Breaking down The Associated Press college football poll after Week 7 of the regular season.
The first preseason national championship contender has been upset. A couple more unbeatens are now among the beaten. Now that the season has reached the midway point, it seems the title chase has truly begun.
The first shake-up of the season produced significant changes to The Associated Press college football poll Sunday. The top four teams remained unchanged: No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Oregon, No. 3 Clemson, No. 4 Ohio State.
But Stanford, which had been top-five all season, lost 27-20 at Utah and dropped eight spots to No. 13. The Cardinal's Pac-12 and national title hopes took a serious hit, though they'll be able to get right back in the conversation next week by beating No. 9 UCLA at home. And there's still that big game against Oregon on Nov. 7.
The Cardinal have two problems: 1) Their rugged defense has been giving up big plays as both Washington and Utah have neutralized some of Stanford's "Party in the Backfield" defensive front by attacking the perimeter. 2) Quarterback Kevin Hogan hasn't taken a the big step many expected after his promising redshirt freshman season. Hogan is a good quarterback in a world with many great ones.
"This is a young quarterback that has a chance to be extremely good. So I don't worry about his confidence," Shaw said. "He's going to bounce back."
The story behind the story is the Pac-12 has a lot of good teams and is the only league that can make a serious claim to being the equal of the Southeastern Conference.
Though Stanford's tumble puts just a little more shine on what was already shaping up as maybe the biggest football game in Atlantic Coast Conference history.
Florida State edged up a spot during its off week and will take a No. 5 ranking to Death Valley on Saturday for a top-five matchup against Clemson.
The ACC has two top-five teams and three top-10 teams - Miami is No. 10 - for the first time since Oct. 30, 2005. And soon-to-be ACC team Louisville, checks in at No. 8.
Talk about putting a damper on an otherwise awesome day. Missouri (6-0) stayed undefeated with its first statement victory since joining the SEC, a 41-26 win against banged-up and defense-deficient Georgia.
But the Tigers lost quarterback James Franklin to a separated throwing shoulder. The senior will miss at least a week, although CBS.com reported it will be much longer. It's too bad for the Tigers because the road to the SEC East now goes throw Columbia, Mo. No. 22 Florida and No. 11 South Carolina play at Missouri the next two weeks.
Franklin's replacement is Maty Mauk, a redshirt freshman and big-time recruit. The Tigers have plenty of weapons to help bring him along, but no time for growing pains.
Auburn moved into the rankings for the first time this season at No. 24, giving SEC fans yet another thing to boast about.
The SEC is the first conference to have eight ranked teams during the regular season. The SEC held the record, along with the ACC and Big Ten, of seven ranked teams - though the SEC had done it more than any other league. The SEC also had eight in the 2011 preseason poll.
The Tigers' rise was not well received among the many fans who have had it up to here with the SEC, winner of the last seven BCS championships. Auburn's 5-1 record, best win at home against Mississippi, doesn't look all that much better than Nebraska's, Michigan State's or Oregon State's, just to name a few.
But the SEC has earned the benefit of the doubt and Gus Malzahn's rebuilding Tigers were the beneficiary this week. They go to No. 7 Texas A&M next week, so it could be a short stay.
No. 25 Wisconsin is back in the rankings to keep Ohio State from being the only Big Ten team.
Michigan has spent most of this season winning games and dropping in the rankings. Barely slipping by Akron and Connecticut is no way to impress voters.
So it should be no surprise that when the Wolverines finally lost, 43-40 in quadruple overtime at Penn State, Michigan dropped out of the Top 25 for the first time this season.
It was an uplifting victory for Penn State after losing at home to Central Florida and at Indiana. It was also a win for those driven crazy by conservative play-calling.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke played for field goals and got burned.
Penn State coach Bill O'Brien went for it on a fourth-and-1 at the 16 instead of attempting a tying field goal and was rewarded with a victory. It was a good gamble, mostly because it wasn't all that much of a gamble. That O'Brien, who frequently goes on fourth down, understands this is one of his best attributes.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
No. 12 Baylor is the highest ranked team in the Big 12 for the first time since the league
started in 1996, taking advantage of Oklahoma's surprising loss to Texas. The Sooners fell six spots to No. 18. ... No. 9 UCLA and No. 10 Miami have their best rankings since October 2005.
By The Associated Press
The Top Twenty Five teams in The Associated Press expanded college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Oct. 12, points based on 25 points for a first place vote through one point for a 25th place vote, previous ranking, record vs. top 25 teams at time of game, record of opponents played, and extra points:
Record Pts Pv T25 Rec. Extra Points
1. Alabama (55) 6-0 1,495 1 2-0 17-14 13-8 vs. Razorbacks
2. Oregon (5) 6-0 1,438 2 1-0 16-13 8-2 last 10 vs. Cougars
3. Clemson 6-0 1,352 3 1-0 20-10 6-0 2nd time in 3 years
4. Ohio St. 6-0 1,330 4 2-0 17-12 45-14-3 vs. Hawkeyes
5. Florida St. 5-0 1,242 6 1-0 19-5 18-8 vs. Tigers
6. LSU 6-1 1,137 10 2-1 22-14 8-2 last 10 vs. Ole Miss
7. Texas A&M 5-1 1,105 9 0-1 20-9 3-0 vs. Auburn
8. Louisville 6-0 1,077 8 0-0 13-17 Met UCF in 1985 and won
9. UCLA 5-0 1,017 11 1-0 13-12 Hundley 410 yds and 3 TDs
10. Miami 5-0 912 13 1-0 12-15 7-8 vs. Tar Heels
11. South Carolina 5-1 896 14 0-1 15-14 4-1 last 5 vs. Vols
12. Baylor 5-0 849 15 0-0 15-10 Beat defendin Big 12 champ
13. Stanford 5-1 824 5 2-0 21-11 5 consec. wins over Bruins
14. Missouri 6-0 749 25 1-0 19-11 last road-W vs T10 was '81
15. Georgia 4-2 615 7 2-2 27-4 18-2 last 20 vs. Vandy
16. Texas Tech 6-0 590 20 1-0 12-15 Webb 415 yards and 3 TDs
17. Fresno St. 5-0 383 21 0-0 12-14 11-4 vs. Rebels
18. Oklahoma 5-1 380 12 1-0 17-13 70-27-6 vs. Jayhawks
19. Virginia Tech 6-1 352 24 0-1 21-12 Sacked Pitt QB Savage 8X
20. Washington 4-2 309 16 0-2 22-6 Lost 7 straight vs. Devils
21. Oklahoma St. 4-1 264 22 0-0 12-14 6-4 at home vs. Frogs
22. Florida 4-2 249 17 0-1 19-12 Managed 2 FGs vs. Tigers
23. N. Illinois 6-0 185 23 0-0 14-19 Won with defense & kicking
24. Auburn 5-1 156 NR 0-1 19-13 Eighth SEC team ranked
25. Wisconsin 4-2 153 NR 1-1 17-14 7-3 last 10 vs. Illini
Others receiving votes: Michigan 118, Nebraska 94, Michigan St. 69, Utah 47, Notre Dame 39, Oregon St. 21, UCF 19, Texas 16, Arizona St. 7, Northwestern 7, Houston 3, Rutgers 1.
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