The top six of the AP Top 25 poll remained the same this week, as Ohio State held steady at No. 3 in the latest college football rankings after its 20-12 win in a top-10 matchup against Penn State. Here’s what you need to know:
- Ohio State added two first-place votes to give it three, not nearly enough to close the gap with No. 1 Georgia (38) and No. 2 Michigan (19). No. 4 Florida State also received three first-place votes.
- Penn State fell three spots to No. 10 after its seventh consecutive loss to the Buckeyes.
- The biggest faller in the poll is North Carolina, which became the first top-10 team to ever lose to Virginia at home. The Tar Heels dropped from No. 10 to No. 17.
- Alabama moved back into the top 10 at No. 9 following its comeback win against Tennessee.
- Iowa was the only team to fall out of the rankings after losing to Minnesota. It was replaced by James Madison, which has now appeared in the poll in each of its first two FBS seasons.
Full AP Top 25 after Week 8
1. Georgia (38)
2. Michigan (19)
3. Ohio State (3)
4. Florida State (3)
10. Penn State
11. Oregon State
12. Ole Miss
14. Notre Dame
17. North Carolina
19. Air Force
25. James Madison
Others receiving votes: Florida 34, Liberty 17, Kansas State 16, Miami 12, Fresno State 8, Oklahoma State 5, Toledo 3, Kentucky 2, Rutgers 2, UNLV 1, Wisconsin 1
Does Ohio State have a case for No. 1?
Without a doubt. Ohio State has some concerns, especially on offense, but every team in the country has questions. Nobody has the resume that Ohio State does. The Buckeyes went on the road to win a top-10 matchup against Notre Dame — the same Irish team that beat USC 48-20. Three weeks later, Ohio State won another top-10 matchup at home against Penn State.
If the argument is that Ohio State doesn’t look like the No. 1 team, that’s fair. The offense might not pass the eye test, as it’s a group that is still growing with three new offensive linemen and a new quarterback. But there’s also an argument that Ohio State is led by the best player in the country in receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. and the best defense in the country after a dominant performance against the Nittany Lions. Ohio State gave up a total of 26 points to Notre Dame and Penn State, both of which are averaging more than 35 points per game.
Ohio State isn’t a perfect team, but people around the country are going to have to adjust their expectations of the offense and understand that this is a defense-first team still capable of making a Playoff push. — Cameron Teague Robinson, Ohio State writer
Ohio State believes it has nation’s best defense. It backed it up against Penn State.
How will Week 9 impact the rankings?
After an off week, Georgia will put its No. 1 ranking to the test in its rivalry game with Florida, which is unranked but may exceed preseason expectations with a 5-2 mark thus far. No. 2 Michigan is off, while No. 3 Ohio State (at Wisconsin), No. 4 Florida State (at Wake Forest), No. 5 Washington (at Stanford) and No. 6 Oklahoma (at Kansas) will all go on the road as clear favorites.
Elsewhere, two matchups of ranked teams will play key roles in races for conference title game bids: No. 8 Oregon travels to No. 13 Utah in the Pac-12 in arguably the biggest game of the week, and No. 20 Duke visits No. 18 Louisville in the ACC. All four have one conference loss. — Matt Brown, college sports deputy manager
(Photo: Ben Jackson / Getty Images)