AP College Football Poll: Playoff picture murky as always heading into rivalry week

Ohio State defensive back Jordan Fuller, left, broke up a pass intended for Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday. / Associated Press photo by Jay LaPrete

Rivalry week brings us five matchups of Associated Press Top 25 teams. On Saturday No. 2 Ohio State plays No. 10 Michigan, No. 5 Alabama takes on No. 16 Auburn, No. 7 Oklahoma plays No. 21 Oklahoma State and No. 13 Wisconsin is at No. 9 Minnesota.

Preceding those, on Friday, No. 18 Cincinnati is at No. 17 Memphis in a battle between the two highest-ranked non-Power Five conference teams. They both happen to be in the American Athletic Conference, and this could be a preview of their championship game.

The AAC is also home to No. 24 Navy. Southern Methodist — until just a couple of weeks ago, the undefeated darling of the Group of Five schools — and Central Florida have also been ranked this season.

In 2017, Central Florida, with McKenzie Milton at quarterback, finished undefeated, and is the non-Power Five conference team that so far has made the best case that the College Football Playoff system with just four teams and nearly impossible access for G5 programs needs to be changed.

Ohio State-Michigan and Alabama-Auburn — always two of the biggest rivalries in college football — combined with the results of next week’s conference championship games, could hugely impact whether the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide make it to the playoff.

When the committee’s rankings come out today (Tuesday), it’s expected the top four will be the same as in the AP poll: LSU, Ohio State, Clemson, and Georgia.

Projecting ahead, not much else is clear at this point — except that the Pac-12 will likely be unrepresented in the four-team playoff for the third year in a row. Oregon’s loss to Arizona State the other day and Utah’s weak nonconference slate will be difficult to overcome, no matter who wins the conference championship game and whatever else happens elsewhere.

Here’s how the entire AP panel voted this week, with last week’s ranking in parentheses:
1. LSU (1)
2. Ohio State (2)
3. Clemson (3)
4. Georgia (4)
5. Alabama (5)
6. Utah (7)
7. Oklahoma (8)
8. Florida (10)
9. Minnesota (11)
10. Michigan (12)
11. Baylor (13)
12. Penn State (9)
13. Wisconsin (14)
14. Oregon (6)
15. Notre Dame (15)
16. Auburn (16)
17. Memphis (18)
18. Cincinnati (17)
19. Iowa (19)
20. Boise State (20)
21. Oklahoma State (22)
22. Appalachian State (23)
23. Virginia Tech (25)
24. Navy (NR)
25. USC (NR)
Dropped out: Southern Methodist, Texas A&M.
Also receiving votes: Iowa State, Virginia, Texas A&M, Air Force, Southern Methodist, Arizona State, Louisiana-Lafayette, North Dakota State

Here’s the ballot I submitted:
1. LSU (1)
2. Ohio State (2)
3. Clemson (3)
4. Georgia (4)
5. Alabama (5)
6. Oklahoma (7)
7. Utah (9)
8. Baylor (11)
9. Wisconsin (12)
10. Florida (10)
11. Penn State (8)
12. Michigan (13)
13. Auburn (15)
14. Iowa (14)
15. Oregon (6)
16. Minnesota (16)
17. Notre Dame (17)
18. Memphis (18)
19. Cincinnati (19)
20. Bosie State (20)
21. Appalachian State (22)
22. Virginia Tech (24)
23. Navy (NR)
24. Oklahoma State (25)
25. Air Force (NR)
Dropped out: Southern Methodist, Texas A&M


  1. H-Man November 26, 2019 7:09 am

    I see you liked Air Force over USC. Yeah, stick up for the Mountain West.

  2. A-House November 26, 2019 8:43 am

    san Diego St was #25 last week?

    do not see the as being dropped from the top 25

  3. Dave Reardon November 26, 2019 11:02 am

    Air Force over USC was a tough choice. USC is playing at a high level now, but Air Force has a long winning streak, and has lost just two games, while USC has lost four.

  4. Dave Reardon November 26, 2019 11:06 am

    Was San Diego State No. 25 in the coaches poll and/or the CFB rankings? (I don’t have time to check right now). It was not No. 25 in the AP poll last wee, including my individual vote. Perhaps I forgot to note that they dropped out in a previous week when they lost their second game?

  5. Aiea 7 November 26, 2019 2:51 pm

    SDS hardly looked like the 25 team in the polls this past Saturday nite. while the overall season record is one criteria for voting, the most important criteria is how a team is lately currently. with respect to the comparison between usc and SDS, I believe usc plays much tougher schedule than SDS so they deserve to be ranked about SDS even with 4 losses.

  6. Dave Reardon November 26, 2019 10:42 pm

    I think you’re confused there … I was comparing Air Force and USC, not San Diego State and USC.

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