By Matt Brown, Sam Khan Jr. and Kennington Smith III
Texas jumped to No. 4 in the AP Top 25 college football rankings after its 34-24 upset of Alabama. Here’s what you need to know about the latest poll:
Full AP Top 25
1. Georgia (55)
2. Michigan (2)
3. Florida State (3)
4. Texas (2)
6. Ohio State
7. Penn State
9. Notre Dame
15. Kansas State
16. Oregon State
17. Ole Miss
20. North Carolina
23. Washington State
The Athletic’s instant analysis:
Will Texas stick around in the top 5?
The Longhorns are No. 4, the first time they’ve been in the top five since Sept. 7, 2010. The last time Texas finished a season in the top five? That was 2009, when it lost to Alabama in the BCS national championship game and finished No. 2.
Texas is deserving of its lofty ranking this week after outplaying the Crimson Tide in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday. What are the chances the Longhorns can end the season in the top five? It depends on their ability to take care of business the rest of the way. Texas should be favored in every game remaining on its schedule. If it can win its last 10 games — or even nine plus the Big 12 championship — the Longhorns will certainly be College Football Playoff bound and have their best season since Colt McCoy was on campus. — Khan
Can Alabama bounce back in the rankings?
Alabama didn’t look like the elite Crimson Tide teams we’ve grown accustomed to seeing under Nick Saban, but the season’s far from over. How can it bounce back? It starts with the strengths of the team playing up to expectations. The most glaring part of the loss to Texas was that the offensive line and defense were both outplayed. Alabama’s offensive line allowed five sacks and 12 pressures, and the defense didn’t record a sack and allowed eight pass plays of 15 yards or more.
The quarterback was going to be a question mark in 2023, and the expectation was that Alabama would remedy that by returning to its early 2010s style: dominant line play, strong running backs to pace the offense and stout defense. Saturday revealed that Alabama is far off elite status in any of those categories. Saban’s team needs to find answers fast across the board to right the ship, but the areas that were supposed to make up the team’s identity need to elevate their level of play. If that doesn’t happen, more losses will be on the horizon. — Smith
How will Week 3 impact the poll?
There are zero matchups of ranked teams in Week 3 as we wait for what should be a more consequential slate of games in a loaded Week 4 (Ohio State-Notre Dame, Florida State-Clemson, Ole Miss-Alabama, Colorado-Oregon, Iowa-Penn State and UCLA-Utah, among others). Will there be any surprises before then? This Saturday, No. 1 Georgia opens SEC play with South Carolina, which played late-season spoiler against both Tennessee and Clemson last November. Also keep an eye on No. 8 Washington visiting Michigan State, No. 11 Tennessee going to Florida and a late-night rivalry game for No. 18 Colorado against Colorado State. — Brown
(Photo: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)