NCAA Football Rankings 2017: Week 5 Standings and Analysis for Latest Polls

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2017

Saquon Barkley torched the Iowa Hawkeyes with his ability to get out of what appeared to be sure tackles.
Saquon Barkley torched the Iowa Hawkeyes with his ability to get out of what appeared to be sure tackles.Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

While there were a number of close calls among the top-ranked teams, there were no upsets involving teams in the top five of the Associated Press, and there may not be a lot of change among them.

No. 4 Penn State needed a last-second touchdown pass to secure a key road victory over Iowa Saturday night, and quarterback Trace McSorley's accurate seven-yard TD pass to Juwan Johnson with no time left on the clock was the difference maker.

While those two players combined on the game-winning score, running back Saquon Barkley was sensational as a running back and a receiver, and he is now squarely in the middle of the Heisman Trophy discussion.

Penn State head coach James Franklin said the key to the final play was making sure everyone understood what needed to be done.

"It was clearly going to be the last play of the game," Franklin said, per Mitch Sherman of ESPN.com. "We felt like, with Juwan, we had a height advantage and could kind of slip him through the middle of the field.

"At that moment, the worst thing you can have is a lot of people talking. So we want to be calm and poised in those situations."

Oklahoma was pushed to the limit by Baylor, but the No. 3 Sooners escaped with a 49-41 triumph and should be able to hold on to a spot in the top five. However, Oklahoma's soft defense is clearly an issue going forward, as Baylor quarterback Zach Smith threw for 463 yards and four touchdowns. 

Here's a look at last week's Top 25, followed by further analysis of the results.

Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts.Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Week 4 AP Poll (First-place votes in parentheses)

1. Alabama (45)
2. Clemson (15)
3. Oklahoma (1)
4. Penn State
5. USC
6. Oklahoma State
7. Washington
8. Michigan
9. Wisconsin
10. Ohio State
11. Georgia
12. Florida State
13. Virginia Tech
14. Miami
15. Auburn
16. TCU
17. Mississippi State
18. Washington State
19. Louisville
20. Florida
21. South Florida
22. San Diego State
2. Utah
24. Oregon
25. LSU

Alabama and Clemson appear to be on a collision course yet again at season's end. The top two teams in the nation both registered one-sided victories Saturday, and Alabama's 59-0 victory over Vanderbilit indicates that the Crimson Tide is starting to peak. 

It's difficult to see Nick Saban's team losing at this point, and any close game may result in a moral victory for opponents.

The Tigers continue to rise to a high level, and while Kelly Bryant adjusts to the quarterback position, the Clemson defense continues to play dominating football.

USC may be the No. 5 team in the nation, but the Trojans have yet to hit their stride at this point in the season. They had a big challenge from previously unbeaten California, and the Trojans escaped with a 30-20 road win at Berkeley, California.

Sam Darnold did not have his best game, as the Heisman Trophy candidate threw for 223 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Sixth-ranked Oklahoma State faced a major test when it hosted 16th-ranked TCU, and the versatile Horned Frogs played an outstanding game and came away with a 44-31 victory. The Cowboys have a tremendous quarterback in Mason Crosby, but TCU held him to two TD passes and intercepted him twice.

The Horned Frogs received a sensational performance from running back Darius Anderson, who rushed for 160 yards and three touchdowns.

Seventh-ranked Washington and eighth-ranked Michigan both came away with convincing road wins against up-and-coming opponents. The Huskies got the best of Colorado by a 37-10 margin, while Michigan outlasted Purdue 28-10.

Both the Huskies and the Wolverines used solid defensive efforts to key their wins, and they should remain solidly in the top 10.

Ohio State rolled to a big win against overmatched UNLV at Ohio Stadium. While there was little thought that the visitors could challenge the Buckeyes at any point. Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett threw five TD passes and appears to be improving. 

The No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs registered an impressive 31-3 victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs, and have an excellent chance of moving into the top 10.