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Poll Watch: The AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll after Week 10 of College Football

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In week 10, seven ranked teams lost to unranked opponents. Let’s see how those wins and losses shaped the polls this week.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 06 Michigan State at Purdue Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Miami has won three in a row, the ACC is a chaos zone, and the polls once again look dramatically different than a week ago. After week 10, the voters have to be scratching their heads and asking themselves: Outside of Georgia, who looked like a real national championship contender this week?

Michigan State, last week’s 5th ranked team in the AP and No. 3 in the CFP Rankings, fell to the Purdue “Spoilermakers”. Alabama, ranked 3rd in the AP and No. 2 in the CFP Rankings, went down to the wire against an unranked LSU squad. Cincinnati, fresh off a week of football fans and media members questioning their No. 6 ranking in the CFP poll, only beat Tulsa 28-20.

And it wasn’t just the top 5, No. 9 Wake Forest lost to the North Carolina Tar Heels in a 58-55 battle, unranked Arkansas beat No. 17 Mississippi State (which kinds of puts a question mark on Alabama’s best win), and Boise State throttled No. 23 Fresno State 40-14 (a Bulldogs team who Oregon hoped made their playoff resume more than just an early OSU win).

After all of the mayhem and when the dust settled, seven ranked teams lost to unranked opponents yesterday. Plus five of the top six teams in the College Football Playoff rankings were taken to the edge at some point in their games. Remember, the CFP Selection Committee has fewer voters than the 60-plus voter pool of the AP Top 25, which makes them less predictable and rarely voting with the consensus. So Saturday’s too close for comfort wins might not do much for a few teams hoping for a surge on Tuesday. Let’s see if any teams at the top of the rankings did anything to put stranglehold on the supreme spots in the AP and Coaches Poll before new CFP ranking drops.

College Football Playoff Rankings

Missouri v Georgia Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

1. Georgia Bulldogs

2. Alabama Crimson Tide

3. Michigan State Spartans

4. Oregon Ducks

5. Ohio State Buckeyes

6. Cincinnati Bearcats

7. Michigan Wolverines

8. Oklahoma Sooners

9. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

10. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

11. Oklahoma State Cowboys

12. Baylor Bears

13. Auburn Tigers

14. Texas A&M Aggies

15. BYU Cougars

16. Ole Miss Rebels

17. Mississippi State Bulldogs

18. Kentucky Wildcats

19. NC State Wolfpack

20. Minnesota Golden Gophers

21. Wisconsin Badgers

22. Iowa Hawkeyes

23. Fresno State Bulldogs

24. San Diego State Aztecs

25. Pittsburgh Panthers


Coaches Poll

Tulsa v Cincinnati Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

1. Georgia Bulldogs

2. Alabama Crimson Tide

3. Cincinnati Bearcats

4. Oklahoma Sooners

5. Ohio State Buckeyes

6. Oregon Ducks

7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

8. Michigan Wolverines

9. Michigan State Spartans

10. Oklahoma State Cowboys

11. Texas A&M Aggies

12. Ole Miss Rebels

13. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

14. Iowa Hawkeyes

15. BYU Cougars

16. USTA Roadrunners

17. Houston Cougars

18. Baylor Bears

19. NC State Wolfpack

20. Auburn Tigers

21. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

22. Pittsburgh Panthers

23. Penn State Nittany Lions

24. Wisconsin Badgers

25. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

Other teams receiving votes: Arkansas 116; San Diego State 103; Purdue 77; Kentucky 74; Utah 34; Iowa State 21; Appalachian State 19; Southern Methodist 18; Minnesota 10; Nevada 3; Fresno State 3; Clemson 3; Tennessee 2; Arizona State 1.


The AP Top 25

Wake Forest v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

1. Georgia Bulldogs

2. Cincinnati Bearcats

3. Alabama Crimson Tide

4. Oklahoma Sooners

5. Oregon Ducks

6. Ohio State Buckeyes

7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

8. Michigan State Spartans

9. Michigan Wolverines

10. Oklahoma State Cowboys

11. Texas A&M Aggies

12. Ole Miss Rebels

13. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

14. BYU Cougars

15. USTA Roadrunners

16. Auburn Tigers

17. Houston Cougars

18. Baylor Bears

19. Iowa Hawkeyes

20. Wisconsin Badgers

21. NC State Wolfpack

22. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

23. Penn State Nittany Lions

24. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

25. Pittsburgh Panthers

Other teams receiving votes: Purdue 174, Arkansas 139, San Diego State 84, Utah 32, Iowa State 26, Kentucky 22, Appalachian State 20, SMU 4, Mississippi State 1


Analysis

Indiana v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Georgia demolished a team, what’s new? They beat the Missouri Tigers 43-6 to sail to 9-0 on the season. It was also the eighth straight game that they’ve won by three scores. The Bulldogs are the only team looking the part this year and their defense has been stellar. The Dawgs haven’t won a national championship since 1980. And with Alabama looking questionable in the SEC West, Georgia fans have every reason to be hopeful that 2021 is their year. They remain at 1 overall.

