Week 5 AP Top 25: Ohio State, Georgia, Michigan Lead the Way

Week 5 AP Top 25: Ohio State, Georgia, Michigan Lead the Way

The AP Top 25 college football rankings underwent a significant transformation in Week 4. With six games featuring matchups between ranked teams scheduled for Saturday – not to mention Florida State’s visit to Clemson – it was clear that upsets, chaos, and an exciting day of football were on the horizon in the 2023 season.

While upsets and surprises may not have been the order of the day, there was still plenty of drama to go around. One of the most remarkable moments was No. 6 Ohio State’s last-second victory over No. 9 Notre Dame, a thrilling turn of events that left everyone buzzing. It was a moment to savor, especially for Ohio State fans. And in the case of Florida State and Clemson, they battled it out in overtime, with the Seminoles emerging victorious to avoid an upset.

Not every game delivered high drama, though. Deion Sanders and Colorado faced a tough defeat at the hands of Oregon in a lopsided contest in Eugene. Meanwhile, Iowa struggled when facing off against Penn State in Happy Valley, leaving fans surprised.

But these are just glimpses of the electrifying Saturday that unfolded in college football. Now, let’s take a look at where these outcomes might place teams in our projected AP Top 25 college football rankings for the Week 5 poll.

25. Kentucky Wildcats

To put it plainly, it’s a bit uncertain how strong Kentucky is with Devin Leary leading the offense under the returning offensive coordinator Liam Coen. They boast a 4-0 record, but perhaps the most noteworthy win thus far came in Week 4 against Vanderbilt, which might not be the most challenging opponent. Nevertheless, the Wildcats have secured double-digit victories in all their games so far, and given their SEC background, this performance is likely to earn them a place inside the Top 25 rankings.

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24. Kansas Jayhawks

Kansas deserves some recognition! In their Big 12 debut, they faced conference newcomer BYU in Lawrence. Jalon Daniels adds significant firepower to the Jayhawks’ offense, and their defense created numerous challenges for Kedon Slovis and the Cougars, resulting in a 38-27 victory for Kansas. With a 4-0 record, they are generating enough attention to warrant consideration for a spot in the rankings.

23. Missouri Tigers

Missouri’s victory over Kansas State last week was a strong statement, and they should rightfully be considered for a ranking in Week 5. The Tigers extended their undefeated record to 4-0 with a hard-fought win against Memphis. This game presented an unexpected challenge for the Mizzou defense, but what stood out even more was the impressive performance of Brady Cook and the offense, which had faced doubts at the beginning of the season. If they continue on this upward trajectory, Missouri could become a formidable contender in conference play, capable of causing upsets.

22. Florida Gators

Florida entered their game against Charlotte with the expectation of a letdown after their upset victory over Tennessee. The hope was that they would clearly demonstrate their superior skills and talent. They did manage to do so, but a 22-7 win in The Swamp might not be considered overly impressive. In reality, Florida’s performance was better than the final score suggests, and considering the emotional high of last week, securing the win was the primary objective, which they accomplished.

21. Tennessee Volunteers

Tennessee secured a 45-14 victory over UTSA at Neyland Stadium, although it’s worth noting that UTSA appears to be a weakened version of their recent years. Nevertheless, the Vols don’t seem to have reached the same level as the team we witnessed in 2022. It’s reasonable to think that Joe Milton continues to be a factor in this, as the passing offense hasn’t displayed the potency it should with him as the quarterback.

20. Oregon State Beavers

Another team that faced a setback in Week 4 but won’t be penalized too harshly is Oregon State. They found themselves in a challenging game situation, trailing 35-14 on the road as they entered the fourth quarter. However, DJ Uiagalelei and the Beavers mounted a comeback, narrowing the deficit to just three points, although they ultimately ran out of time. It’s clear that Jonathan Smith’s team is resilient and will likely create disruptions in the Pac-12 as the season progresses.

