What We Think the AP Top 25 Poll Will Look Like for Week 9

    Alabama: It was business as usual for the top-ranked Crimson Tide. Alabama scored 21 unanswered points in a two-minute, 50-second stretch in the first

    October 21, 2018
    1. Alabama: It was business as usual for the top-ranked Crimson Tide. Alabama scored 21 unanswered points in a two-minute, 50-second stretch in the first quarter. Tennessee scored 21 points in the entire game. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw for 306 yards and four touchdowns in Alabama’s 58-21 win.


    1. Clemson: Entering Week 8, you could have made the case that NC State, ranked 16th in the AP Top 25 after a 5-0 start, would be the toughest remaining game on Clemson’s schedule. However, the Tigers handled the Wolfpack with ease, to the tune of a 41-7 victory behind 308 passing yards from quarterback Trevor Lawrence and three rushing touchdowns from Travis Etienne.


    1. Notre Dame: Even though Notre Dame had its bye week in Week 8, the Fighting Irish’s resume may have improved as their win over Michigan continues to age well. Notre Dame’s five remaining games include two on the road (Northwestern, USC) and two at neutral sites (Navy, Syracuse).


    1. LSU: The Tigers picked up their fourth win of the season over a ranked opponent as they kept Mississippi State out of the end zone in a 19-3 win. LSU picked off Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald four times, running back Nick Brossette scored the game’s only touchdown and kicker Cole Tracy was perfect on four field goal attempts.


    1. Michigan: Michigan took back the Paul Bunyan Trophy with a 21-7 win over Michigan State in East Lansing. It wasn’t always a pretty game to watch with 19 punts, three fumbles lost and a first-half weather delay, but the Wolverines held the Spartans to just 94 yards of total offense as they picked up their first road win over a ranked opponent since 2006. With Ohio State’s loss to Purdue, Michigan could be the Big Ten’s best College Football Playoff candidate through Week 8.


    1. Texas: Texas is the only remaining Big 12 team that’s undefeated in conference play, but the Longhorns’ path to the Big 12 Championship Game is far from easy. Their next four games are at Oklahoma State, versus West Virginia, at Texas Tech and at home against Iowa State.


    1. Georgia: The Bulldogs had a bye week after their eye-opener at LSU to evaluate what went wrong in their 36-16 loss in Baton Rouge. Georgia’s College Football Playoff candidacy could be determined in the next three weeks with games against Florida (in Jacksonville), at Kentucky and at home versus Auburn. Remember that a two-loss team has yet to make the playoff.


    1. Oklahoma: Oklahoma led TCU 28-24 at halftime after the Horned Frogs scored 17 points to close the half, but the Sooners held them to just three points the rest of the way in a 52-27 win. Quarterback Kyler Murray had four passing touchdowns while running backs Kennedy Brooks and Trey Sermon each surpassed 100 yards on the ground.


    1. UCF: UCF’s winning streak climbed to 19 games as the Knights beat East Carolina 37-10 with backup quarterback Darriel Mack Jr. filling in for McKenzie Milton. Mack was 12-of-20 for 69 passing yards with a team-high 120 yards and a touchdown on the ground.


    1. Florida: Like Georgia, Florida also had a bye week before the Bulldogs and Gators meet in Week 9. Florida has won five straight games, most notably a 27-19 win over LSU. Georgia, Florida and Kentucky are each 4-1 in SEC play, with the Wildcats owning a win over the Gators.


    1. Ohio State: Purdue throttled Ohio State in a 49-20 upset that could potentially alter the College Football Playoff landscape. A pair of Purdue speedsters — running back D.J. Knox and wide receiver Rondale Moore — consistently carved up Ohio State’s defense with a combined 348 yards of offense and five touchdowns.


    1. West Virginia: After suffering its first loss of the season at Iowa State, West Virginia had a bye week before it finishes Big 12 play with a grueling stretch that includes road games at Texas and Oklahoma State and a regular season finale against Oklahoma.


