When it comes to college football rankings, there are so many different ones out there. The AP Poll, CFCA Poll, and other polls are voted on by a panel of experts who rate teams based on a variety of criteria. AP Polls have been around since 1936. The other polls are not always as consistent, and often don’t match up.
Wake Forest moves up a spot in the rankings
After a 31-21 win over the Florida State Seminoles, Wake Forest has moved up a spot in the college football rankings. The win is important for the Demon Deacons, who were 0-4 entering the game. The victory is also important for Wake Forest’s conference title chances. In addition to its win, Wake Forest’s defense gave up just seven points, which helped the Demon Deacons move up a spot.
Wake Forest’s strong offensive play is essential in winning the ACC Atlantic Division. Quarterback Sam Hartman returns from injury, but there are questions about the receiving corps. Without Jaquarii Roberson, the Demon Deacons have struggled to make plays. However, the defense has been strong, holding opponents to just 4.4 yards per play and 14.8 points per game.
Despite this recent upturn, the rankings remain close. Texas, for example, is only four games in, and is ranked No. 24. Despite the close margin of victory, the Longhorns have not yet beaten a ranked opponent. Their only ranked win this season came against Oklahoma State. Mississippi State is a few spots behind LSU, but their win over Texas A&M could help them break into the top 25. Meanwhile, James Madison is riding the momentum from beating Appalachian State last week. They have a win over Texas State.
While the departure of quarterback Zach Tom is a major concern, there are still few questions about the rest of Wake Forest’s roster. The secondary, led by Antonio Johnson and Demary Richardson, is solid. It is poised to be one of the best secondarys in the country.
Tulane puts forth impressive effort in AAC
After a slow start to the season, Tulane is showing some signs of resurgence. The team beat South Florida 45-31 on Saturday to improve to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in conference play. Tulane compiled 561 yards of total offense in that game. They have a balanced attack with a balanced quarterback, Michael Pratt, who averages 260 yards per game passing and just three interceptions.
The Tulane offense is paced by a balanced attack that relies on its defensive line and pass rush. Patrick Johnson, who plays rush end for the Green Wave, recorded a league-leading 10 sacks. He also set a school record with 24.5 career sacks. Tulane had 37 tackles for loss.
Tulane will avoid UCF and Cincinnati in the regular season, but will still have a tough schedule. The Hurricanes return six starters and have added a few key transfers. Clayton Tune, who posted 3,546 yards last season, will be back in the starting lineup. He’ll be backed by Nathaniel Dell, who recorded 90 receptions for 1329 yards and 12 touchdowns last year.
Tulane will be looking for a turnaround in 2021 after a disappointing season last year. The Hurricane-ravaged team played a very difficult conference schedule and won two non-con games against Ole Miss and Oklahoma. The team replaced all of its offensive assistants, except the TE coach, but has plenty of potential. In addition to Pratt, Tulane has its top two RBs and WR back, and a new offensive coordinator with West Coast experience.
Clemson loses to Seminoles in Tallahassee
Clemson was unable to beat the Seminoles in Tallahassee, Fla. The game was a big one for both schools. Florida State had an unbeaten start, but a late touchdown by Weinke in the fourth quarter was enough to knock the Tigers out. It was a tough loss for the Tigers, but the Seminoles are a much better team under third-year coach Mike Norvell. The team plays hard and has a distinct identity. The Seminoles have proven they can compete with the premier teams, but they’ve yet to beat them. The coach called three consecutive losses “sickening.”
Florida State had a poor offensive performance, but Clemson had a strong defensive performance. The Tigers converted nine of their 16 third-down attempts. They were also three-of-three in the red zone. Clemson has now scored touchdowns on 35 of its 35 trips inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Florida State had only one fourth-down conversion. In addition, they tried to pull off a fake punt, but the call fell short.
Despite the loss, Clemson’s season is far from over. The Tigers have won seven straight games against the Seminoles. DJ Uiagalelei threw for 203 yards and three touchdowns, and Will Shipley finished with a 169-yard rushing total. He also scored a touchdown on a kickoff return.
Florida State’s defense had issues against Clemson’s run attack. Florida State had trouble stopping the Tigers on third down and forced Florida State to punt with two yards left in the end zone.
Kentucky ends a two-game skid
The Kentucky Wildcats snapped a two-game skid on Saturday with a 24-14 victory over South Carolina. The Wildcats averaged 4.7 yards per play but the Gamecocks’ defense had six sacks and eight tackles for a loss. In the SEC, Georgia and Tennessee have both won three straight games and are both atop the rankings. Both teams have played their toughest schedules to date, with the ACC being the worst conference in the country for both teams.
Kentucky ended a two-game skid in the college football rankings with the win. The Wildcats entered the game ranked 66th, but managed to rebound after two straight losses. The team smothered the Mike Leach offense, which had been averaging almost 400 yards per game, and kept the Rebels out of the end zone until midway through the third quarter. Chris Rodriguez Jr. ran for two touchdowns and helped the Wildcats move up one spot in the rankings.
Florida pulled within seven points on Nick Christmann’s 33-yard field goal with six minutes left, but Kentucky rallied for a late touchdown. A blocked field goal by Trevin Wallace set up a TD run for Chris Rodriguez Jr., who jetted past a defender on the left sideline. The touchdown came with 6:36 left in the third quarter. Kentucky’s next possession, they turned the ball over on downs at Florida’s 34. But a crucial intercepted Emory Jones pass and a recovery of the ball by J.J. Weaver put Kentucky back in control with a first down at Florida’s 49.
Mark Stoops became the winningest coach in Kentucky school history, while the Wildcats won at Neyland Stadium for their first road win in eight years. The Wildcats’ defense limited the Gators to 4.3 yards per play and forced two turnovers. They also returned an interception for a touchdown. Tennessee was the last SEC team to defeat Kentucky in both Lexington and Knoxville, but a strong defense and solid quarterback play helped Kentucky to win the game.
Michigan State has closed 28 seasons in the final AP rankings
Michigan State has closed 28 seasons in the final rankings of the AP college football poll. The Spartans have bragging rights over their Big Ten rivals and have closed 28 seasons in the top 10 of the poll. They won the Big Ten title in 2015 and earned a No. 3 seed in the College Football Playoffs. After defeating Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game, they played No. 2 Alabama in the Cotton Bowl. The Spartans were heavily favored to win, but Alabama dominated them and went on to win the national championship game.
The final AP college football rankings are often accurate. The rankings are based on the record of the team’s season. If a team has a winning record, it is a good sign. However, if a team is consistently losing, it can have trouble climbing the list.
Michigan State was a national championship contender last season after the season ended in a loss to Ohio State. They had been dominant last year under a postseason ban, one win away from the BCS. But in the Big Ten championship game, Michigan State stunned the Buckeyes, ending their national title hopes. Auburn, meanwhile, made an incredible comeback against Alabama by completing a 4th-and-18 touchdown pass with 25 seconds left.
The final AP poll is a highly prestigious poll that ranks college football teams. It is updated every week, and the rankings have been around since 1936.