Iowa is gearing up for its biggest home game since the 1980s, Cincinnati has its highest ranking in 12 years and Clemson is on the outside looking in at The Associated Press college football poll for the first time since 2014.
Alabama and Georgia are the only constants during this topsy-turvy college football season. They held down the top two spots for a fifth straight week in the AP Top 25, which is presented by Regions Bank.
Alabama received 53 of a possible 62 first-place votes Sunday, with Georgia picking up the rest.
After those two teams, the movement up and down and in and out of the Top 25 was about what would be expected after a week in which nine ranked teams lost, including four in the top 10.
Through the first five weeks of the season, 34 ranked teams have lost, the most in poll history.
Iowa leapfrogged Penn State to take the No. 3 spot after its 51-14 road win over previously unbeaten Maryland. The Hawkeyes have their highest ranking since 2015. Penn State beat Indiana 24-0 at home and remained No. 4.
No. 5 Cincinnati, coming off a 24-13 road win over Notre Dame, has its best ranking since Brian Kelly’s 2009 Bearcats were No. 4 in the first week of November.
Oklahoma, Ohio State, Oregon, Michigan and BYU round out the top 10.
Clemson’s 19-13 home win over previously unbeaten Boston College didn’t impress voters enough to keep the Tigers in the Top 25. Thus ends their streak of 107 consecutive weeks in the rankings. The last time the Tigers were unranked was the week of Oct. 5, 2014.
They are one spot out of the Top 25, 15 points behind San Diego State.
Midway through the season, it’s strange that a rankings-based debate over the top two teams in the Big Ten doesn’t include Ohio State.
The Buckeyes very well may be the best, and the voters certainly show their respect by ranking them ahead of Oregon despite a Week 2 home loss to the Ducks and a meh home win over Tulsa in the following game.
This week’s Penn State-Iowa clash is the Big Ten’s game of the year — so far.
It will be the highest-ranked matchup in Iowa City since 1985, when the No. 1 Hawkeyes beat No. 2 Michigan 12-10 on a field goal as time ran out for what then-Iowa coach Hayden Fry called the biggest win in program history.
— No. 16 Kentucky (5-0) is rewarded for its win over then-No. 10 Florida with its first ranking of the season.
— No. 21 Texas (4-1) beat TCU for its third straight victory and is back in for the first time in a month.
— No. 22 Arizona State (4-1) returns after wins over Colorado and UCLA.