AP top 5 teams look­ing to keep the mo­men­tum

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Ralph D. Russo

The top 5 in The AP poll are firmly es­tab­lished. Now we will see how long they can stay that way. Alabama, Ohio State, Clem­son, Michigan and Wash­ing­ton held their places in the Top 25 re­leased Mon­day.

The top five in The As­so­ci­ated Press col­lege foot­ball poll have been firmly es­tab­lished. Now we will see how long they can stay that way.

No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Clem­son, No. 4 Michigan and No. 5 Wash­ing­ton held their places in the Top 25 re­leased Mon­day af­ter blowout vic­to­ries this week. The Big Ten placed two more (No. 8 Wis­con­sin and No. 10 Nebraska) in the top 10 to give the con­fer­ence four in the first 10 dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son for the first time since 1960.

Good times for the Big Ten. Even with that whole Rut­gers thing. No. 6 Texas A&M and Wis­con­sin get a chance to give the top five a shake this week. But be­fore they do, time to heat check the rank­ings and see how the vot­ers did this. NO. 1 ALABAMA (6-0) The Crim­son Tide has scored nine touch­downs on ei­ther de­fense (seven) or spe­cial teams (two). South Carolina has scored 11 touch­downs to­tal in six games. Next: at No. 9 Tennessee. Heat check: Just right. NO. 2 OHIO STATE (5-0)

The lat­est edi­tion of Bosa is start­ing to have an im­pact on the Buck­eyes’ de­fense. Joey’s lit­tle brother, Nick, a fresh­man, had his best game against Indiana, in­clud­ing a key fourth-down stop. Next: at No. 8 Wis­con­sin. Heat check: Too hot, but just a touch. NO. 3 CLEM­SON (6-0) That slow start for the Tigers, which in ret­ro­spect was one sloppy game against Troy, seems like a long time ago. Dabo Swin­ney says the of­fense is ahead of where it was last sea­son at this same point. Next: North Carolina State. Heat check: Too cold, but just a touch. NO. 4 MICHIGAN (6-0) The Wolver­ines did their best to turn the Rut­gers game into a Heis­man cam­paign ad for Jabrill Pep­pers. Next: Illi­nois, Oct. 22 Heat check: Just right. NO. 5 WASH­ING­TON (6-0) The Huskies look like the one Pac-12 team that might rise above the mad­ness of the most bal­anced Power Five con­fer­ence. Next: Oregon State, Oct. 22 Heat check: Just right. NO. 7 TEXAS A&M (6-0) The Ag­gies get a week off to pre­pare for a game that could change ev­ery­thing about their sea­son. Next: at Alabama, Oct. 22 Heat check: Too hot. NO. 7 LOUISVILLE (4-1) The Car­di­nals took a hit with­out play­ing when Novem­ber op­po­nent Hous­ton lost. And they are en­ter­ing a five-week stretch of sched­ule where note­wor­thy vic­to­ries will be hard to come by. Next: Duke. Heat check: Too cold. Don’t for­get about the Car­di­nals. NO. 8 WIS­CON­SIN (4-1) Beating Michigan State is not look­ing so im­pres­sive any­more. Next: No. 2 Ohio State. Heat check: Too hot. NO. 9 TENNESSEE (5-1) The Vol­un­teers have com­mit­ted 16 turnovers. The only FBS teams with as many or more are Ken­tucky, Duke, Kansas and Bowl­ing Green. They are a com­bined 8-15. Strange stuff. Next: No. 1 Alabama. Heat check: Just right. Ku­dos to the vot­ers for not pun­ish­ing the Vols for their lat­est wild game.

