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:
Will Cunningham, Sports Editor
My Top 5 stays the same this week, but there could be some changes next week after the USC vs. UCLA game. I will keep this explanation short, as I have six changes to my Top 25, and nobody in the Top 5 did anything particularly notable.
Who I added
Washington, Notre Dame, UTSA, Florida State, Duke, South Alabama
Washington probably should have been in my poll earlier, but it enters at No. 17 after a win over Oregon in one of the best games of the season. Michael Penix Jr. has had a fantastic season and has given the Huskies an outside shot at the PAC-12 Championship game in year one under Kalen DeBoer.
Notre Dame entering the rankings is more about its win over Clemson in Week 9 than this week’s win over Navy, but the Irish have clearly figured some things out after some disappointing losses earlier this year and deserve their return to the Top 25.
UTSA is one of the best teams in the Group of 5, moving to 8-2 overall and 6-0 in Conference USA with a dominant win over Louisiana Tech Saturday. After winning 12 games and a C-USA Championship, Jeff Traylor has the program ready to enter the American Athletic Conference.
Mike Norvell has finally got things going at Florida State, and the Seminoles moved to 7-3 with their third consecutive blowout this week. They may not be back to what they were under Bobby Bowden or Jimbo Fisher, but they are good. For now, that is enough.
As well as DeBoer and Marcus Freeman have done at Washington and Notre Dame, what Mike Elko has done at Duke is one of the best first-year turnarounds in the country. The Blue Devils are 7-3 and have won their last three games to move up to second in the ACC Coastal.
The final spot in my poll was a toss-up between South Alabama and Troy, the two teams competing for the Sun Belt West. I gave a slight edge to South Alabama after a more impressive win this weekend, even though Troy has a better chance to win the division.
Who I dropped
NC State, Texas, Illinois, Kentucky, Kansas, Liberty
NC State had, without exception, one of the worst losses in college football this season to a terrible Boston College team. The Wolfpack have absolutely nothing on offense without quarterback Devin Leary, but even so, they should have been able to beat the Golden Eagles, who are one of the worst teams in Football Bowl Subdivision.
Texas may not be back. I declared it was after the blowout win over Oklahoma, but since then, the Longhorns have lost games to Oklahoma State and TCU, and while those were both ranked losses, the Longhorns are now 6-4 and have virtually no chance of making the Big 12 title game.
Illinois has fallen apart over the last few weeks, dropping its last two games to Michigan State and Purdue. The Illini no longer control their own destiny in the Big Ten West, and what looked like it could be Rose Bowl season has quickly fallen into ruin with the Illini taking on Michigan next week.
Kentucky also had a terrible loss this weekend, losing to Vanderbilt by three to give the Commodores their first SEC win since 2019. Kentucky has been extremely underwhelming, and it’s not going to get any better with Georgia coming to town next week.
It is truly devastating for me to kick Kansas out of my poll, but I cannot look past four losses in five games. The injury to Jalon Daniels derailed the Jayhawks season, but they should still celebrate going bowling for the first time since 2008.
In contrast, it makes me much happier to knock Liberty out of my Top 25, mostly because it comes after a loss to UConn. The Huskies are bowl eligible for the first time since 2015 in year one under Jim L. Mora, which is one of the best stories of the season.
Molly Burchard, Asst. Sports Editor
Surprise! My Top 5 is the exact same as it was last week. All of these teams solidified their spots with wins in Week 11. None of the wins were a shock, but I was impressed by TCU in its win over Texas and was glad to see Tennessee back on track with a 66-24 win over Missouri.
Who I added
Coastal Carolina, UTSA, Cincinnati, Washington, Florida State
Like I sometimes am, I was a little behind on adding Coastal Carolina to my poll. Voters have been vying for Coastal Carolina for weeks, but I am just now getting around to adding it. My thought process was that the Chanticleers haven’t played anyone really notable and sometimes just barely win. I still feel that way, but they are first in the Sun Belt Conference, and I needed another team to add, so I caved.
Another team I was unsure about adding but did is UTSA. The Roadrunners are coming off a big 51-7 win against Louisiana Tech and have won seven straight games.
Cincinnati, Washington and Florida State are all making their return to my poll this week after some time off. I wouldn’t be surprised if they continued to rise and fall, but they have earned their respective spots for now. I was especially impressed with Washington, who played a great game against and beat Oregon Saturday.
Who I dropped
Illinois, Liberty, NC State, Baylor, Kansas
It was another week where I cleaned house, but it was for a good reason. I feel like I say this every week, but all of these teams dropped because they lost. However, a lot of the losses this week were rough. Some of these teams lost for the second straight game, and some of them lost to what should have been winnable opponents.
Illinois lost to Purdue a week after losing to Michigan State, NC State lost to a bad Boston College, Baylor only scored three points against Kansas State, Kansas lost its fourth game in the past five weeks and is now seventh in the Big 12 and Liberty ended its six-game winning streak to Connecticut. All in all, it was a bad week for these teams.
Ashley Beach, sports writer
All right, this should come as no surprise. The four undefeated teams are at the top of my ballot along with Tennessee. The only reason TCU is not above Tennessee is that I still want a little more from TCU. It only beat Texas by a touchdown.
This week, I didn’t add or drop a single team. You may be asking yourself ‘has she gone mad?’ No, I haven’t. I’ve had a majority of the teams Molly and Will added to their poll this week in mine for a while now.
Washington, Florida State and Cincinnati have been on my ballot—albeit at the bottom—for two and three weeks, respectively. I believe in their talents and think that those three teams have been overlooked for a bit. Let’s not forget Cincinnati’s run last season.
Could I have dropped a few teams? Sure, but who would I have added? No team is up to par with my standards right now.