AP College Football Poll 2019: Week 9 Top 25 Rankings Announced

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 20, 2019

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford (14) and wide receiver KJ Hamler celebrate the team's 28-21 win over Michigan in an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

With one marquee Top 25 matchup and a huge upset, the Big Ten took centerstage in the college football landscape this weekend. 

Penn State's narrow victory over Michigan and Wisconsin's upset loss to Illinois represent two of the most notable results in the latest Associated Press Top 25.

The Top Five in the poll is unchanged, albeit in a different order. Alabama held on to the No. 1 spot despite an injury to Tua Tagovailoa and LSU sitting at No. 2 close behind, but Trevor Lawrence's continued struggles again dropped Clemson another spot. Ohio State moves into the No. 3 ranking, followed by Clemson and Oklahoma.

Here is how the entire Top 25 played out:

1. Alabama

2. LSU

3. Ohio State

4. Clemson

5. Oklahoma

6. Penn State

7. Florida

8. Notre Dame

9. Auburn

10. Georgia

11. Oregon

12. Utah

13. Wisconsini

14. Baylor

15. Texas

16. SMU

17. Minnesota

18. Cincinnati

19. Michigan

20. Iowa

21. Appalachian State

22. Boise State

23. Iowa State

24. Arizona State

25. Wake Forest

The major changes don't begin until No. 6, with Wisconsin replaced by a Penn State team that's looking increasingly like a playoff contender. The Lions opened their 28-21 win over Michigan with a 21-0 lead in the first half before holding on with a fourth-quarter goal-line stand. KJ Hamler played a starring role with 108 yards and two touchdowns on six receptions, also making plays in the return game.

"We didn't play our best in all three phases today. But we played well enough to win the game," Penn State coach James Franklin told reporters after the game. "Guys made plays when they needed to. It was a chess match all night long."

Penn State travels to struggling Michigan State next week and will be heavily favored in its next three games before a Nov. 23 trip to Ohio State. 

Of course, being heavily favored isn't the same as getting the job done. Wisconsin found that out the hard way Saturday, allowing Illinois to score the game's final 10 points in a shocking 24-23 loss in Champaign. James McCourt hit a 39-yard field goal as time expired to give the Illini their first Big Ten win of the season.

"Our program, we needed to get a signature win," coach Lovie Smith told reporters. "I was just hoping today was the day, and the day came."

Illinois is the first 30-point underdog to win since 2017, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

BYU was not quite a 30-point dog against Boise State. Its 28-25 upset of No. 14 Boise State was not less surprising, though. The Cougars scored three touchdowns in the third quarter and held on late to take Boise out of the playoff spoiler role. 

The loss sent Boise State shuffling backward eight spots to No. 22. Missouri, which lost to unranked Vanderbilt, was one of two teams to exit the Top 25. Washington's narrow loss to Oregon also sent the Huskies outside of the rankings.

No. 23 Iowa State and No. 25 Wake Forest moved into the Top 25. 

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