AP Top 25: Cincinnati up to No. 2; Purdue snaps poll drought

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Cincinnati moved up to No. 2 behind Georgia in The Associated Press college football poll Sunday, the first time a team from outside the traditional power conferences has been ranked that high since 2010.

The Bulldogs remained a unanimous No. 1 with 63 first-place votes in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank and the Bearcats inched up a spot, taking advantage of Iowa’s loss to Purdue on Saturday.

The Hawkeyes dropped nine places to No. 11 and the Boilermakers moved into the rankings at No. 25, snapping the longest current AP poll drought for a Power Five school. The Boilermakers were last ranked in 2007.

Oklahoma is No. 3, followed by Alabama and Ohio State.

Unbeaten Cincinnati from the American Athletic Conference reached a new best ranking in program history and is the first team to reach No. 2 from outside a Power Five or BCS conference since TCU finished second in 2010, when it went undefeated as a member of the Mountain West.

Boise State, then a member of the Western Athletic Conference, spent three weeks at No. 2 in 2010.

Oklahoma State moved up to No. 8 after beating Texas and is in the top 10 for the first time since early in the 2020 season.

POLL POINTS

Seven ranked teams lost on Saturday, including five to unranked teams, increasing the total on the season to 47.

In each of the last three weeks, a top-three team has lost to an unranked team, starting with Stanford over then-No. 3 Oregon on Oct. 2.

Texas A&M knocked off then-No. 1 Alabama last week before Iowa was upset at home.

IN

All those losses by ranked teams shook up the back half of the rankings and put five new teams in the poll this week, including one that has never been there before.

— No. 19 Auburn (5-2) is back in the rankings after a road victory against Arkansas.

— No. 20 Baylor (6-1) returned to the Top 25 with a convincing victory against BYU.

— No. 23 Pittsburgh (6-1) is ranked for the first time this season. Quarterback Kenny Pickett and the Panthers thumped Virginia Tech on Saturday. Pitt has been briefly ranked in four of the last six seasons but never higher than 21st.

— With Purdue (4-2) slipping into the rankings, Kansas takes over the top spot on the list of longest current runs without being ranked among Power Five schools. The Jayhawks were last ranked in October 2009. Up next are Illinois, Rutgers, Oregon State and Vanderbilt.

— No. 24 Texas-San Antonio (7-0) is unbeaten and ranked for the first time in the history of the program. The Roadrunners have only been playing at the highest level of Division I football since 2012. They are the first Conference USA team to make the Top 25 this season.

OUT

Florida fell out of the rankings for the first time this season after the Gators were beaten by LSU on Saturday.

That leaves the state of Florida with no ranked teams, a rare occurrence in recent poll history. The last time it happened was 2011, when six times the Sunshine State did not have a single ranked team.

— Arkansas’ three-game losing streak has dropped the Razorbacks from the rankings after a five-week run.

— Arizona State is out again after losing to Utah.

— BYU lost for the second straight week and is unranked for the first time since last month.

— Texas is back … to be being unranked after the Longhorns blew a double-digit, second-half lead for the second consecutive week.

CONFERENCE CALL

Big Ten — 6 (Nos. 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 25).

SEC — 6 (Nos. 1, 4, 12, 15, 17, 19).

ACC — 3 (Nos. 16, 18, 23).

Big 12 — 3 (Nos. 3, 8, 20).

American — 2 (Nos. 2, 21).

Pac-12 — 1 (No. 10).

Conference USA — 1 (No. 24).

Mountain West — 1 (No. 22).

Sun Belt — 1 (No. 14).

Independent — 1 (No. 13).

___

RANKED vs. RANKED

For the first time this season, the college football schedule has no games matching ranked teams.

Florida shakes up secondary after dismal game at Tennessee

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Billy Napier is shaking up his secondary after the Gators allowed 349 yards passing – including 247 of those on eight plays – in a loss at Tennessee.

Safety Trey Dean, a fifth-year senior who has started 32 games and played in 54, is out with what Florida is calling a “lower leg injury.” But no one would be surprised if Napier was quietly benching Dean after he made two mental errors against the Volunteers that resulted in 70- and 45-yard gains and set up touchdowns.

Freshman Kamari Wilson will replace Dean and make his first college start Sunday against Eastern Washington.

Cornerback Jaydon Hill will join Wilson in the starting lineup. Hill, a third-year sophomore, will make his first start since 2020. He missed the 2021 season with a torn knee ligament. He impressed Napier and his new staff in the spring but sat out preseason camp with another knee injury.

