AP poll reaction: What's next for each Top 25 team

ByESPN Staff ESPN logo
Sunday, November 3, 2019

The new AP Top 25 poll is out, and while there's not much movement at the top, expect that to change next week, when there are monster LSU-Alabama and Penn State-Minnesota showdowns.

What's next for the new Top 25

No. 1 LSU

LSU needed a chance to regroup after winning its third game against a top-10 opponent last week. Star DB Grant Delpit got banged up and needed the rest. But now the real test begins. Going on the road and beating Alabama is something LSU hasn't done in 8 years. But this year, with a Heisman candidate at quarterback (Joe Burrow) and a talented cast of receivers (Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase, etc.) could be the most compelling Alabama-LSU showdown we've seen in a while. -- Alex Scarborough

No. 2 Alabama

The Crimson Tide needed this past week off. With Tua Tagovailoa recovering from surgery to repair a high-ankle sprain, the more time the better. But will it be enough? The star quarterback had the same surgery on his other ankle a season ago and had four weeks off to recover. He'll have three this time around with No. 1 LSU coming to Tuscaloosa for a game that will likely decide the winner of the SEC West. -- Alex Scarborough

No. 3 Ohio State

It doesn't seem like many teams can stop Ohio State right now the way both the offense and defense is playing. With a bye this week, the Buckeyes were able to rest and prepare for the remainder of the season. Up next is Maryland Rutgers before taking on Penn State at home and Michigan in Ann Arbor. Those last two games are going to be the big test for Ohio State to see if this is a college football playoff team and if it really is one of the top four teams overall. Going back-to-back against two tough opponents could be tough, but Ohio State hasn't shown many weaknesses yet this season. -- Tom VanHaaren

No. 4 Clemson

The Tigers were the rare undefeated team to play Saturday, but they didn't get much of a test with Wofford in town. Still, there were highlights, including Travis Etienne's 212 yards on the ground that put him past 1,000 for the season. In all, Clemson racked up 702 yards of offense, cruising along for another week. Perhaps the biggest news for Clemson is that Wake Forest also cruised, keeping alive the possibility of one more ranked foe on the schedule. -- David M. Hale

No. 5 Penn State

Penn State had a bye this week and will face undefeated Minnesota next. The Nittany Lions defense has helped this team get to an 8-0 start and is going to need to show up against Minnesota, and again against Indiana and Ohio State. If Penn State keeps playing the way it has, that game against Ohio State will very likely determine who gets to the conference championship game and potentially if the Big Ten sends a team to the college football playoff. But Penn State won't look past the current opponent, which is smart, because Minnesota will be a handful. -- Tom VanHaaren

No. 6 Georgia

This was a lot closer to the version of Georgia everybody was expecting to see this season. The Bulldogs controlled the line of scrimmage and pinned a physical 24-17 beating on rival Florida. The win not only puts Georgia in prime shape to win the SEC East but also keeps the Dawgs squarely in the College Football Playoff equation if they can win out, including an SEC championship game victory. -- Chris Low

No. 7 Oregon

Dominating USC in the Coliseum will always be a noteworthy event, and for a team in the College Football Playoff discussion, this one came at the perfect time. Oregon will be an overwhelming favorite in each of its three remaining games (Arizona, at Arizona State, Oregon State) before a likely matchup with Utah in the Pac-12 title game. The Ducks will probably need some help to rise into the top four, but the path is definitely there. -- Kyle Bonagura

No. 8 Utah

With Washington in the rearview mirror, it will be a lot easier for Utah fans to look toward the Pac-12 title game. Going into Saturday, ESPN's Football Power Index determined that Utah was at least an 85% favorite in each of its remaining three games (UCLA, at Arizona and Colorado). The Utes were also the beneficiaries of an assist from Oregon, which beat USC to allow the Utes to take sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 South. -- Kyle Bonagura

No. 9 Oklahoma

The Sooners, who are off this weekend, have zero margin for error moving forward if they hope to make the playoff. Their November isn't easy: they host Iowa State, go to an undefeated Baylor and also have Bedlam on the road to close things out. First up in the stretch run is the Cyclones next week, who beat OU the last time they visited Norman in 2017. -- Sam Khan Jr.

