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Andy Wittry | | September 27, 2020

Week 5 college football rankings: AP Top 25 poll reactions, takeaways, analysis

Week 4 AP poll: Breaking down the top changes and storylines

There's a chance this can be said on most Sundays during the 2020 college football season, but there were some major changes in the latest AP Top 25 poll. Following a Saturday in which No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 6 LSU lost, and a week in which the remaining FBS conferences announced their intentions to play football, the AP poll had some major shakeups.

Here's everything you need to know about the latest AP poll.

Big Ten, Pac-12 and Mountain West teams are eligible again, sort of

Technically speaking, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Mountain West teams were eligible to receive votes in the latest AP Top 25 poll, which they had not been eligible for since the preseason poll. However, some individual voters elected to only rank the schools that are playing, which meant that not every AP poll ballot featured teams like preseason No. 2 Ohio State or preseason No. 7 Penn State.

Ohio State and Penn State returned to the top 10, only at No. 6 and No. 10, respectively. The Buckeyes' jump from unranked to No. 6 is the biggest week-to-week improvement in the history of the AP poll.

Oregon is the highest-ranked Pac-12 team at No. 14, while Wisconsin and Michigan represent the Big Ten at No. 19 and No. 23.

Reigning national champion drops

In the Week 4 AP poll, LSU received one first-place vote and the Tigers were ranked No. 6 in the country. After losing their season opener to Mississippi State, LSU plummeted to No. 20. It's the lowest ranking for the Tigers since the preseason poll in the 2018 season, when they started at No. 25.

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But the SEC dominates the poll again

Three of the top four teams in the country are from the SEC: No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Florida and No. 4 Georgia. No. 7 Auburn gives the conference a fourth top-10 team and No. 13 Texas A&M, No. 16 Mississippi State, No. 20 LSU and No. 21 Tennessee round out the rest of the SEC's eight ranked teams.

Mississippi State, Miami among big winners

The Bulldogs were ranked No. 1 in the first-ever College Football Playoff rankings and they spent five weeks in a row atop the AP poll during October and November 2014. While they're not quite at that level, they're No. 16 in the latest AP poll after beating LSU, which is their best ranking since the AP poll that was released on Sept. 16, 2018, when they were No. 14.

Meanwhile, Miami (FL) achieved its best ranking — No. 8 — since the 2018 season, when it started the year ranked No. 8 in the preseason poll.

The Hurricanes were ranked No. 2 in the AP poll in back-to-back weeks in November 2017, when they were a playoff contender, so if they keep winning, the program will experience shades of 2017.

RANKINGS: All major college football polls

American Athletic Conference has near-record day

In the Week 4 AP poll, UCF was ranked No. 13 and Cincinnati was No. 14, giving the American Athletic Conference two top-15 teams. With both schools winning over the weekend, at least one of the two programs was bound to climb in the AP poll, and one did — UCF at No. 11 and Cincinnati and No. 15. To have two top-15 teams when every team in the country is eligible for the AP Top 25 poll is a rare feat for the conference.

Memphis is also ranked in the latest AP poll at No. 25.

During the 2015 season, the AAC had two teams that peaked in the top 15 — Houston at No. 8 and Memphis at No. 15 but they weren't ranked in the top 15 at the same time. In 2013, Louisville topped out at No. 7 and UCF climbed to No. 10, but the two schools weren't ranked in the top 10 at the same time.

UCF finished the season ranked No. 10 and Louisville finished at No. 15.

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