How the Week 7 AP Top 25 Poll should have looked
The Big Ten might have four teams in the AP top 10, but the SEC has the most schools in its Top 25, thanks to Auburn’s three-game winning streak.
Among SEC teams, Auburn is ranked for the first time this season following its 38-14 win at Mississippi State. Meanwhile, Arkansas fell six spots from No. 16 to its current ranking of No. 22 after its 49-30 loss to Alabama.
But should the Razorbacks have moved down that far? And are other teams deservedly where they should be?
Based on last week’s results and not falling victim to massive overreactions, here’s how the AP Top 25 Poll should’ve looked based on Week 6 performances.
HOW THE AP TOP 25 POLL SHOULD’VE LOOKED
1. Alabama (6-0; 56 first-place votes) — The Crimson Tide added two more non-offensive touchdowns in its 49-30 victory over Arkansas to give it nine for the season. To put that number in perspective, it’s one fewer than the number of TDs Bama has surrendered this season (10). Alabama, which travels to Knoxville this Saturday, has beaten Tennessee nine straight times. This matchup could be an SEC Championship Game preview. We say “could” because last week’s postponed LSU-Florida game still needs to be played. Hopefully this issue is resolved before more conspiracy theories arise.
2. Clemson (6-0; 2 first-place votes) — Deshaun Watson, who threw for 266 yards and 4 TDs, also delivered a solid block that helped clear the way for Wayne Gallman’s 59-yard scoring run as the Tigers rolled at Boston College, 56-10, on Friday night. This week, Clemson gets a visit from North Carolina State, which held Notre Dame to just 3 points in hurricane-like conditions in a home victory on Saturday. Dabo Swinney’s team will be seeking its 13th-straight win in ACC play.
3. Ohio State (5-0, 2 first-place votes) — Even though J.T. Barrett rushed a career-high 26 times for 137 yards and a TD and threw for another score as the Buckeyes beat Indiana, 38-17, Urban Meyer’s team delivered its least impressive performance of the season. Maybe he and his team were looking ahead to Saturday night’s trip to Wisconsin.
4. Michigan (6-0; 1 first-place vote) — Last time we checked, the Wolverines were scoring another touchdown against Rutgers in Piscataway, N.J. If it isn’t against NCAA rules, maybe Jim Harbaugh and his squad can spend their bye week at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Ann Arbor while enjoying a big discount. Michigan’s next game is a home date with Illinois on Oct. 22.
5. Washington (6-0) — Everything is coming up roses for the Huskies, who snapped a 12-game skid against Oregon with a 70-21 shellacking. The Pac-12’s top candidate for a College Football Playoff berth has one ranked opponent left on its schedule, No. 21 Utah, which it visits on Oct. 29.
6. Texas A&M (6-0) — It took two overtimes – and a ton of Tennessee turnovers – but the Aggies finally held off the resilient Volunteers, 45-38. Kevin Sumlin finally made it to 6-0 after two straight seasons of 5-0 starts that eventually went downhill. The good news is that A&M has hit its bye week. The bad news is that it visits Alabama on Oct. 22. In their last trip to Tuscaloosa two years ago, the Aggies were blanked, 59-0.
7. Louisville (4-1) — Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals spent their bye week thinking about what could have been against Clemson. The bad news for Louisville is that its Nov. 17 game at Houston won’t be as big as it could have been. The Cards host Duke on Friday.
8. Wisconsin (4-1) – The Badgers used their bye week to recover from their 14-7 loss at Michigan. Wisconsin plays host to Ohio State on Saturday night. The Buckeyes’ last visit to Camp Randall in 2012 was a good one as they left Madison with a 21-14 victory.
9. Tennessee (5-1) — The Volunteers finally paid for spotting an opponent a big lead as they fell in double overtime to Texas A&M. But it’s hard to punish a team that fell behind by 21 points in an SEC game on the road and still had a chance to win. Maybe Tennessee can finally flip the script and actually hold onto a lead against Alabama – its next opponent. It’s something the Vols couldn’t do last year in Tuscaloosa.
10. Nebraska (5-0) — The Cornhuskers, who were on their bye week, travel to Indiana on Saturday. Wonder if they’re serious — as some reports have indicated they are — about returning to the Big 12.
11. Baylor (5-0) – The Bears, who are coming off a bye, better not take their next opponent, Kansas, lightly. The Jayhawks, who lost a 24-23 home game to TCU last week, missed three field goals against the Horned Frogs.
12. Ole Miss (3-2) — For Chad Kelly’s sake, it’s a good thing that the Rebels’ only bye week of the season has come and gone. Now he can concentrate on going to Arkansas on Saturday night and beating the Razorbacks instead of worrying about his brother’s next high school football game.
13. Houston (5-1) — What a devastating loss to Navy for the Cougars, which was huge for remaining Group of 5 unbeatens Boise State and Western Michigan. Plus, Tom Herman might have some explaining to do during his interviews for his next job.
14. Florida State (4-2) — Yes, the Seminoles needed a blocked extra point to beat Miami. But despite beating Ole Miss and having one more victory than the Rebels, Florida State is still ranked behind Hugh Freeze’s squad. Hmm. FSU’s next game is Saturday’s home matchup against Wake Forest, which is 5-1 for the first time since 2006.
15. Boise State (5-0) — After routing New Mexico last week, the nation’s highest-ranked Group of 5 school takes on Colorado State at home on Saturday.
16. Miami (4-1) — The gauntlet has only begun for Mark Richt’s team, which faces North Carolina on Saturday before visiting Virginia Tech on Oct. 20.
17. Virginia Tech (4-1) — The Hokies, who are coming off a 34-3 pounding of North Carolina on the road, travel to Syracuse.
18. Florida (4-1) — The postponement of the Gators’ scheduled game against LSU will continue to be a hot topic as long as it isn’t rescheduled. Florida, which hosts Missouri on Saturday, gets a boost with the return of QB Luke Del Rio from injury. We’re still wondering how Jeremy Foley remains UF’s athletic director even though his retirement was supposed to take effect on Oct. 1.
19. Oklahoma (3-2)
20. West Virginia (4-0)
21. Utah (5-1)
22. Arkansas (4-2) — Things were so bad for Bret Bielema after the Razorbacks’ 49-30 loss at home to Alabama that an Arkansas professor was arrested after allegedly shouting obscenities at the Hogs’ head man. Things won’t get any easier for him as the Razorbacks host Ole Miss on Saturday night.
23. Auburn (4-2) — The Tigers jumped out to a five-touchown lead before eventually beating Mississippi State, 38-14, in Starkville last week. The hiring of Kevin Steele as defensive coordinator has made quite an impact, and Gus Malzahn/Rhett Lashlee’s run-first approach is working.
24. Western Michigan (6-0)
25. Navy (4-1)