When there’s three in-conference top 10 matchups highlighting a single weekend, you know you’re in for some gritty games and stunning finishes. It’s inevitable and fun to watch play out.
What comes the following day is equally unsurprising: changes among the top ranks, as detailed by the latest AP Top 25 poll.
And the top five battle sure did live up to the hype with the then-No. 5 Tigers rebounding from a late 19-0 run from the then-No. 3 Cardinals and coming up with a last-minute defensive stand in the red zone to knock off their division rivals.
In the latest poll, Clemson moves up to Louisville’s abandoned No. 3 spot — and picks up a first-place vote — while the Cardinals fall to No. 7. The four-spot drop provides plenty of leeway for the Cardinals to move back into the top five as the season progresses.
In Ann Arbor, another top 10 bout was settled as Michigan outlasted pesky Wisconsin 14-7. With the hard-fought win, the Wolverines stand pat at No. 4 while the Badgers and their elite defense dropped three spots to No. 11.
Holding Michigan’s high-scoring offense to just two touchdowns is quite the feat, which explains Wisconsin’s marginal slip in the rankings. However, its schedule doesn’t get any easier as it next hosts No. 2 Ohio State, who stayed put in its top-two ranking along with No. 1 Alabama.
With the decisive victory, the Huskies ascended into the top five while The Cardinal’s steady drop to No. 15 also means a bleak outlook for its College Football Playoff dreams.
But there’s now a clear path to the Pac-12 title for Washington, whose defense performed outstandingly against Stanford and the threat of Christian McCaffrey (no touchdowns for the second straight game).
It’d be remiss not to also mention the crazy ending to Tennessee and Georgia’s SEC battle that culminated with a Hail Mary from midfield that landed in the hands of receiver Jauan Jennings with no time left to give the Vols a miraculous 34-31 victory.
Despite having to come from behind in four of its five wins, Tennessee is back in the top 10 at its preseason landing spot at No. 9. Up next, the Vols travel to College Station, Texas, for a top 10 matchup against No. 8 Texas A&M. It’s ill-advised to fall behind early on Trevor Knight and the Aggies’ high-powered offense, but Tennessee has become acclimated to embracing this sort of challenge. We’ll see if that trend continues.
In total, 10 ranked teams lost in Week 5, marking the most since Oct. 4, 2014. Five of those defeats came against unranked foes.
The biggest ascensions among the top 25 came from Washington, No. 18 Florida and No. 19 Boise State who each jumped five pegs Monday. No. 10 Miami (Fla.) and No. 16 Arkansas also saw four-spot improvements.
The biggest drop came from Florida State who fell 11 spots to No. 23 after losing to newly ranked North Carolina on a last-second field goal.
The last time Miami faced Florida State and the Canes were the higher ranked teams was 2010.https://t.co/ndj8qq0GQf— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) October 2, 2016
After only two new teams joined the fold in last week’s rankings, there are five new names welcomed in Week 6. No. 17 North Carolina and No. 20 Oklahoma return to the list to go along with newcomers Colorado, West Virginia and Virginia Tech.