AP Top 25 Reality Check: A top-five of perfect 10s has been unchanged for five weeks

Florida State running back Trey Benson (3) is lifted, in celebration of his touchdown, by offensive lineman Jazston Turnetine during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Louisiana on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

There are more perfect 10s at the top of the AP college football poll than there have been in 14 years.

The top-five teams in the rankings Sunday are all 10-0. The last time there were at least five teams at 10-0 or better atop the rankings was 2009, when there were six.

During the 10-year College Football Playoff era this the first time there have been five 10-0 teams from Power Five conferences.

As the best teams in the country roll along in a season that has lacked big upsets, the top-five has been unchanged for five weeks: No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Florida State, No. 5 Washington.

It has also been three straight weeks of the same top eight, including No. 6 Oregon, No. 7 Texas and No. 8 Alabama.

While it feels like something has to give, maybe not for another coupe weeks. Among the perfect 10s, only Michigan and Ohio State are scheduled to play each other before CFP selection Sunday on Dec. 3.

Extended to the top eight and it gets more interesting. Washington and Oregon could rematch in the Pac-12 title game. Georgia and Alabama have already wrapped up spots in the Southeastern Conference championship.

Reality check can’t complain much about the AP poll voters because there hasn’t been much to argue about — at least at the top of the rankings — for a while.

No. 1 Georgia (10-0)

Next: at No. 21 Tennessee, Saturday

Reality check: TE Brock Bowers returned from ankle surgery with a touchdown catch against Mississippi and the Bulldogs showed again no team is better at its best.

Ranked: Perfect.

No. 2 Michigan (10-0)

Next: at Maryland, Saturday.

Reality check: QB J.J. McCarthy’s rushing numbers have been modest (171 yards and three touchdowns), but it is a nice weapon to have in big spots as the Wolverines showed against Penn State.

Ranked: Just right.

No. 3 Ohio State (10-0)

Next: vs. Minnesota, Saturday.

Reality check: As great as WR Marvin Harrison Jr., is, it’ll be tough for him to win the Heisman Trophy, which has become a quarterback award. A massive game against Michigan is a must to even have shot.

Ranked: Could be No. 4.

No. 4 Florida State (10-0)

Next: vs. North Alabama, Saturday.

Reality check: Allowing a few huge pass plays has distorted the Seminoles’ otherwise improving defense. Fluky or systemic problem?

No. 5 Washington (10-0)

Next: at No. 10 Oregon State, Saturday.

Reality check: Despite having a couple of well-regarded edge rushers in Bralen Trice and Zion Tupuola-Fetui, the Huskies don’t get much pressure and are last in the Pac-12 with 13 sacks.

Ranked: Respect the perfect record. Respect the head-to-head. Getting harder to do every week.

No. 6 Oregon (9-1)

Next: at Arizona State, Saturday.

Reality check: Opponents have mostly abandoned the run against DT Taki Taimani and the Ducks’ defensive front. Only twice this season have they allowed more than 4.0 yards per carry in a game.

Ranked: About right.

No. 7 Texas (9-1)

Next: at Iowa State, Saturday.

Reality check: Red-zone troubles (125th in the nation in TD conversion percentage) have prevented the Longhorns from putting opponents away. And now they’ll be without star RB Jonathon Brooks (knee).

Ranked: Still, respecting that head-to-head against Alabama.

No. 8 Alabama (9-1)

Next: vs. Chattanooga, Saturday.

Reality check: CB Kool-aid McKinstry was a preseason All-American but fellow CB Terrion Arnold has played like a potential All-America, too.

Ranked: Just right.

No. 9 Louisville (9-1)

Next: at Miami, Saturday.

Reality check: Cardinals are a victory away from clinching a spot in the ACC title game, but also coming off one of their worst defensive performances of the season against Virginia.

Ranked: Too high.

No. 10 Oregon State (8-2)

Next: vs. No. 5 Washington, Saturday.

Reality check: Could be the first of two straight top-10 matchups for the the Beavers with the Ducks up next. For a program left behind in the Pac-12 by its rivals, it’s a chance to take a measure of revenge on a big stage.