19. Ole Miss Rebels

While some may argue for Ole Miss to drop out of the Top 25 rankings, I wouldn’t expect them to fall below the Top 20. Despite a second-half domination by Alabama, Lane Kiffin’s squad remained competitive until the closing minutes of the game. This Ole Miss team has shown significant improvement and is poised to create more challenges for SEC opponents in the future.

18. Miami Hurricanes

Miami wasn’t going to be in any danger when they traveled to Temple to play, given that the Owls had another disappointing season. Despite this, the Hurricanes appeared strong in all the right ways. With 139 yards and two touchdowns, Henry Parrish Jr. ran riot, while Tyler Van Dyke’s season-long total increased by three more touchdown passes. The defense performed admirably, as they ought to have, and interest in The U. keeps slowly building.

17. Duke Blue Devils

It’s becoming clear that Duke isn’t aiming for flashy wins this season. Perhaps that’s what Mike Elko prefers, as even when facing a visibly weaker UConn team, the Blue Devils didn’t seem to be going all out. The final score was a convincing 41-7 victory, but Duke doesn’t appear to be a team that will be focused on impressing with style points anytime soon for those who tune in to watch their games.

16. Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma has a history of not holding back when it comes to racking up points against their opponents, as we’ve witnessed earlier this season. That’s why there’s some cause for concern regarding their 20-6 victory over Cincinnati on the road. The Bearcats may not be as strong as they’ve been in the past, and the Sooners didn’t display the level of sharpness and precision we’ve come to expect. While a win is certainly a win, their performance wasn’t enough to warrant a rise in the rankings, and they remain at No. 16.

15. North Carolina Tar Heels

Historically, playing at Pitt has posed challenges for UNC, but Drake Maye and the Tar Heels sent a strong message on the road as they improved to a 4-0 record for the season. Maye played a pivotal role, contributing three touchdowns (one through the air and two on the ground). However, it was the North Carolina defense that truly shone after a somewhat rocky beginning, forcing two turnovers and guiding UNC to an important ACC triumph.

14. LSU Tigers

It’s safe to say that if someone claims to have a solid understanding of this LSU team after four games, they’re not being entirely truthful. In their Week 4 matchup at home against what appeared to be a struggling Arkansas team, LSU found itself in a tight battle late in the game. The Tigers managed to secure a 34-31 victory with a game-winning field goal in the final five seconds, but it was far from a confidence-inspiring performance considering the Razorbacks’ previous showings this season.

13. Washington State Cougars

It’s high time we stop underestimating Washington State. They earned their spot in the Top 25 with a convincing victory over Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago, but their performance on Saturday night in Pullman was even more impressive. In a clash of contrasting styles against Oregon State, Wazzu established a substantial lead and managed to secure the win at home. With a 4-0 record, including two wins against ranked opponents, the Cougars deserve a significant climb up the rankings.

12. Alabama Crimson Tide

After weeks of hearing praises for the Alabama Crimson Tide, it’s somewhat poetic that the outspoken Lane Kiffin’s team would be the target of a pseudo “get-right” game. Jalen Milroe reclaimed his role as the starter and had his moments, although the same could be said for Bama’s offensive line. However, the real story of this game was Alabama’s defense, particularly in the second half, which significantly eased the task for Milroe and the offense. This victory served as a much-needed confidence boost for Alabama and qualifies as a quality win against a ranked opponent.

11. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame shouldn’t experience a significant drop in the college football rankings. They had the victory nearly secured until Ohio State engineered an unlikely two-minute drive, culminating in the game-winning touchdown with just one second left on the clock. Despite the loss, the Irish demonstrated their ability to compete with a genuine playoff contender, and it’s clear that this team will present a formidable challenge to every opponent on their schedule. 

10. Utah Utes

Saturday was expected to mark the return of Cam Rising, but once again, Nate Johnson took the reins as Utah’s QB1, this time against a resurgent UCLA team at Rice-Eccles Stadium. However, it was the Utes’ defense that truly shone in this matchup, putting a halt to the early-career success of Dante Moore.

