Georgia's hold on No. 1 spot shrinks as Michigan, Texas gain

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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Georgia's hold on No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll loosened Sunday as the Bulldogs received a season-low 35 first-place votes out of a possible 62 while extending their streak atop the rankings to 16 straight weeks.

The Bulldogs needed a late touchdown to escape with a win at Auburn on Saturday, and that sent many in the media panel looking for a new No. 1 team. Georgia had 55 first-place votes and 1,562 points last week but was down to 1,501 points in this week's AP Top 25.

No. 2 Michigan got 12 first-place votes and 1,436 points but nearly was passed by No. 3 Texas, which received 10 first-place votes and 1,426 points. The Wolverines and Longhorns won big Saturday.

Ohio State kept its spot at No. 4 and received one first-place vote. No. 5 Florida State received the other four first-place votes. Neither the Buckeyes nor Seminoles played this weekend.

No. 6 Penn State and No. 7 Washington also held their spots. Oregon moved up a place to No. 8, and USC dropped one to No. 9.

No. 10 Notre Dame moved back into the top 10 after a dramatic victory at Duke. The Blue Devils dropped two places to No. 19.

Poll points

Before declaring Georgia vulnerable, it should be noted that it was right around this time last year when the Bulldogs needed a second-half comeback to escape Missouri with a victory.

After that result, the Georgia slipped from No. 1 to No. 2 in the rankings behind Alabama.

A week later, on Oct. 9, 2022, the Bulldogs regained the top spot -- and haven't relinquished it since -- but it took a while to convince a lot of voters.

Georgia didn't receive more than 32 first-place votes again until it pounded Tennessee in a 1-vs.-2 matchup. On Nov. 6, Georgia received 62 of 63 first-place votes, and there was never a serious question again about who was No. 1.

Moving in; moving out

Florida and Kansas dropped out of the rankings after being routed this weekend.

With its victory over the Gators, Kentuckyvaulted into the poll at No. 20 along with rival Louisville (No. 25), with both improvements setting up ranked vs. ranked matchups Saturday.

Kentucky's test comes against Georgia. The Wildcats reached as high as No. 7 early last season before a second-half swoon that left them unranked at the end of the season.

Louisville, meanwhile, hosts Notre Dame on Saturday. The Cardinals are ranked for the first time since being in the AP Top 25 for two weeks at the start of the 2020 pandemic season, when some conferences were not playing and their teams were ineligible for the poll.

The last time both Bluegrass State rivals were ranked when all of Division I college football was up and running was Sept. 16, 2007.

Conference call

SEC: 7 (Nos. 1, 11, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23)

Pac-12: 6 (Nos. 7, 8, 9, 13, 15, 18)

ACC: 5 (Nos. 5, 14, 17, 19, 25)

Big Ten: 3 (Nos. 2, 4, 6)

Big 12: 2 (Nos. 3, 12)

Mountain West: 1 (No. 24)

Independent: 1 (No. 10)

Ranked vs. ranked

No. 12 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Texas (in Dallas): Both teams are ranked entering the 43rd Red River Rivalry.

No. 23 LSU at No. 21 Missouri: Only the fourth meeting between the two Tigers squads and the first with both ranked.

No. 20 Kentucky at No. 1 Georgia: Third time in the past six years the SEC East rivals have met as ranked teams and only the fifth time in 77 total games.

No. 10 Notre Dame at No. 25 Louisville: Another first-time ranked-vs.-ranked matchup. The Irish and Cardinals have played just three times previously.

Coaches' poll

The top three -- Georgia, Michigan and Ohio State -- remained the same in the AFCA Coaches Poll, with Texas leapfrogging Florida State to get to No. 4. Kentucky made its poll debut at No. 20, while Ole Miss and Oregon Statejumped five spots to No. 15 and No. 16, respectively.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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