AP Top 25: ‘Bama jumps OU to No. 3; Penn State falls to 20th

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Alabama inched up to No. 3 in The Associated Press college football Sunday behind top-ranked Georgia and No. 2 Cincinnati.

The Bulldogs (63 first-place votes) are a unanimous No. 1 for the third straight week in the latest AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank, and the Bearcats remain second.

The Crimson Tide jumped up a spot past Oklahoma after blowing out Tennessee. The now fourth-ranked Sooners were shut out in the first half against Kansas before scoring 35 in the second half and pulling away late.

No. 5 Ohio State and No. 6 Michigan both held their spots.

Oregon moved up three spots to No. 7. No. 8 Michigan State, No. 9 Iowa and No. 10 Mississippi round out the top 10.

In a week with no games matching ranked teams, five ranked teams lost, including two in the top 10. Penn State dropped 13 spots to No. 20 after losing in a record nine overtime periods to Illinois. Oklahoma State fell from No. 8 to 15th after losing at Iowa State.

POLL POINTS

Alabama dropped from No. 1 to No. 5 two weeks ago after losing at Texas A&M, putting its record streak of top-five appearances in danger.

But since then, the Tide won two games and A&M has built on that upset with two easy victories. The Aggies, unranked when they beat Alabama, are up to No. 14.

The combination of the two has allowed the Tide to run its top-five streak to 69. The second best top-five streak in poll history came to an end early this season when Clemson’s was snapped at 57.

The second-best active top-five streak is Georgia at eight weeks.

– No. 10 Ole Miss has its best ranking since finishing the 2015 season at No. 10.

– No. 17 Pitt cracked the top 20 for the first time since starting the 2010 season at No. 15. The last time the Panthers were ranked this highly this deep into a season was when they reached No. 8 and finished No. 15 in 2009.

IN

A couple of teams that spent time in the AP Top 25 earlier this season are back in this week.

– No. 22 Iowa State returned after dropping out in mid-September. The Cyclones started the season No. 7 and lost two of their first four games.

– No. 25 BYU broke a two-game losing streak by beating Washington State. The Cougars are 4-0 against Pac-12 teams.

OUT

– Purdue is out after one week in the rankings. The Boilermakers (4-3) lost at home to Wisconsin. Purdue hasn’t been ranked for more than one week in any season since 2005.

– North Carolina State slipped out of the rankings after a close loss to Miami.

CONFERENCE CALL

SEC – 6 (Nos. 1, 3, 10, 12, 14, 18).

Big Ten – 5 (Nos. 5, 6, 8, 9, 20).

Big 12 – 4 (Nos. 4, 15, 16, 22).

ACC – 2 (Nos. 13, 17).

American – 2 (Nos. 2, 19).

Pac-12 – 1 (No. 7).

Conference USA – 1 (No. 23).

Mountain West – 1 (No. 21).

Sun Belt – 1 (No. 24).

Independents – 2 (Nos. 11, 25).

RANKED vs. RANKED

No. 20 Penn State at No. 5 Ohio State. This will be the sixth straight meeting with both teams ranked, but the Nittany Lions are trending in the wrong direction.

No. 6 Michigan at No. 8 Michigan State. The first top-10 meeting between the rivals since 1964.

No. 10 Mississippi at No. 18 Auburn. Two teams still very much in the SEC West race.

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.