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  • Brian Kelly and Notre Dame are No. 9 in the AP Poll this week, the highest-ranked one-loss team. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Sunday, October 06, 2019 11:10 pm

Sinn's AP Blog: Week 6

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

After six weeks in the college football season, there are three teams that are already bowl-eligible. Those three are Ohio State, Florida and ... Southern Methodist. You didn't see that last one coming, did you? The Mustangs are in the top 25 for the second straight week after remaining unranked since the NCAA gave the program the infamous "death penalty" in 1987. They are 6-0 this season and got their sixth win after overcoming a 30-9 deficit against Tulsa on Saturday, eventually winning in triple overtime in one of the most exciting games of the weekend (the other game in contention for the Most Exciting title was probably Miami-Virginia Tech). If you haven't checked out an SMU game yet, you absolutely should. The Mustangs under coach Sonny Dykes are so much fun.

One of those other 6-0 teams, Florida, got there by winning the most high-profile game of the weekend, downing Auburn 24-13 in the Swamp. It was an ugly game and we really didn't learn much about whether either of these teams can compete with Alabama for a conference title. Both teams turned the ball over four times and there were 15 combined penalties. Still, the Gators emerged victorious and will be rewarded with a matchup against No. 5 LSU in Death Valley next week. That will probably give us a better idea of whether the Gators (not to mention LSU and quarterback Joe Burrow) are for real. Ahead of that game, I vaulted Florida to No. 8 in the rankings, one spot ahead of Notre Dame, which dismantled Bowling Green 52-0. 

Here is my full poll:

1. Clemson (5-0)

2. Alabama (5-0)

3. Ohio State (6-0)

4. Georgia (5-0)

5. LSU (5-0)

6. Oklahoma (5-0)

7. Penn State (5-0)

8. Florida (6-0)

9. Notre Dame (4-1)

10. Wisconsin (5-0)

11. Texas (4-1)

12. Oregon (4-1)

13. Auburn (5-1)

14. Boise State (5-0)

15. Utah (4-1)

16. Wake Forest (5-0)

17. Virginia (4-1)

18. SMU (6-0)

19. Appalachian State (4-0)

20. Michigan (4-1)

21. Iowa (4-1)

22. Arizona State (4-1)

23. Texas A&M (3-2)

24. Minnesota (5-0)

25. Memphis (5-0)

The full poll can be found here: https://www.collegefootball.ap.org/poll

I moved the Gators in front of Notre Dame and kept the Irish at No. 9, the same position I had them in before they beat down Bowling Green this week. That was a tough decision for me because I'm not at all sure that Florida is a better team than Notre Dame. The Gators are a somewhat turnover-prone squad (as we saw against the Tigers) and Notre Dame is among the best teams in the country in turnover margin at plus-10, which would make a significant difference in a hypothetical matchup. Florida is also on its backup quarterback and although Kyle Trask has performed well, he's also now nursing a sprained knee after he took a nasty shot against Auburn. 

Still, I put the Gators in front, at least for now, because they have the superior record at the moment. They won the most important game on their schedule to date (Auburn), while the Irish lost theirs (Georgia). Florida has decent (if not great) wins over Kentucky, Tennessee and Miami. Things could change as soon as this week – in fact, I think they will as Florida should be a significant underdog against LSU – but for right now 6-0 beats 4-1. The Irish remain my top-rated one-loss team.

The good news for Notre Dame this week is that it got help from its schedule. If the Irish are going to make a push for a one-loss bid to the College Football Playoff, they need their past and future opponents to play well. Michigan and Georgia helped in that area this week, winning games against solid teams. I left the Wolverines for dead after the beating they took against Wisconsin, but they picked themselves up off the mat and won a hideous-looking game against No. 14 Iowa, persuading me to put them back in the top 25 at No. 20. It would be helpful for the Irish if Michigan could also beat Penn State on Oct. 19 and go into its matchup against Notre Dame at 6-1 on Oct. 26.

Georgia also helped the Irish cause with a 43-14 stomping of Tennessee in Knoxville. The Bulldogs got a couple of first-place votes this week after a 5-0 start and if Notre Dame's only loss at the end of the year is a close game against a strong Georgia team on the road, that's a resume that will be formidable in the CFP discussion. There's a lot of football left to be played, but the Irish have a definite path to the top four with a little help.

Bold Pick of the Week: Washington State 47, No. 18 Arizona State 34

These are two teams coming off a bye and although the Sun Devils are at home and favored by 4, I'll take the Cougars. That's a desperate team after two straight Pac-12 losses and I'm betting Mike Leach will have some fun plays cooked up against Herm Edwards. ASU hasn't faced an offense nearly this good yet and Washington State should score plenty.

Last Week: Auburn 34, Florida 13

Season Record: 2-3

I got this one wrong, mostly because I figured the Tigers would push Florida around and it didn't happen. This week, I'm expecting another Tigers (LSU) to push Florida around. Hmmmm ... 

dsinn@jg.net