The AP Top 25 for Week 6 was released Sunday afternoon. Here are some takeaways about the movement in the newest edition of the poll.
The see-saw battle between Clemson and Louisville lived up to its billing. DeShaun Watson did his thing like the preseason Heisman Trophy favorite he was while leading the Tigers to an 18-point halftime lead. Then Lamar Jackson showed why he’s the current Heisman front-runner by helping the Cardinals take the lead deep into the fourth quarter.
Ultimately, Watson got the best of Jackson in Clemson’s 42-36 victory, as the Tigers firmly cemented themselves in the College Football Playoff discussion. Washington did so as well with its rout of Stanford, but Louisville’s chances now likely come down to its matchup with No. 6 Houston in November.
Here are some other instant AP Top 25 takeaways from the newest edition of the poll.
Top 5 Parity
Four of the Power 5 conferences are represented in the AP Top 25 after Washington jumped five spots. The Huskies made it clear who the Pac-12’s top dogs are after crushing then-No. 7 Stanford, 44-6, in a Friday night matchup that wound up being decided before halftime. Coach Chris Petersen’s bunch just can’t slip up the rest of the way.
If Washington does, the Big Ten and ACC will have a case for having two members reaching the College Football Playoff. Alabama, as of now, is the only clear SEC contender, but No. 2 Ohio State and No. 4 Michigan are on a collision course for an all-undefeated battle Nov. 26 in Columbus. A close game could get the committee’s attention for including both.
The same goes for Clemson and Louisville given how well they played against each other Saturday night. If the Tigers run the table, and the Cardinals can get past Houston in a rare late-season, non-conference showdown, the ACC could see both teams get consideration for the CFP.
Tennessee appeared at No. 9 in the initial AP Top 25. It has trailed by at least 10 points in the first half four times during its 5-0 start. The Volunteers have survived overtime, won at a race track and snapped an 11-game losing streak to Florida with a huge comeback.
The Vols took it to a different level Saturday, allowing a go-ahead 47-yard touchdown pass with 10 seconds remaining before Joshua Dobbs hit Jauan Jennings with a 43-yard Hail Mary that gave them a 34-31 win at then-No. 25 Georgia.
What’s Tennessee’s reward for all of that work? It’s right back where it started – at No. 9 in the AP Top 25. Next up is a date with No. 8 Texas A&M in College Station, and you can bet the Vols would break through that No. 9 wall if they pull out a victory Saturday.
Certain changes in the poll were expected. Others, not so much. Miami continues making its way up, jumping four more spots to No. 10 after beating Georgia Tech. Coach Mark Richt’s Hurricanes have moved up 15 spots since sitting at No. 25 in the Week 3 poll and will get their first major test Saturday when they host rival No. 23 Florida State.
Nebraska also has made a huge jump over the last two weeks, going from No. 20 to No. 12 following wins over Northwestern and Illinois. The latter wasn’t exactly impressive, and I’m questioning the Cornhuskers being ranked so high without a true quality victory on their resume.
But the two most surprising jumps of the week are Florida’s move from No. 23 to No. 18 and Boise State’s jump from No. 24 to No. 19. I understand certain teams losing came into play here, but the Gators looked rather mediocre in a 13-6 win over Vanderbilt, and the Broncos’ four victories have come against opponents with a combined seven losses.
Party of Five
This week’s AP Top 25 features plenty of newcomers, and No. 17 North Carolina, No. 20 Oklahoma, No. 21 Colorado, No. 22 West Virginia and No. 25 Virginia Tech all jumped in the poll. The Buffaloes, Mountaineers and Hokies all are in for the first time this season, while the Tar Heels’ stunning upset of Florida State and the Sooners’ win over then-No. 21 TCU got each back in.
Michigan State was ranked No. 8 two weeks ago but dropped out from No. 17 after losing, 24-21, in overtime at Indiana. San Diego State’s run ended when the No. 19 Aztecs were destroyed, 42-14, by South Alabama. TCU, Texas and Georgia also dropped out after losses Saturday.
Four ranked matchups highlight the college football slate this coming weekend:
- No. 1 Alabama at No. 16 Arkansas
- No. 9 Tennessee at No. 8 Texas A&M
- No. 23 Florida State at No. 10 Miami
- No. 25 Virginia Tech at No. 17 North Carolina.
Other important matchups include LSU at No. 18 Florida, No. 21 Colorado at USC and No. 20 Oklahoma facing Texas in Dallas.