AP Top 25 college football poll reaction: What's next for each ranked team?

ByESPN college football reporters ESPN logo
Monday, October 3, 2022

The AP Top 25 college football poll is out after another wild weekend of games.

Georgiatrailed by 13 points in the second half but used a late touchdown drive to rally past unranked Missouri. Alabamalost Bryce Young in the second quarter but still beat a ranked Arkansasteam by 23. Clemsonbeat a ranked ACC foe for the second straight week.

Meanwhile, Kentucky'sundefeated season ended at the hands of Ole Miss;Oklahomaand Texas A&Mlost road games to then-unranked conference foes; and Kansas, TCUand Syracuseare all still undefeated.

But what happens from here? We break down what's next for each ranked team.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide(5-0)

Previous ranking:2

Week 5 result:49-26 win vs. No. 20 Arkansas

What's next: vs. Texas A&M (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)

All eyes will be on Bryce Young's shoulder this week. The Crimson Tide's championship hopes were nearly dashed when he left the field in the second quarter against Arkansas. The shoulder injury -- and Young's reaction to it -- didn't look good. And while Jalen Milroe acquitted himself well in Young's absence, the fact that Young returned in full uniform and not in a sling or in street clothes was promising. With Texas A&M coming to town this week, a healthy Young would go a long way toward avenging last season's loss in College Station. -- Alex Scarbrough

2. Georgia Bulldogs(5-0)

Previous ranking: 1

Week 5 result:26-22 win vs. Missouri

What's next: at Auburn (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)

Coach Kirby Smart is never going to apologize for a win, especially a road win in the SEC. But Smart wants to see his Dawgs playing cleaner football with fewer mistakes and finishing drives on offense. Georgia played just well enough to win Saturday in rallying past Missouri for a 26-22 victory. Some of the sloppiness the Dawgs have exhibited the past two weeks may catch up to them, although the schedule the next couple of weeks doesn't look too demanding. They have back-to-back home games against Auburn and Vanderbilt. -- Chris Low

3. Ohio State Buckeyes(5-0)

Previous ranking: 3

Week 5 result:49-10 win vs. Rutgers

What's next: at Michigan State (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET)

The Buckeyes have shown their balance on offense, passing when they need to and getting a school-record-tying performance on the ground from Miyan Williams, who had five touchdowns against Rutgers. Ohio State now faces a struggling Michigan State team that has lost its past three games. The Spartans gave up 314 yards passing and 175 yards on the ground against Maryland, so Ohio State's offense should be in for another big day. -- Tom VanHaaren

4. Michigan Wolverines(5-0)

Previous ranking:4

Week 5 result:27-14 win vs. Iowa

What's next: at Indiana (Saturday, noon ET)

The Wolverines passed their first two bigger tests of the season, beating Maryland at home and then going on the road to beat Iowa at Kinnick Stadium. The team travels to Indiana for its next game, then hosts an undefeated Penn State team and Michigan State. If Michigan gets through Penn State, the team could be setting itself up for a collision course with Ohio State with a ton on the line at the end of the season. -- Tom VanHaaren

5. Clemson Tigers(5-0)

Previous ranking:5

Week 5 result:30-20 win vs. No. 10 NC State

What's next: at Boston College (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)

Coach Dabo Swinney should be pleased with the improved defensive effort from his team in a win over the Wolfpack -- especially with several key players out (DT Bryan Bresee did not play, while safety Andrew Mukuba was ejected early for targeting). Next up is another Atlantic Division game against Boston College, a team that gained some confidence in a win over Louisville but has an inexperienced offensive line. At least on paper, that is a matchup Clemson should win. -- Andrea Adelson

6. USC Trojans(5-0)

Previous ranking:6

Week 5 result:42-25 win vs. Arizona State

What's next: vs. Washington State (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)

The Trojans hope to keep things rolling next week when they welcome Washington State to the Coliseum. The Cougars will present a formidable match, especially on offense, where transfer quarterback Cameron Ward has Jake Dickert's team looking like a Top 25 squad that could be undefeated had it not been for a late letdown against Oregon. It will be the first true test for USC's defense, which seems to swing violently between being a turnover-forcing machine and a sieve when it comes to the run game. -- Paolo Uggetti

