Clemson's resounding 58-0 win over Miami caught the nation's attention, and the Tigers moved up to No. 3 in the AP poll. The Tigers assumed the spot vacated by Utah after the Utes were demolished by Southern Cal. The other notable result was Florida State's shocking loss to Georgia Tech, which resulted in the Seminoles plummeting from the top 10 to No. 17. This is the last week we will be examining the AP poll, as we will shift to the College Football Playoff poll next week after its first release.
1. Ohio State (Last Week: 1)
The Buckeyes did their best to justify their No. 1 ranking for the second week in a row with a dismantling of Rutgers.
2. Baylor (Last Week: 2)
Baylor handled Iowa State, but the Bears were dealt a devastating blow with a season-ending injury to quarterback Seth Russell. The skill position talent remains — and it may be a rush to judgment drop the Bears without seeing them play a full game with their backup (See: Ohio State, 2014) — but Baylor's playoff hopes are now teetering.
3. Clemson (Last Week: 6)
Clemson blasted Miami and put the final nail in Al Golden's proverbial coffin, and the voters rewarded the Tigers by elevating them to No. 3. Some have argued the Tigers should be higher, but simply winning games continues to be Clemson's recipe for a playoff berth.
4. LSU (Last Week: 5)
Shook off a sluggish start and disposed of a decent Western Kentucky team. LSU was given the same treatment Clemson was a week prior, when the Bayou Tigers notched the week's more impressive win and jumped the other in the rankings.
5. TCU (Last Week: 4)
Clemson and LSU moved above the Horned Frogs, who were on a bye week. TCU now has to be the favorite in the Big XII with a home tilt against a Seth Russell-less Baylor, but an insane November schedule in that league makes a playoff run anything but a certainty.
6. Michigan State (Last Week: 7)
Sparty led Indiana by just two points after three quarters before a 24-0 fourth turned the game into a blowout. We continue to not be particularly impressed with Michigan State's wins, but it still controls its own playoff destiny.
7. Alabama (Last Week: 8)
The Tide needed a late touchdown with two minutes left to escape Tennessee at home. Any other team would be chided for such a win, but Alabama will be commended for overcoming adversity. On a related note, get a load of this guy who ignored the fact that Alabama has a loss and voted them No. 1 because of "who they've beaten" — which is also known as "zero teams currently ranked in the top 25."
8. Stanford (Last Week: 10)
Stanford continues rolling right along, and there is no doubt in my mind the Cardinal are better than Alabama at this juncture. We can't expect the rankings to reflect that, however.
9. Notre Dame (Last Week: 11)
Notre Dame returns to the top 10, which we believed they would in due time. I expect the Irish to still have just one loss when they face Stanford at season's end, and that could very well be a playoff elimination game by the time we get there.
10. Iowa (Last Week: 12)
Iowa is still lurking with an undefeated record, but I can't help but think — despite their laughable schedule down the stretch — the Hawkeyes will stumble at some point.
11. Florida (Last Week: 13)
Assuming Treon Harris can fill in adequately at quarterback, the Gators are far from out of the playoff race. A win over Georgia this weekend would all but assure them a spot in the SEC title game, and a win there (provided they still have just one loss) would likely present a compelling playoff case.
12. Oklahoma State (Last Week: 14)
The Cowboys continue to live life as a second-tier undefeated team, but they will have their opportunities to show their worth down the stretch with home games against the Big XII's heavyweights.
13. Utah (Last Week: 3)
We all knew it was coming eventually, and Utah finally fell from the ranks of the unbeaten as USC intercepted Travis Wilson four times and put a hurting on the Utes. They're not out of the race, but it's an uphill battle that would likely end with a date with Stanford, who I guarantee Utah would not beat.
14. Oklahoma (Last Week: 17)
Credit the Sooners, who have bounced back from what now seems like an anomalous loss to Texas with back-to-back blowout wins. The margin for error is small, but the Sooners will have chances late in the season to re-assert themselves as a playoff threat.
15. Michigan (Last Week: 15)
The Wolverines got an extra week to stew in their disastrous loss to Michigan State, and they should take out their frustrations on disappointing Minnesota.
16. Memphis (Last Week: 18)
Memphis gets just one more cakewalk before reaching the meat of its AAC schedule. Paxton Lynch and Co. continue to put up stupid offensive numbers.
17. Florida State (Last Week: 9)
The Seminoles controlled their own playoff destiny despite underwhelming throughout the season, but Georgia Tech's block six as time expired put Florida State's CFP hopes on life support.
18. Houston (Last Week: 21)
The Cougs get a random interconference battle with Vanderbilt this week, whose underrated defense may actually be a pretty good test for that high-flying offense.
19. Ole Miss (Last Week: 24)
The Rebels embarrassed a now reeling Texas A&M team but still have virtually no shot at re-entering the playoff conversation.
20. Toledo (Last Week: 19)
In a bizarre game, Toledo trailed UMass 28-10 at the half but scored 38 unanswered points in the second half to win its seventh in a row.
21. Temple (Last Week: 22)
The Owls can prove they are the real deal if they can knock off Notre Dame on Saturday night, but I don't see them hanging with the Irish.
22. Duke (Last Week: 23)
Duke emerged victorious after four overtimes against Virginia Tech and now hosts Miami in the Hurricanes' first game without Al Golden at the helm.
23. Pittsburgh (Last Week: 23)
Pitt avoided disaster at Syracuse with a game-winning field goal and has a Thursday-night matchup with North Carolina that will go a long way toward determining the ACC Coastal winner.
24. UCLA (Last Week: NR)
Oh, no! They're back! Seriously though, the Bruins' beatdown of Cal makes their inclusion reasonable. Talk about a Jekyll and Hyde team though...
25. Mississippi State (Last Week: NR)
The Bulldogs have become the poster child for sneaking back into the rankings after doing nothing of note.