles, 16 of them solos, in a 17-16 loss to No. 2 Auburn.