    1. Washington: Washington stayed atop the Pac-12 North standings with a 27-13 win over Colorado that was closer than the final score indicates. The Huskies led 14-13 at halftime, added a field goal in the third quarter and scored twice in the final four minutes of the game. Running back Salvon Ahmed filled in nicely for the injured Myles Gaskin, as he rushed nine times for 73 yards and a touchdown.


    1. Kentucky: The Wildcats were on upset alert at home as Vanderbilt took an early 7-0 lead before quarterback Terry Wilson tied the game on a touchdown pass to Lynn Bowden. Running back Benny Snell was a workhorse, rushing 32 times for 169 yards and the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. A road trip to Missouri is next before a home date with Georgia, which could eliminate the loser from SEC East contention.


    1. Texas A&M: Texas A&M had a bye week after a series of one-possession wins over Arkansas, Kentucky and South Carolina. The Aggies’ only losses this season came against Alabama and Clemson, arguably the two best teams in the country.


    1. Penn State: Penn State flirted with a third consecutive loss as Indiana led 21-20 late in the third quarter before quarterback Trace McSorley rushed for a pair of touchdowns inside the 10-yard line. The Nittany Lions are on the outside of the Big Ten East picture, with upcoming games against Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin.


    1. Iowa: Iowa blanked Maryland 23-0 at home as the Hawkeyes dominated the time of possession, converted half of its 18 third-down conversion attempts and held the Terrapins to just 115 yards of offense. A Week 4 loss to Wisconsin could stand in the way of Iowa playing for the Big Ten Championship. The Hawkeyes travel to Penn State and Purdue in the next two weeks.


    1. South Florida: UConn, despite its 1-5 record entering Week 8, pushed South Florida in Tampa, where neither team could stop the run. Johnny Ford rushed seven times for 164 yards and three touchdowns, while Jordan Cronkrite had 16 carries for 103 yards to pace the Bulls’ ground attack. A trip to Cincinnati and a regular season finale against UCF are two games to circle if you’re a South Florida fan.


    1. Wisconsin: Saturday’s Wisconsin-Illinois game featured a brief snowstorm, but it didn’t slow down the Badgers as they scored 49 points. Running backs Jonathan Taylor and Taiwan Deal each surpassed 100 yards on the ground, while quarterback Alex Hornibrook had three touchdown passes. The Badgers still have to travel to Northwestern, Penn State and Purdue.


    1. Washington State: Washington State capitalized on College GameDay’s first-ever trip to Pullman, Washington with a 34-20 win over Oregon. Quarterback Gardner Minshew II threw for 323 yards and four touchdowns as the Cougars jumped out to a 27-0 lead in the first half, then held on for their third straight win.


    1. NC State: NC State became the fourth team this season to play Clemson and score seven points or less. Running back Reggie Gallaspy reached the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late in a 41-7 loss to the Tigers. While Clemson is now the only undefeated team in the ACC Atlantic Division, the Wolfpack still get to play four teams that are behind them in the division standings.


    1. Oregon: Oregon dug itself a four-possession hole against Washington State and despite a strong third quarter that featured a rushing and passing touchdown from quarterback Justin Herbert, the Ducks fell short on the road. They can reach bowl eligibility with a win over Arizona next week.


    1. Utah: After suffering a pair of losses to the Washington schools, Utah has won three consecutive games by a combined 64 points. The latest victory was a 41-28, come-from-behind win at home over USC where the Utes scored 34 unanswered points. They’ll be on the road the next two weeks at UCLA and Arizona State.


    1. Stanford: Stanford will have a few extra days to prepare for Washington State after beating Arizona State 20-13 on the road last Thursday. The Cardinal lost to Notre Dame and Utah by 21 and 19 points, respectively, but it also has wins over San Diego State, USC and Oregon. With just one Pac-12 loss, Stanford is still in contention for the conference championship.


    1. Cincinnati: The Bearcats were one of the last remaining unbeaten teams in the country, but they suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday to Temple, 24-17, in overtime. Cincinnati has one of the best defensive units in the country in terms of scoring defense and total defense.


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