How the Week 14 AP Top 25 Poll should have looked
Two SEC teams were knocked out the Associated Press Top 25. But at least Alabama remains the top-ranked team in the FBS.
Among SEC teams, LSU moved up four spots to No. 21 in the AP Poll following its 54-39 win at Texas A&M. Meanwhile, Kevin Sumlin’s Aggies and Tennessee – which lost 45-34 at Vanderbilt – both fell out of the poll.
What do we make of the moves by the Tigers, Aggies and Volunteers? 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 13 performances.
HOW THE AP TOP 25 POLL SHOULD’VE LOOKED
1. Alabama (12-0; 61 first-place votes) — The Crimson Tide is having such a dominant season that if it beats Florida in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game, every conference team not named Bama will have at least four losses. Both the Gators and the Tide have outstanding defenses; the difference at the Georgia Dome will obviously be the offenses, which gives Alabama a clear-cut advantage. Nick Saban’s squad will run its winning streak to 25 while securing a spot in the College Football Playoff for the third year in a row.
2. Ohio State (11-1) — It will be interesting to see where the CFP selection committee ranks the Buckeyes on Tuesday night because based on the eye test they are clearly the second-best team in the FBS, but they didn’t even qualify for the Big Ten title game. And in its brief history, the committee has shown it thinks very highly of conference champions – just ask the Big 12. Five years ago, Alabama won a national title despite not reaching its conference championship game. Ohio State should have a chance to do the same.
3. Washington (11-1) — The Huskies clinched the Pac-12 North and a spot in the conference championship game with their 45-17 victory at Washington State in the Apple Cup. Washington faces Colorado Friday night.
4. Clemson (11-1) — The Tigers, who slammed South Carolina 56-7 last week, will face Virginia Tech Saturday night in the ACC Championship Game. A victory in Orlando will put Clemson in the CFP for the second straight year.
5. Michigan (10-2) — Jim Harbaugh is probably still mad about the officiating in the Wolverines’ 30-27 double-overtime loss at Ohio State last week. It’s a safe bet that Mr. Walmart khakis will be rooting for Florida, Colorado and Virginia Tech this week.
6. Wisconsin (10-2) — The Badgers outscored Minnesota 24-0 in the second half of their 31-17 victory last week. However, the winner of Saturday night’s Big Ten Championship Game between Wisconsin and Penn State isn’t a lock to represent the conference in the CFP, especially with one-loss Ohio State in the mix.
7. Oklahoma (9-2) — The Sooners are coming off a bye week following their 56-28 victory at West Virginia on Nov. 19. We’ll see how well that rest serves them when they host Oklahoma State in their Bedlam rivalry game on Saturday.
8. Penn State (10-2) – The Nittany Lions turned a six-point deficit into a 45-12 victory over Michigan State and a spot in the Big Ten title game. They’re hoping Saquon Barkley’s foot injury heals in time for the Badgers.
9. Colorado (10-2) – The Buffaloes, who lost 40 of their first 45 conference games after joining the Pac-12 in 2011, beat Utah by five to win their first South Division title. Their incredible rebound season continues Friday night against Washington.
10. Oklahoma State (9-2) – Like Oklahoma, their next opponent, the Cowboys are coming off a bye week. They visit Norman on Saturday for the de facto Big 12 championship.
11. USC (9-3) — The Trojans ran their winning streak to eight with their convincing victory over Notre Dame last week. They’re behind Oklahoma State in this poll for two reasons: they have one more loss than the Cowboys do, and Mike Gundy’s group should have one more win if you remember what happened in its game against Central Michigan.
12. Florida State (9-3) — Beating Florida by 18 points last week was a good thing. Losing to Louisville by 43 earlier this season was not.
13. Western Michigan (12-0) — The Broncos, the Group of 5’s only remaining unbeaten team, routed Toledo by three touchdowns to reach the MAC Championship Game. P.J. Fleck and his team will try to successfully row their proverbial boat against Ohio on Friday night.
14. West Virginia (9-2) — The Mountaineers, who routed Iowa State by 30 points last week, wrap up their regular season at home against Baylor on Saturday.
15. Florida (9-3) — The Gators didn’t look good against the Seminoles, and they’ll have to look much better against Alabama, which beat them by two touchdowns in last season’s SEC Championship Game.
16. Louisville (9-3) — It was hard to tell which was worse last week: the Cardinals’ defense or Lamar Jackson’s four-turnover performance. It certainly wasn’t his Heisman moment.
17. Stanford (9-3) — The good news for the Cardinal is that it capped its regular season with a 24-point romp over Rice. That bad news is that Christian McCaffrey may have played his final game in Palo Alto.
18. Auburn (8-4) — The Tigers’ loss at Georgia on Nov. 12 took away what could have been a much bigger season. But if the Tigers win their bowl game, this season will end up being a two-game improvement over 2015.
19. Virginia Tech (9-3) — The Hokies tuned up for Saturday night’s ACC Championship Game showdown with Clemson by beating Virginia by 42 points last week.
20. Navy (10-1) — It’s hard to believe, but the Midshipmen were trailing by a field goal against SMU last week before reeling off 47 unanswered points in their 75-31 victory. Navy has two more matchups before its bowl game: The American Athletic Championship Game against Temple on Saturday followed by its annual battle with Army.
21. LSU (7-4) — Congratulations to Ed Orgeron, who secured the Tigers’ head coaching job after beating Texas A&M. For his sake, hopefully he finds a way to beat Alabama before his three-year contract runs out.
22. Iowa (8-4)
23. Nebraska (9-3)
24. South Florida (10-2)
25. Pittsburgh (8-4)