GLENDALE, Ariz. - Auburn finished No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll, completing an unprecedented climb to its first national title in 53 years.
The Tigers led the Top 25 following a 22-19 victory against Oregon in the BCS championship Monday night.
"We're the best football team in the United State of America," Auburn coach Gene Chizik proclaimed after Wes Byrum's 19-yard field goal as time expired gave the Tigers a thrilling win.
Auburn won its only other AP title in 1957, and the Tigers started 2010 further back than any champion since the poll expanded to 25 teams in 1989.
Auburn (14-0) began the season at No. 22. The previous lowest preseason ranking for a national champion in the Top 25 era was Oklahoma, which went from No. 19 to No. 1 in 2000. The Tigers received 56 of 59 first-place votes. One voter did not submit a ballot.
Undefeated TCU (13-0) had to settle for No. 2. The Horned Frogs received the other three first-place votes and had their best finish in the AP poll since winning the 1938 national title.
Oregon finished third, a spot ahead of Pac-10 rival Stanford. Ohio State was fifth.
The Top 5 was the same in the final coaches' poll. Auburn received 56 of 59 first-place votes. One coach put TCU on top, while two didn't submit a ballot.
BCS title game: Auburn 22, Oregon 19
The Tigers had three other SEC West rivals ranked ahead of them at the start of the season - Alabama, Arkansas and LSU - but nobody realized what a difference their new quarterback would make.
Cam Newton transferred in from junior college last spring, carried the Tigers to a national championship and won the Heisman Trophy along the way.
Horned Frogs fans probably wouldn't mind one more game and if any fans can relate to going unbeaten and not getting a shot at the national title, it's Auburn rooters.
The last time the Tigers had a perfect season was 2004, but Southern California and Oklahoma played for the national championship and Tommy Tuberville's team finished No. 2.
Auburn and its fans have never gotten over that, but this time around nothing could deny the Tigers - and the SEC - a title.
The Big 12 had five teams in the final rankings - No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 13 Oklahoma State, No. 18 Missouri, No. 19 Texas A&M and No. 20 Nebraska.
The Atlantic Coast Conference had four teams in the poll - No. 16 Virginia Tech, No. 17 Florida State, No. 23 Maryland and No. 25 North Carolina State.
No. 7 Wisconsin and No. 14 Michigan State joined Ohio State to give the Big Ten three teams in the final poll.
Conference USA also put two in the final rankings with No. 21 Central Florida and No. 24 Tulsa.
The Big East was the only conference with an automatic BCS bid to not have a team ranked in the final poll. Help is coming - TCU will be leaving the Mountain West Conference and joining that league in 2012.
BCS title game
See top images from No. 1 Auburn's thrilling win over No. 2 Oregon.