Michael Dwyer/Associated Press
The latest string of upsets in college football shook up the AP Top 25, as Florida and Miami both tumbled six positions in the Week 7 poll.
The downward movement from those two teams, combined with the drops for Oklahoma, Texas and LSU in the last few weeks, has allowed some unfamiliar faces to climb into the top 10.
North Carolina turned out to be the biggest beneficiary of Saturday’s upsets by boosting three spots to No. 5. Oklahoma State and Cincinnati also gained three positions on their way up to No. 7 and No. 8, respectively.
If those programs come out on top Saturday, they could gain more ground since Alabama and Georgia are scheduled to meet in what could be the first of many top-five showdowns across the nation this season.
AP Top 25
1. Clemson (4-0)
2. Alabama (3-0)
3. Georgia (3-0)
4. Notre Dame (3-0)
5. North Carolina (3-0)
6. Ohio State
7. Oklahoma State (3-0)
8. Cincinnati (3-0)
9. Penn State
10. Florida (2-1)
11. Texas A&M (2-1)
13. Miami (3-1)
14. Auburn (2-1)
15. BYU (4-0)
17. SMU (4-0)
18. Tennessee (2-1)
20. Iowa State (3-1)
21. Louisiana (3-0)
22. Kansas State (3-1)
23. Virginia Tech (2-1)
Clemson, Alabama and Georgia will spend one more week in the top three, but one of those positions is expected to change hands at the weekend.
The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs meet Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium for what could be an early preview of the SEC Championship Game.
Alabama fended off its first ranked challenger two weeks ago and followed up that win over Texas A&M with a shootout victory over Ole Miss.
The Crimson Tide need to be sharper on defense to remain near the top of the rankings, though. They allowed 48 points and 647 total yards to Ole Miss.
The good news for Alabama is its offense seems to be clicking with Mac Jones replacing Tua Tagovailoa under center.
Nick Saban’s side put up 153 points in its first three games. Georgia has not scored at the same level, but it does own a 108-37 advantage over its opponents.
North Carolina was the only ranked team in the same scoring range as Alabama in Week 6, after it lit up the Virginia Tech defense for 56 points.
The Tar Heels vaulted from No. 8 to No. 5 over Ohio State, who has yet to take the field. Three of the top 15 teams that have not played yet did not move at all from Week 6 to Week 7.
When the season ends, the Tar Heels likely won’t be as strong as the potential Big Ten champion, but they deserve credit for what they have accomplished in Mack Brown’s second season back.
North Carolina should remain in the top five until the Buckeyes touch the gridiron for the first time since it has a fairly easy schedule in the upcoming weeks.
In fact, the Tar Heels don’t face a ranked team again until their November 27 clash with Notre Dame, which plays Clemson two weeks earlier.
Oklahoma State will be tested much sooner, as it lines up against No. 20 Iowa State and No. 22 Kansas State in two of its next four games. If Texas rebounds in the next few weeks, the Cowboys and Longhorns could face off in a Top 25 clash October 31.
Given the topsy-turvy nature of the Big 12 this season, there is no guarantee any of those future opponents will be ranked by the time Oklahoma State plays them.
Cincinnati may keep lurking beneath the top five, especially if it picks up a win over No. 17 SMU in two weeks’ time in what could be the most important Group of Five contest of the season.
If the Bearcats add a win over SMU to their resume and look dominant throughout the rest of AAC play, they could make a bit of noise in the College Football Playoff conversation, depending on how many unbeaten teams are left.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.
Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.