AP Top 25: Oregon, Iowa enter top 5; Arkansas has 1st ranking since 2016

Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch
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Oregon and Iowa were the big movers in The Associated Press college football poll after road wins over top-10 opponents.

The Ducks’ victory over Ohio State earned them a promotion from No. 12 to No. 4.

Another impressive defensive performance by Iowa in the Cy-Hawk Trophy game pushed the Hawkeyes from No. 10 to No. 5.

Arkansas, coming off a home win over old Southwest Conference rival Texas, was rewarded with its first appearance in the AP Top 25 in five years, coming in at No. 20.

Alabama remained No. 1 in the AP Top 25, which is presented by Regions Bank. The Crimson Tide received 60 of the 63 first-place votes. Georgia, which picked up the other three first-place votes, stayed at No. 2.

Oklahoma was No. 3 and followed by Oregon, Iowa, Clemson, Texas A&M, Cincinnati, Ohio State and Penn State.

Oregon’s eight-rung leap came after its 35-28 win in the Horseshoe. It marks the biggest jump for a team entering the top five since LSU went from No. 13 to No. 5 after it knocked off second-ranked Georgia in October 2018.

The Ducks have their highest ranking since they finished the 2014 season No. 2 as the national runner-up to Ohio State.

Iowa, a 27-17 winner at Iowa State, allowed a total of 23 points while beating two ranked teams in succession for the first time since 1960. The Hawkeyes’ defense is always stout. The question about this team is whether it can elevate its offensive play with quarterback Spencer Petras.

As it is, the Hawks have their highest ranking since they were No. 3 on Nov. 22, 2015, after a 12-0 start.

Ohio State dropped from No. 3 to No. 9 and Iowa State from No. 9 to No. 14.

POLL POINTS

The Big Ten has five ranked teams and matches the Southeastern Conference with three in the top 10, thanks to Penn State’s move up from No. 11.

More could come in over the next couple of weeks.

Mel Tucker’s much-improved Michigan State team is 2-0 entering its road game against No. 24 Miami this week. Indiana, which fell flat in its opener against Iowa, gets a chance to show it wasn’t a one-year wonder in 2020 when it hosts No. 8 Cincinnati. Maryland likely will be 4-0 going into its Oct. 1 home game against Iowa.

IN

— No. 20 Arkansas gets a third straight home game, this one against Georgia Southern, before things get real in SEC play.

— No. 23 BYU, which appeared in every regular-season poll last season, returns after beating Utah for the first time in 10 meetings. Voters are buying in after taking a wait-and-see stance with a team that lost the No. 2 overall draft pick (QB Zach Wilson) and eight defensive starters.

— Two solid wins to start the season, the latest against a surprisingly weak Washington, bring No. 25 Michigan back into the rankings. The Wolverines don’t hit the road until Oct. 2.

OUT

— Southern California dropped out after a 42-28 loss to Stanford, which scored its most points against the Trojans in 10 years.

— Texas won’t have buyer’s remorse about its looming entry to the SEC, but new coach Steve Sarkisian’s 40-21 loss to an Arkansas team picked second-to-last in the West surely had Longhorns fans gnashing their teeth.

— Utah’s two-week stay in the rankings is over. Its offense has converted just 4 of 17 third downs in two games.

CONFERENCE CALL

The SEC has seven teams in the AP Top 25 for the first time since October 2020.

SEC — 7 (Nos. 1, 2, 7, 11, 17, 20, 22).

Big Ten — 5 (Nos. 5, 9, 10, 18, 25).

ACC — 4 (Nos. 6, 15, 21, 24).

Pac-12 — 3 (Nos. 4, 13, 19).

Big 12 — 2 (Nos. 3, 14).

American — 1 (No. 8).

Sun Belt — 1 (No. 16).

Independents — 2 (No. 12, 23).

RANKED vs. RANKED

No. 1 Alabama at No. 11 Florida. Crimson Tide have won seven straight against the Gators.

No. 19 Arizona State at No. 23 BYU. First meeting since 1998 is a prove-it game for the Sun Devils.

