Washington cracks top 5; Air Force gets 1st ranking since '19

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Sunday, October 15, 2023

Washington moved up to No. 5 on Sunday in The Associated Press college football poll, the Huskies' best ranking in six years, after a thrilling victory over Oregon, and unbeaten Air Force was ranked for the first time since 2019.

The top four teams in the country were unchanged after No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Florida State all won Saturday in blowout fashion. The Bulldogs received 43 first-place votes, Michigan got 16 and Ohio State and Florida State each had one.

Washington received two first-place votes and jumped two spots past No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 7 Penn State, giving the Huskies their best ranking since reaching No. 5 on Oct. 8, 2017. The last time Washington was ranked this highly this late in the season was 2016, when the Huskies made the College Football Playoff.

That was the last time any Pac-12 team reached the four-team playoff.

Washington beat Oregon 36-33 when the Ducks missed a field goal on the game's final play.

"This moment right now is really special for our program," Huskies coach Kalen DeBoer said after the game.

Oregon dropped one spot to No. 9, flip-flopping with No. 8 Texas.

North Carolina moved up two spots to a season-high No. 10 after beating Miami 41-31.

USC dropped eight spots to No. 18 after suffering its first loss of the season at Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish jumped six places to No. 15.

No. 22 Air Force vaulted into the rankings by beating rival Wyoming to stay undefeated.

Oregon State moved up three spots to No. 12, the Beavers' best ranking since reaching No. 7 in 2012.


Alabama held steady at No. 11 after beating Arkansas, extending its streak of being out of the top 10 to five weeks.

The Crimson Tide dropped out for the first time since 2015 on Sept. 17, when they fell to a season-low No. 13 after a sloppy performance in a victory over South Florida.

Alabama has won five straight since a Week 2 loss to Texas.

The Crimson Tide have not spent this much of a season out of the top 10 since 2007, Nick Saban's first as coach, when Alabama finished 7-6. The Tide are positioned to either get back into the top 10 or slip even farther next week when they host No. 17 Tennessee. After that, Alabama has a week off before hosting No. 19 LSU.

Alabama has not been out of the top 15 since Nov. 28, 2010, when the Crimson Tide lost to Auburn in their regular-season finale to fall to No. 17 at 9-3.


Air Force has finished 10-3 in each of the past two seasons, both times fueled by late winning streaks, but failed to make an appearance in the AP Top 25.

Now the Falcons are 6-0 for the first time since 2002 and ranked for the first time since the last three Top 25s of the 2019 season. Air Force finished that season 11-2 and No. 22 in the country.

The other teams to move into the Top 25 this week were there earlier in the season:

No. 20 Missouri bounced right back into the rankings after winning at Kentucky.

No. 23 Tulane (5-1) is beat American Athletic Conference rival Memphis on Friday night.

No. 24 Iowa (6-1) seized control of the Big Ten West by beating Wisconsin.

Dropping out were Washington State, Kansas, Kentucky and Miami, all of which lost for the second time this season.


SEC -- 6 (Nos. 1, 11, 13, 17, 19, 20)

Pac-12 -- 6 (Nos. 5, 9, 12, 14, 18, 25)

Big Ten -- 4 (Nos. 2, 3, 7, 24)

ACC -- 4 (Nos. 4, 10, 16, 21)

Big 12 -- 2 (Nos. 6, 8)

American -- 1 (No. 23)

Mountain West -- 1 (No. 22)

Independent -- 1 (No. 15)


No. 7 Penn State at No. 3 Ohio State. Seventh straight meeting with both teams ranked.

No. 17 Tennessee at No. 11 Alabama. Consecutive seasons with both teams ranked for the Third Saturday in October rivalry. That hasn't happened since 1995-96.

No. 16 Duke at No. 4 Florida State. Only two ranked meetings previously and the Seminoles won both by a combined 77 points.

No. 14 Utah at No. 18 USC. Third straight meeting with both teams ranked after the Utes won both last year to take the Pac-12 title.

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