AP Top 25 college football poll reaction: What's next for each ranked team?

by Ricardo Gutierrez - With the release of the latest AP college football poll, here's what is up next for each team in the new rankings.

AP Top 25 college football poll reaction: What's next for each ranked team? play A new No. 1? Bama dropping in the rankings? Finebaum reveals his top 4 teams (1:08) After an eventful Week 6, Paul Finebaum reveals his top 4 rankings, including a change at the No. 1 position. (1:08) 12:50 PM ET ESPN staff The AP Top 25 college football poll is out after another wild weekend of games. But what happens from here? We break down what's next for each ranked team. 1. Georgia Bulldogs (6-0) Previous ranking: 2 Week 6 result: Defeated Auburn 42-10 What's next: vs. Vanderbilt (Saturday, 3:30 ET) Halfway through the 2022 season, Georgia still seems to be figuring out who it is on offense. Coach Kirby Smart wanted to open up the passing game in the opener against Oregon, and the Bulldogs were firing on all cylinders. But then receiver Adonai Mitchell joined Arian Smith on the injured list, and the Bulldogs couldn't produce many explosive plays down the field. The second half of Saturday's 49-10 victory against Auburn might prove to be a blueprint for what's next. Georgia ran for 292 yards, with freshman Branson Robinson running for 98 yards with one score and Daijun Edwards gaining 83 yards with three scores. Georgia's offensive line wore the Tigers down and pushed them around in the final two quarters. -- Mark Schlabach 2. Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0) Previous ranking: 3 Week 6 result: Defeated Michigan State 49-20 What's next: vs. Iowa (Saturday, Oct. 22) The Buckeyes easily defeated Michigan State in East Lansing to remain undefeated, but the team was missing running back Miyan Williams and saw TreVeyon Henderson leave the game with an injury. The team was already without receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, so the goal will be to get healthy as they move closer to the game at Penn State on Oct. 29. Despite the injuries, the offense has not shown many holes and the defense has not allowed more than 21 points in a game. -- Tom VanHaaren 3. Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0) Previous ranking: 1 Week 6 result: Defeated Texas A&M 24-20 What's next: at Tennessee (Saturday, 3:30 ET) If the Texas A&M game taught us anything, it's that Bryce Young is the key to Alabama's national championship hopes. Jalen Milroe is a talented young player with a strong arm and speed to spare, but he's not ready to start. And he's certainly not the caliber of Young, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. The way Young can manipulate the pocket and make something out of nothing -- and not turn the football over -- is vital to an Alabama offense that isn't exactly overflowing with playmakers at receiver. -- Alex Scarborough 4. Clemson Tigers (6-0) Previous ranking: 5 Week 6 result: Defeated Boston College 31-3 What's next: at Florida State (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET) Despite not having Bryan Bresee (kidney infection), Clemson's defense seemingly has hit its stride midway through the season, allowing just 23 points the past two weeks. Coordinator Wes Goodwin's pressuring scheme worked well in the Boston College game, but Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis will present a different challenge because of his mobility. The Tigers have won six straight against the Seminoles but will face the best FSU team they've seen in years. Clemson remains in control of the ACC, but the next two games against Florida State and Syracuse will tell a lot. -- Rittenberg 5. Michigan Wolverines (6-0) Previous ranking: 4 Week 6 result: Defeated Indiana 31-10 What's next: vs. Penn State (Saturday, Noon ET) The Wolverines held off a test from Iowa in Week 5 and then Indiana this week to remain undefeated on the season. The team is 6-0 for the second year in a row, but now has to play against an undefeated Penn State team coming off of a bye week. The Nittany Lions have been improved in most offensive categories, including the running game, and are traveling to Ann Arbor. Michigan will then have a bye to rest for in-state rival Michigan State the following week. -- Tom VanHaaren 