7. Oklahoma State Cowboys(4-0)

Previous ranking:9

Week 5 result:36-25 win vs. No. 16 Baylor

What's next: vs. Texas Tech (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)

Coach Mike Gundy didn't know how his young players would fare on the road but came away pleased, noting they gained "good experience" at Baylor. The next step is avoiding a letdown against Texas Tech, which hasn't played well away from home, before a trip to TCU that could determine this year's Big 12 pecking order. Oklahoma State has the quarterback play (Spencer Sanders), defensive line depth and wide receiver group to win a wide-open Big 12, but must keep the pedal down. -- Adam Rittenberg

8. Tennessee Volunteers(4-0)

Previous ranking:8

Week 5 result:bye

What's next: at LSU (Saturday, noon ET)

One of the key questions for the Vols entering their first SEC road contest of the season at LSU is their health, in particular, whether star receiver Cedric Tillman will be able to play following an ankle procedure. Quarterback Hendon Hooker was also banged around in the 38-33 win over Florida. Tennessee's explosiveness and up-tempo pace on offense will give any defense fits, but the Vols have struggled to stop the pass and have given up 16 pass plays of 20 yards or longer (tied for 103rd nationally). The trip to LSU is the start of a massive two-game swing for Tennessee, which faces Alabama at home a week later on Oct. 15. -- Chris Low

9. Ole Miss Rebels(5-0)

Previous ranking:14

Week 5 result:22-19 win vs. No. 7 Kentucky

What's next: at Vanderbilt (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET)

The Rebels continue to improve on defense and are 5-0 for the first time since 2014 after a victory over Kentucky. It's always a good combination to run the ball and play good defense, and Ole Miss is doing both. Freshman Quinshon Judkins had 106 rushing yards, including a 48-yard touchdown run. Ole Miss has a very manageable pathway to a 7-0 start. After the Rebels visit Vanderbilt, they return home to face Auburn on Oct. 15. -- Chris Low

10. Penn State Nittany Lions (5-0)

Previous ranking:11

Week 5 result:17-7 win vs. Northwestern

What's next: at Michigan (Oct. 15)

Despite the inclement weather in Happy Valley on Saturday, James Franklin can't be happy with his team's ball security against Northwestern -- especially with the schedule stiffening in the coming weeks. Five turnovers, including a pair of fumbles from freshman running back Nicholas Singleton, helped stall Penn State's offensive momentum. Singleton, however, did run 21 times for 87 yards and a touchdown to highlight the team's 220 rushing yards, clinching a 5-0 start for the third time in four years. The Nittany Lions are off next week before traveling to Ann Arbor for a date with Michigan. -- Blake Baumgartner

11. Utah Utes(4-1)

Previous ranking:12

Week 5 result:42-16 win vs. Oregon State

What's next: at UCLA (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)

After moving to 2-0 in the conference, the Utes have the Pac-12's only two undefeated teams -- at UCLA, vs. USC -- on the schedule the next two weeks. It's obviously a pivotal two-game stretch that should determine the trajectory of the rest of the season. If the Utes want to hang on to the idea they can return to the playoff conversation after the season-opening loss to Florida, two wins are essential. If they split, the Pac-12 title game is still a possibility, but it will make the margin for error very slim. -- Kyle Bonagura

12. Oregon Ducks (4-1)

Previous ranking:13

Week 5 result:45-27 win vs. Stanford

What's next: at Arizona (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET)

Next week's trip to Arizona should be a win for the Ducks and take them into their midseason bye at 5-1. Perhaps that's grounds for a trap game in Tucson. Either way, the Ducks' offense has been rolling since its dismal showing in the season opener against Georgia. -- Kyle Bonagura

13. Kentucky Wildcats(4-1)

Previous ranking:7

Week 5 result:22-19 loss vs. No. 14 Ole Miss

What's next: vs. South Carolina (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)

