Gerald Herbert/Associated Press
Losses for two Top Five teams led to significant movement in the latest Associated Press poll.
Alabama outlasted Georgia in a battle of Top Three teams, while North Carolina suffered its first loss of the season at the hands of Florida State. Clemson was the only top team that didn’t have a scare with a blowout victory over Georgia Tech.
Voters were left with significant question marks beyond the top two, especially with the Big Ten and Pac-12 still yet to begin their seasons.
Here is a look at the Top 25 going into Week 8.
3. Notre Dame
5. Ohio State
6. Oklahoma State
7. Texas A&M
8. Penn State
11. Miami (Florida)
14. North Carolina
17. Iowa State
19. Virginia Tech
20. Kansas State
23. North Carolina State
25. Coastal Carolina
Perhaps the most anticipated game on the 2020 schedule took place Saturday as Alabama hosted Georgia. Although some thought this could be the year for the Bulldogs to come away with a win, it was the Crimson Tide who ended up with the 41-24 victory.
Alabama’s defense had been inconsistent this year, but the offense proved it was elite with 564 yards from scrimmage. The passing game was especially impressive with top receivers Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle having big games:
After Georgia built a 24-17 lead, Alabama closed with 24 unanswered points, including a 21-0 mark in the second half. Stetson Bennett especially struggled late with three interceptions as Georgia dropped from No. 3 in the rankings to No. 4.
Alabama stays at No. 2 but has already passed what could be its toughest test of the regular season.
Clemson remains No. 1 overall after a 73-7 win over Georgia Tech, led by five passing touchdowns from Trevor Lawrence.
“It’s the highest level of football I’ve seen out of him, but it’s what I think he expects and what everybody in our building expects out of him,” Tigers offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said of the quarterback, per Andrea Adelson of ESPN.
North Carolina had also looked like an elite team through the first few weeks, although that came to an end Saturday after Florida State handed the ACC rival a 31-28 loss.
Sam Howell had 374 passing yards and three touchdowns for the Tar Heels, but they couldn’t stop the Seminoles rushing attack with 241 yards and two touchdowns as a team. North Carolina dropped to No. 14 in the latest rankings.
Notre Dame avoided upset, though the 12-7 win over Louisville certainly wasn’t pretty. The No. 3 Fighting Irish will have to be more efficient going forward in order to stay high in the rankings, beginning this week at Pittsburgh.
Week 8 could feature even more drama as the Big Ten begins its season after delays because of the COVID-19 pandemic. No. 5 Ohio State will open Saturday against Nebraska while trying to prove it is a legitimate contender for the College Football Playoff.