Week 7 of the college football season was filled with big matchups between rivals and highly ranked teams. Michigan hosting Michigan State, Florida playing at LSU and Alabama at Texas A&M. High stakes means the rankings changing as well.
At the top of the charts, where Ohio State, Baylor and TCU reside we’re probably not going to see a lot of changes. Ohio State finally convinced in their win over Penn State, and number one’s aren’t moved that easily. Both TCU and Baylor put on a lot of points in very traditional Big 12 games while Utah looked good enough in a dominant fourth quarter against Arizona State, which should keep them in the top 5.
But Clemson, heading into this week as the #5 team in the nation, didn’t look that great against Boston College. Voters always jump on the opportunity to promote SEC teams, and LSU beating Florida in a #6 vs #8 matchup should be enough to put the Tigers from Louisiana over those from South Carolina. Les Miles proved his team is more than just Leonard Fournette in the win; it’s about Miles’ own trickey and creativity, even in the fourth quarter with the game on the line.
Michigan State might also jump Clemson. The Spartans haven’t been looking that great this season but remain #7 going into this week. Their win over Michigan in Ann Arbor thanks to a fumble return as time expired on a botched punt could give them an upward boost at the expense of Clemson, but in the case of Michigan State it’s not as clear as it was for LSU. Their ability overall has been disappointing, and they did trail for most of their game against Michigan.
Both Florida and Michigan shouldn’t take too much of a hit from their losses. Florida will drop out of the top 10 but not too far. Michigan probably out of the top 15, but their defense has been so impressive up to this point (just like Florida) it’s going to be difficult pushing them too far down. Playoffs? That’s now a dream too difficult to reach, but Jim Harbaugh showed how competitive and dominant his team can be against the best in the conference.
And where does this put Alabama? At least two places higher than they were before their win in College Station against Texas A&M. They dominated the Aggies on the road, which should mean Texas A&M will suffer a big fall from the relative olympus of #9, while the Crimson Tide will hope the voters are impressed enough to help them not just leapfrog the two losing SEC teams, but also Michigan State and maybe even Clemson.
Further down the road and the rankings we have Ole Miss, who might be knocked out of the rankings following a loss in Memphis. Two losses in three weeks, and not a small one (37-24) usually invokes punishments from the polls, and could result in the Rebels getting banished for one week from the top 25. With Temple and Memphis about to go in, it’s going to be Boise State and Northwestern who pay the price, and that two for two switch and UCLA probably falling out as well thanks to a rough loss at Stanford will help Ole Miss remain in the top 25 for one more week, barely.
Undefeated Iowa? It’s going to take some more losses above them and keeping the undefeated streak going to even think about the top 10. The schedule they have leaves them with teams that are a combined 2-12 in conference play so far this season. That’s not enough to impress the voters without some outside help. Florida State will move into the top 10 at the expense of Texas A&M.