No. 10 Florida

Florida couldn't dig itself out of a second-half hole, and between giving up one too many big plays on defense and losing the battle up front on the line of scrimmage, the Gators lost any chance they had to play their way back into the College Football Playoff picture. The Gators were one-dimensional on offense with just 21 rushing yards, which could be a problem going forward. -- Chris Low

No. 11 Baylor

The Bears are 8-0, but they have a lot to clean up if they're going to have a shot to remain that way. Baylor allowed eight (!!) sacks to West Virginia, turned the ball over three times and had trouble getting short yardage near the goal line -- but still found a way to win. Coach Matt Rhule knows that if the Bears, who play Oklahoma and Texas later this month, continue like that, it could catch up with them. -- Sam Khan Jr.

No. 12 Auburn

The good news for Auburn is that the offense was able to move the ball in its win against Ole Miss, with quarterback Bo Nix throwing for 340 yards. The bad news is that Georgia and Alabama make up two of the three games remaining on the Tigers' schedule. The win over Ole Miss wasn't convincing, either. As well as Auburn was able to move the ball, it didn't always translate to points, which will need to happen against both Georgia and Alabama if the Tigers are going to have a shot at winning. Both games will be played at home, though, which is more good news because Nix has struggled against better teams on the road this season. -- Tom VanHaaren

No. 13 Minnesota

Minnesota's offense has been averaging 38.3 points per game, but, after a bye this week, Penn State is next on the schedule in what will be the Gophers toughest test yet. The remainder of this schedule is going to be difficult for Minnesota with the Nittany Lions, then Iowa, Northwestern and finishing with Wisconsin. Of those four teams remaining, all but Northwestern rank in the top six nationally in points allowed per game. Minnesota is going to need its offense to keep the production high if it wants to have a shot at finishing strong and potentially representing the West division in the Big Ten conference championship game. -- Tom VanHaaren

No. 14 Michigan

Despite something of a slow start from its offense in the first half against Maryland, Michigan continues to show improvement. From the second half of the Penn State game to now, the Wolverines have changed the trajectory of their season. Michigan will face a struggling Michigan State team, followed by Indiana, before a huge matchup with Ohio State. The Wolverines have a renewed outlook and an opportunity to close out the season on a high note if they can get to that game against the Buckeyes at 9-2. -- Tom VanHaaren

No. 15 Notre Dame

The Irish did not exactly play an inspired game in a come-from-behind win over Virginia Tech, but the way they were able to respond on their game-winning drive is better than the alternative. The game should not have been close -- Notre Dame outgained the Hokies -- but three turnovers and a poor red zone performance nearly did the Irish in. Still, there are questions to address heading to Duke next week. In consecutive games, the Irish have been stymied on the ground, and Ian Book has had to put much more on his shoulders than should be expected. The Irish should be favored in their final four games, so they still have a chance at a 10-win season and New Year's Six game, but they need to clean up the mistakes to ensure that opportunity. -- Andrea Adelson

No. 16 Wisconsin

The Badgers had a week to regroup after back-to-back losses, but are now an afterthought in both the Big Ten and playoff races. Wisconsin will host Iowa on Saturday, and ESPN's FPI favors the Badgers to win each of its remaining games by over 60%, including the regular-season finale at Minnesota. Wisconsin can still impact the CFP, but now it's by spoiling Minnesota's undefeated season and contributing to the schedule strength of Ohio State. -- Heather Dinich

No. 17 Cincinnati

Whew. Cincinnati has been a mostly defense-first team during Luke Fickell's tenure, and technically the Bearcats' defense made the biggest play of the game -- Ahmad Gardner's fourth-quarter pick-six -- but only after the offense carried serious weight. Cincinnati won despite allowing 638 total yards and 43 points, but hey, survive and advance. After a pseudo-bye week (UConn visits Nippert Stadium) comes the stretch run for the AAC West title (at USF, Temple, at Memphis). -- Bill Connelly

No. 18 Iowa

The Hawkeyes will get another opportunity at a statement win on Saturday at Wisconsin, but ESPN's FPI only favors Iowa by 26.1%. How Iowa fares down the stretch will not only impact Penn State's resume, but the Hawkeyes also have a chance to play spoiler against Minnesota on Nov. 16. It's still possible for Iowa to win the West, but it has to win out and needs Minnesota to lose three of its last four. -- Heather Dinich