Utah’s offense only managed to put up 14 points, but in a low-scoring game, that was sufficient to maintain their undefeated record, despite still not having their starting quarterback on the field. If the Utes can achieve such success without a consistently reliable passing game, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to envision them being outmatched by any team, even in a Pac-12 conference that appears to be growing stronger with each passing week.

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9. Oregon Ducks

Considering the decisive victory that Dan Lanning’s Oregon achieved against Colorado on Saturday, some fans might argue that the Ducks should make a substantial move up the rankings. However, in these projections (with a hope for logical reasoning), they move up just one spot to No. 9.

In essence, what we witnessed was a genuinely top-tier Oregon team playing at home against a Colorado squad that had been somewhat overhyped due to its 3-0 start and was also missing its best player on both offense and defense, Travis Hunter. Under such circumstances, a lopsided contest was almost inevitable.

Bo Nix made it appear effortless in this game, especially against a struggling Colorado defense, which was to be expected. What was even more impressive was the way the Ducks’ defense completely shut down Shedeur Sanders and his teammates in a commanding 42-6 victory. This had been a concern for Oregon heading into the game, and they certainly rose to the occasion on a significant stage.

8. Washington Huskies (Playing against Cal)

As we release our projected college football rankings, one of the games just getting underway features Washington hosting the Cal Golden Bears in Week 4. Frankly, it doesn’t appear to bode well for the visiting Pac-12 team, given how dominant the Huskies have been in their 3-0 start under Kalen DeBoer.

Michael Penix Jr. has already amassed an impressive 1,332 passing yards, along with 12 touchdowns and just one interception. This is further facilitated by his access to one of the nation’s top groups of receivers. Washington has consistently scored over 40 points in each game and recently held Michigan State to a mere seven points in their clash in East Lansing. It might be time to consider this team a legitimate dark horse contender for the College Football Playoff.

7. Penn State Nittany Lions

Among the ranked-on-ranked matchups in Week 4, the Penn State versus Iowa clash in Happy Valley received relatively less attention, perhaps due to the prevailing and justified skepticism surrounding the Hawkeyes. However, James Franklin’s squad took to the field and delivered a performance befitting a Top 10 team and College Football Playoff contender.

Iowa’s offense, as often seen, struggled against the formidable Penn State defensive front on Saturday night. Granted, it did take Drew Allar and the Nittany Lions offense until the second half to hit their stride. But once they did, the lights went out for the Hawkeyes, and they found it nearly impossible to mount a response. Allar’s notable improvement is a positive sign for Penn State’s prospects going forward.

6. USC Trojans (Playing against Arizona State)

These initial Top 25 rankings are being released even before the USC game begins – it’s almost as if the game hasn’t kicked off yet. Nevertheless, this shouldn’t pose much of a challenge for the Trojans, even on the road in Tempe. Arizona State’s lineup has been a revolving door due to injuries and roster changes in the post-Herm Edwards era. So, facing off against Caleb Williams isn’t something they seem particularly equipped to handle.

However, lingering questions persist about USC as a whole. We can confidently expect that Williams and Lincoln Riley’s offense will put up some big numbers on the scoreboard. The recurring question, much like last season, revolves around whether Alex Grinch’s defense has made enough progress to prevent opponents from also racking up significant points. There have been some signs of improvement, but it remains a concern until they prove themselves against top-tier competition.

5. Ohio State Buckeyes

I have to admit, I was ready to drop Ohio State to No. 10 in the rankings and discuss their uphill battle to recover from the loss to Notre Dame. But then, a questionable play-call by the Irish with just two minutes left and a clutch drive led by Kyle McCord and the offense resulted in the game-winning touchdown by Chip Trayanum with just a second left on the clock.

However, the real hero of this win was Ohio State’s defense. They held back what had been a dominant Notre Dame offense for most of the game, putting the pressure on Sam Hartman to create opportunities. While Hartman did have his moments, the Buckeyes’ defense undeniably controlled a significant portion of the game.

