The No. 2 Washington Huskies think they're going to be playing Iowa in the Rose Bowl in a rematch of two teams that played at the end of the 1981 season.

They also think they have a strong chance of overhauling No. 1 Notre Dame and winning their first national championship."I think it would be great for the school and the team," Washington coach Don James said Monday when asked about a possible national title.

"It would mean a lot. I'd like to see it happen for this institution."

The Huskies (8-1) moved up from No. 7 in this week's Top 25 after they beat Arizona 54-10 last Saturday in Seattle. Washington finished second to Brigham Young for the national championship in the 1984 season.

Washington will play UCLA on Saturday at Husky Stadium and wind up its regular season Nov. 17 at Washington State. Notre Dame has three games left on its regular schedule.

James said the Huskies could win the national championship by winning their last three games and having Notre Dame lose once. He admitted it would be hard to dislodge the Irish from No. 1 if they win their last four games, including a bowl contest.

The Pacific-10 Conference champion Huskies will face the Big Ten winner in the Rose Bowl. Washington shut out the Hawkeyes 28-0 in the 1982 Rose Bowl. That was the Huskies' last appearance in the New Year's Day classic in Pasadena, Calif.

Iowa moved into the Big Ten driver's seat by beating Illinois last Saturday. James said he expected Washington to play Iowa in the Rose Bowl.

Notre Dame regained the top spot in the college football poll because of Georgia Tech's 41-38 victory over top-ranked Virginia. The Irish were No. 2 last week.

They were No. 1 for four weeks before losing to Stanford in early October. Notre Dame fell to eighth after that loss, but four consecutive victories and a series of upsets have allowed the Irish nts from a nationwide panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Washington was second with 13 first-place votes and 1,403 points, and Houston (8-0), the only unbeaten, untied team in Division I-A, was third with five first-place votes and 1,337 points.

Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz was unhappy with his team's performance against Navy. He said the Irish don't deserve the No. 1 ranking.

"We aren't the No. 1 team," he said. "You can't be a great team until you play great on defense, and we haven't put that phase of our game together."

Holtz is known for poor-mouthing his team, but this time he may have a point. With games remaining against No. 9 Tennessee, No. 21 Penn State and No. 23 Southern Cal, the Irish may not hold onto the top spot for long.

Washington was one spot below Houston at No. 7 in last week's poll, but the Huskies moved ahead of the Cougars after routing Arizona. Houston, which is eligible for the national championship despite being on probation, beat Texas Christian 56-35.

Colorado (8-1-1) moved up five places to fourth after handing Nebraska its first loss, 27-12. The Buffaloes got five first-place votes and 1,310 points.

Miami was fifth, followed by Iowa, Georgia Tech, Brigham Young, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia, Florida State, Nebraska, Texas and Auburn. Rounding out the Top 25 are Mississippi, Illinois, Clemson, Michigan, Oregon, Penn State, Louisville, Southern Cal, Michigan State and Wyoming.

*****

(Additional information)

AP Top Twenty Five

The Top Twenty Five teams in the Associated Press 1990 college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Nov. 3, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and last week's rankings:

Record Pts Pvs

1. Notre Dame 7-1-0 1,456 2

2. Washington 8-1-0 1,403 7

3. Houston 8-0-0 1,337 6

4. Colorado 8-1-1 1,310 9

5. Miami, Fla. 6-2-0 1,228 8

6. Iowa 7-1-0 1,129 13

7. Georgia Tech 7-0-1 1,074 16

8. Brigham Young 7-1-0 1,039 10

9. Tennessee 5-1-2 980 11

10. Florida 7-1-0 949 15

11. Virginia 7-1-0 924 1

12. Florida St. 6-2-0 845 12

13. Nebraska 8-1-0 818 3

14. Texas 6-1-0 782 14

15. Auburn 6-1-1 650 4

16. Mississippi 8-1-0 600 17

17. Illinois 6-2-0 568 5

18. Clemson 8-2-0 509 18

19. Michigan 5-3-0 438 20

20. Oregon 7-2-0 362 22

21. Penn St. 6-2-0 279 24

22. Louisville 8-1-1 224 25

23. Southern Cal 6-2-1 148 21

24. Michigan St. 4-3-1 106 -

25. Wyoming 9-1-0 84 19

Other receiving votes: Texas A&M 73, Ohio St. 71, Oklahoma 36, Arizona 19, Colorado St. 18, Syracuse 17, California 13, S. Mississippi 4, Toledo 3, San Jose St. 2, Minnesota 1, North Carolina 1.