6. Tennessee Volunteers (5-0) Previous ranking: 8 Week 6 result: Defeated LSU 40-13 What's next: vs. Alabama (Saturday, 3:30 ET) Good luck in finding a bigger Alabama-Tennessee game over the past two decades than the one this Saturday in Neyland Stadium. The Vols are playing their best football in years under second-year coach Josh Heupel and are coming off a 40-13 rout of LSU on the road. This will be the first time Tennessee has been unbeaten going into the Alabama game since the Vols' 1998 national championship season. Tennessee's top receiver, Cedric Tillman, has missed the past two games after a surgical procedure on his left ankle, but has a chance to be back for this game. Even without Tillman, the Vols are averaging 46.8 points per game. -- Chris Low 7. USC Trojans (6-0) Previous ranking: 6 Week 6 result: Defeated Washington State 30-14 What's next: at Utah (Saturday, 8 ET) The Trojans' trip to Utah lost a bit of luster after the Utes couldn't beat USC's rival, UCLA, on Saturday. Still, Utah will likely remain ranked and present USC with what remains one of their toughest matchups on the schedule. No trip to Salt Lake City is ever dull or easy for USC and this will be Lincoln Riley's first. Win and it becomes even easier to see the Trojans as a playoff contender and the prohibitive favorite in the Pac-12. -- Paolo Uggetti 8. Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-0) Previous ranking: 7 Week 6 result: Defeated Texas Tech, 41-31 What's next: at TCU (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET) There are no bad teams in the Big 12 this year. (Well, it might be TBD on Oklahoma, but otherwise, no bad teams.) That's very good from an entertainment standpoint, but it's rough for an unbeaten. OSU outlasted Texas Tech on Saturday to move to 5-0; the Cowboys' reward: a trip to play unbeaten TCU, then a visit from Texas, then trips to Kansas State and Kansas. There are no rest games, but OSU showed resolve, physicality and explosiveness to get past Tech -- quarterback Spencer Sanders completed six passes of 20-plus yards, and the Cowboys' defense recorded 14 tackles for loss. With that kind of explosiveness, you can beat anyone. -- Bill Connelly 9. Ole Miss Rebels (6-0) Previous ranking: 9 Week 6 result: Defeated Vanderbilt 52-28 What's next: vs. Auburn (Saturday, noon ET) It's been a heck of a run for Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss. The Rebels are 17-3 in their past 20 games going back to the end of the 2020 season after beating Vanderbilt 52-28 on the road. They return home against a struggling Auburn team with a chance to improve to 7-0 on the season. Ole Miss' running game has been strong all season, but the Rebels also opened up their passing game in the win over Vanderbilt. Taking care of business against Auburn at home will be key for Ole Miss, because three of the Rebels' next three games are on the road against LSU, Texas A&M and Arkansas, and the home game in that stretch is against Alabama. -- Low 10. Penn State Nittany Lions (5-0) Previous ranking: 10 Week 6 result: bye What's next: at Michigan (Saturday, noon ET) After committing five turnovers -- including four fumbles -- during a sloppy victory over Northwestern on Oct. 1, Penn State knows that can't become a trend. It was the first time this season the team had committed multiple turnovers in a game. Two freshmen (Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen) are pacing a Nittany Lions rushing attack that's averaging 192.6 yards -- a big jump over the 107.8 yards it churned out last season, which ranked 13th in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions travel to Ann Arbor before home dates with Minnesota (Oct. 22) and Ohio State (Oct. 29) beckon. -- Blake Baumgartner 11. UCLA Bruins (6-0) Previous ranking: 18 Week 6 result: Defeated Utah 42-32 What's next: at Oregon (Saturday, Oct. 22) A well-earned bye week comes at the perfect time for UCLA. Not many people expected the Bruins to be 6-0 heading into the break, but now that they are, all eyes are on a matchup against Oregon the following week. After completing two underdog victories at home, UCLA will have to prove their pedigree on the road against a team that has dominated since losing to Georgia in the season opener and also has a bye week to prepare. -- Paolo