Tomorrow’s top 25 today: Michigan State makes a key leap on the college football rankings before the playoffs

What makes Sunday’s updated college football rankings in the AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll so interesting is the fact that they are not only coming on Halloween, but ahead of the first release of the College Football Playoff rankings. The AP Top 25 and CFP rankings are rarely the same, and this week begins a process of read-and-respond that will have debates raging through the end of the season.

The 62 AP voters will give their opinions on Sunday in the immediate wake of the weekend’s results, before the CFP selection committee weighs in over 48 hours later with another election that is inherently crucial in determining post-season seeding.

In 2019, the last season where the entire FBS landscape started on the same schedule, the first CFP rankings and AP Top 25 had the exact same top five teams, but none in the same position. The first CFP rankings in the 2018 season were mostly in line with the AP Top 25 except for a different opinion on two teams, but in 2017 we saw wildly different rankings from the selection for the first time.

So it’s important to remember that everything about Sunday’s new rankings, from voters’ thinking to the reaction of the fans, will be in the context of knowing that a much smaller group of voters will weigh in with their own opinions on the order. of the best teams in college football just a few days later. We have previously seen some AP Top 25 influence on the CFP rankings, but how much it will affect the first release is a guess from year to year.

There are already plenty of debates built into the process, starting with whether Cincinnati is number 2 in the country, coming after consecutive victories over opponents from the American Athletic Conference in matches that were closer than expected. Also, how does the current form of an Alabama relate to the undefeated profile of an Oklahoma or a Michigan state, especially after the Spartans noted one of the season’s best wins by defeating Michigan.

Michigan State is expected to be one of the notable movers on this week’s rankings, and while there is not much real estate to move up from No. 8, there is plenty of respect to be gained from voters who will now compare Spartans to the other undefeated teams in the country thank you for the quality victory over Wolverines.

The bottom of the rankings is where we project the most fluid, as losses from ranked teams have opened the door for some darkhorse arrivals to the top 25.

This is how we think AP Top 25 will look after week 9:

Georgia (last week – 1): The easiest debate for any college football fan, expert, analyst or member of the CFP committee is whether Georgia deserves to become No. 1 after the 34-7 victory over Florida. Tip: It does.

2. Cincinnati (2): If the end result was as close as it was heading into the fourth quarter, where the Bearcats only led Tulane by one win by nine points, then the result could perhaps trigger a change of No. 2. As it stands, the two goals in fourth quarter. and the 31-12 final should leave Cincinnati in its same position, though the voting margin will be slimmer heading into week 10.

3. Alabama (3): The Crimson Tide was off in week 9 and will be back in action next Saturday against LSU.

4. Oklahoma (4): As Caleb Williams continues to collect touchdowns – six of them against Texas Tech – voters’ willingness to draw a line in the season from pre-Caleb to post-Caleb will grow. But in the end, the best quality Oklahoma has on its resume is “unowned.”

5. Michigan State (8): That Kenneth Walker III drops five touchdowns against a top-10 opponent will only drive the Heisman Trophy argument, but individual awards are far from the primary topic around East Lansing, now that Michigan State looks like a Big Ten championship challenger after the rival win against Michigan.

Ohio State (5): Maybe if the Buckeyes had blown Penn State out, there would be a real debate for No. 5. This is not so much a “drop” in the rankings as it gets jumped by a Spartans team that has no losses and a better win .

7. Oregon (7): Colorado’s late touchdowns in a 52-29 Ducks win actually mask how well Oregon played in this game. How voters react to the end result will be an indicator of how much of the game they saw because it is expected to be skipped by Michigan State, but checking in behind Michigan would be a misrepresentation of the form Oregon showed last Saturday.

8. Michigan (6): The close loss, road conditions and competitiveness in what was one of the best games of the Big Ten season will put a high floor on Michigan’s fall after the rival loss to the Spartans.

