The Associated Press Top 25 college football rankings saw quite a shake-up in Week 7 as the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide fell to the surprisingly resilient South Carolina Gamecocks. But Alabama wasn’t the only AP Top 25 Top 10 team to fall Saturday. Undefeated Arizona (#9) went down hard to Oregon State. Nor were Alabama and Arizona the only AP Top 25 football teams to suffer a loss: Miami (#13), Florida (#14), and Michigan (#18) lost as well. A week before the BCS rankings are to be released shows that the pursuit of the NCAA college football championship is still wide open.
Alabama took their top-ranked team into Columbia, South Carolina Saturday against a very prepared #19 Gamecocks squad. Although they scored first, Alabama made a few mistakes (fumble, poor secondary coverage) and, on the back of a near-perfect pass percentage from quarterback Stephen Garcia, South Carolina quickly took a 21-3 lead. They never lost it. Despite a comeback push early in the second half, Alabama’s touted defense was unable to stop South Carolina’s offense. Alabama’s 19-game win streak was halted, the national champions had finally suffered a defeat, and quarterback Greg McElroy lost his first game since the 8th grade.
South Carolina’s reward? They rose to #10. But Alabama only fell to #8. Although South Carolina fans may find the ranking somewhat unfair, they still can say they beat a team that hadn’t lost a regular season football game in over two years.
Ohio State ascended into the #1 position from the #2 rankings spot they’ve held all season, beating a tough Indiana squad.
Oregon rolled on to another victory over Washington State and moved up a spot to #3 in Week 7.
Boise State moved up one after crushing Toledo, 57-14. TCU did the same after decimating Wyoming, 45-0.
Nebraska vaulted over Oklahoma in Week 7 to land at #5 after an impressive victory over formerly undefeated Kansas State. Oklahoma remained at #6 after a bye week.
The #7 spot was taken by Alabama’s arch-rivals — Auburn. Ranked one spot above the Crimson Tide, the ranking sets up an extremely important match-up between the two intra-state and SEC conference giants, who will meet for the last game of the season.
Arizona found themselves in a dogfight with the always formidable Oregon State Beavers. By game’s end Oregon State simply outdistanced Arizona, winning the game by two points. Arizona’s #9 position was taken by an as yet undefeated LSU, which won their second straight SEC game in the final seconds of the game, taking down #14 Florida.
Interestingly, the SouthEast Conference anchors the Top 10, holding down the final four positions. They have six teams in the AP Top 25 (Arkansas, #12, and Florida, #22), making them by far the most dominant conference in the nation.
The team that benefitted the most (besides a patient Ohio State, of course) from the Alabama loss was South Carolina, moving up nine positions. The team that lost the most in the Week 7 rankings (besides Alabama’s loss of the #1 ranking, of course) was Arizona’s drop of ten spots to #19.
The team that seems to be the dark horse of the AP Top 25 college football rankings is Michigan State. Still undefeated, they knocked off undefeated intra-state and intra-Big 10 Conference rivals Michigan in convincing fashion Saturday, 34-17. Yet, they are ranked at #13. They could very well win the conference and remain undefeated. Ohio State still must play the bulk of their Big 10 schedule, including Iowa, Wisconsin, Penn State, and Michigan.
In fact, Ohio State defends their #1 ranking against #18 Wisconsin Saturday, setting up potential back-to-back #1 losses.
AP Top 25 College Football Rankings (Week 7)
1. Ohio State
3. Boise State
10. South Carolina
13. Michigan State
16. Florida State
20. Oklahoma State
23. Air Force
24. Oregon State
25. West Virginia
Compare to AP Top 25 college football rankings for Week 6.
Associated Press Top 25 Poll via ESPN.go.com