Tennessee moved up to No. 3 in The Associated Press’s college football poll, behind No. 1 Georgia and No. 2 Ohio State after defeating Alabama.
The Crimson Tide were one of five unbeaten teams to fall in a wild weekend, falling three places in the AP Top 25 to No. 6. Alabama traded places with the Volunteers after they lost to a field goal 52-49 on Saturday.
Georgia remained the No. 1, receiving 31 first-place votes, while Ohio State had 17 first-place votes.
The Volunteers received 15 first-place votes and have their best finish since the start of the 2005 season at No. 3. The last time Tennessee was ranked this high in the second half of the season was in 2001, when it made the top 10 in late October and was on the rise to the SEC Championship at No. 2.
No. 4 Michigan moved up a spot on Sunday, swapping places with No. 5 Clemson after the Wolverines were now flown out — No. 16 Pennsylvania State.
No. 7 Ole Miss moved up two spots, and No. 8 TCU, No. 9 UCLA and No. 10 Oregon all moved up in the top 10.
The Crimson Tide had lost its string of 40 consecutive top five appearances. It was the longest active period of its kind in the country.
Georgia now has the longest streak of top five appearances at 24.
The Tide’s final top five run is only the third longest of the Saban era. Her 68 consecutive top 5 finishes from 2015-2019 is the AP poll record, and a string of 48 consecutive top 5 finishes from 2011-2013 is fourth.
EXPLAIN YOUR VOTE
Tennessee campaigned to become the country’s No. 1 team, and it swayed some voters.
Those who bought into the volunteers cited a resume that included four wins against teams that were ranked at the time (in Pitt, Fla., at LSU, and in Alabama).
“I voted Tennessee No. 1 because the Vols’ schedule is far superior to the UGA and Ohio State,” said Ron Counts of the Idaho Statesman in Boise.
For comparison, Georgia has played only one team (Oregon) that has been ranked at any point this season. Ohio State has played three even though only one was ranked at the time (Notre Dame), and all of those opponents have at least three losses.
Also, beating Alabama doesn’t happen often and carries a lot of weight with voters. No team has beaten a team with a better ranking at the time of the game this season than Tennessee.
“It was a tough decision between Tennessee and Georgia for the No. 1,” said The Wichita (Kansas) Eagle’s Kellis Robinett. “I’ve picked the Bulldogs ahead of everyone else for a few weeks now, largely because their overwhelming victory over Oregon has aged like fine wine. But I think beating Alabama is a little more impressive.”
So why only No. 3 for Tennessee?
That argument falls flat for some voters, who were less impressed by victories over Florida and Pitt and give Georgia and Ohio states the credit for being more dominant overall.
“I’ve been in Tennessee all year, but I don’t think it’s any kind of snub this week to put her at No. 3,” said Mike Barber of the Richmond, Virginia, Times-Dispatch.
• North Carolina, No. 22, will be rated for the first time this season.
• #25 Tulane is this week’s breakthrough team. The Green Wave (6-1) are ranked for the first time since 1998 when quarterback Shaun King led them to an undefeated season and ranked 7th in the final top 25.
• Kansas has lost two games in a row after surviving a 13-year poll drought and is once again unranked.
• James Madison is eliminated after becoming the first team to be credited in his first season as an FBS member. The Dukes lost 45-38 on the road at new Sun Belt rivals Georgia Southern.
SEC – 6 (#1, 3, 6, 7, 19, 24)
ACC – 5 (#5, 13, 14, 22, 23)
Big 12 – 4 (Nos. 8, 11, 17, 20)
Big Ten – 4 (Nos. 2, 4, 16, 18)
Pac-12 – 4 (#9, 10, 12, 15)
American – 2 (Nos. 21, 25)
RANKED vs RANKED
After six games in which ranked teams met last weekend, five more are on the agenda, including the first top-10 matchup in the Pac-12 since the 2016 conference championship game (No. 4 Washington and No. 9 Colorado).
No. 14 Syracuse at No. 5 Clemson
No. 20 Texas in No. 11 Oklahoma State
No. 9 UCLA at No. 10 Oregon
No. 24, State of Mississippi, No. 6, Alabama
No. 17 Kansas State at No. 8 TCU
https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/34809109/tennessee-jumps-no-3-ap-poll-alabama-falls-6th Tennessee jumps to No. 3 in AP poll; Alabama falls to 6th