9. Wake Forest (13): This may be an aggressive projection, but an 8-0 record with all eight wins with at least 35 points scored by Demon Deacons will justify another bump closer to the undefeated teams. The Deacons were double-digit favorites against the Duke, but the 45-7 victory will get the attention of voters trying to choose between Wake Forest and teams with a loss in this row of the rankings.

Notre Dame (11): Another week in which this new Notre Dame offensive has been successful has helped keep Fighting Irish on the periphery of the College Football Playoff race. No major move after the 44-34 win over North Carolina, but plenty of good signs of a strong end to the season.

11. Texas A&M (14): The Aggies were free in Week 9 and will be back in action next week against Auburn at home.

12. Auburn (18): Beating Ole Miss will give the power to one of the major moves up within the top 25, but these two losses – even against two other currently ranked teams – will be a cap on where the Tigers land. The good news for voters is that the stress of comparing Texas A&M to Auburn will only last a week since the two SEC West enemies meet next Saturday.

13. Oklahoma State (15): The impressive response to last week’s loss to Iowa State was a 17-0 lead in the first quarter, a 38-0 lead at the break and ultimately a 55-3 win over Kansas that instilled confidence in the Cowboys as a big 12-champion.

Baylor (16): Now 7-1 after a win against Texas, Baylor has turned its attention to competing for a Big 12 championship. The Bears are in second place in the conference with Oklahoma State – the only team that beat them this year – and both teams still have the Sooners on schedule.

15. Be Miss (10): The rebels have been dealing with injuries for a few weeks now and it seems to have caught up with them in the loss at Auburn. However, no apologies will land with the voters, who will move Lane Kiffin’s team down behind the Tigers after the defeat.

16. UTSA (23): Roadrunners were off in week 9 and will be back in action next week against UTEP.

17. Coastal Carolina (24): A home date against Troy set the stage for a win with justice, but the 35-28 result that followed might shake some confidence in the Chanticleers. Still, with so many losses that we saw in the top 25 this week, a win is good enough to stay ranked.

18. BYU (25): A wild 66-49 win against Virginia will leave an impression on voters who will have no trouble moving the Cougars up the list of teams with a loss.

19. Penn State (20): There may be a push up for Penn State after the loss to Ohio State, but competitiveness against a top team will make voters treat the Nittany Lions more favorably than most teams with three losses vying for places in the 20s. The victory against Auburn has the greatest weight, especially as the Tigers’ share rises after the victory against Ole Miss.

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20. Arkansas (NR): The Razorbacks were out in Week 9. In general, we do not see teams that were inactive move up in the top 25. But with so many shakes in the rankings, it is likely that last week’s position allows Sam Pittman’s group to move up. Arkansas was the first team to be dropped from the top 25 last week, checking in just a few points after No. 25 BYU in the poll.

21. Louisiana (NR): Now 7-1, Louisiana is favored in all remaining games of the regular season, with the toughest game left being a non-conference showdown with Liberty on November 20th. A record of 10-2 or 11-1 on the way into the Sun Belt Championship is a real possibility as Billy Napier tries to round out his third double-digit winning season in a row with Ragin ‘Cajuns.

22. Houston (NR): The Cougars did not have a single voting point last week, but I expect Dana Holgorsen’s group to be in the top 25 after handing over SMU’s first loss of the season.

23. Gymnasium (19): That win against TCU does not weigh nearly as much, but I think Saturday night’s loss to Houston will do more for the Cougars moving up than really pulling the Mustangs down given that the teams had an overall record of 13 -1 before the competition.

24. Fresno State (NR): Not only did the Bulldogs give San Diego State its first loss of the season to achieve this ranking, they are a conference championship challenger with a Power Five victory over UCLA.

San Diego State (21): The Aztecs lost for the first time this season against Fresno State on Saturday night. It is possible that San Diego State will suffer the same fate as Iowa, Kentucky, Pitt and Iowa State when they fall out of the rankings, but the non-conference winners (Utah, namely) have enough weight to justify the top-25 consideration themselves as a loss-making team.

Expected to drop from: Iowa (9), Kentucky (12), Pittsburgh (17), Iowa State (22)

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