NO. 10 NEBRASKA (5-0) The Corn­huskers have a chance to play a cou­ple of re­ally big games at Wis­con­sin and Ohio State, but first Indiana and Pur­due. Those Hoosiers could be tricky. Next: at Indiana. Heat check: Too hot. NO. 11 BAY­LOR (5-0) The Bears are go­ing to reach the mid­way point of the sea­son hav­ing played one team with a win­ning record. And maybe get into the top 10. Next: Kansas. Heat check: Too hot. NO. 12 MISSISSIPPI (3-2) The Rebels en­ter their tough­est stretch of their sea­son with con­sec­u­tive road games against No. 22 Arkansas and LSU, fol­lowed by a home game against No. 23 Auburn. Next: at No. 22 Arkansas Heat check: Too cold. NO. 13 HOUS­TON (5-1) From play­off hopes to Mi­ami Beach Bowl pos­si­bil­i­ties. Re­mem­ber, the Cougars can’t get to a New Year’s Six Bowl for the se­cond straight sea­son with­out win­ning their con­fer­ence and they can’t win the Amer­i­can if Navy doesn’t lose at least twice. Next: vs. Tulsa. Heat check: Too cold. NO. 14 FLORIDA STATE (4-2) Dalvin Cook still has time to get him­self back into the Heis­man Tro­phy con­ver­sa­tion. A few more games like he had against Mi­ami (150 yards rush­ing and a 59-yard touch­down re­cep­tion) will be needed. Next: vs. Wake For­est. Heat check: Too cold. NO. 15 BOISE STATE (5-0) With Hous­ton hav­ing lost, the Bron­cos be­come the best bet to be the Group of Five cham­pion to reach the New Year’s Six. Next: Colorado State. Heat check: Just right. NO. 16 MI­AMI (4-1) The Hur­ri­canes are not back — but they’re bet­ter. The loss to Florida State was prob­a­bly more im­pres­sive than all their wins. Next: vs. North Carolina. Heat check: Just right.

NO. 17 VIRGINIA TECH (4-1) The Hok­ies have a lit­tle of­fense to go with Bud Foster’s de­fense now — mak­ing that de­fense even bet­ter. Next: at Syra­cuse. Heat check: Too cold. NO. 18 FLORIDA (4-1) The LSU game was not post­poned be­cause Florida was duck­ing LSU. That’s ridicu­lous. But there prob­a­bly should have been a bet­ter at­tempt to get the game played. Next: vs. Missouri. Heat check: Too hot. NO. 19 OKLAHOMA (3-2) The rank­ings say one thing. Heat check says the Soon­ers are the Big 12’s best team. Next: Kansas State. Heat check: Too cold. NO. 20 WEST VIRGINIA (4-0) The vot­ers are leery of buy­ing in on the Moun­taineers. Though vic­to­ries against BYU and Kansas State are look­ing solid. Next: at Texas Tech. Heat check: Too cold. No. 21 Utah (5-1) The best team in the Pac-12 South? Why not? Next: at Oregon State. Heat check: Too cold. NO. 22 ARKANSAS (4-2) The of­fen­sive line is suspect. The run­ning game spotty. The de­fense gets pushed around. Bret Bielema has a team that doesn’t play like a Bret Bielema team. Next: No. 12 Mississippi. Heat check: Too hot. NO. 23 AUBURN (4-2) The Tigers are start­ing to find some of­fen­sive iden­tity to go with that good de­fense, but the next few weeks will de­ter­mine if this is a real turn­around. Next: No. 22 Arkansas, Oct. 22. Heat check: This seems le­git. Just right. NO. 24 WEST­ERN MICHIGAN (6-0) P.J. Fleck’s team rowed the boat into the Top 25 for the first time in school his­tory. Next: at Akron. Heat check: Just right. NO. 25 NAVY (4-1)

If you want to start think­ing big, the Mid­ship­men could make a strong case for a New Year’s Six bowl spot by run­ning the ta­ble and win­ning the Amer­i­can Ath­letic Con­fer­ence. That would also cause a headache for the se­lec­tion com­mit­tee, which would have to wait a week for Army-Navy to be played be­fore fi­nal­iz­ing the New Year’s Six bowls. Next: at East Carolina. Heat check: Just right.

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