You don’t play, you don’t move.
The poll never actually seems to work out like that, but lo and behold here we are. The Week Eight AP poll sees Kansas State unchanged, hanging in at #17 with 599 points.
That is a gain of 40 points on last week’s result, however, the equivalent of 2⁄3 of a slot upward. Last week the Wildcats had a 166-point lead over 18th-ranked Syracuse, they now have a 166-point lead over #18 Illinois. Insert shrug emoji.
The other big news, for K-State anyway, is that their only loss on the season now has some value. Tulane, which improved to 6-1 by thrashing South Florida, has entered the poll at #25. The Green Wave join #22 North Carolina, which escaped Duke yesterday, as the newcomers to the poll.
Two new teams in means two teams out, and most readers will have mixed feelings about that. Last week’s #19, Kansas, fell out after losing to Oklahoma; they’re now in the mythical 30 slot with 12 points. The 11-place tumble by the Jayhawks was the largest of the week. James Madison, which grabbed a late lead against Georgia Southern but couldn’t hold on, surrendered the #25 spot. They now have a mere six points and are tied at 31 with Oregon State, whose 24-10 win over Washington State removed the Cougars from all ballots.
Up at the top of the rankings, things changed a bit due to #6 Tennessee’s absurd last second 52-49 win over #3 Alabama. The two teams simply switched places in this week’s poll, with Tennessee picking up all of Alabama’s 11 first place votes and stealing three from #2 Ohio State and one from #1 Georgia. Despite throttling Vanderbilt while the Buckeyes were idle, Ohio State closed the point gap on the Bulldogs to 21 points from 28 last week. Alabama had trailed the Buckeyes by 11 points last week; Tennessee trails them by 35. Alabama, meanwhile, received exactly as many points as Tennessee had last week.
The fact that Tennessee gained first place votes on the two leaders while being further behind on points than Alabama was last week indicates a lot of chaos among the top five, with Clemson and Michigan — who switched places to #5 and #4 respectively — gaining votes at Tennessee’s expense, essentially.
Three of the teams behind Tennessee lost yesterday, causing some vacuum turbulence. USC’s 43-42 loss to Utah sent the Trojans tumbling five spots to #12. Ole Miss moved up into the seven slot from ninth after beating Auburn. TCU’s overtime win over Oklahoma State caused them move up five spots to take the Cowboys’ spot at eight, while the Pokes only slid three spots to eleven. Penn State, tenth last week, dropped six places to 16 after being blasted by Michigan. UCLA and Oregon, 11-12 last week and idle yesterday, were pulled up to 9-10 as a result.
The three remaining spots open in Penn State’s wake were taken by idle Wake Forest, moving up a spot to 13 after a week off, plus two teams which leapfrogged over K-State: #14 Syracuse, sliding up four places after knocking off #15 North Carolina State (which fell to #23, sharing the largest intra-poll drop with Mississippi State, who fell from #16 to #24 after losing to #22 Kentucky), and Utah, moving up five places to #15 after the USC win.
After Penn State and K-State, Illinois surged six places into the 18 spot, the largest upward move of the week, after beating Minnesota. Kentucky moved up three spots to 19, while Texas moved up two to 20 after their joke of a win over Iowa State. idle Cincinnati remained at #21.
Outside the poll itself, despite an ugly win over Nebraska, Purdue moved eight spots close to actually being ranked, pulling in at 26, 20 points back of Tulane. LSU’s win over Florida gained the Tigers 12 spots, moving from 39 to 27. LSU had 87 points, and after this things plummet sharply — so much so that despite only gaining one more point than they had last week, South Carolina rocketed eight spots to 28th. They’re tied there with UCF, this week’s highest-ranked team to have received no votes last week following a 70-13 drubbing of Temple.
Also joining the party after no votes last week: the aforementioned Oregon State, South Alabama, Liberty, and Arkansas, who got one single 25th place vote back after knocking off BYU. Along with Kansas and James Madison, Minnesota, Florida State, and Maryland retained a smattering of votes.
As for the teams that fell off everyone’s ballot, it’s definitely a list: Baylor, Coastal Carolina, BYU, Notre Dame, Washington State, and San Jose State all completely vanished this week.
Quite a few games between ranked teams are on the slate for the coming weekend. In addition to K-State taking on #8 TCU, #5 Clemson hosts #14 Syracuse, #6 Alabama hosts #24 Mississippi State, #9 Oregon welcomes #10 UCLA, and #11 Oklahoma State hosts #20 Texas.