Clemson remains the number one team in the nation in both this week's AP Poll and Amway/USA Today Coaches Poll, while Alabama moves up to number two in both and retains its position atop the Massey Composite Ranking index.
Iowa vaults to third in both polls, skipping past Notre Dame was well as being lifted due to losses by Ohio State and Oklahoma State, previously second and fourth. Notre Dame rose one spot, while Oklahoma moved up two; Michigan State and Baylor each received a three-place boost at the expense of the fallen OSUs as well as Florida, punished for their overtime win over dismal Florida Atlantic.
Looking at things from a points perspective, the AP has Iowa and Michigan State separated by a mere 39 points. That's four teams packed into a space which isn't even 2/3 of one slot. Iowa is a full 144 points behind Alabama -- more than two places by vote total -- while Baylor is 125 points behind Michigan State, almost two full places. Even if the top six teams all win next weekend, a poor performance by Iowa or Notre Dame, or an outstanding, eye-opening performance by Oklahoma or Michigan State, could shake up the 3-6 spots significantly.
For the most part, below the top seven everything else transpired as one would expect. TCU, Houston, Utah, LSU, Wisconsin, and USC all suffered hard falls. The biggest crash of all, however, belonged to Memphis; sitting just outside the top 25 after last week's loss to Houston, the Tigers failed to make a single ballot after losing to Temple. Memphis remains in the top 40 in the computer composite, but also ate the biggest drop of the week there, sliding 13 spots.
Despite the Memphian downgrade, Temple was the biggest beneficiary in the polls this week. The Owls returned to the top 25 in both polls, rising seven places in the AP and eight in the Coaches. Ole Miss moved up six places in both polls, while Air Force is still unranked but moved six places closer to the top 25 on both ballots.
The biggest rise in the computers, at least among teams in the top 60, belongs to Air Force. The Falcons rose eleven places. South Florida got a 10-place boost while UCLA and Oregon moved up 9 places each. The only teams receiving no votes in either poll in the computer top 40 are Memphis and Penn State. No team actually ranked in the human polls is outside the computer top 35, and Air Force is the only team with significant ballot presence outside the top 40.
The biggest discrepancy in the top 15? Iowa and Ohio State in a tie. The Hawkeyes remain ranked eighth in the computers; Ohio State remains at #4. If you asked the computers who belongs in the playoff right now, they would tell you Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, and Ohio State. (Just to save us all some argument: I disagree with Alabama at #1 here, and this is probably the best groundwork to discuss how much SOS should be worth when looking at a loss. Nobody would argue Alabama belonged ahead of Houston last week; nobody sane should argue Alabama belongs ahead of Clemson now. Obviously, the SOS cutoff belongs somewhere in the middle.)
Also worth noting, though, and a slight vindication of the computer model: Baylor is now #6 in the composite, even with that loss to the Sooners. They're ahead of Iowa and Michigan State, and they get a better opponent next week. Bears watching.
Here's the combined table, ranked in order of AP points. There is no sanity adjustment for teams receiving no votes, as two more teams made the AP ballot than did last week and the coaches had the same number of teams ranked.
|San Diego State||41||0||0||39||-2||39||0||3||41||2||54||61||7|