The AP has released its Top 25 poll after Week 5 of the college football season, and Alabama and Ohio State remain as the top two teams in the country. Clemson and Michigan round out the top four after both won their Week 5 matchups against ranked teams, while Washington and Houston are hot on their tails at No. 5 and No. 6 respectively.
Here are three thoughts on the latest rankings:
1. Good losses are important
Wisconsin and Louisville entered Week 5 undefeated, but both lost to top-ten opponents on the road. The Badgers and Cardinals subsequently dropped in the AP poll, but both remain ranked ahead of undefeated teams by virtue of their strong losses. Wisconsin lost by only seven to Michigan, and significantly slowed down an offense that scored only 14 points Saturday, the first time the Wolverines had scored less than 45 in a game this season. Meanwhile, Louisville made a big comeback against Clemson, only to fall victim to a come-from-behind victory themselves. The AP is respecting these losses heavily, with the Badgers and Cardinals both ranked ahead of undefeated clubs such as Baylor and Nebraska. At No. 7, Louisville is ranked immediately ahead of three undefeated teams.
2. Mark Richt has the Hurricanes rolling
Miami is already seeing immediate returns on its hiring of Mark Richt last off-season. The former Georgia coach has the Hurricanes at 4–0 and ranked No. 10 in the latest poll. It’s tough to fully gauge where Miami is. The Canes haven’t faced an extremely tough schedule through five weeks, and Brad Kaaya has been slightly inconsistent in his junior season. Miami will get its first legitimate test this week when they face Florida State in primetime at Hard Rock Stadium. Though the Seminoles have struggled this season, they will be far from an easy win for the Hurricanes. If Richt really wants to announce the return of The U, he’ll lead Miami to its first win over Florida State since 2009.
3. Washington may be the Pac-12’s only hope
The Huskies have lived up to the hype so far this season, and Chris Petersen has his team in the conversation for a playoff spot. While Washington is sitting pretty at No. 5 in the AP poll, the team they dominated in Week 5, Stanford, slipped all the way to No. 15. The Pac-12—outside of Colorado—has been a little disappointing in 2016. Oregon’s defense has completely fallen apart, USC is already on its second quarterback and UCLA hasn’t proven itself against a tough early slate. Stanford is far from eliminated from playoff contention, but the Cardinal have a long climb back toward the top four. That means, after being shut out from the playoff last season, the Pac-12’s hopes in entering the postseason could rest on the Huskies. Petersen is certainly used to defying odds, but it will be somewhat shocking if the Pac-12 is a one-team conference by mid-season, and that one team is Washington.
Full AP Top 25
2. Ohio State
8. Texas A&M
14. Ole Miss
17. North Carolina
19. Boise State
22. West Virginia
23. Florida State
25. Virginia Tech