Log in

AP Top 25 Reality Check: Another ranked Red River Rivalry, but Texas, Oklahoma could be even higher

Posted

Perfect starts by Texas and Oklahoma have set up the 43rd meeting between the Red River Rivals where both teams will be ranked.

The Longhorns were No. 3 in Sunday's AP Top 25 and the Sooners moved up a couple of spots to a season-high No. 12.

The top of the rankings were mostly unchanged, with Georgia No. 1 and Michigan No. 2, though the Bulldogs received a season-low 35 first-place votes out of a possible 62.

The Texas-Oklahoma rivalry has the second-most ranked matchups of any series in major college football. Michigan-Ohio State is No. 1. The Wolverines and Buckeyes have played 48 times when both teams were ranked, including last year.

The combined ranking of 15 for Oklahoma and Texas is the best for a Red River Game since 2011, when they were a combined 14, with the Sooners at No. 3 and Longhorns 11th.

In 2018, the only time Texas and Oklahoma have met in the Big 12 Conference championship, the combined ranking also was 14 (Oklahoma at No. 5 and Texas at No. 9).

This will be the last Red River Rivalry played in the Big 12, with Texas and Oklahoma headed to the Southeastern Conference next year. And as with 2018, it could very well be the first of two meetings.

There is a long way to go, but Texas and Oklahoma were the only two ranked teams in the Big 12 this week. The last time the Big 12 had only two ranked teams was September 2021.

The last time Texas and Oklahoma played in the regular season with both in the top 10 was 2008, when No. 5 Texas beat No. 1 Oklahoma.

Longhorns fans recall that one especially well because the Sooners ended up being ranked higher at the end of the regular season and went on to play for both the Big 12 and BCS championships.

Reality Check believes both the Longhorns and Sooners have a case to be ranked even higher this week.

No. 1 Georgia (5-0)

Next: vs. No. 20 Kentucky, Saturday.

Reality check: Bulldogs have had the No. 1 rushing defense in the SEC by yards per carry each of the last four seasons. After giving up 219 yards and 5.1 per carry to Auburn — much of the damage on QB runs — Georgia is ninth in the SEC (3.97 ypc) against the run. Aberration? Kentucky will be a good test.

Ranked: For the first time in a while, too high.

No. 2 Michigan (5-0)

Next: at Minnesota, Saturday.

Reality check: Wolverines are doing everything they can with the schedule they have to prove they are one of the best teams in the country. It's just hard to get excited about it.

Ranked: Touch high.

No. 3 Texas (5-0)

Next: vs. No. 12 Oklahoma in Dallas, Saturday.

Reality check: The Longhorns' defense is ranked just ahead of Michigan at 23rd in the country in yards per play allowed (4.71) and their offense is tied for 19th in the country, with Georgia at 6.89 yards per play.

Ranked: Texas should be No. 1.

No. 4 Ohio State (4-0)

Next: vs. Maryland, Saturday.

Reality check: Been a relatively slow start to the season for All-America WR Marvin Harrison Jr., which means he is still second in the Big Ten in catches (4.3) and yards receiving (84.0) per game.

Ranked: Little high.

No. 5 Florida State (4-0)

Next: vs. Virginia Tech, Saturday.

Reality check: Seminoles' running game has had moments, but other than fattening up against Southern Miss it has not gotten really cranked up. Watch for that the next few weeks.

Ranked: Too low.

No. 6 Penn State (5-0)

Next: vs. UMass, Oct. 14.

Reality check: The Nittany Lions are very good at defense, but they have also feasted on three offenses (West Virginia, Iowa and Northwestern) that rank among the bottom 30 in the country.

Ranked: Too high.

No. 7 Washington (5-0)

Next: vs. No. 8 Oregon, Oct. 14.

Reality check: Huskies have been so good offensively it has masked their penalty problem. They are 128th in the country at nearly nine flags per game.

Ranked: Too low.

No. 8 Oregon (5-0)

Next: at No. 7 Washington, Oct. 14.

Reality check: Ducks have been playing smothering defense, holding four of five opponents below 225 total yards. It won't be that stingy against the Pac-12's best offenses, but it still might be what separates Oregon from the rest of the contenders.

Ranked: Too low.

No. 9 USC (5-0)

Next: vs. Arizona, Saturday.

Reality check: The defense is still a problem, but the game management can be puzzling, too. The Trojans average 6.35 yards per carry, fourth best in the nation, but they are averaging 27 attempts per game, 126th in the country.

