Sunday’s release of the new AP Top 25 will certainly pay off on several important Saturdays to come during the remainder of the 2023 college football season. Expect several exits and plenty of moves in the college football rankings based on Week 7 results.
Many of the top teams in last week’s rankings faced inferior opponents and managed to meet expectations to varying degrees. It followed an epic home win over rival Oregon to make Washington the biggest winner of the week. The Huskies all entered with respect for their offense, but no one knew what to do with the quality of competition they faced this season. However, now that the Huskies have traded haymakers for the Ducks, there’s little doubt that Andhra voters have reason to shake off their earlier doubts and compare Washington to the best teams the country has to offer.
The nature of that back-and-forth affair could lead to a higher floor with questions about whether the Ducks should have gone down in Oregon.Than Dan Lanning’s team is one of the top 10 teams in the country. So while Oregon remains a contender after the loss, we’re not predicting it to fall outside the top 10 of the new college football rankings.
Here’s how we project the new AP Top 25 after Week 7 in college football:
1. Georgia (Last Week — 1): There will be more first-place votes going to Michigan, but not enough changes to fix the top spot. The Bulldogs may have fallen behind 7-0 early and fell well short of expectations with a 37-20 win over Vanderbilt, but 7-0 will have enough voter slack to keep Georgia at No. 1.
2. Michigan (2): The Wolverines followed up a 52-10 road win at Minnesota with a 52-7 win over Indiana. Even if the offense takes a while to get rolling, the final score will be enough attention to rekindle the debate for No. 1.
3. Ohio State (3): With a limited roster due to injuries and a history of faltering in West Lafayette, Indiana, there was some confused cautionary interest before kickoff against Purdue. Those concerns were quickly squashed by Ohio State’s defense. By the end of the game, enough points had been accumulated to win the vote 41-7.
4. Florida State (4): Keon Coleman gets the Seminoles star of the weekend as he makes his case to not only be the best wide receiver in the game, but also the best in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft class. Coleman had nine receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown in a 41-3 win over Syracuse.
5. Washington (7): Michael Benix Jr. established himselfAfter the big win over Oregon, and the overwhelming reaction from the voters, in terms of quality wins, the No. As high as 4.
6. Oklahoma (5): The Sooners are off Week 7 and will be back in action next Saturday against UCF.
7. Penn State (6): No penalty here for Penn State, no bonus for running at UMass in a 63-0 win. The Nittany Lions will have a chance to make their case as a top-five team next week in their highly anticipated showdown with Ohio State.
8. Texas (9): The Longhorns are off in Week 7 and will be back in action next Saturday at Houston.
9. Oregon (8): That might be a bit too much for where the Ducks are landing, but it’s hard to watch the game with honest eyes — whether you’re watching every second or scanning the box score like many AP voters — and Oregon hasn’t met expectations on a tough road. The Ducks outgained the Huskies, had more first downs and nearly identical yards-per-play numbers. However, going 0 for 3 in the fourth in key spots and a missed field goal at the end of regulation were the difference in the three-point loss.
10. Alabama (11): If there were more potential top-10 candidates, the Crimson Tide could be further down the pecking order.This will not do much to grab the attention of Andhra voters. But as a one-loss team with one win over Ole Miss and one loss to Texas, the Tide’s profile and pedigree help this team maintain its ranking.
11. North Carolina (12): A dejected Miami team traveled to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, before taking a halftime lead.The Tar Heels went 6-0 for the first time since 1997, winning 41-31 in the second half.
12. Ole Miss (13): The Rebels are off in Week 7 and will be back in action next Saturday at Auburn.
13. Notre Dame (21): It’s tough to predict where the Fighting Irish will land, but a win over USC is solid (48-20), and as the Trojans enter the game undefeated, it should lead to a big jump in the rankings.
14. USC (10): Caleb Williams can take the Trojans far… just not far enough to beat a top-15 team on the road. USC is an incomplete team, and with its first loss of the season, it should take a drop in the rankings.
15. Oregon State (15): A convincing win at home against UCLA should lead to a slight bump up, but a tough 44-6 loss to Arizona in Week 7 was given a hard ceiling by a loss to Washington State.
16. Utah (16): Taking care of business against Cal, the Utes improved to 5-1 and should keep their same spot in the new rankings.
17. Duke (17): No Riley Leonard? No problem. Duke’s defense is a strong side on Mike Elko’s team, and it put the clamps on NC State to improve to 5-1 with its lone loss coming to Notre Dame.
18. Louisville (14): Nothing was more disappointing for Louisville fans than a loss to a Pitt team that had not beaten an FBS team prior to Saturday, following an epic win over Notre Dame. But AP voters will only see a loss and a win against Notre Dame when ranking teams outside the top 15, and despite the bad loss they’ll ultimately have the Cardinals ranked very high.
19. Tennessee (19): It wasn’t always pretty, but behind a strong defensive effort the Volunteers were able to pull out a remarkable 20-13 win against Texas A&M. While Josh Huebel’s offense may not have the expected weekly point total, the result against the Aggies was close to the projected range and shouldn’t be too shocking.
20. LSU (22): Whether Saturday’s 48-18 win against Auburn reflects LSU’s defensive improvement or Auburn’s own offensive shortcomings won’t matter much to AP voters, who will see LSU handle its business with authority against an inferior opponent in Death Valley.
21. Missouri (NR): There’s no better way for LSU to bounce back from taking a win out of your hands than to do the same on the road at Kentucky. A 38-21 win by the Tigers would put Eli Drinkwitz’s team back in the rankings, just behind the LSU team that beat them last week.
22. Air Force (NR): Now 6-0 with a 34-27 win over Wyoming, Air Force has put itself in the conversation for teams that could make the New Year’s Six if the Falcons can maintain their dominance. Finish the season as Mountain West and conference champions.
23. Tulane (NR): The Green Wave enter the standings after a 31-21 win at Memphis to improve to 5-1. Their only loss came against top-15 Ole Miss.
24. James Madison (NR): Sitting at 6-0, James Madison posted a 41-13 win over Georgia Southern.
25. UCLA (18): If the Bruins end up ranked after their second loss, it’s more a lack of obvious options than a consensus belief that UCLA is a top-25 team after a road loss at Oregon State. A number of teams will move ahead of UCLA in the rankings, and some teams such as Wisconsin, West Virginia, Maryland and Texas A&M have lost positions ahead of them in the rankings.
Expected to leave: No. 19 State of Washington, no. 23 Kansas, no. 24 Kentucky, no. 25 Miami