No. 22 Auburn at No. 10 Penn State. The teams split two bowl matchups, but this is the first regular-season meeting.

No. 3 TCU loses 31-28 in OT to K-State in Big 12 title game

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Ty Zentner kicked a 31-yard field goal in overtime as 13th-ranked Kansas State beat No. 3 TCU 31-28 in the Big 12 championship game Saturday, leaving the Horned Frogs to wait another day to find out if they had already done enough to get into the four-team College Football Playoff.

The Wildcats set up the winning field goal after TCU (12-1) had the opening possession of overtime and Kendre Miller was stopped short on consecutive plays from inside the 1.

Deuce Vaughn ran for 130 yards and a touchdown and Will Howard threw two TDs for the Wildcats (10-3, No. 10 CFP), who six weeks earlier had jumped out to a 28-10 lead early in the second quarter before TCU scored the game’s last 28 points.

That was one of five games the Horned Frogs (12-1, No. 3 CFP) won when trailing after halftime. But they couldn’t do it again with the chance to guarantee being the first Big 12 team other than Oklahoma to make the playoff.

TCU, the first Big 12 team to complete a regular season undefeated since Texas in 2009, could still get into the playoff. While their case was helped when fourth-ranked Southern California (11-2) lost 47-24 to Utah in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night, the Frogs now have to wait until the final CFP rankings come out Sunday.

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark said before the game that TCU, with first-year coach Sonny Dykes, already deserved to be in the playoff.

“You look at their strength of schedule. You think about how they’ve performed all year long,” Yormark said. “I think regardless, they should be in, for sure.”

No. 4 USC falls to Utah in Pac-12 Championship, damaging playoff hopes

Utah vs. USC
USA Today
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LAS VEGAS — No. 12 Utah pounded a limping, bloodied Caleb Williams and roared past No. 4 Southern California 47-24 on Friday night to win the Pac-12 Championship and put USC’s College Football Playoff hopes in doubt.

The loss by the Trojans (11-2) could open the way for Ohio State (11-1) to take their spot in the playoffs. USC is fourth in the CFP rankings, the Buckeyes are one step behind.

Ohio State had to be Utah’s biggest fan. The Buckeyes move up in playoff consideration, with 12-0 Michigan at No. 2 with the Big Ten championship game on Saturday, that would give the Big Ten conference two playoff teams for the first time. It also would extend the Pac-12′s playoff drought — Washington in 2017 is the last team from that conference to make the playoffs.

Utah (10-3) is heading to the Rose Bowl, but the Utes already were going there regardless of the outcome of the title game. They are responsible for USC’s only losses, having edged the Trojans 43-42 on Oct. 15 in Salt Lake City.

The Utes rolled up 533 yards of offense in the rematch, and Cam Rising passed for 310 yards and three touchdowns.

Williams threw for 363 yards and three TDs. He entered the game as the leading Heisman Trophy candidate, but wasn’t the same after getting injured in the first quarter.

The Trojans looked as if they were going to run away with the game, taking a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter behind some stellar play by Williams.

He appeared to hurt his left knee or leg in the first quarter on a 59-yard run in which he took a big hit at the end, and he suffered a bad cut on the pinky finger of his throwing hand. He spent most of the game limping, and wasn’t the same after a sterling first quarter in which the Trojans outgained Utah in total yards 194-70, and Williams had both touchdown passes.

After USC failed to pick up a fourth-and-8 from Utah’s 37-yard line, the Utes scored two touchdowns in the final 3:55 of the first half, and suddenly the game was tied at 17. Instead of a rout, the game was beginning to look like the shootout the Utes won in October.

The game took on that tone at times in the second half, but USC had no answer for how to slow down Utah, which outscored the Trojans 44-7 in overcoming that two-touchdown deficit.

ATTENDANCE RECORD

A announced sellout crowd of 61,195 made this the largest for a neutral-site Pac-12 Championship. It beat the previous record of 58,476 fans. who watched Southern California-Stanford in Santa Clara, California, in 2015.