Alabama’s big win over Mississippi didn’t keep Clemson from cutting into its lead in The Associated Press college football poll.
The defending national champion Tigers more than doubled their number of first-place votes after their 31-17 win over then-No. 12 Virginia Tech. Clemson lost ground a week ago after struggling for three quarters against Boston College, but its sharp performance against the Hokies took the Tigers from eight to 17 first-place votes Sunday .
The Tide went from 52 first-place votes last week to 44 despite their 66-3 rout of the Rebels.
The top four teams remained the same. Following Alabama and Clemson are Oklahoma, which lost the first-place vote it got last week, and Penn State.
Washington, Michigan, TCU, Wisconsin and Ohio State rounded out the top 10.
— Mississippi State is gone after its 49-10 loss at Auburn, the most lopsided game in the series since 1970. The Bulldogs, beaten by Georgia a week earlier, have been outscored 80-13 in two games.
— LSU’s 24-21 loss to Troy marked the Tigers’ first defeat in 50 nonconference games since 2000.
— North Carolina State returned to the poll for the first time since 2010. The Wolfpack are 4-1 for the fourth straight year and 2-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference play for the first time since 2006. They got points on their first five possessions in a 33-25 win over Syracuse.
— UCF is back for the first time since it was No. 10 in the final poll of 2013. The Knights have outscored opponents 139-40, including 40-13 over Memphis on Saturday.
The current longest streaks of consecutive poll appearances:
169 — Alabama. Last time unranked was final poll of 2007 season.
104 — Ohio State. Last time unranked was final poll of 2011 season.
56 — Clemson. Last time unranked was Nov. 16, 2014.
— Washington State climbed to No. 11 from No. 16 with its 30-27 win over Southern California. The Cougars beat a top-five team for the first time since 2003 and are 5-0 for the first time since opening 7-0 in 2001.
— No. 10 Ohio State is back in the top 10 after dropping out last week for the first time in 43 straight polls. The Buckeyes’ return gives the Big Ten four teams in the top 10.
— The loss to Washington State caused USC to topple from No. 5 to No. 14.
— Virginia Tech lost for the first time in five games since last season and slipped from No. 12 to No. 16.
ACC — 5
SEC — 4
Big 12 — 4
Pac 12 — 4
Big Ten — 4
American — 2
Mountain West — 1
Independent — 1
RANKED vs. RANKED
No. 17 Louisville at No. 24 North Carolina State, Thursday night. Wolfpack will try to avenge last year’s 54-13 loss, in which they rushed for 14 yards.
No. 23 West Virginia at No. 8 TCU. Mountaineers, who have scored 50 points in three straight games, take a big step up in competition.
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