Another week, another fresh batch of college football rankings. A look at the new AP Top 25:
|3||Ohio State (1)||6-0||1420||3|
|20||North Carolina State||5-0||342||23|
We’ll start with Texas, which rose 10 spots to No. 9 after a thrilling 48-45 win over Oklahoma. The Longhorns are firmly in contention for a College Football Playoff spot; if only they didn’t lose to Maryland in Week 1! But that's not too much to overcome. After a rocky first year, Tom Herman is delivering right now in Austin. Sam Ehlinger ran for three touchdowns yesterday, and Texas’ QB power run is one of the toughest plays to defend in college football.
Oklahoma, meanwhile, fell to No. 11 after the loss. The Sooners still have an outstanding offense, with Kyler Murray leading the way. But it’s not quite as lethal as last year, and the defense is leaky. Oklahoma is good, but doesn’t look like a Playoff caliber team after its loss to Texas and a near upset against Army.
Notre Dame only rose one spot, but the Fighting Irish look like they could go undefeated after a smackdown of Virginia Tech on Saturday night. Ian Book looks legitimate under center; he gets the ball where it needs to go, when it needs to get there. We talk about arm strength and high-end speed with quarterbacks, but sometimes, playing the position effectively is as simple as that. The Notre Dame defense looks awesome, and the Irish have a pretty easy schedule the rest of the way. Their toughest games are at USC and Northwestern and they have wins over Virginia Tech, Stanford and Michigan already. Fun times in South Bend.
Notre Dame took LSU’s spot, which fell to No. 13 after losing to Florida. You have to feel for the Tigers. They already have wins over Auburn and Miami, and usually, a loss at Florida wouldn’t doom a team’s Playoff hopes. But when two of your next three opponents are Alabama and Georgia… yeah, we don’t need to go there. The offense is better than it’s been in recent years, but it still lacks an explosive element. Props to the Gators, who rose to No. 14. The Dan Mullen era is off to a nice start.
The top four teams stayed the same, but it’s interesting that Alabama didn’t receive all of the first place votes after Tua Tagovailoa played what was essentially a perfect game against Arkansas. He averaged nearly 26 yards per pass attempt and finished with a 99.6 QBR. Nick Saban wasn’t happy with the Crimson Tide’s defense, which allowed 31 points. Perhaps the voters who slotted Ohio State and Clemson first, respectively, weren’t either.
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One team that few are talking about, but absolutely deserves recognition: No. 6 West Virginia. The Mountaineers haven’t scored less than 35 points in a game this season, and Will Grier is absolutely balling. He has 21 touchdown passes in four games. If it weren’t for Tagovailoa, he might be the Heisman Trophy favorite.
On the flip side, Auburn’s College Football Playoff hopes likely ended with a loss to Mississippi State. It was their second of the season. The Bulldogs controlled the ball the majority of the game, racking up 57 rushing attempts. Auburn misses Kerryon Johnson dearly; Jarrett Stidham was really good when he had an elite running game behind him, but he’s swimming in it a bit this year. The Tigers still have the potential to play spoiler down the line but they fell all the way to No. 21 this week.
Some other poll notes: Texas A&M, South Florida and Cincinnati joined the fray at Nos. 22, 23 and 25, respectively. The Aggies ended Kentucky’s undefeated season on Saturday; the Wildcats fell five spots to No. 18. Both teams look really strong early on and are a reason the SEC has so much depth.The best is yet to come this college football season, but Week 6 was a blast. On to Week 7.