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Zach Pekale | NCAA.com | October 15, 2019

College football rankings: LSU surges after statement win, Minnesota returns to AP Poll after five years

5 college football games to watch in week 8

All but three of the nation’s top 25 teams played last week, causing a significant shuffle across Sunday's new AP Poll. Here's what you need to know after a wild Week 7.

Alabama remains No. 1 after a convincing win, the only top-5 team to maintain its position. Clemson won decisively while Georgia was handed its first loss and Ohio State was idle, making way for LSU to leapfrog its way to No. 2 after a huge win. The Tigers and Buckeyes drop one spot each and Georgia slid to No. 10, replaced in the top 5 by Oklahoma — fresh off its Red River victory over Texas. Four top-5 teams received first-place votes: Alabama (30), LSU (12), Clemson (11), Ohio State (9).

WEEKEND RECAP: How did Week 7 impact the CFP race?

At the other end, four teams joined the Top 25: No. 20 Minnesota, No. 22 Missouri, No. 24 Appalachian State and No. 25 Washington. The Gophers’ presence in the poll is noteworthy, as this is their first ranking since 2014 and the program is off to its first 6-0 start since 2003. With the inclusion of Minnesota and Appalachian State, all 12 remaining unbeaten teams are ranked.

Moving up in the AP Poll

LSU surpassed its highest ranking of 2019 after a marquee win over then-No. 7 Florida, 42-28. It’s the second time the Tigers have moved up this season. LSU opened the year at No. 6 in the preseason poll but has been in the Top 5 since Week 3. An impressive showing on both sides of the ball lifted LSU from No. 5 to No. 2. Upcoming games against Auburn (Week 9) and Alabama (Week 11) provide the Tigers with potential opportunities to claim the top spot.

Though Florida and Georgia both own wins against top-10 opponents, the Gators dropped two spots to No. 9 while the Bulldogs fell seven spots to No. 10 following a double-overtime loss to South Carolina. Still, the top-10 teams remain the same although the order has changed. Penn State benefitted from the SEC losses, rising three spots to No. 7 after a defensive-minded win over Iowa. The Nittany Lions will be the on-site location for ESPN’s “College GameDay” ahead of their upcoming home game with Michigan.

The largest jumps came from the back half of the rankings. Baylor shared the biggest improvement of any team previously ranked. The Bears rose four spots to No. 18 after beating Texas Tech in double overtime, 33-30.

Additionally, Cincinnati moved from No. 25 to No. 21 as the Bearcats are one game away from bowl eligibility. The Bearcats broke into the rankings last week with a win over then No. 18 UCF and sustained that momentum in 38-23 win over Houston. 

College football rankings: AP Poll Top 25 for Week 8

rank school record points previous
1 Alabama (30) 6-0 1503 1
2 LSU (12) 6-0 1449 5
3 Clemson (11) 6-0 1427 2
4 Ohio State (9) 6-0 1404 3
5 Oklahoma 6-0 1333 6
6 Wisconsin 6-0 1245 8
7 Penn State 6-0 1129 10
8 Notre Dame 5-1 1042 9
9 Florida 6-1 1041 7
10 Georgia 5-1 995 3
11 Auburn 5-1 985 12
12 Oregon 5-1 906 13
13 Utah 5-1 729 15
14 Boise State 6-0 716 14
15 Texas 4-2 672 11
16 Michigan 5-1 648 16
17 Arizona State 5-1 524 18
18 Baylor 6-0 470 22
19 SMU 6-0 398 21
20 Minnesota 6-0 330 NR
21 Cincinnati 5-1 308 25
22 Missouri 5-1 233 NR
23 Iowa 4-2 210 17
24 Appalachian State 5-0 148 NR
25 Washington 5-2 107 NR

Others receiving votes: Tulane 55, Iowa State 36, Temple 31, Wake Forest 25, California 20, Virginia 8, Memphis 6, Southern California 4, South Carolina 4, Texas A&M 3, UCF 3, San Diego State 2, Louisiana Tech 1

On the outside — for now

Week 7 losses for No. 19 Wake Forest, No. 20 Virginia, No. 23 Memphis and No. 24 Texas A&M dropped all four teams from the Top 25.

Unlike the previous poll, all unbeaten teams are now inside the Top 25. Just beyond the cut is Tulane with 55 votes, compared to No. 25 Washington with 107. The Green Wave are on the brink of a ranking for the first time since 1998. Filing in behind Tulane is Iowa State (36 votes) and Temple (31 votes).

UNDEFEATED TRACKER:  12 unbeaten teams remain entering Week 8

Looking ahead to Week 8

This week’s poll doesn’t feature the volume of high-caliber games Week 7 had. However, there are several matchups between ranked teams in addition to contests with postseason implications.
•    No. 3 Clemson at Louisville | 12 p.m. | ABC
•    No. 19 SMU vs. Temple | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN2
•    No. 12 Oregon at No. 25 Washington | 3:30 p.m. | ABC
•    No. 13 Utah vs. No. 17 Arizona State | 6 p.m. | Pac-12 Networks
•    No. 7 Penn State vs. No. 16 Michigan | 7:30 p.m. | ABC

TV SCHEDULE: Game times and TV channels for Week 8 – and beyond

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