The college football AP Top 25 poll for Week 5 was released Sunday afternoon and there were some significant shakeups after eight ranked teams lost in Week 4.
Georgia closed the gap with Alabama, at least in the eyes of AP poll voters, after the Bulldogs beat a top-10 opponent in Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish fell after the loss but not too far down the rankings.
One new team cracked the top 10 after a dominant Week 4 performance, a Pac-12 team jumped eight spots from barely ranked to inside the top 15 and three teams that weren’t ranked last week are now in the top 25.
Here are our takeaways from the latest AP Top 25 poll.
Wisconsin makes a major move
The Badgers climbed five spots to No. 8, which was tied for the second-largest climb in this week’s AP poll. Wisconsin ran all over Michigan and made the Wolverines’ life pretty miserable through the air on third down in the Badgers’ 35-14 win. They’re now situated between No. 7 Auburn and No. 9 Florida – the SEC’s second tier teams – and they could still make an impactful jump in the rankings if they were to hypothetically beat No. 5 Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship.
Ohio State leapfrogs Oklahoma
The phrase “No. 5 Ohio State” is somewhat significant because last week the Buckeyes were ranked No. 6. Ohio State leapfrogged Oklahoma in the Week 5 AP poll after the Sooners had a bye week and the Buckeyes crushed Miami (OH) 76-5. Ultimately, whether Ohio State or Oklahoma is ranked No. 5 vs. No. 6 in the AP poll in late September doesn’t mean much but it is an interesting case study in human psychology because neither school has beaten anyone who’s even in the latest “Others Receiving Votes” category, so what did Ohio State show in a beatdown of a MAC school that wasn’t evident in lopsided wins over better competition in Cincinnati (42-0) or at Indiana (51-10)?
Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s latest win before its bye week was over UCLA, which started 0-3 but the Bruins won on the road at No. 19 Washington State on Saturday night, so even the Sooners’ watered-down resume arguably looks slightly better on Sunday morning.
Penn State had a bye week in Week 3 and climbed one spot to No. 12 and Iowa was also off over the weekend, allowing the Hawkeyes to improve four spots to No. 14.
But Oklahoma’s bye week resulted in a one-spot drop.
Until the selection committee reveals their rankings, all we have to go by is the AP poll and right now, the AP poll voters believe that if one of the top four teams of Clemson, Alabama, Georgia or LSU were to lose, Ohio State would be the next team to crack the top four.
We’ll see you later, Utah, Michigan and UCF
These three teams, which were ranked in the top 15 last week, each dropped at least seven spots in this week’s poll, including nine-spot drops by Utah and Michigan to No. 19 and No. 20, respectively. The Utes and Wolverines were the preseason favorites to win their respective conferences, according to the conferences’ media members, and now both are one more loss away from having their playoff hopes erased completely – assuming the five-year sample size of a two-loss team having never made the playoff holds true again this season.
UCF was always going to be a long-shot playoff hopeful because of its conference affiliation but one week after running Stanford, albeit a weaker Stanford team than we’ve seen in at least a decade, the Knights were unable to win on the road against what’s likely a middling Pitt team. Right or wrong, UCF’s loss arguably diminishes, if not erases, the goodwill the Knights have built up over the previous 28 games, which we wrote about last week.
Utah and Michigan’s schedules will allow them to potentially beat multiple ranked opponents later this season, and potentially contend for division and conference titles, but for now, these aren’t the dark horse playoff contenders that many media members believed they could be in the offseason.
Teams on the rise
Cal, which climbed eight spots to No. 15, achieved its highest ranking in 10 years. Virginia is now No. 18 – its best ranking since 2007.
At No. 16, Boise State is ranked higher than it was in 2017 or 2018. Iowa is ranked No. 14 and if the Hawkeyes can improve at least two more spots in the AP poll, they’ll be ranked the highest they’ve been since they nearly made the College Football Playoff in 2015. Kansas State was only ranked for three weeks in the last four seasons combined and the Wildcats are No. 24 this week, showing promise early in the Chris Klieman era. These schools might have the best teams that any of their current players have been a part of, if not their best team in at least a decade.