NCAA Football 2018 Rankings: Upset Saturday Rocks Top 25
If change is scary, the latest AP Top 25 is not for you because an upset-filled Week 7 of college football has shaken up the rankings in a massive way.
Only No. 1 Alabama and No. 10 UCF stayed in the same position. That's it.
Four Top 10 teams lost, including a pair of previous unbeatens in Georgia and West Virginia. Washington and Penn State departed from the upper portion of the poll, while LSU and Michigan surged in to replace them following huge victories.
Week 7 was a perfect reminder of how quickly things change in college football. We've taken an in-depth look at the frenzied weekend and laid out the impact on the AP poll.
Michigan Rolls, Leaps into Top 10
Wisconsin answered Michigan's first touchdown in kind. From that point on, however, it was all Wolverines.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh's team rattled off 31 straight points and used a dominant defensive effort to crush the No. 15 Badgers 38-13. Michigan outgained its Big Ten foe 444-283, getting 214 total yards from quarterback Shea Patterson, including an 81-yard run, and 105 yards on the ground from Karan Higdon.
On the other side of the ball, the Wolverines surrendered a 3-of-12 mark on third and fourth downs. They also had two interceptions, including a 21-yard pick-six from Lavert Hill.
Michigan improved to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in Big Ten action, deservedly earning its first Top 10 position of the season at No. 6.
LSU Rejoins the Upper Tier
Following a 27-19 loss to rival Florida, LSU fell eight spots in the Week 7 poll. The Tigers are headed back in the right direction.
LSU thoroughly outplayed Georgia in every facet of the game and celebrated a convincing 36-16 victory at home. Head coach Ed Orgeron's club rose to No. 5 after its third victory of a Top 10 opponent this season.
Entering the clash, UGA had surrendered just 283.2 total yards per game. LSU amassed 275 on the ground alone—145 of which came from sophomore back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Although the Tigers have a brutal remaining schedule, including back-to-back games against Mississippi State and Alabama in Weeks 8 and 10 (bye in Week 9), they are steadily gathering the nation's most impressive group of victories.
West Virginia Takes an L
"We didn't do anything right," West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen told reporters after the 30-14 loss to Iowa State. "We didn't make plays, we didn't keep our eyes where they needed to be. We didn't run fast, we didn't get off coverage, we didn't make good decisions. We didn't call good plays, we didn't tackle them, we didn't block."
Other than that, it was fine!
In all seriousness, the Mountaineers posted the first touchdown but didn't score on offense for the remainder of the night. Will Grier, now just a former Heisman Trophy hopeful, managed only two first downs as a passer.
Most shockingly, the Cyclones outgained the visitors 498-152. It was a thorough beatdown of the Mountaineers, who fell to 5-1 on the season and dipped seven spots to 13th in the AP poll.
Despite Win, UCF Stays Put
Last season, the College Football Playoff committee never gave UCF much respect. The Knights still haven't lost in 2018, yet they can't benefit from a marquee win during a wild week.
Although UCF ripped off a 16-point comeback to stun Memphis on the road, the 31-30 victory meant nothing to the Knights' ranking.
West Virginia, Washington and Penn State all exited the top 10. LSU and Michigan understandably hopped UCF, but Oklahoma—which had a bye—also leaped the AAC school.
In the minds of voters, UCF is at the mercy of an improbable sequence of losses to have a real CFP argument.
Brand Names Heading the Wrong Direction
Losing to unranked Virginia put Miami in danger of departing the AP poll with Auburn. Losing to Michigan by 25 points put Wisconsin in a similar boat.
Wisconsin managed to stay in at No. 23, but that's it.
Miami's pitiful offensive performance—and equally bad management of the quarterback position—wasted a strong defensive effort during a 16-13 shortcoming at Virginia. The Hurricanes plummeted from their No. 16 straight out of the poll.
Wisconsin also suffered its second loss of the campaign in that blowout at Michigan. If it wasn't already clear, the 'Canes and Badgers are no longer in the College Football Playoff picture. Barring an upgrade from inconsistent quarterback play, their conference title hopes are in jeopardy, too.
Oh, Auburn dropped to 4-3 following a stunning loss to unranked Tennessee. As such, the Tigers are no longer a factor in 2018.
The weekend upheaval ushered three programs into the rankings.
Nate Stanley tossed six touchdowns with 320 yards to help Iowa torch conference foe Indiana, 42-16. The Hawkeyes have now entered the AP poll in four straight seasons.
Michigan State scored a last-second touchdown to dispatch Penn State, 21-17. The Nittany Lions dropped to 18th, while the Spartans landed at 24th.
Washington State sits one spot behind Michigan State. Although the Cougars had a bye, the 5-1 squad snuck into the poll.
MSU and Wazzu each have significant home contests in Week 8, hosting No. 6 Michigan and No. 12 Oregon, respectively.