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Florida drops in latest Super 16 poll, UCF moves in, UGA-Notre Dame battle set to be a top seven affair

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Uncertainty over Florida’s future without starting quarterback Feliepe Franks is already causing voters to drop the Gators in national polls following the team’s escape at Kentucky over the weekend.

Dan Mullen’s squad dropped two spots to 11th despite winning to move to 3-0 on the season, a good indication that a forthcoming slide might happen in the AP and Coaches Polls as well. They weren’t the only ones to drop however, as Michigan slid from No. 10 to No. 12, Texas A&M dropped out altogether and Oregon moved down a spot to No. 16.

The SEC once again occupies slots 2-4 in the poll and have five of the top 16 teams overall. There was a slight change however as some voters apparently forgot about LSU’s win over new No. 9 Texas and flipped the Tigers with Georgia in the 3/4 spots. That makes the upcoming battle in Athens between the Bulldogs and No. 7 Notre Dame a top seven affair with huge College Football Playoff implications.

It should be noted that three writers (Kevin McGuire, Zach Barnett and Bryan Fischer) here at CFTalk have weekly votes in the Super 16 poll. Without further ado, here’s the full rankings heading into Week 4:

  1. Clemson (34 first place votes)
  2. Alabama (8)
  3. Georgia (1)
  4. LSU (3)
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Ohio State
  7. Notre Dame
  8. Auburn
  9. Texas
  10. Utah
  11. Florida
  12. Michigan
  13. Wisconsin
  14. Penn State
  15. UCF
  16. Oregon

Also notable were the debut of UCF in the poll, the highest ranked Group of Five team as a result of their thumping of Stanford down in Orlando.

Top nine unchanged in updated AP Poll; UCF moves into top 15

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Though there were a handful of upsets on Saturday but since most of those didn’t occur in the top 10, the bulk of the places near the top remained unchanged heading into Week 4.

In fact the only change was No. 11 Michigan and No. 10 Utah flipping places after the Wolverines had the weekend off ahead of their matchup against No. 13 Wisconsin. The Badgers were actually tied at that ranking with co-No. 13 Penn State as changes were few and far between from No. 14 on up.

One pleasant surprise was the continued ascent of UCF, which moved into the top 15 following the Knights destruction of a Stanford team ranked in the top 25 just two weeks ago.

Speaking of the Pac-12, the conference really dominated the AP Poll’s back half. No. 16 Oregon, No. 19 Washington State and No. 22 Washington were joined by No. 23 California and No. 24 Arizona State. The six schools from the league tied the SEC for most by one league — though it just meant a little bit more for the latter with No. 17 Texas A&M being the lowest ranked of that bunch.

TCU also debuted in the poll at No. 25 while Michigan State, USC and Maryland dropped out.

The full AP Top 25 heading into Week 4:

  1. Clemson
  2. Alabama
  3. Georgia
  4. LSU
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Ohio State
  7. Notre Dame
  8. Auburn
  9. Florida
  10. Utah
  11. Michigan
  12. Texas
  13. Penn State/Wisconsin

15. UCF

16. Oregon

17. Texas A&M

18. Iowa

19. Washington State

20. Boise State

21. Virginia

22. Washington

23. California

24. Arizona State

25. TCU

Virginia, Arizona State, Cal, Kansas State make debuts in latest Coaches Poll

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The latest Amway/USA Today Coaches Poll is out heading into Week 4 and there were a handful of movers and shakers after a somewhat quiet weekend that produced four ranked sides going down.

The Pac-12 may be the conference who receives the least respect nationally but fresh off a major upset and continued solid play from others, the league is at least being given its due by the coaches across the country.

Making their debuts in the top 25 were No. 25 Kansas State (after their upset of Mississippi State), No. 24 Arizona State (after beating Michigan State in East Lansing), No. 23 Cal and a No. 22 Virginia side that was ranked by the AP last week but finally sees the coaches coming around to the ACC Coastal Division favorite after holding on against Florida State on Saturday.

The Spartans and Bulldogs were among the four teams that were dropped from the poll as a result, joining USC and Maryland in moving out of the top 25 following losses.

