Tomorrow’s Top 25 Today: Ohio State, Miami benefit as four top-10 teams fall – CBSSports.com
Weeks like this reinforce the fluidity of college football rankings. The new polls will come out Sunday, dictating the reaction to three of the top 10 teams taking road losses in Week 7. Voters will drop those teams in their ballots, but there’s no expectation that
Washington State Cougars
will fall out of the rankings after losing on Friday night. There’s no way to take them out of the picture when both teams are still in the College Football Playoff hunt.
There’s less room for error and even more pressure on head-to-head games against division foes, but any team with one loss or less in the conference championship hunt still has a shot. Clemson will no longer be a top-five team after Sunday, but there’s not going to be any shock to see the Tigers right back there after a few more weeks of shake up around the country.
Clemson and Washington State’s losses have thrust
Penn State Nittany Lions
into the debate for No. 2 team in the nation while
continues to lurk out west and
Ohio State Buckeyes
makes a run at the top of the rankings with its fifth straight win. Teams move up in the rankings, but those rankings don’t reflect any fundamental change to the teams themselves. So get ready to meet back here next week after another set of ranked losses, opening up opportunities to move a few spots closer to
Alabama Crimson Tide
orbit at the top.
After a shake up in Week 7, here’s how we think the new AP Top 25 will look on Sunday:
1. Alabama (Previous — 1): Who on the regular-season schedule even looks remotely intimidating to Alabama right now? The Tide totally dominated
from the first play of the game, scoring on a long
touchdown right as
is falling short at
. The ruthless frontrunners welcome
to Tuscaloosa next week, likely as four-touchdown favorites against their cross-division rivals.
2. Penn State (3): The Nittany Lions were off in Week 7.
3. Georgia (4): Explosive plays allowed
to jump out on Georgia, but once the game got settled, the Bulldogs found a way to cool
hot hand and pull away.
TCU Horned Frogs
(6): Weather delays forced TCU to beat
Kansas State Wildcats
about three different times. The Horned Frogs’ defense carried the heaviest load in this victory, coming up big after offensive miscues. When you’re playing at Kansas State, you don’t want to leave any room for a comeback, and TCU did a good job of coming back from the final weather delay and finishing off a strong 26-6 win.
(7): Freshman running back
has played in just six college football games and run for more than 200 yards in three of them. Saturday’s workload against
produced 219 yards on 30 carries, including a 67-yard touchdown run in a grinding 17-9 win. They needed every bit to overcome three turnovers and blocked punt, but luckily Wisconsin’s defense was in top form and never let Purdue get comfortable.
6. Ohio State (9): This was exactly the kind of win Ohio State needed going into the bye week. A fourth-straight 50+ point performance should have confidence high as the Buckeyes use the extra week to put in work, returning to the field on Oct. 28 against Penn State in one of the biggest games of the year. A win puts Ohio State, written off by many after losing to
, leading the Big Ten title hunt and right back in the College Football Playoff conversation.
7. Miami (11): It might just be Miami’s year. Another last-minute win leaves the Hurricanes as the only undefeated team in the ACC. The polls won’t have Miami in the top four, but the path has opened for Mark Richt to lead this team to the College Football Playoff. The toss-up games gone Miami’s way and in
the Hurricanes have a response to losing star running back
for the year to injury.
8. Clemson (2): Will the Tigers fall out of the top 10? I think a Friday night loss at
warrants a fall but they will likely remain one of the top one-loss teams in the country.
9. Oklahoma (12): One of the things Bob Stoops was great at during his time as the Sooners’ coach was rebounding from a regular season loss. In holding on for a win, Oklahoma continued Stoops’ tradition of no back-to-back regular season losses.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
(14): Beating up on
is just another check mark for a Cowboys team that can’t sustain another loss and expect to end the season in the Big 12 Championship Game. Saturday was a celebratory day for Oklahoma State. Just a few hours after Mike Gundy and
took their shirts off at a basketball kickoff event, the Cowboys put 59 points up for the homecoming crowd and set a new school record with 747 total yards.
