How the Week 11 AP Top 25 Poll should have looked
It’s unlikely the SEC will have two teams in the top four of the newest College Football Playoff poll. But like the Big Ten, it does have three teams in the top 10 of the Associated Press Top 25 Poll.
Coaches placed five SEC teams in their poll while sports writers included the same number of conference squads in the AP Top 25.
Among SEC teams, Texas A&M fell three spots to its current No. 10 ranking in the AP Poll following its 35-28 loss at Mississippi State. Meanwhile, Florida slid 12 spots to No. 22 after its 31-10 loss at Arkansas.
What do we make of the drop by the Gators and Aggies? And are other teams deservedly where they should be?
Not falling victim to massive overreactions, here’s how the AP Top 25 Poll should’ve looked based on Week 10 performances.
HOW THE AP TOP 25 POLL SHOULD’VE LOOKED
1. Alabama (9-0; 60 first-place votes) — Ho-hum. Alabama goes into Death Valley and holds Leonard Fournette to 35 yards on 17 carries while pitching a shutout against LSU. In the biggest matchup of his brief career, Jalen Hurts produced all the offense Alabama would need as the Crimson Tide defeated the Tigers for the sixth straight time. It’s a shame the Iron Bowl is still more than two weeks away, but Bama should first be somewhat concerned about Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, who accounted for four touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ upset of Texas A&M in Starkville. Dan Mullen’s team travels to Tuscaloosa on Saturday.
2. Michigan (9-0, 1 first-place vote) — We know that Wilton Speight threw for a career-high 362 yards in Michigan’s 59-3 victory over Maryland last week. But we’re guessing that Jim Harbaugh hasn’t been staying up late enough to watch what Jake Browning has been doing with Washington or what Lamar Jackson has done with Louisville. Between the Iron Bowl and the Wolverines’ trip to Ohio State, Nov. 26 is shaping up to be quite a day. Michigan visits Iowa and plays host to Indiana over its next two games.
3. Washington (9-0) — Browning was outstanding in the Huskies’ 66-27 win over Cal, completing 19-of-28 passes for 378 yards and 6 TDs, both season-highs. Washington’s home game against USC on Saturday night could be pretty interesting. The Trojans go into the matchup having won five straight, including last week’s 45-20 rout of Oregon.
4. Clemson (9-0) — The Tigers got a big scare when Deshaun Watson left their 54-0 victory over Syracuse with a shoulder injury. If Watson can’t go Saturday against Pittsburgh, Clemson can turn to senior Nick Schuessler. After that, Dabo Swinney’s team travels to Wake Forest and hosts South Carolina. A perfect regular season looks good, even if Watson doesn’t take all of the Tigers’ remaining snaps.
5. Louisville (8-1) — Lamar Jackson is having such an unbelievable season, he’s making seven-touchdown performances – such as the one he had in the Cardinals’ 52-7 win at Boston College – look routine. It’s a good thing that Jackson explained one of his touchdown celebrations last Saturday. He certainly doesn’t want to give any Heisman voters a reason to not include his name on their ballots. The Cards host Wake Forest on Saturday night.
6. Ohio State (8-1) — Even though the Buckeyes beat Bowling Green, 77-10, in their season opener, Saturday night’s 62-3 victory over Nebraska was truly their best offensive performance. They have upcoming road trips to Maryland and Michigan State to fine-tune their offense even more before hosting Michigan in 19 days.
7. Wisconsin (7-2) — Badgers QB Alex Hornibrook seems to throw as softly as Kellen Moore used to with Boise State back in the day. Hornibrook is starting to win as often as Moore did, leading Wisconsin to a 21-7 victory over Northwestern last week. Wisky’s next three opponents are Illinois, Purdue and Minnesota.
8. Auburn (7-2) — Sean White didn’t start last week’s 23-16 victory over Vanderbilt due to an injury, and Kamryn Pettway left the game because of one. It’s too bad that the Tigers’ home game against Alabama A&M isn’t this week. Their next opponent is Georgia, which AU visits on Saturday. So White and Pettway won’t get any extra time to heal before traveling to Athens, where Auburn has lost its last two visits by a combined 79-14 score. Georgia just slowed down Kentucky’s push for a bowl berth.