Here’s the full poll:

  1. Clemson (62 first place votes)
  2. Alabama (3)
  3. Georgia
  4. Oklahoma
  5. LSU
  6. Ohio State
  7. Notre Dame
  8. Florida
  9. Auburn
  10. Michigan
  11. Utah
  12. Penn State
  13. Texas
  14. Wisconsin
  15. Texas A&M
  16. UCF
  17. Oregon
  18. Iowa
  19. Washington State
  20. Boise State
  21. Washington
  22. Virginia
  23. Cal
  24. Arizona State
  25. Kansas State

No. 17 UCF pounds Stanford to notch runaway victory over Power Five visitors

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No. 17 UCF has hosted a lot of big games in recent years but the number of Power Five opponents that have made the trip to Orlando have been few and far between. Judging by the results of the Knights’ latest effort, there might be a reason for that.

The AAC banner-carriers trounced the visitors from the opposite coast in Stanford on Saturday afternoon, winning 45-27 in a contest that was far more lopsided than even that scoreline indicated.

True freshman Gabriel Dillon made the most of his first start in the friendly confines of the Bounce House, throwing for 347 yards and four touchdowns against a secondary headlined by All-Pac-12 first team corner Paulson Adebo. The young signal-caller’s rapid release made it easy for the Knights offense to roll up 545 yards and kept the Cardinal linebackers guessing on nearly every snap. Tailbacks Greg McCrae and Adrian Killins combined for nearly 200 yards on the ground, with the latter breaking off a 73-yarder and scoring a short touchdown to boot.

While everything seemed to go right for the home side — including four first quarter touchdowns to take the lead and never look back — the opposite was true for the one-time Pac-12 dark horses. QB K.J. Costello had a rough return to action after missing last week with a head injury, throwing for 199 yards and a touchdown while nearly tossing a pick-six as well. The Cardinal ground game was lackluster at best too, barely topping the century mark on the ground and being abandoned for the most part in the second half given the large deficit.

The loss was especially disappointing for the school’s most famous local alums as golfer Tiger Woods was visibly upset for most of the sweltering afternoon on the sidelines as his Stanford football team failed to keep up with their opponents from the AAC.

As for those Knights, the victory is certainly a nice feather in their cap given the rarity of Power Five victories on their slate over this incredible run the past few seasons. They will likely have a shot to move up in the polls come Sunday and have another crack at a win against a major conference when they travel to Pitt next weekend. All told it was their 27th straight victory in the regular season and one of their most impressive yet given the destruction they left in their wake between the lines.

No. 17 UCF steamrolling Stanford at halftime

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The most anticipated home game for UCF in several years might turn out to be over before the end of the first quarter.

The No. 17 Knights jumped on Power Five foe Stanford with four touchdowns in the first frame and cruised to an impressive 38-7 lead over the visitors from the other side of the country going into halftime.

The lopsided nature of the contest went well beyond the scoreboard as the Cardinal couldn’t find much to go right on either side of the ball. Quarterback K.J. Costello returned to action after missing the USC game last week but was fairly ineffective in the Florida heat, throwing for 61 yards and one interception that was nearly returned for a pick-six. Tailback Austin Jones did provide a brief highlight with 69 yards rushing and a touchdown but an offense not exactly built to score a bunch of points will need to do just that if they even want to make the outcome a respectable one.

Maybe more concerning for David Shaw was the defensive effort as UCF looked two steps quicker on each snap. Freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel looked like he was the Power Five signal-caller in just his second start, throwing for 250 yards and a trio of touchdowns. Greg McCrae chipped in with a 94 yards on the ground before the break and scored from one yard out to capitalize on that earlier interception forced by the UCF defense.

All told, the Knights averaged nearly 10 yards per play in the early blitz while holding their opponents to less than half that.

The ever confident UCF fan base continues to stick their chest out that they can go toe-to-toe with anybody in the Power Five and based on the performance so far against Stanford, the team is well on their way to getting a pretty big notch on their belts to that end.