Hill will replace sophomore Avery Helm, who also struggled against the Vols.

“You talk about what he’s been through from an injury perspective,” Napier said following practice Wednesday. “Jaydon was one of the better players that we had on our team in spring practice. I was very impressed . It’s no surprise to me. He showed pretty quickly here that he’s very capable. I’m excited to watch him play.”

Georgia transfer Jalen Kimber, a former five-star recruit, is now listed as a third-team cornerback. Kimber played just 11 snaps in Knoxville a week after he returned an interception for a touchdown in a 31-28 win against South Florida.

“I like to say we try to eliminate the bad football,” Napier said. “Talking about mental errors, misalignments, poor communication, bad fundamentals and techniques, bad decision-making within the play. … We have a laundry list of things that we need to eliminate each week.

“Last week’s game, I thought we were really close, but there’s 12 or 15 plays in the game where Florida is beating Florida. We’ve got a smart group here. I think they’re very aware of what the issues are, and I think they’re working hard to address those issues.”

Pac-12 looking stronger at top after early-season losses

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When Oregon got throttled by top-ranked Georgia and Utah lost at Florida, it appeared as though the Pac-12 was headed toward another College Football Playoff miss.

One week into the season and two of the conference’s top teams had already failed big early tests.

Flash forward three weeks and it seems the Pac-12 might be in good shape after all.

The Ducks and Utes bounced back with big wins and the top of the conference looks strong, with four teams in the top 15 for the first time since 2016.

It’s still early, but the Pac-12 is putting itself in position to get a team through to the CFP for the first time since Washington in 2016-17.

A look at how the top of the Pac-12 is stacking up headed into the first weekend of October:

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

The No. 6 Trojans (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) seem to have quickly returned to glory in their first season under Lincoln Riley. The former Oklahoma coach brought quarterback Caleb Williams with him to Southern California and they have thrived through the first four games.

Williams has thrown for 1,054 yards and nine touchdowns, adding 100 yards and two more scores rushing. USC’s defense has been opportunistic, leading the nation with 11 interceptions while tied for the lead with 14 takeaways.

The Trojans survived a scare against scrappy Oregon State over the weekend to start 4-0 for the first time since 2012. USC has to play at Utah on Oct. 15, but avoids Washington and Oregon this season.

UTAH

The 12th-ranked Utes opened the season with a tough road loss at The Swamp in Florida, but have won three straight lopsided games.

Outside of a costly interception late against the Gators, quarterback Cam Rising has been sharp, throwing for 954 yards and 10 TDs. Utah (3-1, 1-0) has a physical defense and is third in the FBS, allowing 132.8 yards passing per game.

The Utes also have a veteran team that won the Pac-12 championship last season. The bad news: tight end Brant Kuithe, their leading receiver, is out for the season with a knee injury.

Utah plays Oregon State this weekend and has tough games against USC and Oregon still on the schedule.

OREGON

The Ducks’ playoff chances took an immediate hit with a 49-3 loss to reigning national champion Georgia in their opener.

No. 13 Oregon (3-1, 1-0) bounced back with a decisive win over a good BYU team and outlasted previously undefeated Washington State 44-41 last week.

The Ducks were no match for the Bulldogs in any aspect – few teams are – but have averaged 51.6 points the past three games. Oregon’s biggest weakness is its pass defense. The Ducks are allowing 72.5% of passes to be completed, third worst in the country.

Oregon’s biggest tests left in the season will come in back to back games against Washington and Utah.

WASHINGTON

The Huskies have made a quick turnaround in their first season under coach Kalen DeBoer.

Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has been superb now that he’s healthy, throwing for an FBS-best 1,388 yards and 12 TDs with one interception. No. 15 Washington (4-0, 1-0) picked up a solid home win against Michigan State and has 15 sacks this season, including eight against Stanford last week.

The Huskies play their first road game at undefeated UCLA on Saturday and have to face Oregon on Nov. 12.

UCLA

After winning at Colorado for the first time since 2014 last Saturday, the Bruins (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) have their longest winning streak since winning the first eight games in 2005.

UCLA had a hard time getting past South Alabama and opened its Pac-12 schedule with a win against the struggling Buffaloes.

The Bruins will find out how good they are over the next three weeks, a brutal stretch that includes home games against Washington and Utah before heading to Eugene to play the Ducks on Oct. 22.