11. Washington (5): The Huskies’ loss at
Arizona State Sun Devils
had all of the warning signs of a meltdown. The offense struggled on third down and kicker Van Soderberg missed on two short field goal attempts. The Huskies defense did their part to make corrections after giving up two long scoring drives in the first half but it just wasn’t their night. Arizona State’s defense got great penetration up front and made life tough for Jake Browning, making the defending Pac-12 champs look especially beatable during this weekend of shake up in the polls.
12. Washington State (8): A less-than-spirited effort against Cal should shake Washington State a little bit. The AP Top 25 voters have a wide variety of methods, but I’m guessing the Cougars slide down the rankings should end somewhere near
Southern California Trojans
, the team they beat to jump up the poll earlier this season.
13. USC (13): This is the toughest stretch of the season for the Trojans. Their wins are grinding with USC coming up big in the fourth quarter of these close games. Beating
was huge for the Pac-12 South title race and great for USC to show that kind of fight in victory one week before playing at
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Virginia Tech Hokies
(15): The Hokies were off in Week 7.
15. Notre Dame (16): The Irish were off in Week 7.
(17): An elite defense gives Michigan a shot at the Big Ten title in 2017, and next week’s trip to Penn State will set the terms of the division race.
will do his best to match
impact as a runner after going for 200 yards in the 27-20 overtime win against
threw 20 times for 58 yards and did not have a touchdown pass for the second straight game.
South Florida Bulls
(18): The Bulls absolutely pounded
. Better performance in scoring position would have the scoreboard reflecting the dominance even more, but having to kick field goals four times kept things respectable in the 33-3 victory.
NC State Wolfpack
(20): Dave Doeren has a championship-caliber team right now. Ranked for the first time since 2010, the Wolfpack have won back-to-back games against
since surging into the national spotlight. A hot team might have sputtered when tested on the road in an early kickoff after a big win, but a championship-caliber team like the Wolfpack had answers for Pitt’s best shot and pulled away for an double-digit win.
Michigan State Spartans
(21): After beating Michigan, Saturday’s game at
Minnesota Golden Gophers
looked like a potential trap game spot for the recently ranked Spartans. Michigan State survived, winning 30-27 behind a career day from running back L.J. Scott, sidelined for that Michigan win by an injury. Scott ran for 194 yards and two touchdowns, but a couple Michigan State turnovers kept this game close in the final minutes.
(22): The Knights could have chosen their number against ECU and cruised to a 63-21 win. Next week’s game against
is one of the toughest games left on the schedule, and a win would start the debate between UCF and USF as the favorite in the AAC East.
(23): The Cardinal took care of business against
. Bryce Love got knocked out of the game with an apparently minor injury but only after 147 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 17 touches. Once Stanford got a fast lead against the Ducks they could lean on them the rest of the way. There will be close attention paid to Love’ status moving forward with Washington State and Washington just a few weeks away.
West Virginia Mountaineers
(NR): There are few things in the Big 12 more fun in 2017 than when
David Sills V
are in perfect rhythm with Grier when he gets it rolling, and on Saturday,
Texas Tech Red Raiders
lead didn’t stand a chance against the Mountaineers’ second half charge. Grier threw four of his five touchdowns after halftime, climbing WVU back from 18 down to win 46-35.
23. LSU (NR): DJ Chark’s punt return touchdown totally changed the game against Auburn. It wasn’t the first score in LSU’s comeback from a 20-0 deficit, but it was the one where the Tigers took control of a game that was dominated early by their top-10 opponent. LSU’s profile has a couple of bad losses, but back-to-back wins against Florida and Auburn will get the attention of poll voters.
24. Auburn (10): There is a chance that Auburn falls all the way out of the rankings, but I’m going to guess that the same ceiling voters used to rank them in the top 10 keeps the Tigers in the top 25. Auburn didn’t play well down the stretch after jumping out to a 20-0 lead, but it’s best football — the kind on display in three consecutive SEC wins of 21 points or more — is on par with the top teams in the country.
(NR): The head-to-head advantage gained on Saturday in a 30-27 victory against Navy helps Memphis’ chances to win the AAC West after taking an early conference loss at UCF. Up next is a short turnaround and then another huge division game on Thursday night at
Projected to drop out: San Diego State (19), Texas Tech (24), Navy (25)