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Poll Watch: The AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll after Week 7 of College Football

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After shocking upsets for Iowa, the Florida Gators, and others, the polls look a little different from a week ago.

Syndication: Online Athens Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK

Week 7 of college football turned into a real garbage festival when things got bad on Rocky Top between Tennessee Volunteers fans and the Ole Miss players and staff. From players avoiding debris and trash to the Rebels’ band cleaning the stands, it was one of the more embarrassing displays of the season. That spectacle and losses by the Iowa Hawkeyes, Florida Gators, Arkansas Razorbacks, and other ranked teams, filled the weekend with some lowlights and highlights.

The Hawkeyes big loss to Purdue was one of the bigger Power Five surprises of the year, the Kentucky Wildcats couldn't stop the overwhelming tide of the Georgia Bulldogs, and in a non-poll influencing shocker, we even had an FBS upset when ULM shocked Malik Willis and Liberty.

But it wasn’t all upsets this weekend. Some poll stability came from Caleb Williams and the Oklahoma Sooners in their primetime 52-31 slaughter of the TCU Horned Frogs, Cincinnati’s trouncing the UCF Knights, and Alabama doing what Alabama does. And with the Ohio State Buckeyes, Penn State Nittany Lions, and Michigan Wolverines having the week off, at least the middle of the top 10 remained unshaken after this wild days of games.

Coaches Poll

Syndication: The Enquirer Albert Cesare / The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

1. Georgia Bulldogs

2. Oklahoma Sooners

3. Cincinnati Bearcats

4. Alabama Crimson Tide

5. Ohio State Buckeyes

6. Michigan Wolverines

7. Michigan State Spartans

8. Penn State Nittany Lions

9. Oklahoma State Cowboys

10. Oregon Ducks

11. Iowa Hawkeyes

12. Ole Miss Rebels

13. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

14. Kentucky Wildcats

15. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

16. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

17. Texas A&M Aggies

18. NC State Wolfpack

19. SMU Mustangs

20. Baylor Bears

21. San Diego State Aztecs

22. Auburn Tigers

23. Pittsburgh Panthers

24. Clemson Tigers

25. USTA Roadrunners

Other teams receiving votes: Iowa State 38; Utah 35; Arkansas 31; Florida 23; Brigham Young 23; Air Force 20; UL Lafayette 18; Arizona State 18; Purdue 16; Houston 11; Virginia 6; Texas 4; Louisiana State 2; Fresno State 1.

AP Top 25

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

1. Georgia Bulldogs

2. Cincinnati Bearcats

3. Oklahoma Sooners

4. Alabama Crimson Tide

5. Ohio State Buckeyes

6. Michigan Wolverines

7. Penn State Nittany Lions

8. Oklahoma State Cowboys

9. Michigan State Spartans

10. Oregon Ducks

11. Iowa Hawkeyes

12. Ole Miss Rebels

13. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

14. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

15. Kentucky Wildcats

16. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

17. Texas A&M Aggies

18. NC State Wolfpack

19. Auburn Tigers

20. Baylor Bears

21. SMU Mustangs

22. San Diego State Aztecs

23. Pittsburgh Panthers

24. USTA Roadrunners

25. Purdue Boilermakers

Other teams receiving votes: Clemson 64, Utah 43, Arkansas 29, Brigham Young 21, Air Force 19, Iowa State 14, Louisiana-Lafayette 13, Arizona State 7, Florida 7, Texas 5, UCLA 4, Houston 2, LSU 2, Virginia 1

Analysis

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Texas Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati has soared all the way to number 2 after this weekend. After running away with a 56-21 win against UCF, they took the spot of the staggering Iowa Hawkeyes in the polls. They came out on fire and even went into halftime with a score of 35-0. Their newest ranking is the highest in program history. The bigger story here is that since the CFP began, we all knew a Group of Five program would need some real luck and help on the field to be one of the last four teams standing. This season, Cincinnati has beaten Notre Dame on the road and blew away the Indiana Hoosiers. In their other 4 wins this year, they’ve won by 38.5 points per game. Even better, five of the teams that were ranked ahead of the Bearcats when the season began have already lost, including Texas A&M and Iowa State whom have lost twice. By my math, that’s the “help” and “luck” boxes checked off. The Bearcats truly control their destiny to the CFP.

