Unlike a week ago, there weren’t a ton of top 25 upsets this weekend. So there wasn’t much room to rise for Kansas State, but despite a Saturday night effort that surely didn’t impress anyone the Wildcats managed to move up almost as far as vacuum would allow. The Cats check in this week at #17 in the AP poll, up from #20 last week.
Much of the movement this week was minor; four teams ranked from #9 to #19 didn’t move at all. Among those was one team which lost; our enemies from down the river stayed put at #19 after their down-to-the wire defeat against TCU. The probable rationale here: voters may have felt Kansas would have deserved to be even higher last week if not for their soft schedule prior to playing TCU, and seeing them take the Frogs to the wire convinced them that they still deserved to be ranked where they are now.
The other non-movers were numbers 9 and 10, Ole Miss and Penn State, along with #12 Oregon.
The most shocking move of the day: #1 Alabama, despite beating Texas A&M, fell all the way to #3. It was a deeply significant drop, too; they now trail the new #1 Georgia by 46 points, which is about 3⁄4 of a slot averaged across all ballots. Worse, new #2 Ohio State has opened an 18-point gap on the Tide.
Clemson and Michigan swapped spots at 4 and 5, and after being given a gift top-25 won over a frankly undeserving LSU, Tennessee jumped two spots to #6. That pushed both USC and Oklahoma State down a slot, to 7th and 8th respectively.
UCLA rose seven spots to #11 after beating the old #11, Utah, which tumbled to the #20 spot vacated by your own Kansas State Wildcats. The third team which K-State jumped to get to #17 was Kentucky, who like Utah fell nine spots to #22 after losing to South Carolina.
TCU’s win over Kansas jumped them four spots to #13; they bypassed #14 Wake Forest and #15 North Carolina State, who switched spots after Wake crushed Army and NC State only escaped a loss to Florida State because Mike Norvell decided to (a) take a shot at the end zone (b) while in field goal range (c) with almost no time left (d) trailing by only two.
I honestly think that’s a firing offense.
The only team to leapfrog K-State this week was #16 Mississippi State, which shot up another seven spots after absolutely destroying Arkansas. Syracuse slid up four spots to take the #18 position behind the Cats, followed by Kansas and Utah. Cincinnati moved up to #21, a three-place improvement, followed by Kentucky.
Three teams fell out of the top 25 this week. BYU fell from #16 to “29” after losing to Notre Dame, Washington lost their second straight and fell from #21 to completely off everyone’s ballot after being handled by Arizona State, and LSU went from #25 to only receiving four points, good for a tie for “38th”.
Those three teams were replaced at the bottom of the poll. At #23, TEXAS IS BACK after destroying Oklahoma yesterday. 5-1 Illinois makes their first appearance in the top 25 since 2011 after a 9-6 tearfest against Iowa that was even more painful to watch than Farmageddon was.
And finally, at #25... the James Madison Dukes, a team which is not even a full member of FBS yet (they’re not eligible for bowl games or conference championships until 2024). They can’t technically be referred to as “the first FCS team to be ranked in the AP poll” because they’re not FCS anymore either; they’re in limbo. But this is still a historic moment for the AP poll, and should be acknowledged.
After receiving votes last week, three teams came up empty: Arkansas, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma. Big shock there. North Carolina was the big winner outside the poll, rising from only five votes last week to the 26 hole today after beating Miami. Baylor stayed put in the 27 slot.
Coastal Carolina jumped to a tie at 28 with BYU, up from 33; Notre Dame now sits at 30, re-entering ballots on the strength of a three-game winning streak to get back over .500 following their horrible start. Florida stayed put at 31, while Tulane rose to 32 from 35 after drilling East Carolina. Purdue, which beat Maryland, went from two points to 34 and the 33rd spot. South Carolina got on the board with 12 points and 34th after knocking off Kentucky, while Washington State has 10 points, falling to 35 from 26. Minnesota, which was idle, slipped from 34 to 36, losing nine points from last week’s 14.
Three teams only received votes this week at the hands of a single voter. We won’t drag Ryan Thorburn of the Eugene Register Guard; he cast the lone vote for San Jose State, but he has them at #25 and we’re actually okay with voters throwing recognition to a 4-1 G5 team at this stage of the season.
But Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal put 4-2 Maryland at #22, providing them all four of their points for the week, and John Clay of the Lexington Herald-Leader did the same for LSU.
We should also shine the light on noted Pac-12 apologist Jon Wilner, who not only had four teams ranked higher on his ballot than any other voter but also had two teams ranked lower than anyone else.