AP Top 25: West Virginia up to 7 after 10 ranked teams lose
No. 7 West Virginia re-entered the top 10 of The Associated Press college football poll after another weekend in which the number of ranked teams losing reached double digits.
Unanimous No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Notre Dame remained unchanged, and No. 4 Michigan, No. 5 Georgia and No. 6 Oklahoma each moved up a spot. The Mountaineers surged from No. 12 after beating Texas on a go-ahead 2-point conversion in final minute.
Ten ranked teams lost this weekend, four in games against other ranked teams. Over the last two weeks, 21 ranked teams have lost, the most over a two-week span since the AP poll expanded to 25 in 1989.
Iowa State was ranked for the first time this season, one of five teams to move into the ranking this week.
There are seven teams in the ranking after Week 10 of the regular season that already have lost three times. If that seems like a lot, it is. Last season after Week 10, there were three teams in the Top 25 that had lost three games. In the previous five years, from 2012-16, there were a total of five teams ranked in the Week 10 AP poll that already had lost three times.
What’s going on?
A few logistical changes to the college football season are at least a part of the increase. The Big Ten went to a nine-game conference schedule in 2016, joining the Big 12 and Pac-12, meaning more opportunities for those teams to pick each other off.
The Big 12 restarted its conference championship game last year after six-year hiatus. That condensed the conference’s regular season, which from 2011-16 ran through the first weekend of December. Also, there has been an increase in September conference games in recent years.
Still, the only scheduling change throughout the Football Bowl Subdivision this season is in the Sun Belt, which became the final conference to add a championship game.
In conclusion: There are more opportunities for teams to lose, so the new normal is likely somewhere between this season’s seven ranked three-loss teams by Week 10 to last season’s three.
THIS WEEK IN ’BAMA
Alabama has been ranked in the top 5 for 49 straight weeks, the second longest streak to Miami’s 55 weeks from Oct. 8, 2000-Oct. 26, 2003. There have been three other streaks of 48 straight top-five appearances:
Alabama, preseason 2011-Dec. 8, 2013.
Ohio State, preseason 1973-Sept. 20, 1976.
Oklahoma, Nov. 16, 1953-Nov. 11, 1957.
All those ranked teams losing propelled a few teams to new heights in the Top 25.
— No. 13 Syracuse moved up nine spots to its best ranking since 1998, when the Orange got to No. 11.
— No. 14 Utah State is up four spots and has its best ranking since finishing 10th in 1961.
— No. 16 Fresno State moved up four spots. The Bulldogs were last ranked this high in 2015, when they reached 15 with Derek Carr at quarterback.
— No. 17 Boston College jumped seven spots and has its best ranking since 2007, when the Eagles last played in the ACC championship game and spent much of the season in the top 10.
— Unbeaten No. 11 Central Florida fell two spots after beating Temple 52-40. The Knights ran their winning streak to a nation’s best 21 straight games.
— No. 9 LSU slipped five spots after being shut out by Alabama.
— No. 19 Florida dropped six spots after losing for the second straight week.
— No. 21 Penn State fell seven places after being blown out by Michigan.
There is a lot of recycling going on in the Top 25 this season. While Iowa State is in for the first time since last season, No. 20 Washington, No. 22 North Carolina State, No. 24 Michigan State and No. 25 Cincinnati all reappeared in the poll.
Utah fell out, leaving the Pac-12 with only two ranked teams, No. 10 Washington State and No. 20 Washington. The last time the Pac-12 had only two ranked teams was Oct. 16, 2016.
— Houston and Virginia had one-week stays in the Top 25 after making their debuts last week.
— Iowa and Texas A&M fell out after losing for the second straight week.
SEC — 6 teams (1, 5, 9, 12, 18, 19).
ACC — 4 (2, 13, 17, 22).
Big Ten — 4 (4, 8, 21, 24).
Big 12 — 4 (6, 7, 15, 23).
American — 2 (11, 25).
Mountain West — 2 (14, 16).
Pac-12 — 2 (10, 20).
Independent — 1 (3).
RANKED vs. RANKED
No. 18 Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama. A second straight ranked opponent for the Tide — if that even matters.
No. 2 Clemson at No. 17 Boston College. The biggest game left on Clemson’s schedule. BC could shut the Tigers out of the ACC championship game with a victory.
No. 8 Ohio State at No. 24 Michigan State. The Buckeyes have become college football’s biggest soap opera.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at https://www.podcastone.com/AP-Top-25-College-Football-Podcast