AP Top 25: UGA reclaims No. 1; Kentucky, Arkansas in Top 10

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Georgia reclaimed the top spot in The Associated Press college football poll, and Kentucky, Oklahoma State and Arkansas moved into the top 10 after an upset-filled weekend across the country.

The defending national champion Bulldogs, who started the season at No. 3 in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Banks, took two weeks to get back to where they spent most of last year.

Georgia jumped Alabama after it cruised to a 33-0 victory against Samford.

But it wasn’t so much about what the Bulldogs did this week as much as what they did last week, combined with the Crimson Tide needing a late field goal to escape at Texas on Saturday.

Georgia, which opened the season by beating Oregon 49-3, received 53 of 63 first-place votes from the media panel. No. 2 Alabama received nine first-place votes and No. 3 Ohio State got one first-place vote.

No. 4 Michigan and No. 5 Clemson held their places, but the rest of the top 10 was shuffled.

Oklahoma moved up a spot to No. 6. Southern California jumped three places to No. 7, its best ranking since September 2017.

The rest of the top 10 are new arrivals: No. 8 Oklahoma State moved up three spots. No. 9 Kentucky jumped 11 places for its best ranking since it reached No. 8 in October 2007. And No. 10 Arkansas was up six.

After being upset at home by Sun Belt schools, Texas A&M dropped from No. 6 to No. 24 and Notre Dame tumbled out all the way from No. 8.

The Aggies were beaten by Appalachian State and the Fighting Irish fell to 0-2 after losing to Marshall.

It was the fifth time in the last 10 seasons and first time since 2020 that two top-10 teams lost at home to unranked teams in the same week.

Notre Dame is unranked for the first time since Sept. 17, 2017, snapping a streak of 80 straight poll appearances, which was fourth in the country behind Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia among active runs.

POLL POINTS

No. 1 winning and dropping, as Alabama did, is a common occurrence. Since the AP college football poll started in 1936, it has happened 91 times.

The last time it happened was 2019, when twice during the season the top spot flipped twice while teams remained unbeaten.

IN

– No. 21 Texas was rewarded for its effort against Alabama by moving into the ranking for the first time since Oct. 10.

The Longhorns are believed to be the first team to lose and still enter the AP Top 25 since Missouri did it in 1997. That came after the famous Flea Kicker game against Nebraska.

– No. 22 Penn State appeared in the ranking for the first time since dropping out in the middle of last November during a late-season slide.

– No. 25 Oregon is back after putting up 70 points on Eastern Washington.

OUT

– Wisconsin’s 17-14 home loss to Washington State knocked the Badgers out of the ranking for the first time this season.

– Houston dropped out after losing in overtime at Texas Tech, the Cougars’ second straight OT game to open the season.

CONFERENCE CALL

SEC – 8 (Nos. 1, 2, 9, 10, 15, 18, 20, 24).

ACC – 5 (Nos. 5, 13, 16, 19, 23).

Big Ten – 4 (Nos. 3, 4, 11, 22).

Big 12 – 4 (Nos. 6, 8, 17, 21).

Pac-12 – 3 (Nos. 7, 14, 25).

Independents – 1 (No. 12).

RANKED vs. RANKED

No. 12 BYU at No. 25 Oregon. Second straight ranked Power Five opponent for the Cougars.

No. 13 Miami at No. 24 Texas A&M. Aggies’ loss cost College Station a chance to host ESPN’s “College GameDay,” but it’s still a matchup of ranked teams.

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.

CFP expansion talks head toward October after 7-hour meeting

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ROSEMONT, Ill. — The conference commissioners who manage the College Football Playoff met for almost seven hours Tuesday to work on expanding the postseason system from four to 12 teams as soon as the 2024 season.

There is still much work to be done.

“We will not wrap up this week,” CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock said.

The CFP management committee, comprised of 10 conference commissioners and Notre Dame’s athletic director, is scheduled to convene again at the Big Ten offices for a few hours Wednesday morning. They are set to meet again in person in Dallas on Oct. 20.

“That’ll be important,” Hancock said.

Expansion talks were revived by the university presidents and chancellors who oversee the College Football Playoff last month.

By adopting a 12-team plan that had been on the table since the spring of 2021, the presidents pushed the commissioners to try to implement a new format before the end of the CFP’s current contract with ESPN. That deal ends after the 2025 season.

Expanding from four to 12 in 2024 and ’25 will require rescheduling semifinals and championship games that already have dates and sites set, plus adding four new first-round games in mid-December to be played on campus sites.

Squeezing it all into about a month and working around the NFL for television will be challenging.

Hancock said the idea of moving up the start of the college football season to the week before Labor Day to create more room at the end for the playoff has been discussed, but more for beyond the 2025 season.

“I think most people view that as a future item. As long-term item and not an immediacy item,” Hancock said. “Remember, there’s so many details.”

Hancock said CFP officials have spoken to bowl partners and hosts cities that are set to hold semifinals and championship games after the 2024 and ’25 seasons, but they have not been presented definitive new dates.

Atlanta already has been chosen as the host city for the championship game to be played following the 2024 season, on Jan. 6, 2025. The game would have to be pushed back about two weeks if the playoff grows from four teams to 12.

“(Atlanta organizers) have some work to do because of other businesses in the community,” Hancock said. “Other meeting-type business, hotel business and Convention Center business there. They’ve been great to work with.”