The Associated Press (AP) Top 25 college football rankings for Week 8 see a shift in the Top Ten that some might find surprising: the Alabama Crimson Tide are the new #1 team in the nation. A strong win over the formidable #22 South Carolina Gamecocks (who only dropped one position in the poll) and the strength of their schedule, not to mention a weak showing by the previously top-ranked Florida Gators (or perhaps a strong showing by the surprising Arkansas Razorbacks), led to Alabama being placed atop the AP Top 25 college rankings Poll for Week 8. It is the first time Florida has not enjoyed the #1 position during the 2009 season. A close vote, Alabama’s lift over Florida was only by 13 points from the AP pollsters.
But if one were paying attention, one could have heard the shift coming to the college football rankings in the last two weeks. Comments about Alabama’s defense, how they seemed to be improving week-to-week, how they were defeating ranked football teams (Florida is also a victim of a relatively weak schedule) and had a tougher schedule overall. But when they were forced to kick a field goal to win over unranked and twice-defeated Arkansas, a team that had several chances to score touchdowns instead of field goals (plus missed a late field goal) and might easily have defeated Florida, the edge among the AP pollsters may seem to have gone to Alabama.
Alabama’s and Florida’s schedules are comparable for the rest of the season so a poor showing by Alabama and stronger play by Florida might see these two teams bouncing in and out of the #1 position until the end of the year.
The No. 3 Texas Longhorns remained at that spot in the AP Poll for the second week, having a difficult time holding off the battered but tough Oklahoma Sooners in the 104th edition of the Red River Shootout.
The previous #4 Virginia Tech Hokies fell for the second time this year (they lost their first game against Alabama) in Atlanta Saturday night to a very tenacious #19 Georgia Tech team. They subsequently tumbled to #15, the furthest fall in the AP Top 25 college football rankings. Georgia Tech was rewarded for their victory by the AP Top 25 pollsters by finding themselves ranked No. 11 for Week 8.
USC took Virginia Tech’s place at #4 moving up two spots, holding off a couple of last second pass plays to beat previously ranked #25 Notre Dame, whose loss dropped them out of the AP Top 25 college football rankings for Week 8.
Cincinnati jumped from #8 to #5 after beating #21 and undefeated South Florida. Boise State, for the second time this season, finds themselves dropped a position to #6, even though they continue to win. They beat Tulsa by a touchdown (which might also be why they fell a notch instead of rising).
Iowa jumped into the Top 10, putting together their seventh win of the season. They beat a good once-beaten Wisconsin team. They also jumped over Miami and LSU to land at the #7 spot. Last week’s #7 team, Ohio State, lost to Purdue, who had only won one game previous to Saturday’s match-up. Ohiot State joins Virginia Tech in the longest tumble, falling 11 places to #18 in Week 8’s AP Top 25 Poll.
Miami and idle LSU both moved up one position to land at #8 and #9, respectively. And TCU recovered their No. 10 spot they held two weeks ago, returning on the back of a win over Colorado State.
Another game of note: Texas Tech upset #15 Nebraska to knock them out of the AP Top 25 Poll for Week 8. On the strength of that victory, Texas Tech jumped into the college football rankings at #21.
And once-beaten West Virginia entered the AP Top 25 Poll at #22 after defeating intrastate rivals, Marshall. West Virginia’s arch rivals, Pittsburgh, entered the college football rankings as well, jumping in at #20. Pitt has only lost one game as well.
There are still seven undefeated teams at the end of Week 8. Oklahoma, with three losses is the only team in the AP Top 25 Poll (#25) with so many losses. Last week they were the only team with two losses still in the Top 25. Four teams with two losses populate the Top 25 this week (#15 Virginia Tech, #18 Ohio State, #21 Texas Tech, and #23 South Carolina).
The AP Top 25 College Football Rankings Poll (Week 8)
6. Boise State
8. Miami (Fla.)
11. Georgia Tech
13. Penn State
14. Oklahoma State
15. Virginia Tech
16. Brigham Young
18. Ohio State
21. Texas Tech
22. West Virginia
23. South Carolina
For comparison, see the AP Top 25 College Football Rankings (Week 7).
Associated Press (via ESPN.go.com)