Alabama remains No. 1 in the latest AP Top 25 Poll, with the Crimson Tide receiving an overwhelming majority of votes to stake their claim as the nation’s best team. Though the top four of the poll—Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Michigan—remain unchanged after Week 6, there was important movement elsewhere in the top 25.
Western Michigan is ranked for the first time in school history, as the Broncos are off to a 6–0 start under coach P.J. Fleck. Meanwhile, Stanford has dropped out of the poll for the first time since early last season. Others dropping out include North Carolina and Colorado, who both lost in Week 6. Here are three thoughts on the latest poll:
1. The Big Ten is dominating the top ten
Four Big Ten teams are in the top ten of the latest poll, the first time the conference has achieved this feat during the regular season since 1960. In addition to the Buckeyes and Wolverines in the top four, Wisconsin checks in at No. 8, while Nebraska is cruising along at No. 10. The success was expected from Ohio State and Michigan, while the Badgers and Cornhuskers entered the season with a little less fanfare. As we noted in our Big Ten preview however, Wisconsin and Nebraska were both primed for bounce-back seasons this year after some unlucky losses in close games in 2015. Though Michigan State has faltered, the Big Ten remains top heavy. Soon, though, these teams may start knocking each other out of College Football Playoff contention. Wisconsin will have a chance to really shake up the picture this weekend when the Badgers host Ohio State.
And while the Big Ten is soaring, the Pac-12 is on life support, with only two teams in the top 25, though at least Washington should have a solid chance for a playoff spot.
2. Tennessee stays put
I like the decision from the AP voters not to punish the Volunteers, who stayed at No. 9 after a double overtime loss to Texas A&M on the road. You can argue Tennessee doesn’t deserve this high of a ranking considering the big deficits it has faced and skin-of-their-teeth wins it has pulled off this season, but dropping the Volunteers after the loss in College Station would have been foolish. To Tennessee’s credit, it has faced a tough schedule through the first half of the season. And that schedule only gets tougher this week, as the Volunteers welcome Alabama to Knoxville on Saturday.
3. Some seats are cooling
While one of the coaches on our hot seat rankings has already been fired (Les Miles), others are faring much better. Kevin Sumlin has the Aggies at No. 6, and a strong finish to the season will certainly buy him some more time. (Of course, Texas A&M’s problem under Sumlin has been capitalizing on hot starts.) In addition to Sumlin, Gus Malzahn should be breathing a little easier at Auburn as the Tigers entered the poll this week at No. 23. We touched on Nebraska’s emergence this season, which is great news for Mike Riley, who is in a tough spot trying to improve on the consistent success of the coach he replaced, Bo Pelini. And though it’s still hard to imagine Jim Grobe becoming Baylor’s long-term solution at head coach, he’s making a decent case for himself, leading the Bears to a 5–0 record and the highest ranking in the Big 12 at No. 11.
Full AP Top 25 Poll
2. Ohio State
6. Texas A&M
12. Ole Miss
14. Florida State.
15. Boise State
17. Virginia Tech
20. West Virginia
24. Western Michigan