College football rankings: Behind the numbers of the AP Top 25 for Week 8
So… that happened.
Heading into Week 7, there were no ranked matchups on the schedule, meaning one of two things would happen: 1) Ranked teams would dominate, and give us one of the most boring weekends of the season yet, or 2) Upsets on top of upsets.
You can probably guess which one went down.
Seven ranked teams lost on the weekend — including four of the Top 10 — all to unranked opponents.
As you could imagine, that had quite the effect on the college football hierarchy. Let’s take a look behind the numbers of the AP Top 25 after a chaotic Week 7:
AVERT YOUR EYES
15-6 — Record for ranked teams in Week 7 of the season, winning by an average score of 32-21. That’s the fewest wins, most losses, fewest points, most points allowed, and lowest margin for ranked teams this entire season. Yikes. It was just the second week this year that no ranked game had a winning margin of 50 or more. The biggest blowout of the week belonged to No. 14 Oklahoma State, which took down Baylor 59-16, while two ranked teams escaped with one-point wins to tie for the closest game of the week. Those would be No. 11 Miami (which had a miracle catch on fourth down to pull out a win against Georgia Tech), and No. 13 USC (which saw Utah fail a two-point conversion attempt at the end of the game to eke out the win). Despite the chaos, seven teams won by three scores or more, including four (Stanford, UCF, Ohio State, and Oklahoma State) that won by 40 points or more.
|Week||Record||Percentage||Top 25 score||Opponent score||Winning margin||Losses to unranked teams|
7 — Number of conferences represented in the poll (including independent schools). By weighting the conferences inversely to their teams' rankings (i.e., No. 25 is worth 1, No. 1 is worth 25, etc.), the Big Ten comes out in first place for the seventh straight week, taking a commanding lead over the rest of the country. Penn State moved up a spot during a bye week, and Wisconsin and Ohio State give the Big Ten three members in the Top 6. And while the SEC has two teams in the Top 4 in No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia, the conference has a big gap before Auburn checks in at No. 21 and LSU sits at No. 24
|Conference||Number of teams||Teams||Weighted score|
|1||Big Ten||5||No. 2 Penn State, No. 5 Wisconsin, No. 6 Ohio State, No. 18 Michigan State, No. 19 Michigan||80|
|2||ACC||4||No. 7 Clemson, No. 8 Miami, No. 14 Virginia Tech, No. 16 NC State||59|
|3||Big 12||4||No. 4 TCU, No. 9 Oklahoma, No. 10 Oklahoma State, No. 23 West Virginia||58|
|4||SEC||4||No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Georgia, No. 21 Auburn, No. 24 LSU||55|
|5||Pac-12||4||No. 11 USC, No. 12 Washington, No. 15 Washington State, No. 22 Stanford||44|
|6||American||3||No. 16 South Florida, No. 20 UCF, No. 25 Memphis||17|
|7||Independent||1||No. 13 Notre Dame||13|
TAKE A NUMBER
38 — Number of teams that have been ranked at one point this season. Memphis was our lone addition of the week, taking Navy’s No. 25 spot the week after defeating the Midshipmen.
HERE TO STAY
16 — Number of teams that have been ranked every week since the preseason. Despite a lot of movement this week, Alabama, Ohio State, USC, Clemson, Penn State, Oklahoma, Washington, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State, Michigan, Auburn, Georgia, Miami, South Florida, Virginia Tech, and Washington State all started the year off in the preseason Top 25 and haven’t left yet. Last year, only seven teams (Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State, Michigan, Washington, and Louisville) were able to stay in the rankings wire-to-wire.
1 — Teams that have only moved upwards since the start of the season. That would be the Georgia Bulldogs (Alabama started at No. 1, so it has nowhere to go but down, much to the dismay of Tide fans). Of the other undefeated teams (not named Alabama), Penn State, Wisconsin, Miami, and South Florida all have gone down at some point during the year, and TCU and UCF haven’t been ranked the entire season. UGA is the only team that started the year in the rankings and hasn’t moved down once. The Bulldogs started off ranked No. 15 in the preseason, but the Bulldogs’ first 7-0 start since 2005 has them in the Playoff hunt at No. 3. That ’05 season saw the Dawgs start the year 7-0, rise to No. 4, drop two straight SEC matchups, win the SEC Championship, and then lose to West Virginia in the Sugar Bowl. Georgia-Florida is next on the schedule for the Bulldogs. Can they top the Gators and get their first 8-0 start since 2002? That year, they went 13-1, winning the SEC Championship game and the Sugar Bowl. Their lone loss? You guessed it: Florida.
GOING DOWN SWINGING (AND MISSING)
34 — The biggest losing margin for any team ranked inside the Top 20 this year, courtesy of No. 8 Washington State, which fell to California 37-3. The Cougars had an unfathomable seven turnovers against the Golden Bears. Washington State’s drive summary looks like something out of a college football horror book: INT, Missed FG, Fumble, Punt, FG, INT, Punt, INT, INT, Punt, Fumble, Fumble, INT, End of game. Scary.
THE BIGGER THEY ARE, THE HARDER THEY FALL
4 — Top 10 teams that lost to unranked opponents this week. The chaos started Friday night, as No. 2 Clemson saw starting quarterback Kelly Bryant go down with an ankle and head injury before falling to Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. Then California dominated No. 8 Washington State later that evening. Saturday didn’t disappoint either. No. 10 Auburn lost on the road to LSU by four, and in Pac-12 after dark action, No. 5 Washington couldn’t put an offense together in its 13-7 loss to Arizona State. Before this week, only six Top 10 teams had lost all season, and only two of those were to unranked opponents.
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JOIN THE TEAM.
11 — The biggest drop in the rankings this week, courtesy of Auburn. The Tigers had risen from No. 15 in Week 4 to No. 10 in Week 7 after four straight wins before unranked LSU pulled out a 27-23 home win in the battle of the Tigers. Still left on Auburn’s schedule? No. 3 Georgia and No. 1 Alabama. Oh boy.
4 — The biggest jump in the rankings this week, made by Oklahoma State and NC State. The Cowboys (from No. 14 to No. 10) are back on track after a 44-31 loss to TCU in Week 4, winning their past two conference games by an average of 25 points per game. NC State (from No. 20 to No. 16) has been one of the bigger surprises this year, as the Wolfpack are 6-0 since losing to South Carolina in the season opener. That streak includes wins against No. 12 Florida State and No. 17 Louisville. Still on the calendar are No. 13 Notre Dame and No. 7 Clemson — great opportunities, or reality checks? We’ll see.