AP Top 25: Kentucky enters rankings for 1st time since ’07
After a season-high seven ranked teams lost, the back half of the AP college football poll got a makeover on Sunday. Five teams entered the Top 25, including No. 17 Kentucky for the first time since 2007 and No. 22 Duke.
At the top it was mostly status quo, with Alabama, Georgia, Clemson and Ohio State staying Nos. 1-4. LSU moved up to No. 5, swapping places with Oklahoma after the Sooners needed overtime to get by Army. Alabama received a season-high 60 first-place votes . Clemson had one.
Kentucky is unbeaten and 2-0 in the Southeastern Conference for the first time since 1977. The last time the Wildcats were ranked was Nov. 11, 2007. Kentucky reached No. 8 under coach Rich Brooks that season and upset No. 1 and eventual national champion LSU, but finished unranked.
Duke is ranked for the first time since October 2015, giving the football poll a basketball feel. The Wildcats and Blue Devils were last ranked at the same in September 1957.
The Atlantic Coast Conference has three ranked teams in the Top 25 for the third time in four regular-season polls. No. 3 Clemson has played mostly as advertised and No. 16 Miami is slowly creeping back up the rankings after a lopsided opening loss to LSU sent the Hurricanes tumbling out of the top 10.
Florida State lasted one week in the rankings and now Virginia Tech is out after maybe the most stunning result of the season so far. The Hokies lost 49-35 at previously winless Old Dominion. Boston College seemed to be emerging as a possible dark horse, but the Eagles also lasted only week. BC lost 30-13 at Purdue on Saturday after being No. 23 last week.
Unbeaten Duke moving in kept the ACC from becoming the first Power Five conference to have a week this season with only two ranked teams.
Two seasons removed from Clemson winning a national title, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson winning the Heisman Trophy — with Clemson’s Deshaun Watson as runner-up — and the ACC finishing with a 9-3 record in bowl games, the conference could use a team or two to separate from the mediocrity. North Carolina State (3-0) and Syracuse (4-0) are the only other unbeaten teams in the ACC, along with Clemson.
UP AND DOWN
No. 14 Michigan is back where it started the season, moving up five spots this week. Miami also jumped five places, but that movement had as much to do with the teams around the Wolverines and Hurricanes losing. The seven ranked teams that lost Saturday were positioned between No. 13 and No. 23 in the rankings.
Among the losers, No. 23 Mississippi State, pounded by Kentucky, and No. 19 Oregon, which let a victory slip away against No. 7 Stanford, managed to remain ranked. The Bulldogs dropped nine spots. The Ducks moved up one.
Joining Kentucky and Duke, ranked for the first time since October 2015, were two newcomers to this season’s rankings and one returner.
— No. 18 Texas, which started the season ranked No. 23 but lost its opener to Maryland, has its first three-game winning streak in four years.
— No. 24 California slipped into the rankings for the first time since October 2015 during an off week. The Bears have wins against BYU and North Carolina.
— No. 25 Texas Tech is in after a convincing victory at Oklahoma State. The Red Raiders were ranked briefly last season.
Exiting the rankings along with Virginia Tech and Boston College were two Big 12 teams and one from the SEC.
— Oklahoma State, a week after impressing at home, is out.
— TCU followed up its loss to Ohio State by falling at Texas.
— No. 22 Texas A&M played Alabama closer than any team so far this season, but it was not good enough to stay ranked.
SEC — 6 teams (Nos. 1, 2, 5, 10, 17, 23).
Big Ten — 5 (Nos. 4, 9, 14, 15, 21).
Big 12 — 4 (Nos. 6, 12, 18, 25).
Pac-12 — 4 (Nos. 7, 11, 19, 24).
ACC — 3 (Nos. 3, 16, 22).
Independent — 2 (Nos. 8, 20).
American — 1 (13).
RANKED vs. RANKED
No. 4 Ohio State at No. 9 Penn State. The two highest scoring teams in the country.
No. 7 Stanford at No. 8 Notre Dame. First top-10 matchup between Cardinal and Fighting Irish.
No. 20 BYU at No. 11 Washington. The Cougars try to knock off another highly ranked UW on the road after getting Wisconsin.
No. 12 West Virginia at No. 25 Texas Tech. No. 3 in passing yards per game (WVU) against No. 1 (Tech).
No. 19 Oregon at No. 24 Cal. Last time the Ducks and Bears played with both ranked was 2007.
By RALPH D. RUSSO, AP College Football Writer