The Wildcats made too many mistakes -- as in fumbles in the red zone, missed extra points and touchdowns being nullified by penalties -- to win a game on the road against a good team. But the big takeaway coming out of the 22-19 loss to Ole Miss is a need to get the ball more to explosive freshman Barion Brown. He touched the ball only twice on offense, and one of those was an 89-yard catch. But he also had three kickoff returns totaling 164 yards. Look for him to be more involved going forward. Kentucky's next two games are at home against South Carolina and Mississippi State. -- Chris Low

14. NC State Wolfpack(4-1)

Previous ranking:10

Week 5 result:30-20 loss vs. No. 5 Clemson

What's next: vs. Florida State (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET)

The Wolfpack have to figure out their offensive issues in a hurry with Florida State coming to town next. Of particular concern has to be an inability to run the ball and all the drops from the receivers against Clemson. Defensively, NC State must also get more pressure up front -- especially Wake Forest did that to throw Florida State off its game. This is a huge game from a maturity standpoint, too. Losing to Clemson is tough, but the Wolfpack cannot let it define their season. -- Andrea Adelson

15. Wake Forest Demon Deacons(4-1)

Previous ranking: 22

Week 5 result:31-21 win vs. No. 23 Florida State

What's next: vs. Army (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)

The Demon Deacons step away from ACC play to host Army. A year ago, the teams played an absolutely wild game that Wake Forest won 70-56. Wake Forest made a change at defensive coordinator when the season ended, so this game in particular will be a good litmus test for how much this unit has improved. In a 31-21 win over Florida State on Saturday, Wake Forest held the Seminoles to season lows with 112 yards rushing and zero touchdowns. Florida State had gone into the game leading the ACC in both categories. -- Andrea Adelson

16. BYU Cougars(4-1)

Previous ranking:19

Week 5 result:38-26 win vs. Utah State

What's next: at Notre Dame (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)

The Cougars will get the prime-time treatment next weekend when they head to Las Vegas to face a Notre Dame team that has gone from preseason darling to unranked in the span of a few weeks. Still, the Irish will be a tough matchup as well as an ample stage for BYU quarterback Jaren Hall to continue what's shaping up to be an impressive season. Hall has over 1,400 yards, 12 touchdowns and only one interception through five games and has started to attract some mild NFL draft buzz. Another big game against a team like Notre Dame would only serve to keep that momentum going. -- Paolo Uggetti

17. TCU Horned Frogs (4-0)

Previous ranking: unranked

Week 5 result:55-24 win vs. No. 18 Oklahoma

What's next: at Kansas (Saturday, noon ET)

Kansas. College GameDay. "Just like they thought at the start of the season," Sonny Dykes said on Saturday. In the wide-open Big 12, this is suddenly a really big game. Both teams are undefeated. Both are ranked, including the Frogs entering the poll for the first time since a one-week stay at No. 25 in 2019 and Kansas for the first time since 2009. The Frogs are coming off an explosive offensive performance against Oklahoma: four touchdowns covering more than 60 yards, as well as no turnovers. -- Dave Wilson

18. UCLA Bruins (5-0)

Previous ranking: unranked

Week 5 result: 40-32 win vs. No. 15 Washington

What's next: vs. Utah (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)

There's not much time for the Bruins to enjoy their upset over Washington. Next week, the defending Pac-12 champions, Utah, visit the Rose Bowl on a four-game winning streak. Can Dorian Thompson-Robinson pull off the encore? UCLA may need him to play even better than he did Friday night if the Bruins want to not just remain undefeated but also show they belong with the likes of the Utes. -- Paolo Uggetti

19. Kansas Jayhawks (5-0)

Previous ranking: unranked

Week 5 result:14-11 win vs. Iowa State

What's next: vs. TCU (Saturday, noon ET)

