The AP Top 25 for Week 9 was released Sunday afternoon. Here are some takeaways about the movement in the newest edition of the poll.
Ohio State’s stunning loss at Penn State opened the door for Lamar Jackson and Louisville to re-enter the top five of the AP Top 25. The Cardinals jumped two spots from No. 7 after Jackson added four more touchdowns to his Heisman Trophy resume during Saturday’s rout of NC State.
The Buckeyes fell to No. 6 after the loss, but another Big Ten team dropped despite a victory. West Virginia replaced Wisconsin in the top 10, as the Badgers dropped one spot to No. 11 after winning at Iowa. Nebraska moved up to No. 7 and will travel to Madison this week for another huge Big Ten showdown.
Here are some other instant AP Top 25 takeaways from the newest edition of the poll.
Stone Cold Stunners
Week 8 had a few shocking results that led to plenty of movement in the new poll. The Nittany Lions gave coach James Franklin his first signature win since arriving in Happy Valley, blocking a field goal late in the fourth quarter and returning it for the touchdown and a 24-21 victory over Ohio State. That was enough to earn Penn State its first national ranking since 2011, debuting in this week’s poll at No. 24.
No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Washington all moved up one spot behind No. 1 Alabama, which garnered every first-place vote other than the one cast for the Wolverines. Those teams certainly are feeling better than Houston, which fell out of the poll from No. 11 after SMU crushed Tom Herman’s team, 38-16.
One of the bigger stunners, though, was Auburn’s 56-3 dismantling of Arkansas. The Tigers jumped six spots to No. 15, while the Razorbacks fell out of the poll.
LSU Keeps Rolling
Ed Orgeron is making a strong case to be LSU’s permanent head coach. The Tigers matched Auburn’s six-spot jump in the poll, moving up to No. 19 after beating Ole Miss, 38-21, on Saturday night. LSU is 3-0 since Orgeron replaced Les Miles, and Leonard Fournette is back and running wild after Saturday’s 284-yard, three-touchdown performance. The Tigers get a bye week to enjoy it before hosting Alabama on Nov. 5.
There also were some falls for SEC teams, though. Texas A&M led Alabama by a point midway through the third quarter, but the Crimson Tide scored 20 unanswered to pull out a 33-24 victory. The Aggies’ loss dropped them from No. 6 to No. 9.
Ole Miss had a bigger fall, as it was sent out of the poll from No. 23 with the loss to LSU. The Rebels might’ve seen their last day in the poll, as they now sit at 3-4 on the season. Ole Miss has continued to be a major disappointment after blowing late leads early in the year in losses to Florida State and Alabama.
Another Showdown in Madison
It appeared Wisconsin would be another part of a top-10 matchup this week, but the voters decided to drop the Badgers one spot to No. 11 despite their win at Iowa. That could add as extra incentive Saturday when they host undefeated Nebraska in yet another huge Big Ten showdown.
The Cornhuskers are 7-0 and moved up to No. 7 this week after beating Purdue, 27-14. They control their own destiny in the Big Ten West, with Wisconsin sitting two games back because of its close losses to Michigan and Ohio State. A Badgers victory would gain the head-to-head tiebreaker should Nebraska lose again, which is a strong possibility considering it faces the Buckeyes on the road the following week.
Group of Broncos
With Houston’s fall out of the AP Top 25, the Group of Five conferences lost another ranked team after the Power Five added three more this week with Colorado, Penn State and Virginia Tech entering the poll at Nos. 23-25, respectively.
Boise State appears to have the inside track for an automatic New Year’s Six bowl bid after it moved up one spot to No. 13 with Thursday night’s thrilling 28-27 win over BYU. The Broncos should be able to run the table with Wyoming, San Jose State, Hawaii, UNLV and Air Force remaining on the schedule.
Another herd of Broncos hopes to crash the New Year’s party too, though. Western Michigan improved to 8-0 with Saturday’s 45-31 win over Eastern Michigan. The Broncos stayed at No. 20 in this week’s poll and should be unbeaten when it faces Toledo in a MAC showdown on Nov. 25 to cap the regular season.
Navy is the only other Group of Five team in the poll. The Midshipmen jumped two spots to No. 22.
Three ranked matchups highlight the college football slate this coming weekend, with the highest-ranked team in each contest playing on the road:
- No. 3 Clemson at No. 12 Florida State
- No. 4 Washington at No. 17 Utah
- No. 7 Nebraska at No. 11 Wisconsin
Potential upset matchups include No. 8 Baylor at Texas, No. 10 West Virginia at Oklahoma State and No. 15 Auburn at Ole Miss.