No. 19 Memphis

Memphis put on an extremely ... accurate show for Fowler, Herbstreit, and a national audience -- big plays, momentum shifts, explosions in every direction -- and now the Tigers are 8-1 and potentially the front-runners for the Group of Five's New Year's Six bowl. After a well-earned bye week come trips to Houston and USF and a Week 14 visit from Cincinnati. The AAC is downright wild this year, and on Saturday, Memphis was its king. -- Bill Connelly

No. 20 Kansas State

The more you watch Kansas State play under first-year coach Chris Klieman, the more impressive the Wildcats are. This is a team that's going to be a tough out for anybody it faces the rest of the way. The Wildcats won their third straight game Saturday with a 38-10 beatdown of rival Kansas on the road. Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson continues to be a tough matchup for opposing defenses with his ability to run the ball, and the Wildcats are as fundamentally sound as it gets when it comes to running the ball and stopping the run. Next week's game at Texas will be huge for the Wildcats, who have a great chance to win nine or more games this season. -- Chris Low

No. 21 Boise State

Aside from giving up 42 points to San Jose State, this was a good week for Boise State. It bounced back from its first loss of the season with a win, quarterback Hank Bachmeier returned, and the only two remaining undefeated Group of 5 teams, Appalachian State and SMU, lost. For Boise, the Cotton Bowl is very much in play, and style points matter, which probably explains why it scored a late touchdown when a few kneel-downs would have guaranteed victory. -- Kyle Bonagura

No. 22 Wake Forest

With Jamie Newman back from injury, the offense had its way as Newman accounted for five total scores. Although the result was not completely unexpected, Wake Forest was 0-7 after bye weeks under Dave Clawson, so starting fast was a point of emphasis going into the game. The momentum should serve Wake Forest well as it enters a crucial three-game stretch at Virginia Tech and Clemson before returning home to play Duke. Seeing a healthy Newman back leading one of the best offenses in the ACC has to also have the Deacons feeling good. -- Andrea Adelson

No. 23 SMU

Eventually the close-game luck was going to turn against Sonny Dykes' Mustangs, and they just couldn't quite keep up with an explosive Memphis team. Still, 8-1 is 8-1, and this absurdly resilient team -- one that nearly made up a 22-point fourth-quarter deficit -- still has plenty to play for. All it will take is one Memphis slip-up, and SMU's back in front in both the AAC West and the New Year's Six race. -- Bill Connelly

No. 24 San Diego State

There isn't a team in the country relying more heavily on its defense to win so consistently. The Aztecs are 7-1 despite not having scored more than 31 points in a game all season (and even then, it came against winless New Mexico State). While they sit in first place their division, the next three games will come against the three teams - Hawai'i (Nov. 23), Nevada (Nov. 9), Fresno State (Nov. 15) - directly below them in the standings. -- Kyle Bonagura

No. 25 Navy

The Midshipmen are rolling, having won five consecutive games since a September loss to Memphis. But now the real test begins: After an off week this Saturday, they'll have to travel to South Bend to face Notre Dame, then head home to host SMU. So while the road ahead will be difficult, Navy is still in the mix for an American title and even a spot in a New Year's Six bowl.

The week's best

Boiling point

Purdue got a heated pregame speech from an alum, who just happens to be the NFL's all-time leading passer, as Drew Brees went position by position around the room.

Flipping awesome

After Georgia beat Florida, a few Bulldogs celebrated with some acrobatics.

Fly like an eagle

Michigan started swiftly against Maryland, and the skycam was there to take us along for the ride.

Ready for liftoff

For its game against another space city, UCF wore its Space Game uniformsagainst Houston.

That's gonna hurt tomorrow

Just how they drew it up

Dartmouth remained undefeated thanks to an improbable, game-winning TD pass against Harvard.

Dino-mite day

You might say North Texas QB Mason Fine had a monster game, passing for seven TDs and then joining teammatesDion Novil and Jaelon Dardenin the postgame presser in full costume.

Pitt's trick is quite a treat

Put some shine in your step

For its senior day game against UTSA, Texas A&M debuted special Aggie Ring cleats.

Petty wars

Air Force beat Army 17-13, but the teams continued their rivalry over Twitter after the game.

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