College Football Rankings 2017: How the AP Top 25 should have looked before Week 6

We’re five weeks deep into the college football season, and as always, a few things were easy to predict.

It was pretty clear before the opener that Alabama, Clemson and Penn State would be pretty good. A few teams — like UCF, TCU and Washington State — have been much better than anyone thought.

There’s still time for more surprises as the season unfolds, too.

We read through the fifth in-season AP Top 25 poll of the year and made the following changes:

First teams out: Oregon (No. 26), Navy (No. 31) and Texas Tech (No. 27)

25. Notre Dame (-4)
24. UCF (+1)
23. West Virginia
22. N.C. State (+2)
21. San Diego State (-2)
20. Utah
19. Florida (+2)

Notre Dame really hasn’t faced much opposition aside from the home game it lost to Georgia, so we’re sliding the Irish down a bit. They should handle a depleted North Carolina squad this weekend, but then hosts No. 14 USC on Oct. 21 after an Oct. 14 bye. UCF storms into the poll after blowing out Memphis, and N.C. State slides in after backing up its win at Florida State with another triumph over Syracuse.

And even with the loss of quarterback Luke Del Rio to a left collarbone injury, Florida continues to stack up wins as it tries to make another march to the SEC Championship Game.

18. South Florida
17. Virginia Tech (-1)
16. Oklahoma State (-1)
15. Louisville (+2)

We’d be a little more excited about South Florida’s 5-0 start if those wins didn’t come against an FCS school and four other teams with a 6-14 combined record. Louisville, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State all share the distinction of having a loss to a team ranked among the top 10 this week. We’ll give a slight nod to Louisville and Oklahoma State for having Heisman hopefuls at quarterback.

14. USC
13. Miami
12. Washington State (-1)
11. Ohio State (-1)
10. Wisconsin (-1)

Speaking of top quarterback prospects, Sam Darnold and USC fall just a bit after a road loss to Washington State. We’d rate the Cougars higher, but Mike Leach’s teams tend to get vertigo when entering the top 10. Let’s wait and see on the Cougars. Ohio State continues to roll through the soft underbelly of its schedule, but has to slide in behind an unbeaten Wisconsin to start the top 10. If Miami takes down Florida State this week, we’ll need to look a little harder at the Hurricanes, too.

9. Auburn (+3)
8. Washington (-2)
7. Michigan
6. TCU (+2)

Remember when the sky was falling in Auburn after that dismal offensive showing against Clemson in Week 2? The Tigers have 100 points in the last two weeks against SEC opponents and, with that defense, have the look of a top 10 team. We’ll know more about TCU when West Virginia visits Fort Worth this weekend. Washington used a light schedule to make the College Football Playoffs last season, and the Huskies look to be employing a similar strategy again this fall.

5. Georgia
4. Penn State
3. Oklahoma
2. Clemson
1. Alabama

It’s time to buy some Georgia stock. Strong defense? Check. Dependable running game? Check. Throw in a talented (but young) quarterback and the SEC East might boast an actual contender this season. Penn State, Oklahoma, Clemson and Alabama all look like solid playoff contenders at this point, and all are heavy favorites in Week 6. It’s tough to argue with the order, but it feels like there’s a bit of a gap between the top 2 and everyone else. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

The post College Football Rankings 2017: How the AP Top 25 should have looked before Week 6 appeared first on SEC Country.

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