Uggetti 12. Oregon Ducks (5-1) Previous ranking: 12 Week 6 result: Defeated Arizona 49-22 What's next: vs. UCLA (Saturday, Oct. 22) Oregon's offense is rolling. The Ducks have scored at least 41 points in five straight games and head into their bye week ahead of an important clash at home against undefeated UCLA on Oct. 22. The Ducks, Bruins and USC are the remaining undefeated teams in Pac-12 play, making this one of the most important games left on the conference schedule - especially since Oregon won't play USC. -- Kyle Bonagura 13. TCU Horned Frogs (5-0) Previous ranking: 17 Week 6 result: Defeated Kansas 38-31 What's next: vs. Oklahoma State (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET) The Horned Frogs face another undefeated matchup for the second straight weekend when they host Oklahoma State. Once again, there is another intriguing battle between quarterbacks -- Max Duggan vs. Spencer Sanders will grab all the headlines with plenty on the line in the conference race. TCU and Oklahoma State are the last two unbeatens in the Big 12, but three other teams have a loss each. -- Andrea Adelson 14. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-1) Previous ranking: 15 Week 6 result: Defeated Army 45-10 What's next: vs. Boston College (Saturday, Oct. 22) The Clemson loss hasn't derailed the Demon Deacons, who have recorded two impressive wins and enter an open week feeling good about their chances for the stretch run. They continue a manageable stretch against Boston College before visiting Louisville. If the Deacs' defense continues on its trajectory, the team should be 6-1 entering a key stretch with NC State (road), North Carolina (home) and Syracuse (home). -- Adam Rittenberg 15. NC State Wolfpack (5-1) Previous ranking: 14 Week 6 result: Defeated Florida State 19-17 What's next: at Syracuse (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET) Quarterback Devin Leary's shoulder injury is the immediate concern, as NC State will struggle to generate any type of passing offense without him. But the Wolfpack have been saved by their playmaking defense, which has overcome Leary's uneven performances to secure narrow wins over East Carolina and Florida State on Saturday. NC State is set to visit undefeated Syracuse, which comes off of an open week. The Wolfpack have won three of the teams' past four games in the JMA Wireless Dome. -- Rittenberg 16. Mississippi State Bulldogs (5-1) Previous ranking: 23 Week 6 result: Defeated Arkansas 40-17 What's next: at Kentucky (Saturday, 7:30 ET) Mike Leach's Air Raid offense is humming along after beating Arkansas and extending the Bulldogs' winning streak to three games. With a talented veteran quarterback in Will Rogers, State has been dynamic offensively this season, averaging 38.5 points and 354.6 yards passing per game. And with Dillon Johnson rushing for more than 400 yards this season, there's much-needed balance to keep the defensive front honest. -- Alex Scarborough 17. Kansas State Wildcats (5-1) Previous ranking: 20 Week 6 result: Defeated Iowa State 10-9 What's next: vs. TCU (Saturday, Oct. 22) The 5-1 Wildcats are 3-0 in the Big 12 heading into a bye week, but they'll jump right into the fire of the conference race when they travel to 5-0 TCU, then follow with home games against 5-0 Oklahoma State and a resurgent Texas team. -- Dave Wilson 18. Syracuse Orange (5-0) Previous ranking: 22 Week 6 result: bye What's next: vs. NC State (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET) The Orange are 5-0 for the first time in 35 years. While sophomore running back Sean Tucker (546 yards, five TDs) is quickly appearing on opposing teams' radars, perhaps the progress of junior quarterback Garrett Shrader (1,224 passing yards, 10 TDs) holds the key to their fortunes the rest of the way. Shrader was literally perfect last week against Wagner, going 17-for-17 passing and has completed 70.9% of his passes for the season -- a big leap forward from last season's 52.6%. Their next two games -- vs. North Carolina State and at Clemson on Oct. 22 -- will answer a lot more questions about where they lie in the ACC's pecking order. -- Baumgartner 19. Kansas Jayhawks (5-1) Previous ranking: 19 Week 6 result: Lost to TCU 38-31 What's next: at Oklahoma (Saturday, Noon ET) The health of