After big wins, two SEC teams remained in the top four of the Associated Press Top 25 poll this week, while one former playoff contender — Alabama — took a tumble after a loss to Auburn.
In order, LSU, Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia remained in the top four of the AP Poll, while Utah and Oklahoma took the fifth and sixth spots. Florida is seventh and Baylor is eighth.
Newcomers to the poll include Virginia at No. 22 and the Air Force Falcons at No. 25.
Let’s take a closer look at this week’s AP Top 25 Poll.
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Alabama, Minnesota most likely out of the playoff
While the AP Top 25 Poll won’t be the judge as to who gets in or gets left out of the playoff, it can sometimes be a good indicator as to how folks are feeling about certain teams after impactful results.
This week, Alabama and Minnesota both stumbled in the polls after losing to ranked teams in their conferences, and will likely be left out of the playoff picture after each suffered their second loss. The Crimson Tide fell from fifth to ninth and the Gophers dropped from ninth to 15th.
Alabama lost its second Iron Bowl in three years to Auburn, as the Tigers won 48-45. Wisconsin easily handled Minnesota, 38-17.
Both Alabama and Minnesota will still likely wind up playing in quality bowl games, but with several zero and one-loss teams ahead of them, a playoff berth seems improbable.
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Oklahoma, Utah within striking distance
Utah and Oklahoma each moved up in the AP Top 25 Poll this week, to spots Nos. 5 and 6, respectively. The Sooners and Utes will both play for their conference championships next weekend, getting another chance to pad their resumes before the final playoff rankings are released.
Should a team in the top four of the playoff rankings lose in their conference championship game, the Sooners and Utes will be in a position to slide into those spots. Clemson faces a feisty No. 22 Virginia team that has won four straight games, Ohio State will take on No. 10 Wisconsin, and LSU and Georgia will face each other in Atlanta. In that latter matchup, someone in the top four has to lose.
If it’s the Bulldogs, they would likely fall out in favor of another conference champ, like Oklahoma or Utah. The Sooners will face No. 8 Baylor and the Utes will take on No. 13 Oregon. Neither game will be an easy victory for the favorites.
Memphis in the driver's seat for G5 race
After a win over Cincinnati, Memphis moved up a spot to No. 16 and is the clear front-runner to take the Group of Five’s bid to the Cotton Bowl. The Tigers should be able to clinch that bid with a second straight win over the Bearcats on Saturday in the American Athletic Conference title game, but if Memphis falls, two teams from other conference will be in the mix to grab it.
Both with 11-1 records, Boise State and Appalachian State are ranked 19th and 20th this week. If Memphis loses and each captures their conference championships, the playoff committee will have a dilemma on their hands in determining the best Group of Five team.
Cincinnati is ranked 21st this week, while Navy and Air Force round out the G5 race at No. 23 and No. 25.