Here are three thoughts on the latest poll:
1. Iowa is the new Florida
One week changes everything. The Gators looked poised for a berth in the SEC Championship Game and possible College Football Playoff run last week, until suspensions to Will Grier and Deiondre Porter cast doubts on how the team will finish the season. A berth in the SEC title game is still very achievable for Jim McElwain's squad, but its unblemished record is gone after a 35–28 loss to LSU. Enter in Florida’s place: Iowa, which jumped to No. 12 after a 40–10 trouncing of Northwestern. The Hawkeyes have a very favorable schedule for the rest of the season and look like the latest team to exceed expectations and have a chance to shake up the playoff picture. With Michigan losing for a second time, it’s Iowa who now sits right behind Ohio State and Michigan State as the Big Ten's third best playoff shot. Iowa can keep climbing as it continues its unbeaten streak, but every week we think another team can be perfect only for the chaos to find them.
2. Say hello to the American
The American Athletic Conference is making a splash in this week’s top 25, placing three teams in the poll. Memphis is up to No. 18 after a 37–24 win over Ole Miss, Temple is in the top 25 for the first time in 36 years, and Houston continued its climb to No. 21 after entering the poll last week. After their win over Ole Miss, the question for the Tigers turns to what is their ceiling? They have matchups with the Owls and Cougars looming, but a perfect season would not come as a shock at this point. It’s hard to see Memphis jumping even some two-loss Power Five teams for a playoff berth, but the Tigers could earn themselves a spot in a New Year's Six bowl game if they continue their current success.
3. Michigan State stays put, Michigan drops
It looks like voters weren’t sure what to do with the Spartans after the crazy finish to their win over Michigan on Saturday, so they remained at No. 7. The Wolverines led the entire game until Michigan State's Jalen Watt-Jackson grabbed a botched punt and returned for a touchdown on the final play of the game. The 27–23 defeat, Michigan's second of the season, dropped the Wolverines three spots to No. 15. Does a fumbled punt snap make Michigan a worse team than its in-state rival? Does it make the Wolverines worse than Iowa? That’s what the poll reflects, at least for this week. As for the Spartans, they are still undefeated, but it appears that for them to make the playoff, they’ll have to do it by beating Ohio State in the penultimate week of the season. The No. 1 Buckeyes are currently the only remaining ranked team on the Michigan State’s schedule.
Here is the complete AP Top 25.
1. Ohio State
11. Notre Dame
14. Oklahoma State
15. Texas A&M
24. Ole Miss