On an absolutely insane day of college football, how do you try to predict what 60-plus members of the media are going to vote on Sunday morning? Many of those voters saw back-to-back-to-back game-winning plays from , and , and now they have to digest all of that along with a busy Week 5 slate.
Overall, the losses suffered by teams at the top probably aren’t bad enough to fall out of the rankings thanks to playing top-notch competition, and the teams that did fall out of the ranking could find their way back in after a few wins (like we think will do after beating TCU).
So without going full John Malkovich, we have tried to crawl in the head of these voters, and here’s our best guess at Sunday’s new AP Top 25 poll.
: A slow start against gave the Wildcats an ATS cover, but the program remains winless in Tuscaloosa after a 34-6 Tide victory.
: It’s got to be fun putting together an offensive gameplan in Columbus these days. After a slow start, the Buckeyes improved to 4-0 with 58-0 dismantling of . And here I thought that Chris Ash would have something cooked up for his former team. Apparently he just told them to bring their own touchdowns!
The Tigers survived a scary second half to hold off Louisville, and take back the “Best Team In The ACC” crown for now. It’s the 19th straight home win for the Tigers, and Deshaun Watson and the guys are firmly back in the national title conversation.
: The Wolverines finally got tested. If Saturday’s 14-7 win against is any indication, Michigan is more than happy to grind out a low-scoring game thanks to its rock-solid defense and some great pass catchers on both sides of the ball: on offense and , , on defense.
A tough loss for Louisville, as it fought back in the second half to take the lead in the fourth quarter before relinquishing it, but even with the loss, we can’t knock Louisville too far down. Even in the loss, the Cardinals showed they’re still one of the best teams in the country.
As long as is healthy, Houston should win every conference game comfortably. Five-touchdown spurts are going to become commonplace for the Cougars, who should win every game by double digits until hosting Louisville on Nov. 17.
: After getting caught in the mud a little on defense against , Washington brought the fight against . was totally held in check and continued to move the ball through the air at an impressive clip. No longer held back by “but who have they played” arguments, Washington of the other Playoff picks through five weeks.
: A closer-than-expected win against won’t alarm voters, but what should cause alarm for fans is the status of . Garrett, and were notable late scratches for the Aggies in the win, and we’ll be monitoring their status with Tennessee coming to College Station in Week 6.
: There is no more stressful college football fan experience thus far in 2016 than rooting for Tennessee. Sanford Stadium went from silent, to roaring, back to silent again as from three defenders following Josh Dobbs’ Hail Mary toss. That ball might as well have been the SEC East, because after wins against and Georgia, the Vols are just a few wins away from wrapping up the division.
: scouts want us to watch . But focusing too much on Kaaya, though a tremendously talented player in his own right, means you’re probably missing some stellar play from Miami’s defense. Freshman linebacker had one of two defensive touchdowns and the group has a whole had four sacks and eight tackles for loss in at the win against . Up next: a reeling FSU team. Begin the hype now.
: The Cardinal getting manhandled by Washington was not expected, but I’m guessing the voters will be more impressed with the Huskies and keep the Cardinal in the top 15.
The Rebels had a little more balance on offense (both in play-calling and production) for the second straight week. After dropping a game to the Justin Fuente-coached Tigers, Hugh Freeze notches a solid non-conference win on the return visit.
: The fact that Wisconsin had a chance in the fourth quarter to throw it deep — the play that ended up being Jourdan Lewis’ incredible interception — for the win will give voters enough confidence to keep the Badgers in the top 15.
: iced a 21-point fourth quarter for Nebrasaka that made 31-16 a win against look less threatening than the game seemed earlier in the afternoon. Cornhuskers improve to 5-0, remain perfect in the Big Ten and slide up one spot.
Guessing Baylor would fall further if there were more top-15 worthy teams, but the shake-ups of Week 5 likely result in little movement for the undefeated Bears, even after an uninspiring 45-42 win at .
: Bielema wasn’t going to let the Hogs have a lookahead spot with Alabama on the horizon. A 52-10 win means everyone gets ice cream after the game and we anxiously await next week’s showdown with the Tide.
: By outlasting in Fort Worth, Oklahoma finally has a ranked win and enough victories to crack the top 25 again. Losses to Ohio State and Houston aren’t particularly damning, especially if the Sooners continue to stack Big 12 wins and move up the rankings.
: Florida’s offensive line didn’t have a great day against and ‘s performance will have some fans double and triple-checking on ‘s status through the week. Still, a 13-6 win keeps Florida in the rankings.
: Now 4-1 with wins agaonal is attracting interest from across Europe, with Espanyol, Nantes and a number of French teams all keen.However, CSKA are regarded as favourites for Success.Indeed, a CSKA delegation will be at Prenton Park tonight for Watford’s FA Cup replay against Pitt and FSU, North Carolina should land in the top 25 on Sunday. Beating the Seminoles will always get attention from the voters, but when after nailing a 54-yard field goal ,it’s a clip that no one forgets.
: There’s a possibility that Florida State falcNeil back to Old Trafford.After being axed by United’s youth side aged 14, McNeil went on to join the Clarets where he has developed into an integral part of Sean Dyche’s first-team squad.McNeil, 19, has played in all 11 of Burnley’s Premier League ls out of the rankings entirely, but I’m guessing the Ole Miss win and the AP voters’ collective knowledge of the talent on this roster keep that little number by the Seminoles’ name on the scoreboard.
: Jeremy McNichols racked up 226 all-purpose yards and a 61-yard touchdown reception as Boise State remains undefeated after beating .
West Virginia is quietly 4-0, has beaten and has another winnable gameor his whizkids after victory at Norwich City.Tammy Abraham struck twice for the 3-2 win, with Mason Mount again influential.Lampard remarked: “I spoke to Tammy before the game today and I said to him that I felt today was the day.”A bit of kidology coming up next week at . The Mountaineers’ back-loaded schedule will get nasty soon, but for now, any Power Five team with an undefeated record will get looks from the AP voters.
: After a 47-6 win against , Colorado hasn’t only climbed out of the Pac-12 cellar, but at 4-1 is starting to make a case as a division title contender.
With a big win over Central Michigan, we think the Broncos have a good chance to row the boat right into the top 25.
: USF is a 4-1 team with its only loss coming to Florida State, which we believe will stay in the Top 25.
Out: Michigan State (17), (18), TCU (21), Texas (22), Georgia (25)
In: Oklahoma, North Carolina, West Virginia, Colorado, Western Michigan, USF