9. Oklahoma (7-2) – The Sooners have come a long way since losing to Houston and getting hammered at home by Ohio State. The Big 12’s hottest team did what it had to do in last Thursday’s 34-24 win at Iowa State, but it hosts Baylor on Saturday. The Bears are coming off a 40-point home loss to TCU.
10. Texas A&M (7-2) — Being in the top four in the initial CFP poll was fun while it lasted. But last week’s 35-28 loss at Mississippi State certainly was not. The defeat was tough enough to begin with, but losing Trevor Knight to an apparent shoulder injury made it even more difficult. Coincidentally, the Aggies’ next game is Saturday night against another team, Ole Miss, which lost its starting QB to an injury. Chad Kelly is done for the season. We’re hoping Knight is not.
11. West Virginia (7-1) – The Mountaineers, the Big 12’s lone one-loss team, feasted on Kansas, 48-21, at home last week. They have a tough two-step coming up: a visit to Texas on Saturday followed by a home game against Oklahoma. Winning both games could spur WVU back into the top 10.
12. Penn State (7-2) — The Nittany Lions have been a completely different team since their 49-10 loss to Michigan on Sept. 24. Penn State, which has won five straight by an average of 19 points, closes its regular season with visits to Indiana and Rutgers and a home game with Michigan State. Anything less than a 3-0 finish would be a surprise and a disappointment.
13. Utah (7-2) — The Utes, who were on their bye last week, can still make a lot of noise in the Pac-12. They visit Arizona State this Thursday before taking on Oregon and Colorado. The latter game could be for the division title and a spot in the conference championship game.
14. Western Michigan (9-0) — After beating Northwestern by 1 point in their season opener, the Broncos have added eight more victories by at least 14 points. And with games against Kent State, Buffalo and Toledo remaining, Western Michigan will more than likely win out.
15. North Carolina (7-2) — The Tar Heels are where they are in part because Mitch Trubisky is having a terrific season. He’s averaging nearly 301 passing yards per game to rank second in the ACC behind a certain Louisville QB. UNC visits Duke on Thursday.
16. Colorado (7-2) — The Buffs’ 20-10 victory over UCLA on Thursday wasn’t pretty, but for the most part, their season has been. After a visit to Arizona on Saturday, Colorado faces two straight ranked opponents in Washington State and Utah at home.
17. Oklahoma State (7-2) — The Big 12’s hottest team not named Oklahoma is coming off a 43-37 win at Kansas State. The Cowboys’ “loss” earlier this season against Central Michigan doesn’t come up that much anymore, but maybe it should. Oklahoma State would be a one-loss team with a chance to represent the Big 12 in the College Football Playoff. The Cowboys host Texas Tech on Saturday.
18. Virginia Tech (7-2) — It wasn’t pretty or easy, but the Hokies’ 24-21 win at Duke helped Virginia Tech stay in control of the ACC Coastal. Justin Fuente, Frank Beamer’s replacement, is having a fine first season in Blacksburg. Georgia Tech visits on Saturday.
19. LSU (5-3) — Different coach, same old struggles against Alabama, which held the Tigers to just 125 yards in its sixth straight victory over LSU. Interim coach Ed Orgeron will probably have to win his next three games – at Arkansas, at home against Florida and at Texas A&M – to replace Les Miles on a permanent basis.
20. Florida State (6-3) — It’s a good thing the Seminoles pulled out a win at NC State last week. Otherwise, they more than likely would be out of this week’s Top 25. FSU hosts Boston College on Friday.
21. Nebraska (7-2)
22. Florida (6-2) — The best thing that happened for the Gators on Saturday was that Kentucky mimicked them by losing a tough game to Georgia. Florida wraps up its regular season with a home game against South Carolina on Saturday followed by trips to LSU and Florida State.
23. Washington State (7-2)
24. Boise State (8-1)
25. Baylor (6-2)