Takeaways from the Week 2 Associated Press Top 25
Two SEC teams took down top 10 squads in the midst of a 13-1 opening weekend for the conference.
So, yeah, the Associated Press Top 25 was loaded with SEC teams. Seven, to be exact.
There were more takeaways from the first in-season poll of 2018.
So let’s get to them:
1. Holy cow, SEC
I knew it was going to happen after Florida and South Carolina were the first 2 teams out last week, but 7 SEC teams in the Top 25 is noteworthy. It’s the first time that happened since Week 8 in 2016. In case you missed it, here was the SEC representation in the Top 25:
- 1. Alabama
- 3. Georgia
- 7. Auburn
- 11. LSU
- 18. Mississippi State
- 24. South Carolina
- 25. Florida
My math tells me that half the conference is in the Top 25. Needless to say, nobody came close to that. In fact, the SEC West had more teams (4) than the ACC (3) and Big 12 (3), and as many Top 25 teams as the Pac-12 (4). It’s only one week, but my goodness. Talk about starting the season with a bang.
I actually thought the SEC should have started with 6 teams in the Top 25 because of what South Carolina returned from a 9-win team. Obviously if the Gamecocks lose to Georgia, their first AP Top 25 spot since 2014 will be short-lived. Still, though. For now, that says a lot about the strength of the conference.
2. LSU geauxing up in a hurry
How much did LSU impress voters with that statement win against Miami? The Tigers moved up 14 spots and the Canes moved down 14 spots. Why so drastic? Well, I think part of that was the fact that despite it being a 16-point game, LSU looked like the vastly superior team, unlike the Auburn-Washington game, which I’d argue was much more even.
There was also the fact that LSU did its damage on a Sunday night before the NFL season started. All eyes were on Jerry World. Every voter could have flipped that on and seen the carnage.
Does that mean LSU is destined to hang in that spot all year? Not necessarily. But the Tigers are in position now where if they go to Auburn in a couple weeks and pull out a win, they’re easily in the top 4. At least they should be. How drastic of a perspective shift that would be in a few short weeks. And on the flip side, we could easily be talking about Auburn as a deserving top 3 team in a couple weeks with a win against LSU.
The Tiger Bowl suddenly has some big-time implications.
3. Sorry, but Florida doesn’t deserve a Top 25 spot
I’m not hating on the Gators’ potential, but here’s what I have a problem with. There’s one game separating Florida from a 4-win season, and it came against an FCS team at home.
That’s how easy it was for Florida to get back into the Top 25. Meanwhile, South Carolina, which plays in the same division, had to win 9 games and then its opener to earn its first Top 25 ranking in nearly 4 years.
That makes no sense.
That’s part of the problem with early-season rankings. They’re often based too much a program’s history instead of what we’ve actually seen on the field. If Florida starts 4-0 with wins vs. Charleston Southern, vs. Kentucky, vs. Colorado State and at Tennessee, it’ll likely be a Top 20 team. It won’t matter that Kentucky and Tennessee were a combined 4-12 in SEC play last year.
I know that sounds nit-picky, and I’m not saying that Florida can’t finish the year as a Top 25 team, but to me, these rankings should be about teams that deserve it. Northwestern won on the road against a 7-win team in its opener to extend the nation’s longest Power 5 winning streak to 9, yet it’s still not in the top 25.
Yeah, I don’t get that. Let’s let the Gators beat a single Power 5 team that had a winning record in conference play last year before we decide that they’re one of the nation’s best.