Ranked: Just right.

No. 11 Missouri (8-2)

Next: vs. Florida, Saturday.

Reality check: In next year’s 12-team College Football Playoff format, the Tigers would be making a playoff push in the last two weeks of the season.

Ranked: Little low.

No. 12 Penn State (8-2)

Next: vs. Rutgers, Saturday.

Reality check: Coach James Franklin fired offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich after another big-game flop by the offense. There is still a chance for Penn State to get to 10 wins, and before you say it’ll be an empty 10 wins, it’s a whole lot better than losing to Rutgers and/or Michigan State.

Ranked: Too high.

No. 13 Mississippi (8-2)

Next: vs. Louisiana-Monroe, Saturday.

Reality check: The only team in the country unlucky enough so far to face both Georgia and Alabama lost by a combined 76-27. Of course, Auburn does it every year.

Ranked: Little low.

No. 14 Oklahoma (8-2)

Next: at BYU, Saturday.

Reality check: Sooners ended a two-game losing streak with their best defensive performance in a while, holding West Virginia to 4.6 yards per play.

Ranked: Little high.

No. 15 LSU (7-3)

Next: at Georgia State, Saturday.

Reality check: The last three Heisman winners to play on teams that lost three games are Florida’s Tim Tebow (2007), Baylor’s Robert Griffin III (2011) and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson (2016). That’s the company QB Jayden Daniels is trying to keep.

Ranked: Little low.

No. 16 Utah (7-3)

Next: at No. 19 Arizona, Saturday.

Reality check: WR Devaughn Vele has 19 catches for 281 yards in the last three games and is the closest thing a wonky passing game has to a No. 1 receiver.

Ranked: Just right.

No. 17 Tulane (9-1)

Next: at Florida Atlantic, Saturday.

Reality check: If you have been betting on the Green Wave to cover over the last few weeks, you’re taking a bath. They have played four straight one-possession games against losing teams.

Ranked: Too high.

No. 18 James Madison (10-0)

Next: vs. Appalachian State, Saturday.

Reality check: After losing DE Jalen Green (knee), the nation’s leader with 15 1/2 sacks, to a season-ending injury last week, the Dukes had a season-low one sack against UConn.

Ranked: Little high.

No. 19 Arizona (7-3)

Next: vs. No. 16 Utah, Saturday.

Reality check: The numbers don’t jump out, but WR Tetairoa McMillan does when you watch him. One of the most underrated receivers in the country.

Ranked: Too low.

No. 20 Notre Dame (7-3)

Next: vs. Wake Forest, Saturday.

Reality check: Expect a strong finish from RB Audric Estime, who had three 100-yard games early in the season, but only one in the last six.

Ranked: About right.

No. 21 Tennessee (7-3)

Next: vs. No. 1 Georgia, Saturday.

Reality check: Staring at an 8-4 season, the Volunteers got a sobering dose of reality: One big season with a special quarterback doesn’t necessarily mean the program is ready to compete with the best of the SEC every year.

Ranked: About right.

No. 22 North Carolina (8-2)

Next: at Clemson, Saturday.

Reality check: After just six games, WR Tez Walker is the the Tar Heels’ leading receiver with 35 catches for 600 yards and six TDs.

Ranked: Just right.

No. 24 Oklahoma State (7-3)

Next: at Houston, Saturday.

Reality check: Not many ranked teams will have two losses as ugly as the Cowboys’ combined 78-10 thrashings by South Alabama and UCF.

Ranked: This is OK, but the Cowboys can produce a wide-range of outcomes.

No. 25 Liberty (10-0)

Next: vs. Massachusetts, Saturday.

Reality check: First-year coach Jamey Chadwell didn’t inherit a loaded roster from Hugh Freeze, but he quickly has turned the Flames into the Conference USA’s best team.

Ranked: Just right.


Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.appodcasts.com. Get alerts on the latest AP Top 25 poll throughout the season. Sign up here