Even with several of the best teams in the country having an off week, Week 7 of the college football season saw seven top-25 teams lose, including one top-five team and five ranked squads that fell to unranked opponents. No. 1 Georgia rolled once again, but in what's becoming a trend this season, there's little certainty beyond the dominance of the 'Dawgs.
Here are our takeaways from the latest AP poll.
AP Top 25 Poll: Week 8
school (first-place vOtes)
|18||North Carolina State||485||22||5-1|
|22||San Diego State||284||24||6-0|
Others receiving votes: Clemson 64, Utah 43, Arkansas 29, Brigham Young 21, Air Force 19, Iowa State 14, Louisiana-Lafayette 13, Arizona State 7, Florida 7, Texas 5, UCLA 4, Houston 2, LSU 2, Virginia 1
Cincinnati climbs, again
The Bearcats were ranked No. 8 in the preseason AP Top 25 poll and thanks to their undefeated start to the season — they're now 6-0 and bowl-eligible — combined with losses suffered by teams ranked ahead of them, they're now the No. 2 team in the country. It's the highest ranking in program history.
Prior to the 2021 campaign, Cincinnati had been ranked in just 10 seasons in program history, with a program-best ranking of No. 4 in 2009. That was when the Bearcats were on the outside of the national championship discussion — they ultimately played in the Sugar Bowl after starting 12-0 — and now they're halfway to a 12-0 regular season following their 56-21 dismantling of UCF in Week 7. Cincinnati had a five-possession lead, 35-0, by the time UCF scored for the first time and the Bearcats have yet to win a game by fewer than 11 points.
The biggest movers
Auburn, which climbed from unranked to No. 19 after its win over Arkansas, was the biggest climber in the latest AP poll, just ahead of No. 20 Baylor, which similarly moved from outside of the AP Top 25 to inside the top 20 this week.
Several teams climbed four spots within the poll — Oklahoma State (No. 12 to No. 8), Texas A&M (No. 21 to No. 17) and NC State (No. 22 to No. 18).
Then there's Iowa, which fell nine spots from No. 2 to No. 11 after losing at home to unranked Purdue, which made the Hawkeyes the team that dropped the most in the latest AP poll. Arkansas and Arizona State, which were ranked No. 17 and No. 18 last week, respectively, each fell outside of the AP Top 25 after losing in Week 7.
Week 8's matchups to watch
- No. 8 Oklahoma State at Iowa State | 3:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, Oct. 23 (FOX)
- LSU at No. 12 Ole Miss | 3:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, Oct. 23 (CBS)
- No. 5 Ohio State at Indiana | 7:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, Oct. 23 (ABC)
- Southern California at No. 13 Notre Dame | 7:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, Oct. 23 (NBC/Peacock)
Don't look now but Oklahoma State (6-0) is one of the two undefeated teams in the Big 12, with No. 3 Oklahoma (7-0) being the other, meaning the Cowboys could be the Sooners' foil in the Big 12 Championship that many expected Iowa State to be in the preseason. Now, the Cowboys will travel to the Cyclones in Week 8 with the opportunity to cement their status as a top-two team in the conference.
Iowa State and Baylor each only have one conference loss, with the two Oklahoma schools perfect thus far in conference play. With every other team having at least two losses in conference play, an Oklahoma State win would further separate the Cowboys from the pack, while an Iowa State win would give the Cyclones a chance at reaching their postseason goals.
Good luck figuring out the SEC West this season. LSU running back Tyrion Davis-Price rushed for a school-record 287 yards in a 49-42 win over Florida in Week 7, following back-to-back losses by the Tigers. Now they'll travel to Ole Miss to face Heisman Trophy contender Matt Corral and the high-powered Rebels offense, which is coming off of consecutive narrow wins over Tennessee (31-26) and Arkansas (52-51). Alabama is in first place in the division — what's new? — but it's anyone's guess as to how teams No. 2 through No. 7 in the division will shake out. If another team can knock off the Crimson Tide, as Texas A&M did, then even the top spot could be up for grabs.
With a 2-4 record this season and an 0-3 mark in Big Ten play, Indiana hasn't lived up to the expectations that came with its preseason No. 17 ranking, but the Hoosiers' losses have come to Iowa, Cincinnati, Penn State and Michigan State teams that have all spent time in the top 10 of the AP poll this season, and they had the Bearcats and Spartans on the ropes in Bloomington. Indiana hasn't beaten Ohio State since 1988 and the Buckeyes' offense has found its stride, so don't expect an upset by the Hoosiers, but their defense, especially at home, has been strong enough to potentially keep this game close in the first half on Saturday. Last season, Indiana, then led by currently injured quarterback Michael Penix Jr., rallied to only lose by seven points in the Horseshoe, and the Hoosiers have given the Buckeyes fits for two or three quarters several times in the last decade, so don't be shocked if it happens again.
Notre Dame and Southern California meet annually and as two of the most historic programs in the sport, this matchup always carries weight. The Fighting Irish's only loss this season was to now-No. 2 Cincinnati, while Southern California (3-3) has alternated wins and losses each game this season. The Trojans lost their last game against Utah, which means if the alternating win-loss streak is to continue, that would require a win in South Bend on Saturday night.