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AP Top 25: Previewing the biggest October matchups

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Jake Fromm
Jake Fromm (AP Images)

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The newest AP Top 25 Poll was released Sunday afternoon and there were plenty of changes after seven ranked teams - three in the top-10 - lost on Saturday. With that in mind, here is a look at the matchups throughout the rest of October that will have a major impact on the top of the rankings as teams jockey for a high spot in the first College Football Playoff Ranking (which comes out on Tuesday, Oct. 30).


No. 2 Georgia at No. 13 LSU

Rankings implications: This looked like a top five matchup before LSU lost to Florida on Saturday. Georgia needs to stay on track to make it to make its second-straight College Football Playoff and LSU is the first in a series of opponents (see below) that give Georgia one of the toughest four-game stretches in the country. The margin for error in the SEC West is so small and if LSU wants to have a chance at making it to the SEC Championship game the Tigers need to win out.

Impact players for this game:

LSU: Nick Brossette, Joe Burrow, Devin White, Greedy Williams

Georgia: Jake Fromm, Mecole Hardman, D’Andre Walker, Deandre Baker

No. 6 West Virginia at Iowa State

Rankings implications: The Mountaineers won on Saturday when they hosted Kansas but Dana Holgorsen’s team did not play as well as most had expected. Traveling to Iowa State, which just upset a previously ranked Oklahoma State team, won’t be an easy win. If West Virginia can avoid a sleepwalking during the next two weeks, the Mountaineers are in for a brutal November. Winning out could put West Virginia into the College Football Playoff.

Impact players for this game:

West Virginia: Will Grier, David Sills, David Long, Kenny Robinson

Iowa State: Kyle Kempt, David Montgomery, Greg Elsworth, Braxton Lewis


No. 20 NC State at No. 4 Clemson

Rankings implications: NC State has lost to Clemson by one score in the programs' last two meetings and this one figures to be another classic. Both teams have a bye prior to this matchup so they will surely have some tricks up their sleeves. Clemson is trying to make its fourth-straight College Football Playoff and, with the ACC having a down year, the Tigers need to win in dominating fashion to bolster their resume. If NC State pulls off the upset here the Wolf Pack could be in line to win a conference championship for the first time since 1979. Their chances of making it to the College Football Playoff took a big hit with the cancellation of their game against a ranked West Virginia team.

Impact players for this game:

NC State: Ryan Finley, Kelvin Harmon, Germain Pratt, Larrell Murchison

Clemson: Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, Christian Wilkins, Trayvon Mullen

No. 19 Colorado at No. 7 Washington

Rankings implications: Washington has a tall task this weekend at Oregon but its game with a potentially undefeated Colorado squad the next weekend could be the most important game of the year in the Pac-12. Colorado, the only undefeated team in the Pac-12, goes on the road this week for a major test at USC. The clash between an undefeated Colorado and a top-10 Washington team will go a long way towards helping everyone figure out if the Pac-12 will send a representative to the College Football Playoff this year.

Impact players for this game:

Colorado: Laviska Shenault, Travon McMillian, Mustafa Johnson, Drew Lewis

Washington: Jake Browning, Myles Gaskin, Ben Burr-Kirven, Myles Bryant


No. 14 Florida vs. No. 2 Georgia (in Jacksonville)

Rankings implications: The stakes at the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” could not be higher this year. Georgia will be coming off a bye week and could still be undefeated after its game at LSU (see above). Florida just had a big win against LSU and needs to avoid a letdown at Vanderbilt this week before resting up on a bye week before the matchup against Georgia. A one-loss Florida team against an undefeated Georgia team will have the college football world buzzing.

Impact players for this game:

Georgia: Jake Fromm, Elijah Holyfield, D’Andre Walker, Tyson Campbell

Florida: Feleipe Franks, Freddie Swain, Chauncey Gardner, Jachai Polite

No. 5 Notre Dame vs. Navy (in San Diego)

Rankings implications: If Notre Dame wins out there is a very good chance it will make it to the College Football Playoff. The Fighting Irish have two games left this month, this coming weekend against Pittsburgh and in two weeks against Navy in San Diego. Notre Dame has a bye week right before this matchup with Navy but defending against the Midshipmen's option offense is always challenging. Navy has beaten Notre Dame four out of the last 11 times the two teams have played so this is by no means a slam dunk for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame also has to avoid looking ahead to Northwestern, its next opponent.

Impact players for this game:

Notre Dame: Ian Book, Miles Boykin, Jerry Tillery, Drue Tranquill

Navy: Malcolm Perry, Grant Lewis, Jarvis Polu, Taylor Heflin