quarterback Jalon Daniels is the immediate concern this week for the Jayhawks, who face the struggling Sooners. After the loss to TCU, when Daniels hurt his right shoulder, coach Lance Leipold said he would have more information after Daniels undergoes more tests. It was the Oklahoma game a year ago -- in which Kansas led by double digits multiple times -- that showed the Jayhawks may just be turning a corner. Oklahoma has lost three straight games, and it suddenly appears Kansas might the favorite in this matchup. -- Andrea Adelson 20. Utah Utes (4-2) Previous ranking: 11 Week 6 result: Lost to UCLA 42-32 What's next: vs. USC (Saturday, 8 ET) The Utes will try their best to bounce back in a big way when they welcome USC to town. The matchup has certainly lost a bit of juice since Utah lost to UCLA, but it will still feature two ranked teams with plenty on the line: The Trojans will try to remain undefeated, while Utah likely needs to win out to give itself a shot at defending the Pac-12 title. -- Paolo Uggetti 21. Cincinnati Bearcats (5-1) Previous ranking: 24 Week 6 result: Defeated South Florida 28-24 What's next: at SMU (Saturday, Oct. 22) Cincinnati has now rattled off a five-game winning streak since dropping its season opener against Arkansas. Led by senior running back Charles McClelland, the Bearcats' running game woke up in the second half against the Bulls. After rushing for only 60 yards in the first half as a team, Cincinnati's offense churned out 161 yards on the ground in the second half as they secured a 30th straight victory at Nippert Stadium. McClelland recorded a career high with his 179 rushing yards. Luke Fickell is now tied with Rick Minter atop the program record book for career victories (53). Fickell's next two opportunities to establish some Bearcats history will come on the road against SMU (Oct. 22) and Central Florida (Oct. 29) after his team enjoys a week off. -- Baumgartner 22. Kentucky Wildcats (4-2) Previous ranking: 13 Week 6 result: Lost to South Carolina 24-14 What's next: vs. Mississippi State (Saturday, 7:30 ET) With star quarterback Will Levis out with an injury, the Wildcats fell short to SEC East rival South Carolina, 24-14. Mark Stoops' squad needs Levis to get healthy in a hurry. Its next two games are against No. 16 Mississippi State this Saturday then, after an off week, will travel to Knoxville to face the red-hot Tennessee Volunteers. 22. Texas Longhorns (4-2) Previous ranking: unranked Week 6 result: Defeated Oklahoma, 49-0 What's next: vs. Iowa State (Saturday, noon ET) After snapping a four-game skid to OU, the Longhorns are 4-2, having lost those two to Alabama and Texas Tech by a total of three points. But there's quite a stretch coming up in the Big 12, beginning with a home game against Iowa State, which has won three straight against the Longhorns, including a 30-7 win last year. Then they'll get the three teams sitting atop the Big 12 standings, at Oklahoma State, at Kansas State, then a home game against TCU on Nov. 12. We'll find out soon if the Longhorns' turnaround is for real. -- Dave Wilson 24. Illinois Fighting Illini (5-1) Previous ranking: unranked Week 6 result: Defeated Iowa, 9-6 What's next: vs. Minnesota (Saturday, noon ET) Bret Bielema's squad makes its debut appearance in the AP Top 25 this week, riding a dominant defense in to the rankings. During Illinois' four-game winning streak, the team has had opponents under 100 rushing yards and with zero rushing touchdowns in each game. Now the Illini host Minnesota before an off week. 25. James Madison Dukes (5-0) Previous ranking: unranked Week 6 result: Defeated Arkansas State 42-20 What's next: at Georgia Southern (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET) Curt Cignetti's Dukes are ranked in their very first season in FBS. They're unbeaten in Sun Belt play, and they could be favored in every remaining conference game. The defense is allowing only 15 points per game, and Todd Centeio (1,312 passing yards, 15 TDs, one interception) has flawlessly piloted a strong offense. This is easily the best FBS debut since 2014, when Georgia Southern went 9-3. Next up? Georgia Southern! The Eagles are 3-3 after a loss to rival Georgia State, but trips to Statesboro have tripped up plenty of hot Sun Belt teams through the years. -- Connelly