Utah and Florida State both suffered major drops in the AP Top 25 poll after losses in Week 8, while Ohio State’s grip on the No. 1 spot strengthened. The Buckeyes had been slowly losing first-place votes but picked up 11 this week. Utah lost the No. 3 spot, its highest regular-season ranking in history, after a 42–24 loss to USC on Saturday.
1. Florida State, Utah in tough positions moving forward
Just over a week before the College Football Playoff selection committee releases its first rankings of the season, the AP poll has given Florida State and Utah a ways to go to climb back into the playoff picture. The Utes fell to unranked USC on the road, while the Seminoles lost in spectacular fashion to Georgia Tech, conjuring memories of Michigan’s loss to Michigan State in Week 7. The Seminoles have looked shaky this season and now appear to clearly be in a tier below Clemson. The Tigers rose three spots to No. 3 this week and are the only ACC team in the top 15. The Utes now trail conference foe Stanford in the top 25, as the Cardinal have dusted off their Week 1 loss to Northwestern to climb to No. 8 in the poll. A one-loss Pac-12 champion is still likely to make the playoff, so Utah could still rise into the top four if it can win out for the rest of the regular season. Florida State's path to the playoff is a big murkier but would absolutely require a win at Clemson on Nov. 7.
2. Ohio State may be hitting its stride
The Buckeyes made the switch to J.T. Barrett as their starting quarterback against Rutgers and finally resembled last season's national championship squad in a 49–7 rout. Ohio State’s resurgence helped it earn back 11 first-place votes to retake a commanding grasp of the No. 1 ranking after opening the season as the unanimous top choice. The Buckeyes’ schedule doesn’t look scary until the final two weeks of the season, when matchups with the two Michigan schools will ultimately determine if they earn a chance to defend their title in the playoff.
3. Will LSU stay in the No. 4 spot?
After beating Western Kentucky 48–20 on Saturday, the Tigers leapfrogged TCU to move to fourth in the AP poll this week. But LSU has still yet to hit the challenging portion of its schedule. The Tigers' toughest matchup was against Florida, when the Gators were playing their first game without suspended quarterback Will Grier. Alabama is lurking at No. 7, a legitimate playoff contender despite the Crimson Tide’s home loss to Ole Miss earlier this season. If Alabama takes down LSU on Nov. 7, three of last year’s top five—Ohio State, Alabama and Baylor—could be in this year’s top five as well. The top seven of this week's rankings will certainly change as six of the seven teams are still scheduled to play each other this season.
Here is the complete top 25:
1. Ohio State
9. Notre Dame
12. Oklahoma State
17. Florida State
19. Ole Miss