Virginia, managing to avoid the upset that has struck three previous No. 1 teams this year, remained in the top spot Sunday in the United Press International college football ratings.

The Cavaliers, who ran their record to 7-0 with a victory over Wake Forest, increased their lead over No. 2 Nebraska in the latest balloting by the UPI Board of Coaches.The Cornhuskers returned to the No. 2 position after a week, taking advantage of Notre Dame's victory over Miami to move up one spot and stay ahead of No. 3 Auburn.

Virginia received 39 of 56 first-place votes cast by the 59-member board and finished with 814 of a possible 840 points, tying the highest point total of the season. Nebraska received 13 first-place votes and 767 points, and Auburn was at the top of three ballots and earned 710 points.

Virginia is the fourth No. 1 team this year. Preseason No. 1 Miami lost its season opener to Brigham Young, Notre Dame fell to Stanford and Michigan was knocked off by Michigan State.

The Cavaliers trailed 14-9 in the second quarter against Wake Forest, but recovered to score three quick second-quarter touchdowns and finish with a 49-14 victory.

"I don't know if we were focused," Virginia Coach George Welsh said. "But we got 49 points, so I guess we were."

Nebraska posted a 31-3 victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday, while Auburn got a last-minute field goal from Jim Von Wyl to take a 20-17 victory over Florida State and improve to 5-0-1.No. 4 Notre Dame improved two places and moved back into the national title picture with its 29-20 victory over Miami in the final game of that heated rivalry.

"I don't look at it that way," Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz said of his team's improved chances. "We still have to play Pitt, Tennessee, Penn State and Southern Cal. All we can do is focus on each and every week."

Illinois moved up four places to fifth on the heels of its 15-13 victory over Michigan State, winning on Doug Higgins' fifth field goal on the game's last play. The Fighting Illini have won five straight games after a season-opening loss to Arizona.

"We've played some pretty good football this year, but we still have a ways to go," Illinois Coach John Mackovic said. "A lot of people picked us in the preseason, but we started slowly. We were beaten by the good Arizona team.

"I've always found ratings rather interesting. As long as you keep winning, you move up. If you lose, you move down."

No. 6 Washington also made a major gain, improving six places after its 52-16 victory over Stanford. No. 7 Brigham Young moved up three places after an idle week and No. 8 Colorado jumped six spots after beating Kansas 41-10.

Miami fell seven places to ninth and No. 10 Tennessee dropped six spots after its 9-6 loss to Alabama. Florida State wound up 11th, a three-position drop.

No. 12 Georgia Tech slipped a notch after tying North Carolina and No. 13 Iowa improved six places on the heels of its 24-23 victory over Michigan. No. 14 Texas inched ahead one place.

No. 15 Mississippi, off to its best start since 1970 with a 6-1 record, improved three places. No. 17 Wyoming, 8-0, moved up one place and Michigan fell 10 spots to 18th.

No. 19 Texas Christian was unchanged and No. 20 Southern Cal fell seven spots after losing to Arizona. The Wildcats rejoined the ratings at No. 21 and fellow Pac-10 member Oregon moved up two places to 22nd.

No. 23 Louisville moved up two places, No. 24 Penn State made its first appearance since the first week of September and No. 25 Texas A&M fell four spots after tying Baylor.

Dropping out of the ratings this week were Indiana and Michigan State.