How the Week 9 AP Top 25 Poll should have looked
Despite having two of its teams fall out of the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, the SEC still has more ranked teams than any other FBS conference does.
Among SEC teams, Auburn jumped six spots to its current No. 15 ranking in the AP Poll following its 56-3 victory over Arkansas. Meanwhile, LSU also moved up six spots to its current ranking of No. 19 after its 38-21 win over Ole Miss, which along with the Razorbacks, dropped out of both polls.
But should Auburn and LSU have moved up that far? 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 8 performances.
HOW THE AP TOP 25 POLL SHOULD’VE LOOKED
1. Alabama (8-0; 60 first-place votes) — Another day, another non-offensive touchdown for the Crimson Tide in its 33-14 victory over Texas A&M. It was weird, but even when the Aggies took a 1-point lead early in the third quarter, it didn’t even seem as if they were in control. Bama’s reward for its 20th straight win? A bye week before visiting LSU. The trip to Death Valley looms as the toughest remaining game on Alabama’s schedule, but Auburn might have something to say about that on Nov. 26. The Tide will remain No. 1 at least until a week from Saturday.
2. Michigan (7-0, 1 first-place vote) — The Wolverines’ offense is OK, but their defense has been the most impressive part of their unbeaten start. Michigan is allowing just 207 yards a game to lead the FBS. In its 41-8 victory over Illinois, Michigan held the Illini to just 77 rushing yards – 113 below their season average. Jim Harbaugh and Co. visit East Lansing on Saturday for a rematch with Michigan State, a matchup they’ve thought about since a botched punt resulted in a stunning defeat last year.
3. Washington (7-0) — Potential Heisman Trophy candidate Jake Browning and the Huskies keep rolling along following their 41-17 victory over Oregon State. Next up for Washington is a visit to No. 17 Utah in a battle of Pac-12 division leaders. The Utes are the last ranked team left on Washington’s schedule.
4. Clemson (7-0) — The Tigers, who are coming off their bye week, may have a perfect record but have shown flaws. They have committed 16 turnovers in their seven victories, four of which have been by single digits. Clemson’s visit to Florida State on Saturday night is the Tigers’ most difficult remaining test.
5. Louisville (6-1) — Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals are back in the College Football Playoff conversation following their 54-13 victory over North Carolina State. Including Saturday’s road trip to Virginia, there’s a really good chance that Louisville will sweep its remaining five games. And that includes a visit to Houston on Nov. 17.
6. Nebraska (7-0) — The Cornhuskers trailed at the half against Purdue on Saturday before pulling away for a 27-14 victory. Nebraska’s next two weeks represent the toughest stretch of its schedule; they are road trips to Wisconsin and Ohio State.
7. Ohio State (6-1) — The Buckeyes haven’t been the same since Oct. 1, when they routed Rutgers, 58-0. Surrendering a 14-point lead to Penn State – even on the road – was a stunning development. Ohio State is down, but it is still not out of the CFP mix, not with home games against Nebraska and Michigan on next month’s slate.
8. Texas A&M (6-1) — The Aggies gave Alabama its biggest challenge since the Tide held on to beat Ole Miss, 48-43, on Sept. 17. What a difference a week makes for A&M. A week after facing one the best defensive teams in the FBS in the Crimson Tide, the Aggies take on one of the worst in New Mexico State. Kevin Sumlin’s squad will probably welcome the tune-up since three of its last five games are SEC matchups.
9. West Virginia (6-0) — The Mountaineers and Baylor are the Big 12’s lone undefeated teams, but WVU is in this spot because its schedule has been tougher than the Bears’ slate to this point. After trouncing TCU last week, West Virginia visits Oklahoma State on Saturday.
10. Baylor (6-0) — The Bears, who are coming off their second bye week of the season, will have a tough time winning out. They have games at Oklahoma and West Virginia coming up next month. A visit to Texas on Saturday comes first.
11. Wisconsin (5-2) – The Badgers were their methodical selves while winning at Iowa on Saturday. Wisconsin, which has already faced four top 10 teams this season, takes on another one in undefeated Nebraska on Saturday night. Corey Clement is getting healthy for them at the right time.
12. Florida State (5-2) — The Seminoles, who are coming off their bye week, have had a very up-and-down season. After losing to Louisville by 43 points, Florida State has also lost to North Carolina by 2 and has beaten Miami by 1. With Clemson coming to Tallahassee on Saturday night, FSU will need to be at its absolute best.
13. Auburn (5-2) — It’s hard to say what’s been more impressive about the Tigers – their running game or their defense. Both were on display in their 56-3 arse-kicking of Arkansas last week. If Auburn, which visits Ole Miss on Saturday night, keeps playing like this, this year’s Iron Bowl might be more interesting than it usually is.
14. Florida (5-1) — The Gators’ bye week gave QB Luke Del Rio extra time to recover from his knee injury. Next up for Florida is its annual matchup with Georgia in Jacksonville. UF has won the last two meetings by a combined 65-23 score. And considering how much the Bulldogs have struggled this season, it wouldn’t be surprising if Florida ran that winning streak to three.
15. Boise State (7-0) — The Broncos, who were fortunate to beat BYU at home on Friday night, visit Wyoming with first place in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference on the line this week.
16. Oklahoma (5-2) — If you thought the Sooners’ 66-59 victory over Texas Tech was ugly from a defensive standpoint, just wait until Saturday night when Oklahoma hosts Kansas. The Jayhawks lost last year’s matchup, 62-7, in Lawrence.
17. Utah (7-1) — There aren’t many coaches in the FBS better than Kyle Whittingham, whose Utes held on to beat UCLA, 52-45. Now that Tom Herman’s Houston Cougars have lost twice this season, maybe it’s time that LSU – if it isn’t planning on retaining interim coach Ed Orgeron — give Whittingham a call.
18. Tennessee (5-2) — Despite having two losses and no longer being in control of the SEC East, the Volunteers have a really good chance to win the rest of their regular season games. Tennessee’s push for a 10-win season begins with Saturday’s trip to South Carolina, which scored more than 30 points for the first time this season in its victory over UMass.
19. LSU (5-2) — It was good to see Leonard Fournette shake off the bone bruise in his ankle well enough to finish with a school-record 284 rushing yards in last week’s 38-21 rout of Ole Miss. After relaxing during their bye week, the Tigers host Alabama a week from Saturday. The Crimson Tide held Fournette to a season-low 31 yards on 19 carries in last year’s meeting.
20. Western Michigan (8-0)
21. North Carolina (6-2)
22. Navy (5-1)
23. Colorado (6-2)
24. Penn State (5-2)
25. Virginia Tech (5-2)