ESPN's College GameDay is headed to Lawrence for the first time in history this week as the Jayhawks host TCU in a battle of the unbeatens. After moving to 5-0 with a 14-11 win against Iowa State, the Jayhawks are in the AP Top 25 for the first time since Week 8 of the 2009 season (No. 24). There are no easy outs the rest of the way for Kansas. After TCU, the schedule is brutal: at Oklahoma, at Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas, Kansas State. -- Kyle Bonagura

20. Kansas State Wildcats (4-1)

Previous ranking: 25

Week 5 result:37-28 win vs. Texas Tech

What's next:at Iowa State (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)

Kansas State travels to Iowa State next week before going into a bye week at the halfway point of the regular season. The bye should come at a good time, with a difficult four-game stretch (at TCU, Oklahoma State, Texas, Baylor) to start the second half of the season. -- Kyle Bonagura

21.Washington Huskies (4-1)

Previous ranking: 15

Week 5 result: 40-32 loss vs. UCLA

What's next:vs. Arizona State (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET)

The Huskies can wash away the bad taste of a loss on the road with what should be a much-needed home win against Arizona State next weekend. The Sun Devils have lost four straight games and don't look to be making any forward progress following Herm Edwards' dismissal. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. will be looking to get back on track after a game in which he threw his first two interceptions of the season. -- Paolo Uggetti

22. Syracuse Orange (5-0)

Previous ranking: unranked

Week 5 result: 59-0 win vs. Wagner

What's next: vs. NC State (Oct. 15)

Sophomore running back Sean Tucker racked up his 15th 100-yard game by establishing a career high with 232 rushing yards during Syracuse's shutout of Wagner on Saturday. Tucker, who scored three touchdowns, led a ground attack that totaled 388 rushing yards in just 50 minutes. The Orange are 5-0 for the first time in 35 years. Their next two games -- vs. NC State and at Clemson (Oct. 22) -- will tell a lot more about where Dino Babers' team could be headed inside the ACC. -- Blake Baumgartner

23. Mississippi State Bulldogs (4-1)

Previous ranking: unranked

Week 5 result:42-24 win vs. No. 17 Texas A&M

What's next: vs. Arkansas (Saturday, noon ET)

The Bulldogs play an Arkansas team that is reeling after consecutive losses to Texas A&M and Alabama. The matchup pits one of the best passing attacks in the country (431.8 yards per game) against a Razorbacks defense that has struggled this season, including giving up 555 yards and 49 points on Saturday against the Crimson Tide. The Bulldogs have a brutal stretch coming up, with the Hogs at home, followed by road games at Kentucky and Alabama, then back home against Auburn and Georgia. They'll need to take advantage of every opportunity beginning this week. -- Dave Wilson

24. Cincinnati Bearcats (4-1)

Previous ranking: unranked

Week 5 result: 31-21 win vs. Tulsa

What's next: vs. South Florida (Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET)

A fourth straight victory following the season-opening loss to Arkansas has Cincinnati headed in the right direction in its quest for a third straight AAC title before leaving for the Big 12. If those hopes are to be a reality, Luke Fickell's team will have to be more disciplined than it was on Saturday against Tulsa (11 penalties for 109 yards). Fickell is a win away from Rick Minter's school record of 53 victories, and he'll have an opportunity to tie Minter next week at home against South Florida. -- Blake Baumgartner

25. LSU Tigers (4-1)

Previous ranking: unranked

Week 5 result:21-17 win vs. Auburn

What's next: vs. Tennessee (Saturday, noon ET)

Remember that disastrous start to the season about a month ago? LSU looked like a complete mess when it lost in New Orleans to Florida State. The offensive line couldn't block anyone, and the defense gave up too many big plays. But look at the Tigers now. After beating Auburn on the road Saturday, they're 4-1. And while they may not be the perfect team -- the defense runs hot and cold, and the passing game isn't all the way there yet -- Brian Kelly has the Tigers competitive and winning the games they're supposed to. But with games against Tennessee, Florida, Ole Miss and Alabama coming up, we'll see if they can't exceed expectations. -- Alex Scarborough

Dropped out: Baylor (16), Texas A&M (17), Oklahoma (18), Arkansas (20), Minnesota (21), Florida State (23), Pitt (24)