clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

College Football Rankings: LSU, Bama Only SEC Teams Left in Top 10; Ole Miss Could Drop Out

The top eight are completely unchanged in the coaches poll and only shuffle slightly among the sportswriters. But the SEC might be losing its grip on the college football narrative

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

For the most part, we've fallen into a kind of rhythm with the polls at this point. The sportswriters of the AP poll view the college football landscape as something like it is -- a fractured kingdom with a lot of warlords who can't gain complete control of the countryside -- while the coaches in the USA Today poll still pay tribute to the old king, viewing the disturbances as nothing more than isolated rebellions that will be put down. There's not much use griping about whether the coaches are paying attention any more, because they're not going to change until someone takes out the king.

Associated Press Change Points USA Today Change Points
1 Ohio St. Buckeyes (28) -- 1,428 Ohio St. Buckeyes (45) -- 1,547
2 Baylor Bears (12) -- 1,416 Baylor Bears (12) -- 1,488
3 Utah Utes (16) +1 1,362 TCU Horned Frogs (4) -- 1,417
4 TCU Horned Frogs (3) -1 1,338 Michigan St. Spartans -- 1,334
5 LSU Tigers (1) +1 1,306 LSU Tigers (1) -- 1,324
6 Clemson Tigers -1 1,252 Clemson Tigers -- 1,271
7 Michigan St. Spartans -- 1,202 Utah Utes (1) -- 1,258
8 Alabama Crimson Tide +2 1,133 Alabama Crimson Tide +1 1,123
9 Florida St. Seminoles +2 1,041 Florida St. Seminoles -1 1,111
10 Stanford Cardinal +5 917 Notre Dame Fighting Irish +3 924
11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish +3 898 Stanford Cardinal +5 898
12 Iowa Hawkeyes +5 820 Oklahoma St. Cowboys +3 839
13 Florida Gators -5 785 Iowa Hawkeyes +4 833
14 Oklahoma St. Cowboys +2 735 Florida Gators -3 751
15 (15t) Texas A&M Aggies -6 614 Oklahoma Sooners +4 665
16 (15t) Michigan Wolverines -3 614 Texas A&M Aggies -6 623
17 Oklahoma Sooners +2 565 (17t) Memphis Tigers +5 544
18 Memphis Tigers +9 554 (17t) Michigan Wolverines -3 544
19 Toledo Rockets +3 346 Cal Golden Bears +4 370
20 Cal Golden Bears +3 337 Toledo Rockets +5 322
21 Houston Cougars +3 318 Duke Blue Devils +3 305
22 Temple Owls +4 217 Houston Cougars +4 289
23 Duke Blue Devils +2 211 Ole Miss Rebels -11 201
24 Ole Miss Rebels -11 158 Temple Owls +3 163
25 Pitt Panthers NA 73 Georgia Bulldogs +3 95
ORV Mississippi St. 62, BYU 21, UCLA 18, North Carolina 17, Texas Tech 14, Georgia 12, W. Kentucky 11, Arizona St. 10, Boise St. 8, Wisconsin 8, Utah St. 7, Northwestern 4 Mississippi State 38; Wisconsin 37; Pittsburgh 32; North Carolina 30; UCLA 30; Texas Tech 14; Navy 9; Brigham Young 9; Illinois 5; Oregon 5; Western Kentucky 5; Utah State 5; Washington State 5; Northwestern 4; Marshall 3; Arizona 2; Boise State 2; Bowling Green 1

The first eight spots on the poll are surprisingly placid right now; a few teams switch places in the AP poll. Even though some of the changes in the AP are somewhat questionable -- Utah moves up despite needing a 20-point fourth quarter to beat Arizona State by anything approaching an impressive margin -- the fact that teams are moving at least indicates brain activity.

The coaches keep their top eight completely unchanged, though Ohio State does shed a couple of No. 1 votes. Which is in itself interesting because of what happened in the AP survey, where the Buckeyes picked up first-place votes and saw their margin over Baylor shrink to 12 points. In other words, some voters who aren't putting Ohio State at No. 1 are pushing them even further down the rankings. If that phenomenon keeps happening, we could see Baylor pass the Buckeyes. On the other hand, neither plays a truly tough game until November, so we'll see.

Memphis makes a big jump in both polls, with the Tigers having gotten a head start in the USA Today poll in one of the few examples of the coaches being more aware than the sportswriters. The win over Ole Miss gave Justin Fuente's team the biggest boost by far in the AP poll and a tie for the largest upward movement in the coaches survey. Yes, he's going to make rather a lot of money when the season is over.

And the Tigers are one of just three ranked American Athletic Conference teams in both of this week's surveys, the others being Houston and Temple(!). That's only going to add to the growing support for potentially putting an AAC team into the playoffs if one of them should win out. But we're still a long way from that, and the history of the previous system is littered with Big East teams and "BCS busters" from Conference USA that were upset by conference mates at inopportune times. If one or more of those teams remains undefeated in November, it will be interesting to see what the selection committee is thinking.

In the meantime, the biggest loser in the polls comes from the other team in that Ole Miss-Memphis game. The Rebels slide 11 places in both surveys, just managing to hold on to Top 25 status. Ole Miss has dropped 21 spots in the AP poll and 18 places among the coaches since the win against Alabama. Next week's game against Texas A&M could be make or break for Ole Miss remaining in the rankings, at least for a while.

Elsewhere in the SEC, Texas A&M tumbles out of the Top 10 in both polls, which happens when you get eviscerated on your home field. Florida drops out of the Top 10 among the writers and away from it in the coaches poll after the loss to LSU, though the five-spot fall among the writers seems kind of harsh for losing by one touchdown on the road to an undefeated team that used a fake field goal for the winning margin.

The upshot of that is that the SEC now has just two teams in the Top 10 now -- the same number as the B1G, the Big 12 and even the ACC. (Add in the Pac-12, in one case.) If you want to see firm evidence that this might finally be the year that the SEC's grip on the college football narrative is completely broken, that's about as convincing as things get.

But the conference maintains five teams in the AP poll and actually moves up to six in the coaches survey because Georgia reappears after its 9-6 win again Missouri. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ And Mississippi State is lurking as the next team up in both polls if one of the ranked teams should lose and the Bulldogs can beat Kentucky. So maybe #SECBAIS isn't completely dead yet.