Each week, the Sports editorial team selects its Top 25 Division I college football teams for the Student Media Poll.
The SMP is a nationwide poll featuring 122 student journalists from all Football Bowl Subdivision conferences. There are voters from 69 different schools across 34 states.
The Post Sports will break down its ballots each week. Here are the top five, those it kicked out of the Top 25 and those it added:
Molly Burchard, Asst. Sports Editor
- Ohio State
Despite most teams being the same, Week 6 featured the most movement my Top 5 has seen. I’ve wanted to make many of these adjustments for a while but I didn’t have the guts to do so until now.
I’ve been hesitant to put Ohio State at No.1 because I am from Columbus, and for one, I don’t want to let that cloud my judgment. But ever since the Buckeyes won the College Football Playoff in 2015, I have had high expectations for them that they haven’t filled.
That is my flaw, but it finally felt like the right time to rank Ohio State as No. 1 after its 49-20 win at Michigan State Saturday. Quarterback CJ Stroud had more touchdowns than incompletions, which is a crazy statistic. Ohio State’s defense was also strong, holding Michigan State to just seven rushing yards.
Alabama fell to spot No. 3 after it almost lost to Texas A&M this week, which allowed Georgia to take its previous spot at No. 2. Per usual, Clemson stays at No. 4.
However, after its second lackluster win in a row, I couldn’t leave Michigan at No. 5. Its offensive struggles in the first three quarters against Indiana gave me the perfect excuse to drop Michigan and put Tennessee in its place. This may seem a little premature, but I have been impressed with the Volunteers since their Week 1 romp of Ball State, so I decided to elevate their rank this week.
Who I added
Texas, Cincinnati, Mississippi State, Syracuse, James Madison
Cincinnati hasn’t had a spot in my poll since Week 1 after it lost to Arkansas, but it reentered this week because it has gone 5-0 since then.
Texas also has spent time in my poll this season and dropped but is back after shutting out Oklahoma 49-0 in Week 6. Is Texas back for good or is Oklahoma suddenly really bad? I guess we will find out in the coming weeks.
Mississippi State has had some big wins against Texas A&M and Arkansas over the past couple of weeks, which is why it got added to my Top 25 at No. 17
Finally, Syracuse and James Madison have been teetering at the edge of my Top 25 and finally got added this week. Both are undefeated overall and in conference play, but Syracuse has some touch matchups ahead against North Carolina State and Clemson.
Who I dropped
BYU, Oklahoma, Washington, Arkansas, Florida State
I used this week to give my Top 25 a refresh. Anyone who was near the bottom of the Top 25, and lost this past week, dropped out. This was my reasoning behind dropping BYU, Oklahoma, Washington, Arkansas and Florida State, but any of these teams could make a comeback soon with a conference win.
Will Cunningham, Sports Editor
- Ohio State
I finally made a change in the Top 5, and it is moving Ohio State to No. 1. I can now confidently say that the Buckeyes are the best team in the country, and they have been for at least a few weeks.
As Alabama and Georgia have struggled with opponents such as Missouri and Texas A&M, Ohio State has been pounding its Big Ten schedule into a pulp, culminating with yet another blowout of Michigan State.
The Buckeyes have done this despite Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Julian Fleming, Treveyon Henderson and Miyan Williams all missing significant time. CJ Stroud is playing like a Heisman favorite, defensive coordinator Jim Knowles has turned the defense around in year one and the Buckeyes should be title favorites for now.
There are no other changes, but USC and Tennessee are banging on the door to enter the Top 5 after another impressive win.
Who I added
UCLA, Texas, Coastal Carolina
UCLA probably should have been in my poll last week, which is why it enters this week at No. 10. The Bruins moved to 6-0 with an upset of Utah, and have put themselves on a collision course for a Top 10 matchup with USC in Week 11 that could decide the PAC 12.
Texas. Is. Back. It has become a joke on Twitter, but I think it is finally true this season. The Longhorns are 4-2, but probably would be 6-0 if not for an injury to Quinn Ewers, who is the real deal at quarterback. Texas has really tough games the rest of the way, but a 49-0 demolition of Oklahoma has certainly earned it a place in my Top 25.
Coastal Carolina has been one of the best teams in the Group of 5 for a few years now under head coach Jamey Chadwell, who should be a Power 5 candidate in this cycle. The Chanticleers have one of the top coach quarterback combos in the country and are a team to watch out for in an exciting Sun Belt conference.
Who I dropped
BYU, Kentucky, Maryland
BYU is finally out of the Top 25 after a couple of close calls with a loss to Notre Dame in Las Vegas. The Fighting Irish are probably a better team than their record suggests, but the Cougars are now 4-2 and find themselves on the outside looking in. They could be back in quickly, however, with a win over Arkansas next week.
Kentucky has now lost two in a row, the most recent one to unranked South Carolina. Even though quarterback Will Levis is injured, the Wildcats’ offensive line is too big a problem to ignore. This could have been a huge season for Kentucky with a potential first-round pick at quarterback, but it is struggling right now, and in the SEC, the schedule is not letting up.
I probably jumped the gun on ranking Maryland last week, and I was punished for it with a crushing 31-29 loss to Purdue, who has a gift for ruining things for others. The Terrapins still have a strong passing game with Taulia Tagovailoa and multiple NFL receivers, but as usual, they cannot seem to get out of their own way.
Ashley Beach, sports writer
- Ohio State
There was finally a shift in my Top 5 – albeit the teams are the same. Alabama deserved to drop after a less-than performance against Texas A&M. There was a chance that Alabama would not come out with a win that game, and it would have fallen to fifth had it not.
The other four are steady and there is nothing that could derail them at this point. The only thing that could cause a change here is when Ohio State and Michigan face off in late November.
Who I dropped
Baylor, Oklahoma, Boston College, Florida State, Appalachian State
I needed to clean up my ballot, so this week I dropped a lot of teams. First of all, Boston College was a panic vote, so I fixed my mistake. The rest of these teams were no longer up to par, especially Oklahoma.
Oklahoma derailed fast this season. I had left Oklahoma on my ballot the past few weeks to give it a chance, but after a 49-0 loss to Texas, it was time to go.
Who I added
TCU, UCLA, Cincinnati, Mississippi State, LSU
I swore off Cincinnati, but now it is 5-1. Cincinnati looks better than it did at the start of the season, so I ranked it at No. 22. Now, the Bearcats aren’t going to stay long, though, if they can’t make a solid two-week run during conference play.
Mississippi State also found its way back to my ballot. It is looking better, but if it falls off in conference play, I will vote it off again.
TCU moved to 5-0 after handing Kansas its first loss of the season. The Horned Frogs are a silent opponent in the Big 12. However, TCU beat Oklahoma earlier this season. Now ranked No. 13 in the AP Poll, TCU has made its way onto my poll.
Other first time nominees include LSU and UCLA.