I still have reservations about Ryan Day, McCord, and Ohio State’s overall potential, but this victory in South Bend is a significant statement. It should propel them ahead of USC, especially considering USC hasn’t faced a genuinely tough opponent in 2023.

4. Texas Longhorns

Last week, Texas climbed up the AP Top 25 rankings following a 31-10 victory over Wyoming. However, it appeared that many of the AP voters didn’t have access to the Longhorn Network, as the Longhorns struggled early in the game, with it tied 10-10 at one point. They seemed a bit sluggish in Laramie but managed to find their groove in the fourth quarter to secure the win. It wasn’t the most convincing performance, especially coming off their win against Alabama.

That’s why it was refreshing to see Texas bounce back in Waco with a convincing win over a somewhat average Baylor team.

Quinn Ewers didn’t have his best night, although he did manage to score both through the air and on the ground. Thankfully, Texas didn’t rely heavily on his performance. The defense dominated, and the running game was strong. The only blips on the radar were the two turnovers on fumbles, but they had no significant impact on the final outcome of the game.

3. Florida State Seminoles

Apart from Texas’s surprising win over Alabama, Florida State’s dominant performance in Week 1 against LSU still stands as one of the standout moments of the 2023 season. However, after a close call against Boston College in the previous week, there were concerns about the Seminoles as they hit the road to face a steadily improving Clemson team they hadn’t defeated in nearly a decade. They put those worries to rest with a thrilling overtime victory in Death Valley.

To be fair, FSU wasn’t flawless in their win on Saturday afternoon. Jordan Travis had some missed throws and didn’t maintain consistent precision throughout the game. They also got a stroke of luck with a missed field goal in the final minutes. But credit goes to the Noles for capitalizing on the opportunities that came their way. When it counted the most in overtime, Travis and Keon Coleman made a pivotal connection for a game-changing play, and the defense stepped up with a crucial stop, securing the victory and propelling FSU ahead of Texas in the Top 25 rankings.

2. Michigan Wolverines

Michigan is yet to showcase their full potential in a high-intensity game, and it wasn’t expected to happen against Rutgers. Even with Jim Harbaugh back on the sidelines, Rutgers managed to strike first with a 69-yard touchdown pass, but that was pretty much all they could muster against Michigan’s formidable defense.

J.J. McCarthy showed significant improvement compared to last week when he had an off day with three interceptions against a weaker Bowling Green team. This time, he threw just one touchdown pass against Rutgers but completed 15 out of 21 passes for 214 yards with no turnovers. Blake Corum continued his impressive form, tallying 97 rushing yards and two touchdowns. However, it was the defense that truly shined, and despite Michigan not needing to shift into high gear, they secured a solid 31-7 victory in Big Ten action.

1. Georgia Bulldogs

Just like the way Michigan’s been playing, the Georgia Bulldogs have had their moments of uncertainty this season. Despite a relatively easy schedule for Kirby Smart’s squad, we might not truly gauge their potential until the SEC Championship Game – or possibly in matchups against Florida and Tennessee, because rivalry games are always a chance to make a statement.

This trend continued in their recent game against UAB. While the defense allowed 14 points in the first half, the outcome never seemed in jeopardy for UGA. They really locked in after halftime and their offense seemed unstoppable. What caught our attention and gave us hope was Carson Beck’s performance; he let it rip, racking up over 300 yards and tossing three touchdowns, with two of them landing in Brock Bowers’ hands. It’s worth noting that UAB’s defense isn’t particularly strong, but for those who had doubts about Stetson Bennett’s replacement, this was a reassuring sight.

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Ingrid Mueller

Ingrid Mueller, a literary expert with a Ph.D. in Literature from Yale University, brings a touch of artistry to her writing. Her critical analyses and cultural insights provide a fresh perspective on trending news. Ingrid's articles are a treat for those seeking a deeper understanding of the world around them. Explore the trends through her unique lens.

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