The AP Top 25 for Week 14 was released Sunday afternoon. Here are some takeaways about the movement in the newest edition of the poll.
Ohio State’s wild double-overtime victory over Michigan in The Game showed that the Buckeyes are determined to reach the College Football Playoff while adding another quality victory to their resume. What it didn’t do, however, was help them gain ground on Alabama in the AP Top 25 rankings.
Alabama remained the unanimous No. 1 after taking down Auburn, 30-12, in the Iron Bowl, while Ohio State stayed at No. 2. The Buckeyes are one of four Big Ten teams in the top 10, with Michigan (No. 5), Wisconsin (No. 6) and Penn State (No. 8) following. The Badgers, which actually fell one spot despite beating Minnesota, will face the Nittany Lions in next week’s Big Ten Championship Game.
The SEC, ACC (Clemson, No. 3) and Big 12 (Oklahoma, No. 7) all have one top-10 team, while the Pac-12 joined the Big Ten with multiple schools. Washington moved up one spot to No. 4, Colorado remained No. 9 after its win over Utah, and USC continued its rise up the poll with a two-spot jump to No. 10.
Here are some other instant AP Top 25 takeaways from the newest edition of the poll.
Five teams dropped out of the poll from last week’s AP Top 25 rankings. Houston lost to Memphis – then lost coach Tom Herman to Texas – and fell out from No. 18, and Boise State, formerly No. 20, is gone following its loss to Air Force. The Falcons’ victory also ended the Broncos’ chances of reaching the Cotton Bowl.
The Nos. 21-23 from last week all are out of the poll as well. Utah dropped out from No. 21 after losing to Colorado, Texas A&M couldn’t stay in after getting routed by LSU on Thanksgiving and Washington State’s run in the Top 25 ended after it was blown out by rival Washington in the Apple Cup.
All of the teams that dropped out of the poll were the next five receiving votes, though.
AP Top … 24?
Not really, but it always looks strange when there’s a tie. South Florida and Pittsburgh received the same number of points and hopped into the poll at a tie for No. 24, leaving no official No. 25 team. The Bulls are 10-2 but won’t play in the American Athletic Conference championship game against Navy because their only conference loss came to Temple, which also went 7-1 in AAC play and won the head-to-head tiebreaker in the East division. The Owls will face the Midshipmen, who are back in the poll at No. 20.
Stanford improved to 9-3 with a big win over Rice and leaped back into the poll to No. 17. Virginia Tech once again is in at No. 19, and Iowa is No. 22, getting its first ranking since falling out after a loss to North Dakota State early in the season.
Everyone knows that Alabama has yet to lose a game and is the clear favorite to win the national championship. But how many realize that Western Michigan is the only other undefeated team in the nation?
The Broncos are 12-0 after routing Toledo to clinch a berth in Friday’s MAC championship game against Ohio. They moved up one spot to No. 13 in the AP Top 25 this week, and seemingly have a clear path to reach the Cotton Bowl as the Group of Five’s automatic representative. All P.J. Fleck’s team needs to do is win the MAC – or so one would think.
The College Football Playoff committee has yet to rank Western Michigan as its highest-rated Group of Five team, and there’s still a chance it believes Navy is the better squad. The Midshipmen also are holding out hope if it can beat Temple to go to the Cotton Bowl, but with two losses would need a lot of help from the committee.
Championship Week Looms
The conference championship games feature a plethora of ranked-vs.ranked matchups. The Big 12 doesn’t have an official championship game until next year, but Bedlam will decide the conference title:
- Pac-12: No. 4 Washington vs. No. 9 Colorado on Friday night
- Big 12: No. 7 Oklahoma vs. No. 11 Oklahoma State
- SEC: No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 15 Florida
- Big Ten: No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Penn State
- ACC: No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 19 Virginia Tech