Just win, baby.
That’s the lesson we can glean from the Week 10 AP Poll. Hardly revolutionary, but true nonetheless.
Three top-10 teams from last week’s rankings lost on Saturday, and as a result, two new schools joined the elite of the elite. Meanwhile, Clemson and Louisville, despite winning ugly…. well, won. And that’s what matters. This late into the college football season, style points don’t mean as much as they did early in the year. Survive and advance. That’s the objective.
FULL RANKINGS: Week 10 AP Poll
Louisville needed late heroics from Lamar Jackson in order to beat an underwhelming Virginia squad, while Clemson allowed Dalvin Cook to run wild but still found a way to defeat Florida State. Neither team budged in the Week 10 rankings, and that’s a boon to the ACC’s playoff hopes. Barring a monumental collapse from the Cardinals and the Tigers, the ACC should be represented in the College Football Playoff.Speaking of which, with the first Playoff rankings set to be released on Tuesday, it’s time to start thinking about potential scenarios. Plenty happened in Week 9; four previous unbeatens lost, all of whom likely needed to run the table in order to have realistic national title hopes. Two of those schools were from the Big 12: West Virginia and Baylor. Their semifinal dreams aren’t doomed, but they’ll need quite a few dominoes to fall their way near the top in order to have a chance to play for the championship.
Zoom out of the College Football Playoff race, and there is quite a bit of shuffling going on in the middle of the rankings. Florida State fell a whopping seven spots despite losing to the No. 3 team by three points. Undefeated Western Michigan keeps creeping on up; the Broncos are now the No. 17 team in the country. How far can they rise by the end of the season? LSU and Auburn, who both disappointed in September, are now top-15 teams; the latter is knocking on the top 10’s door. And Wisconsin, despite its two losses, finds itself ranked eighth with an inside track at the Big Ten West crown after a gritty win against Nebraska.
And without looking, can you guess who the top-ranked team in the Big 12 is?
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Why hello, Oklahoma. The Sooners jumped four spots after beating Kansas on Saturday night, and Baker Mayfield seems to have found his footing after a rocky start. OU’s two losses don’t look as defensible as they once did; Ohio State almost fell to Northwestern in Week 9 after a loss to Penn State in Week 8, and Houston appears to be unraveling. Regardless, the Sooners usually come on strong at the end of the season, and this year looks to be no different. With clashes against Baylor and West Virginia on the horizon, Bob Stoops’ squad controls its own destiny in the Big 12. Had you told someone that after Week 3, they would have looked at you like you had spinach in your teeth.
Despite the game of musical chairs that’s going on in the Big 12 (and outside of the top six, for that matter), the top teams in the country look solid. All are battle-tested, and all have tons of talent. As we kick into Playoff high-gear, the top-four teams in the Week 10 poll have a clear path to the semifinals, but feisty challengers loom on the outside.
What more can you ask for?