In another highlight game of the weekend, Oklahoma State (6-0) beat the previously ranked Texas Longhorns 32-24 in Austin. The game marked their third straight win against a ranked opponent. They’ve also held opponents to 24 points or fewer all season long. I think we can safely stop questioning if they’re for real. We can also safely say that they’re on a collision course with Oklahoma in the Big 12 title race. Oklahoma State is ranked 8th and Texas dropped out of the polls.

Speaking of Oklahoma, the Caleb Williams era is soaring. Williams got the start over high-profile QB Spencer Rattler. He threw for 4 touchdowns, was 18 of 23, had 295 yards, and ran for a TD in the Sooners’ 52-31 win over TCU. It was one of the more impressive Sooners debuts in history. His performance also helped move move Oklahoma to 7-0 and to 3rd in the AP.

The Baylor Bears picked up their second win over a ranked team this season with their 38-24 victory over the BYU Cougars. The Bears are now bowl eligible after their disastrous 2-7 season in 2020. First-year offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes is working wonders for this team. They may have also something to say about that Big 12 title race that I just mentioned. The Bears are ranked at 20 in the AP and BYU fell out of the rankings.

In the Big Ten, Purdue took down Iowa. It’s even more shocking considering that after Iowa’s Penn State win, the Hawkeyes just had to survive the Big Ten West for a potential trip to the CFP. And by the Big Ten West, I mean a bunch of them that might not even be bowl eligible this year (sorry Northwestern fans). And in just one weekend, that plan went up in smoke. Iowa QB Spencer Petras threw 4 interceptions in the 24-7 loss to the Purdue Boilermakers. Boilermakers receiver David Bell went wild on the Hawkeyes defense. He had 11 catches, for 240 yards, and a touchdown. Hawkeyes fans may think they still have a chance to make the CFP if they win out (like Ohio State fans do), but after this performance they just need to worry about beating Wisconsin next week and then looking down the line. Iowa fell to 11 in the AP and the Boilermakers made the same list at 25.

In the SEC, the good news for the Florida Gators (4-3) is that they finally realized quarterback Anthony Richardson is their future. The bad news is they learned this lesson after turning the ball over four times and losing 49-42 to a terrible LSU Tigers team (who were missing a ton of defensive starters like Derek Stingley Jr). The only good wins the Gators have are against two of the worst teams in the SEC and teams like Florida Atlantic and Towson. Things don't get easier for Florida as they take on No. 1 Georgia the next time they put on their cleats on Oct. 30. The Gators may finish the season unranked when it’s all said and done. They got a head start by dropping out of the rankings this week.

Staying in the SEC, Tennessee fans littered Neyland Stadium with garbage after a late-fourth quarter ball spot that led to the Tennessee coming up short on a long fourth-down conversion against Ole Miss. The play in question came when Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker hit Jacob Warren for a 23-yard gain on 4th-and 24 with 54 seconds left. The replay was too close to overturn for the refs and the Tennessee fans lost it. The trash spree led to a delay of more than 20 minutes, Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin was hit with a water bottle, and we all saw that container of mustard. The 31-26 victory sent Ole Miss to 12 in the polls, Tennessee out of them, and their fans to the ring of shame.

In the Pac-12, the Oregon Ducks barely survived against the Cal Bears on Friday night. After being down 17-10 in the 4th, Oregon needed a goal line stand as time expired to beat a Cal (a team with 0 FBS wins to its name). I know Oregon lost a number of key players to injury since the Ohio State game, but their CFP wishes may be fading if they’re barely beating teams of this caliber. If the Ducks are lucky enough to finish 12-1, are they going to be ranked ahead of Ohio State or Alabama? Their strength of schedule (a relatively poor Pac-12) would heavily favor other one-loss teams seeking a CFP entry. But that’s another issue for another day. Right now they’re ranked 10th overall and take on the UCLA Bruins on ABC this weekend.

In the ACC one of the two of the previously ranked teams, the NC State Wolfpack, beat Boston College 33-7. Wake Forest had the week off and will take on a 4-2 Army team this weekend. The Pittsburgh Panthers crept into the polls this week after they beat the Virginia Tech Hokies 28-7 yesterday.