This weekend, the entire bottom portion of the AP poll was absolutely obliterated. Of the 11 teams ranked 15-25, only three survived their assignments: BYU, Wake Forest, and your beloved Kansas State Wildcats.
That created a lot of vacuum to fill, and even some teams that we didn’t expect to tumble all the way out now find themselves looking up at #25.
For K-State, the upheaval means that a 37-28 win over unranked Texas Tech earned them a five-spot jump from #25 to #20. There is much angst from certain corners of the fanbase, however, as the sheer catastrophe of Kansas entering the poll — for the first time in 13 years — one spot ahead of the Wildcats.
This insult, which is of course one of deep and profound meaning coming as it does in week six of a fourteen week regular season and having no meaning whatsoever, simply cannot be borne by any observer of good character.
After forging a late comeback to avoid an upset loss to the pesky Tigers from Missouri, Georgia relinquished their hold on the top spot. Alabama is back to #1 again, although Georgia received 28 first place votes to the Tide’s 25 and the margin between the two teams is a razor-thin two points. If just one voter who has Alabama first and Georgia second had reversed that, they’d be tied. One suspects this also means Georgia took a very real hit on several ballots, falling behind #3 Ohio State (which received the remaining 10 first place votes).
Michigan, Clemson, and USC remain 4-6; Michigan lost a small handful of points after Maryland hung in there for 60 minutes and Clemson lost even more despite a solid win over then #10 North Carolina State. Makes little sense. USC gained three points from last week.
From #7 to #14, there was some minor reshuffling.
#7 Kentucky lost to #14 Ole Miss and tumbled six places to #13; that was the biggest fall of the poll by a team that’s still in the top 25. The Rebels moved up five to #9. Replacing Kentucky at #7 is last week’s #9, Oklahoma State, who survived a late push attempt by Baylor to get back into a blowout. Penn State moved up a spot to #10, replacing NC State, which fell to #14.
Utah and Oregon are 11 and 12, each moving up a spot to fill the gap.
You will note now that the top 14 remain the same as last week, just in a different configuration. After that, things went bonkers.
First, let’s talk about the teams that lost in the bottom half.
#15 Washington remains ranked, falling six spots to #21. They hung in there because of who they lost to: 5-0 UCLA.
#16 Baylor fell all the way out of the poll, landing at the mythical 27 spot, because it was their second loss rather than their first. They’ve got 88 points, just 20 shy of remaining ranked.
#17 Texas A&M also ate their second loss, at the hands of an unranked team; they still got four points from between one and four people who are on crack.
#18 Oklahoma? Oh, they’re gone. They got two points, so only one or two voters are stupid. Even so, Oklahoma effectively fell 21 spots, the biggest drop this week.
#20 Arkansas fell out, but the fact that their loss was to Alabama softens the blow; they’re in the 29 spot now with a healthy 76 points.
#21 Minnesota paid for their first loss, a home stumble against Purdue, with a tumble to the 34 position and 14 points.
#23 Florida State only fell to the 28 hole, with 78 points, because they lost to a ranked opponent — one which got the largest jump of any ranked team today.
#24 Pittsburgh, the victim of Georgia Tech’s first win over an FBS school in almost a year, has vanished entirely. See, KU fans, I told you that Pitt is who you should have been mad at last week.
The only other teams that received votes last week to lose yesterday were Oregon State and Texas Tech, and they’ve disappeared completely as well.
So we’ve gotten the sad sacks out of the way; of eight teams to lose, only one held onto their place in the poll at all. The three winners all moved up a fair bit as a result.
K-State’s five-spot jump ties Ole Miss for second place among upward movers who began the week ranked. The biggest jump in that class, however, goes to Wake Forest, who rose seven spots to #15 after knocking off Florida State. The other winner was BYU, but a win over Utah State isn’t going to move the meter all that much, they rose three spots to #16.
And with that, this week’s ridiculous list of seven newcomers to the top 25.
TCU, on the heels of their absolute destruction of the Sooner Schooner, leapt all the way to #17 after receiving a mere single #25 vote last week. That effectively represents a 21-position rise, and is by far the biggest jump of the week.
UCLA, now 5-0 after beating Washington, made nearly as large a jump. They went from 3 points and a tie for 36th to 18th in this week’s rankings, an 18-place rise.
Kansas, as mentioned, is now #19, up seven places from last week’s “just missed”.
Syracuse, 30th last week, moves up to 21 after roadgrading a limited scholarship FCS squad (Wagner). That’s a nine-slot move.
With those four teams now ranked, every Power Five unbeaten is in the top 25 for the first time this season. That means the voters had to sort out one-loss teams to fill out the poll.
Mississippi State got the 22nd spot after manhandling Texas A&M; they’re the only team in the poll that had zero points last week, so that’s a rise of 17 spots. Cincinnati returned to the rankings at #24 (up four) after a winning fairly competitive game with Tulsa, and LSU took up the 25 slot after a comeback win over Auburn. That was a nine-place jump for the Tigers, who had seven points last week.
The biggest winner to not make the 25 after getting votes last week was James Madison, who had 4 points last week but 39 today. They’re now #30 and just waiting their turn; other than Cincinnati they are now the highest-ranked G5 school, and I don’t know what sort of problem that might cause if they end up being the highest at season’s end... since they’re ineligible for a bowl this year.
The big losers among winners this week, if you want to look at it that way, were Washington State, this week’s #26, who only moved up three places after slapping Cal around, and North Carolina, who lost four points and four slots despite beating the absolute smithereens out of Virginia Tech. Florida, whose game this week was delayed until this morning (a wipeout of FCS Eastern Washington), lost 19 points and three places. Tulane, who had three points last week, now has nine and moved up one spot.
Receiving votes this week after being blanked last week: (31) Maryland, who got 25 points for losing by a touchdown to #4 Michigan; (32) Coastal Carolina, at 5-0 with 17 points; (35) Illinois, 4-1 after whipping a clearly bad Wisconsin team; and Purdue, joining Oklahoma at the bottom with two points.
Three games next week will feature ranked vs. ranked, and the higher-ranked team is on the road in all three matchups. #8 Tennessee visits #25 LSU, #11 Utah visits #18 UCLA, and #17 TCU visits #19 Kansas. That means there’s probably going to be more turnover next week if the favorites all win.