There’s no question Alabama will retain its No. 1 spot after thumping Tennessee in Knoxville, but a matchup between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 8 Wisconsin — as well as No. 3 Clemson’s brush with death — ensured a shakeup near the top.
Here’s our best guess at what The Associated Press voters will go with on Sunday (and we’ll make sure to update at the conclusion of Saturday’s late games):
Dropped out: Virginia Tech
25. Navy (4-1)
(Entering week: No. 25) Poor weather postponed the Midshipmen’s contest against East Carolina to Nov. 19.
24. Miami (4-2)
(Entering week: No. 16) Fans in Coral Gables suffered through another close loss, this time against unpredictable North Carolina. Speaking of which…
23. North Carolina (5-2)
(Entering week: Unranked) This marks the first time UNC has ever defeated both Florida State and Miami in the same season. Too bad those victories sandwiched an ugly loss to Virginia Tech last week.
22. Western Michigan (7-0)
(Entering week: No. 24) Nobody thought the second-best team in Michigan would come from outside Ann Arbor or Lansing this season, but Kalamazoo’s finest keep dominating.
21. Auburn (4-2)
(Entering week: No. 23) Gus Malzahn and the Tigers got a much-deserved bye after whupping Mississippi State last weekend.
20. Ole Miss (3-3)
(Entering week: No. 12) There’s no question the Rebels can hang with anybody, but they haven’t been able to come through in close contests this season.
19. Utah (6-1)
(Entering week: No. 21) Running back Joe Williams retired from football after Week 2 (he blamed injuries and lack of passion), but returned to help the injury-addled Utes with 34 carries for 179 yards in a 19-14 win at Oregon State.
18. Arkansas (5-2)
(Entering week: No. 22) A gutsy win over No. 12 Ole Miss was a nice antidote to last week’s embarrassing performance against Alabama.
17. West Virginia (5-0)
(Entering week: No. 20) Saturday marked the Mountaineers first big step toward a conference title. They walked into Lubbock and pounded Texas Tech, 48-17.
16. Oklahoma (4-2)
(Entering week: No. 19) Baylor is likely the Big 12’s last College Football Playoff hope (no offense, WVU), but Oklahoma is still a primary threat to the Bears’ Big 12 title hopes after a 38-17 thrashing of Kansas State.
15. Florida (5-1)
(Entering week: No. 18) The final score — a 40-14 win over Missouri — looks pretty good, but the Gators still have some issues on offense to sort out.
14. Tennessee (5-2)
(Entering week: No. 9) Rocky Top suffered through a long nightmare against Alabama on Saturday. The final whistle couldn’t come soon enough in a 49-10 loss that bumped the Vols to second in the SEC East.
13. Boise State (6-0)
(Entering week: No. 15) The Broncos took awhile to get going against Colorado State, but outscored the Rams 21-0 in the second and third quarters to grab control and remain undefeated.
12. Florida State (5-2)
(Entering week: No. 14) The ACC Coastal division is a bit of a mess, but FSU at least managed to avoid disaster with an unconvincing 17-6 win over Wake Forest.
11. Houston (6-1)
(Entering week: No. 13) The Cougars defense stuffed Tulsa at the 1-yard line for a dramatic 38-31 win on Saturday night. Maybe it’ll be enough to shake them out of their current funk.
10. Wisconsin (4-2)
(Entering week: No. 8) The Badgers had Ohio State on the ropes in Madison, but failed to contain J.T. Barrett and the Buckeyes’ powerful offense down the stretch.
9. Nebraska (6-0)
(Entering week: No. 10) The Huskers are 6-0 for the first time since 2001, when Eric Crouch was running his way to the Heisman Trophy. They should be 7-0 after a date with Purdue next week.
8. Baylor (6-0)
(Entering week: No. 11) One week after nearly upsetting TCU, Kansas is back to normal; the Jayhawks laid down in Waco on Saturday as Baylor breezed through a 49-7 victory.
7. Louisville (5-1)
(Entering week: No. 7) No one came away impressed from Friday night’s 24-14 win against Duke, but Lamar Jackson (325 total yards and 2 touchdowns) is still the Heisman favorite.
6. Texas A&M (6-0)
(Entering week: No. 6) The Aggies used this weekend to prepare for their upcoming trip to Tuscaloosa.
5. Clemson (7-0)
(Entering week: No. 3) North Carolina State had a chance to shock the Tigers in Clemson, but the Wolfpack missed a 33-yard field goal at the buzzer and then tossed an interception in overtime. Voters will not be impressed with this “W.”
4. Washington (6-0)
(Entering week: No. 5) The dominant Huskies got a week off. They welcome Oregon State to Seattle next Saturday.
3. Michigan (6-0)
(Entering week: No. 4) Jim Harbaugh’s team had a bye week, so he spent his Friday night announcing the Homecoming queen at a California high school. The Wolverines host Illinois next weekend.
2. Ohio State (6-0)
(Entering week: No. 2) The Buckeyes overcame a 10-point deficit in Madison to defeat the Badgers in overtime, 30-23. They travel to Happy Valley next week.
1. Alabama (7-0)
(Entering week: No. 1) The Crimson Tide became the first team to get up big on Tennessee … and then hold the lead. A 49-10 win in Knoxville was perhaps the best SEC performance of the season.