AP Top 25 Reality Check: Good win? Bad loss? Resume check

Beating Oklahoma has been a way to get ranked in the Big 12 — which is odd considering how poorly the Sooners have played lately.

No. 22 Texas became the third Big 12 team in the last three weeks to defeat Oklahoma on Saturday and end up in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank on Sunday.

The Longhorns laid the biggest hurt on the Sooners in Texas’ most lopsided victory in the history of the Red River Rivalry. That came a week after unranked TCU blasted Oklahoma to earn a ranking, which was one week after Kansas State won in Norman to do the same.

Often complaints about the preseason poll and how it shapes the rankings in the regular-season can be overblown. But Reality Check can’t help but wonder if those Big 12 teams would have gotten such a big boost if the Sooners didn’t start the season as a top-10 team.

The Sooners are on the way to being one of the most disappointing teams in the country, and maybe the first losing team at Oklahoma since the late 1990s.

We know that now. So what to make of the teams that launched against OU?

Texas has been impressive with Quinn Ewers at quarterback, going back to the Alabama game.

No. 13 TCU seemed to validate itself with a victory at upstart Kansas on Saturday.

No. 17 Kansas State might be the team that’s riding a little higher than it should off beating the Sooners. Remember, the week before the Wildcats lost to Tulane. The Green Wave is also 5-1, but unranked.

Reality Check reads the resumes and tries to find the first-half entries being overvalued or undervalued.

No. 1 Georgia (6-0)

Next: vs. Vanderbilt, Oct. 15.

Reality check: Oregon is averaging 50 points per game against not Georgia. The Bulldogs’ opener might be the most impressive performance of the season by any team.

Ranked: Probably should not have dropped last week.

No. 2 Ohio State (6-0)

Next: vs. Iowa, Oct. 22.

Reality check: That Notre Dame victory could still turn into a solid win as the Irish come around, but the resume remains light.

Ranked: Too high.

No. 3 Alabama (6-0)

Next: at. No. 6 Tennessee, Saturday.

Reality check: Tide was dropped for struggling against Texas A&M without Bryce Young, which seems harsh. Winning at Texas, even a close game, could end up looking pretty good by season’s end.

Ranked: Should be No. 2.

No. 4 Clemson (6-0)

Next: at Florida State, Saturday.

Reality check: Looks like the Tigers have already beaten the second- (Wake Forest) and third-best (North Carolina State) teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Clemson’s path to a playoff looks pretty good.

Ranked: Just right.

No. 5 Michigan (6-0)

Next: vs. No. 10 Penn State, Saturday.

Reality check: Yes, Iowa can be a tricky place to play, but the Wolverines can only wave that flag so high.

Ranked: Little high.

No. 6 Tennessee (5-0)

Next: vs. No. 3 Alabama, Saturday.

Reality check: Road wins are a commodity and the Vols have two against Pitt and LSU, which is solid if not spectacular.

Ranked: Touch low.

No. 7 Southern California (6-0)

Next: at No. 20 Utah, Saturday.

Reality check: The Trojans’ gritty victory at Oregon State is starting to look like struggling against a so-so team.ADVERTISEMENT

Ranked: About right.

No. 8 Oklahoma State (5-0)

Next: at No. 13 TCU, Saturday.

Reality check: Winning at Baylor is the centerpiece of the Cowboys’ resume, and their only road game of the season.

Ranked: Too high.

No. 9 Mississippi (6-0)

Next: vs. Auburn, Saturday.

Reality check: The Rebels’ best victory was against Kentucky, and a lot had to go right for Ole Miss to get that one against a Wildcats team that felt over-ranked when it was top-10.

Ranked: Touch high.

No. 10 Penn State (5-0)

Next: at No. 5 Michigan, Saturday.

Reality check: Nittany Lions beat an SEC West team on the road, but Auburn might be the worst SEC West team. That roadie at Purdue is looking better, though.

Ranked: Touch low.

No. 11 UCLA (6-0)

Next: at No. 12 Oregon, Oct. 22.

Reality check: The Bruins bought high on beating Washington.

Ranked: Little high.

No. 12 Oregon (5-1)

Next: vs. No. 11 UCLA, Saturday.

Reality check: BYU and Washington State have absorbed second losses since losing to the Ducks, leaving Oregon without a marquee victory.

Ranked: Flip the Ducks with UCLA, at least.

No. 13 TCU (5-0)

Next: vs. No. 8 Oklahoma State, Saturday.

Reality check: Beating Kansas is more impressive than beating Oklahoma. That’s the Big 12 in 2022.

Ranked: About right.

No. 14 Wake Forest (5-1)

Next: vs. Boston College, Saturday.

Reality check: Winning at Florida State will always be a big deal for Wake Forest, but maybe not THAT big of a deal.

Ranked: Just right.

No. 15 North Carolina State (5-1)

Next: at No. 18 Syracuse, Saturday.

Reality check: Good news: Texas Tech is going to be feisty all season. Not so good: Barely escaping East Carolina is not so hot.

Ranked: Little high.

No. 16 Mississippi State (5-1)

Next: at No. 22 Kentucky, Saturday.

Reality check: The Bulldogs have got to be kicking themselves for blowing a second half lead to LSU.

Ranked: Little low.

No. 17 Kansas State (5-1)

Next: at No. 13 TCU, Oct. 22.

Reality check: Instead of being excited about the Wildcats beating Oklahoma, should we be questioning why it was so close?

Ranked: Too high.

No. 18 Syracuse (5-0)

Next: vs. No. 15 North Carolina State, Saturday.

Reality check: Another team holding a Purdue victory growth stock.

Ranked: Little high.

No. 19 Kansas (5-1)

Next: at Oklahoma, Saturday.

Reality check: Jayhawks got an early boost by winning at Houston, when the Cougars were thought of as the favorites in the American Athletic Conference. They are not.

Ranked: Just a little low.

No. 20 Utah (4-2)

Next: vs. No. 7 USC, Saturday.

Reality check: Best win? Oregon State. Meanwhile, the Utes lost to a middle of the pack SEC team in Florida.

Ranked: Too high.

No. 21 Cincinnati (5-1)

Next: at SMU, Oct. 22.

Reality check: Since an impressive loss at Arkansas, the Bearcats have taken care of business against unimpressive competition in less-than-resounding fashion. Tougher tests are coming.

Ranked: Too high.

No. 22 (tie) Kentucky (4-2)

Next: vs, No 16 Mississippi State, Saturday.

Reality check: The Wildcats got the Florida bounce after the Gators beat Utah. Well, UF is OK and now Kentucky has a loss to South Carolina — albeit without QB Will Levis. Guessing Kentucky has already past its peak.

Ranked: Little high.

No. 22 (tie) Texas (4-2)

Next: vs. Iowa State, Saturday.

Reality check: Can the Longhorns avoid the two-step: One up and one back? If only Ewers had stayed healthy, maybe they would have beaten Alabama.

Ranked: Little low.

No. 24 Illinois (5-1)

Next: vs. Minnesota, Saturday.

Reality check: Seems as if a good team was lost under a bit of a mess at Wisconsin. That victory might end up aging well for the Illini.

Ranked: Fine for now.

No. 25 James Madison (5-0)

Next: at Georgia Southern, Saturday.

Reality check: A wild rally at Appalachian State is the main reason the Dukes are ranked in their first season in FBS. Should be noted: App State just lost at Texas State.

Ranked: Just right. Why not?


Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.appodcasts.com


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