It took Jim Harbaugh all of four games to get Michigan into the AP Top 25, where the Wolverines check in this week at No. 22 after a 31-0 win over BYU on Saturday. The Wolverines didn't even receive AP votes last week and haven't ranked since Nov. 2, 2013.
The big gainer this week is LSU, which outlasted Syracuse on the field and impressed the computers in the meantime.
This was an odd weekend of games, and nothing was odder than Utah slapping an Oregon-style beating on the Ducks themselves. The Utes went on a 62-20 romp that included this bizarre punt return touchdown and a running back throwing for a score. The Ducks, College Football Playoff finalists not even nine months ago, are out of the AP Poll altogether while barely staying in the Coaches Poll.
There was turbulence at the top of the rankings. TCU narrowly averted disaster in an outrageous game against Texas Tech, and Ole Miss followed up a win against Alabama with a far less convincing victory against Vanderbilt. In calmer waters, Ohio State looked decidedly more Ohio State-ly this week in beating Western Michigan, and Baylor crushed Rice.
Here's a roundup of two big polls and two big rankings, with explanations below.
|Composite ranking||Change||Average ranking|
|1||Ohio State (45)||Ohio State (61)||Alabama||Ohio State|
|2||Michigan State (5)||Michigan State (2)||Florida State||Ole Miss|
|3||Ole Miss (10)||TCU||West Virginia||UCLA|
|5||Baylor||Ole Miss (1)||Ole Miss||Georgia|
|7||UCLA||Notre Dame||Ohio State||Utah|
|9||LSU||Florida State||USC||Michigan State|
|12||Clemson||Utah||Notre Dame||Florida State|
|14||Texas A&M||Oklahoma||UCLA||Notre Dame|
|15||Oklahoma||Texas A&M||Michigan State||Texas A&M|
|21||Mississippi State||West Virginia||Florida||Michigan|
|22||Michigan||Mississippi State||Penn State||Wisconsin|
|23||West Virginia||Florida||Tennessee||Mississippi State|
|24||Cal||Cal (tie)||Miami||Kansas State|
|25||Florida||Oregon (tie)||Texas A&M||NC State|
The four rankings we use:
The Associated Press Top 25: The longest-running and best-respected human poll. Didn't have any official bearing on the latter years of the BCS, and won't have any official bearing on the Playoff. Expect it to set the course for the committee, however, as most outlets (including SB Nation) will use the AP's rankings as the standard until the committee takes over in November. Usually comes out on Sundays about 2 p.m. ET.
The USA Today Coaches Poll: Formerly part of the BCS, and now just a poll. It tends to be more conservative than the AP's. Though polling athletic departments in order to rank other athletic departments is dubious, we still want multiple human polls in here, and it's the other big one. Releases early Sunday afternoons.
The Massey computer composite: A collection of ... every rating out there, that will be included as soon as it is updated. By including it here, we're giving extra weight to the two human polls, since they're already two of the dozens of ratings included in the Massey. It changes over the course of the week as more rankings arrive.
Bill Connelly's S&P+ ratings: New here this week, we'll be using Connelly's efficiency- and explosiveness-based metric that parses each team's performance and adjusts it for strength of opposition. These ratings ultimately become part of each FBS team's advanced statistical profile.
* * *
SB Nation presents: The top 3 fake plays from this week in college football