The four undefeated teams at the top of the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll were all pushed to an extent this weekend but survived to retain their rank. But there is a new team in the top five, providing a small measure of clarity on the eve of rivalry weekend.
Georgia holds on to the No. 1 spot once again, named first on 59 of 62 ballots submitted this week. Ohio State remains No. 2 with one first-place nod, though the Buckeyes were in a four-quarter fight at Maryland. No. 3 Michigan had its first close call of the season but got past Illinois and now have a pair of first-place votes. TCU, with yet another narrow escape on a last-second field goal at Baylor, holds steady at No. 4.
Southern California replaces Tennessee in the top five. The Trojans outlasted cross-town rival UCLA to clinch a spot in the Pac-12 championship game. Tennessee slips to No. 11 after its stunning loss at unranked South Carolina.
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LSU climbs a notch to No. 6, followed by Alabama and Clemson. Oregon vaults four places to No. 9 after outlasting Utah to move a step closer to a date with USC for the Pac-12 title. Penn State rounds out the top 10 as Utah falls to 14th.
Oregon State, which will host Oregon next week, moves into the poll at No. 22. No. 24 Texas also returns, and Texas-San Antonio joins the rankings at No. 25.
Central Florida, Oklahoma State and North Carolina State are the week’s dropouts.