The University of Virginia, ranked No. 1 less than a month ago, dropped out of the Associated Press top 25 college football rankings yesterday, the victim of three losses in its last four games.

There was some good news for the staggering Cavaliers, who also learned that senior quarterback Shawn Moore became the first ACC football player to be invited to attend the Heisman Trophy ceremonies as one of the finalists for the award. The Heisman ceremonies will be televised by CBS Saturday from 6:30 to 7 p.m.

The other finalists invited to the ceremonies at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York were Brigham Young quarterback Ty Detmer, Notre Dame all-purpose runner Raghib Ismail, Houston quarterback David Klingler and Colorado running back Eric Bieniemy.

Said Moore, who missed his team's latest loss, a 38-13 drubbing at Virginia Tech Saturday, because of an injured thumb, "Not in my wildest dreams did I think I could take it this far."

Moore is considered a long shot for the Heisman. Ismail and Detmer are considered the leading contenders for the award, based on voting by media representatives around the country.

Shawn Moore also was honored yesterday when he and wide receiver Herman Moore were named first-team all-Americans by the Football Writers Association of America.

Georgia Tech, which started Virginia on its downward spiral with a 41-38 victory on Nov. 3, jumped over Miami and moved into second place in the AP poll, improving its chances of winning the national championship.

"If we continue to win, we'll leave that up to the pollsters," Georgia Tech Coach Bobby Ross said. "We're very happy to be where we are. Whatever the voters decide will be fine with us."

The Yellow Jackets rose one spot in the poll following an off week, while Miami dropped from second to third despite a 33-7 rout of Syracuse.

Georgia Tech, which trailed Miami by 11 points in last week's poll, got six more points than the Hurricanes this week. The Yellow Jackets (9-0-1) received 10 first-place votes and 1,338 points, while the Hurricanes (8-2) got two first-place votes and 1,332 points from a nationwide panel of sports writers and broadcasters.

Colorado (10-1-1), which has completed its regular season, remained No. 1 with 41 first-place votes and 1,468 points.

The unexpected shuffling puts Georgia Tech in better position to win the national title if Colorado loses to Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl and the Yellow Jackets beat Georgia and Nebraska, their opponent in the Citrus Bowl.

Brigham Young, which will play Texas A&M in the Holiday Bowl, remained fourth after beating Utah State, 45-10. The Cougars (10-1) received three first-place votes and 1,275 points to edge Texas, which rose from sixth to fifth with three first-place votes and 1,260 points.

Idle Florida (9-1) fell from fifth to sixth. The Gators, who can't play in a bowl because of NCAA probation, got one first-place vote and 1,218 points.