Cincinnati almost let their season and unbeaten record go up in smoke against Tulsa. Weeks ago, the Bearcats had one of the better wins in college football after beating No. 10 Notre Dame on the road. But these last three weeks have been full of close calls against lesser opponents. The 28-20 tight win over Tulsa literally came down to a questionable (I think Tulsa go in) goal line stand. The Bearcats had the perfect opportunity to silence a lot of doubters after last weeks rankings. Instead, they gave naysayers more ammunition to pick their resume apart. Especially since SMU lost horribly to the Memphis Tigers and the Houston Cougars barely survived against South Florida (two of their other solid wins this year). They did nothing to bolster voter confidence this week. But Luke Fickell’s team is still unbeaten and and worthy to remain at 2 in the AP.

Cincinnati’s lackluster play was Crimson Tide’s gain in the CFP Rankings on Tuesday. Although they only beat LSU 20-14 as a 28.5-point favorite, they stayed on track for the playoffs, a top 3 spot, and for ultimately another showdown against Georgia in the SEC Championship. They are ranked at 3 in the AP.

Also at the top of the rankings, Oklahoma was a winner this week just for avoiding all of the chaos on the field by having a bye. The combination of hard-fought and grind-out wins for the other teams pretty much left the status quo at the top of the rankings. So Oklahoma stays around the top a 4 in the AP.

After debuting at No. 4 in College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday, Oregon required a late push on Saturday night to beat the Washington Huskies, 26-16. Early in the game, The Ducks fell behind 9-3. They ended the game by scoring 21 unanswered points to stay in the playoff conversation. Travis Dye led the Ducks with 211 yards rushing and her also had a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to grab a 24-9 lead. Oregon stays in the top 5 at 5 in the AP.

In the Big Ten, OSU’s 26-17 win against the Nebraska Cornhuskers marked the Buckeyes second straight game the offense didn’t go over 35 points. The team put up 40-plus in the previous five wins before this two-game under-35 wave The drop in production hasn’t messed with their rankings, especially since they keep winning (including notching their 27th straight win against a Big Ten opponent). OSU is just outside the top 5 at 6 this week in the AP.

In the same conference, Purdue’s David Bell put on a show in the Boilermakers upset win over Michigan State. He’s truly one of the great receivers in college football this year. Bell had 217 yards receiving, on 11 catches, and a touchdown in the shocking win. Bell also posted 11 catches, for 240 yards, and a touchdown against Iowa (who was ranked No. 2 at the time). He should be on the short list for the Biletnikoff Award and his performance helped drop the Spartans to 8 in the AP.

Michigan got a similarly stellar performance from Hassan Haskins in a 29-7 win over Indiana Hoosiers. Haskins ran for 168 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries as the Wolverines bounced back from that crushing loss to the Spartans a week ago. Michigan’s performance was among the best for teams with playoff hopes this weekend. For now, they’re ranked at 9.

Another loss in the AP top-15 came when the TCU Horned Frogs knocked off Baylor 30-28. TCU showed a lot of grit after parting ways with head coach Gary Patterson after 22 years. Quarterback Chandler Morris threw for 461 yards and rushed for 70 against a Baylor defense that had only given up 300 passing yards once this season. The loss dropped Baylor to 18 in the AP. And speaking of drops, Auburn’s 20-3 loss to theTexas A&M Aggies, took them from 12 in the AP last week to 16.

Getting to the ACC, the Demon Deacons were always a longshot to earn a playoff trip, but that dream is over. Even though Wake scored 55 points, it wasn’t enough. They lost 58-55 to the Tar Heels. They also blew 14-point fourth quarter leads in back-to-back games against UNC. North Carolina showed that their offense can always keep pace. The silver lining for Wake Forest is that they scheduled this game against the Tar Heels as a non-conference contest. Their quest for its first conference title since 2006 is still alive as they’re ranked 13th in the AP.

This week and rankings are a reminder that there’s still plenty to be sorted out and resolved among the top teams.