Instant Analysis: Notre Dame climbs; Duke, Pittsburgh out of AP Top 25 poll
The AP released its top 25 poll after Week 9 of the college football season Sunday. For the first time this season, we had very little movement within the poll. Two teams dropped out—Duke and Pittsburgh. They were replaced by North Carolina and Texas A&M. In the top 10, all the teams from last week carried over to this week, although Stanford and Notre Dame swapped spots. The Cardinal are now at No. 9 while the Fighting Irish moved up to No. 8 after beating Temple 24–20. That loss dropped the Owls to No. 23.
Here are three thoughts on this week's AP poll:
1. How close will the playoff seeds hold?
The first College Football Playoff selection committee rankings will be released Tuesday night. Will the committee’s top four match the AP’s top four? We’re at the point in the season when voters are splitting hairs when deciding where to rank teams. For example, both Notre Dame and Stanford won their Week 10 matchups. However, the Cardinal struggled at Washington State, needing a late field goal miss from the Cougars to clinch the win. The Fighting Irish also played a tight game, but Temple looked like a superior opponent. As a result, Notre Dame and Stanford swapped spots. As TCU and Baylor found out last season, once the playoff committee becomes involved with the season, just winning is not necessarily enough. Who you play and how you play them will be even bigger factors moving forward.
2. Temple earns respect of voters
After earning their first ranking in a national poll since 1979 two weeks ago, the Owls aren't done yet. Temple was undefeated and ranked No. 21 until its loss to the Fighting Irish but remained in the top 25 even after the defeat. Despite their first 7–0 start ever, the Owls, now 7–1, do not have a cadre of huge wins this season. Victories over Penn State and Cincinnati were certainly solid but not program-defining. Temple’s endurance in the rankings shows it has the voters‘ respect, likely bolstered by its ability to fight with Notre Dame and nearly pull out the win Saturday. It would have been easy to dismiss the Owls after their first test against a truly great opponent. But Temple’s solid performance proved it still belongs among the best 25 teams in the country, and its continued spot in the rankings is a testament to what the program is building.
3. A reckoning is coming
Poll movement was minimal this week. Only two teams dropped out of the poll, the top seven remained the same and just a few teams switched spots within the top 25. All of that changes next week. Expect full-on poll chaos as the ranked teams begin battling it out. Games on next week’s schedule include No. 7 Alabama vs. No. 4 LSU, No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 17 Florida State and No. 12 Oklahoma State vs. No. 5 TCU. Each of those games could have major playoff implications. Consider Week 9 the calm before the storm.
Here is the full top 25:
1. Ohio State
8. Notre Dame
12. Oklahoma State
17. Florida State
19. Ole Miss
21. North Carolina
25. Texas A&M