Ranked: Too high.

No. 10 Notre Dame (5-1)

Next: at No. 25 Louisville, Saturday.

Reality check: Irish played without WRs Jayden Thomas and Jaden Greathouse against Duke and it showed. And it's not as if either of those players is a star. Notre Dame needs some serious development at wide receiver.

Ranked: Too low.

No. 11 Alabama (4-1)

Next: at Texas A&M, Saturday.

Reality check: Crimson Tide has attempted 108 passes, tied with Rutgers and Nebraska for the fewest among Power Five teams. How far can this take 'Bama?

Ranked: Too low.

No. 12 Oklahoma (5-0)

Next: vs. No. 3 Texas in Dallas, Saturday.

Reality check: Last year's struggles seem to be keeping voters from really buying in on the Sooners. That and no marquee victories. This week we'll learn if the caution has been warranted.

Ranked: Too low.

No. 13 Washington State (4-0)

Next: at UCLA, Saturday.

Reality check: Cougars need to become more disruptive on defense. They average fewer than five tackles for loss per game. Related: Washington has a similar issue.

Ranked: Little high.

No. 14 North Carolina (4-0)

Next: vs. Syracuse, Saturday.

Reality check: With WR Tez Walker ineligible, J.J. Jones (18.5 yards per catch) and Nate McCollum (21 catches for 220 yards) have become one of the most productive tandems in the ACC.

Ranked: Little low.

No. 15 Oregon State (5-0)

Next: at California, Saturday.

Reality check: DT Sione Lolohea makes the Beavers really tough to run against.

Ranked: Just right.

No. 16 Mississippi (4-1)

Next: vs. Arkansas, Saturday.

Reality check: Is beating LSU a signature win for coach Lane Kiffin? TBD. The Rebels seem like a team good enough to beat just about anybody on its schedule — or lose.

Ranked: Too high.

No. 17 Miami (4-0)

Next: vs. Georgia Tech, Saturday.

Reality check: Portal additions of upperclassmen C Matt Lee and OG Javion Cohen have given an otherwise young offensive line a big boost.

Ranked: Little low.

No. 18 Utah (4-1)

Next: vs. California, Oct. 14.

Reality check: The Utes had quite a run in September, despite a load of injuries, but they currently have the second-worst offense in the Power Five — only ahead of Iowa. If they can't change that they're not going to stay ranked much longer.

Ranked: OK, for now.

No. 19 Duke (4-1)

Next: vs. North Carolina State, Oct. 14.

Reality check: The ceiling for the rest of this season will be determined by the health of QB Riley Leonard (right ankle). The upcoming schedule (N.C. State, at Florida State, at Louisville) doesn't give the Blue Devils much room to manage without him.

Ranked: Just right.

No. 20 Kentucky (5-0)

Next: at No. 1 Georgia, Saturday.

Reality check: Another team that fixed its offensive line with the help of the portal — the left side of OT Marques Cox and OG Dylan Ray were both transfer additions. They have helped the Wildcats re-establish their rugged identity.

Ranked: Just right.

No. 21 Missouri (5-0)

Next: vs. No. 23 LSU, Saturday.

Reality check: QB Brady Cook was getting booed at home just a few weeks ago. He now has thrown an SEC-record 347 straight passes without an interception.

Ranked: Just right.

No. 22 Tennessee (4-1)

Next: vs. Texas A&M, Oct. 14.

Reality check: For all the talk about QB Joe Milton, Jaylen Wright might be the engine in this offense. The third-year running back is averaging 7.13 yards per carry.

Ranked: Little high.

No. 23 LSU (3-2)

Next: at No. 21 Missouri, Saturday.

Reality check: Tigers defense is a mess without obvious solutions and there really isn't a great reason for this team to be ranked.

Ranked: Too high.

No. 24 Fresno State (5-0)

Next: at Wyoming, Saturday.

Reality check: DB Carlton Johnson is tied for the national lead with four interceptions, leading a defense that has allowed only 19 points in the last three games.

Ranked: Just right.

No. 25 Louisville (5-0)

Next: vs. No. 10 Notre Dame, Saturday.

Reality check: Cardinals have an interesting schedule the rest of the way with nonconference games against the Irish and Kentucky, but no Florida State, North Carolina or Clemson on the ACC slate.

Ranked: Just right.

___

Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.appodcasts.com

___

AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll