More history is set to be made Sunday as Cincinnati is poised to move into the No. 2 spot in the new college football rankings when the updated AP Top 25 poll is released. The Bearcats’ ranking of No. 3 last week was the program’s highest in the AP Top 25, and after running away with a 56-21 win against UCF in Week 7, we expect the voters will move the Bearcats up into the spot that was occupied by Iowa.
Georgia will remain No. 1 after its win against Kentucky, but the Hawkeyes’ landing spot after a home loss to Purdue is one of the big questions lingering over the new rankings.
Oklahoma made a pretty impressive case for that No. 2 spot with quarterback Caleb Williams as the primetime star against TCU, but the prediction here is the the Sooners land at No. 3, followed by Alabama after a get-right win at Mississippi State.
Any major movement through the middle of the top 10 is unlikely with Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan all being off in Week 7, but Oklahoma State should be a notable riser up into the top 10 after a win at Texas improved the Cowboys to 6-0 on the season. The Longhorns are one of a few teams that are expected to drop out of the top 25 after losses, opening room for some new arrivals and at least one return to the poll after getting bounced earlier in the season.
Here’s how we think the new AP Top 25 will look after Week 7:
1. Georgia (Last week — 1) : Even with a halftime score of 14-7, it was tough to imagine a scenario where Georgia would not win. This team gets better throughout the course of four quarters, wearing on opponents and reminding the country why it’s the No. 1 team in the land.
2. Cincinnati (3): Every 50-burger from the Bearcats makes it that much tougher for those who argue that a Group of Five program will never make a four-team College Football Playoff. Cincinnati isn’t just moving up in the rankings because it’s not losing, these moves are because of how the team is winning.
3. Oklahoma (4): The Williams era is off to a fantastic and record-setting start, as the freshman’s five total touchdowns put him among the all-time Sooners performances for a first-time starter.
4. Alabama (5) : QB Bryce Young threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns against a Mississippi State defense that has done pretty well this season. A 40-point win in a tough environment is just what this Crimson Tide team needed to hit reset after the Texas A&M loss.
5. Ohio State (6): The Buckeyes were off in Week 7 and will be back in action next Saturday at Indiana.
6. Penn State (7): The Nittany Lions were off in Week 7 and will be back in action next Saturday against Illinois.
7. Michigan (8) : The Wolverines were off in Week 7 and will be back in action next Saturday against Northwestern.
8. Michigan State (10): The path to championship contention late in the season always includes at least one game on the road in conference play that a team just has figure out a way to win. Indiana had star running back Kenneth Walker III bottled up early, and the Spartans defense stepped up in a big way in the 20-15 win.
9. Oklahoma State (12): Mike Gundy’s team won some confidence in its unbeaten profile by going on the road and outlasting Texas with a strong second half performance.
10. Iowa (2): The head-to-head win against Penn State gives the Hawkeyes a solid standing in the comparison between one-loss teams. Spotting Iowa here is my prediction that the lopsided nature of Saturday’s loss to Purdue sparks some more reactionary adjustments from the voters.
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11. Oregon (9) : A low-scoring win against Cal on Friday night is not going to help the Ducks when it comes to splitting ties among one-loss teams. Oregon still has one of the best wins in all of college football (at Ohio State) but the recent form isn’t generating a lot of buzz.
12. Kentucky (11): I just don’t see much of a punishment from the voters for the loss to Georgia. The Wildcats were competitive in the first half and even covered the spread with their late-game efforts, so I expect the poll position to remain close to last week’s ranking.
13. Ole Miss (13): What was predicted to be a high-scoring shootout was not, but that’s good news for an Ole Miss defense that needed a better showing after last week’s win against Arkansas. Containing Tennessee in the 31-26 win was a step forward for the defense, which also got a late fourth-quarter stop to ensure its victory.
14. Notre Dame (14): The Fighting Irish were off in Week 7 and will be back in action next week kicking off a three-game homestead against USC, North Carolina and Navy.
15. Coastal Carolina (15): The Chanticleers were off this week to set up a midweek showdown against Appalachian State on Wednesday night in Boone, North Carolina.
16. Wake Forest (16): The Demon Deacons were off in Week 7 and return to action next week at Army.
17. Texas A&M (21): There might be more upward movement for the Aggies than what I’m projecting here, due in part to the fact that Saturday’s dominance on the road in the early slate of game ducked anyone’s expectation that this would be a letdown spot after beating Alabama.
18. NC State (22): The Wolfpack remain unbeaten in ACC play and in the center of the conference championship picture following an impressive win at Boston College.
19. SMU (23): The Mustangs were off in Week 7 and will be back in action on Thursday night against Tulane.
20. San Diego State (24): Still undefeated after a nail-biter at San Jose State, the Aztecs will move up thanks to the losses ahead of them in the rankings.
21. Auburn (NR): No question we will see Auburn back in the top 25 after going on the road and beating Arkansas.
22. Baylor (NR): Only loss was to Oklahoma State. There’s an argument for the Bears jumping ahead of Auburn, but last week’s voting points suggests a gap that won’t be overcome when both teams notched similarly impressive wins.
23. UTSA (NR): The lone undefeated team not ranked in last week’s poll should certainly have a spot after a 45-0 win against Rice that will raise eyebrows for those who haven’t been following Jeff Traylor’s work with Conference USA’s best team.
24. Pittsburgh (NR): There’s a loss to Western Michigan that’s prevented really contending for top 25 votes prior to this week, but the Panthers are now 5-1 after handing Virginia Tech a 21-point loss in Blacksburg, Virginia. QB Kenny Pickett is playing at an All-American level, and his three touchdowns in Saturday’s win boosted what was already a quickly-rising stock among teams outside the top 25.
25. Utah (NR) : A hard-fought win against Arizona State has the Utes in first place of the Pac-12 South and undefeated in conference play with two nonconference losses to San Diego State and BYU. The offense has found a spark since Cam Rising took over at quarterback, and taking down the Sun Devils might be enough to gain some momentum for top 25 consideration.
Projected to drop out: Arkansas (17), Arizona State (18), BYU (19), Florida (20), Texas (25)
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