AP Top 25 Reality Check: Unanimous No 1 UGA chasing record

Georgia is putting together an historic run at No. 1.

The Bulldogs remained a unanimous top-ranked team for the eighth straight week in T he Associated Press college football poll presented by Regions Bank.

The longest streak of weeks as unanimous No. 1 was Alabama’s run of nine in 2018.

There are two more polls left this season, after next week’s championship games and then after the College Football Playoff national title is decided on Jan. 10.

If Georgia can beat Alabama in the Southeastern Conference title game next weekend and make a run through the playoff, it could break Alabama’s record for consecutive week’s as a unanimous No 1 team.

But something to keep in mind for the Bulldogs: Alabama’s run of unanimous No. 1 rankings ended in a national championship game loss to Clemson and the Crimson Tide finished No. 2.

With just one more regular-season poll left, Reality Check dives into the rest of the rankings where there are still a few places to disagree with the voters.

No. 1 Georgia (12-0)

Next: vs. No. 4 Alabama, SEC championship, Saturday.

Reality check: The Bulldogs are allowing 6.9 points per game, that would be the lowest figure for a full season since Oklahoma allowed 6.6 in 1986. That’ll likely go up as Georgia faces Alabama before heading into the playoff, but the number is still from another era of college football.

Ranked: Perfect.

No. 2 Michigan (11-1)

Next: vs. No. 15 Iowa, Big Ten championship, Saturday.

Reality check: DE Aidan Hutchinson (13 sacks) should join the Heisman Trophy discussion.

Ranked: This is fine, but Cincinnati at No. 2 would be OK.

No. 3 Cincinnati (12-0)

Next: vs. No. 16 Houston, AAC championship, Saturday.

Reality check: Did Thorpe Award voters get the right Bearcats defensive back? Very good CB Coby Bryant was named a finalist for the nation’s best defensive back and not his teammate, Ahmad Gardner, who is pretty clearly the team’s best player.

Ranked: This works.

No. 4 Alabama (11-1)

Next: vs. No. 1 Georgia, SEC championship, Saturday.

Reality check: Alabama has allowed 35 sacks, tied for 108th in the nation with Toledo, Arizona and others.

Ranked: Fine.

No. 5 Oklahoma State (11-1)

Next: vs. No. 9 Baylor, Big 12 championship, Saturday.

Reality check: Another awards complaint: Not among the Butkus finalists for best linebacker is Malcolm Rodriguez, who has been the leader of a Cowboys defense that is fourth in the country in yards per play allowed at 4.44.

Ranked: Just right.

No. 6 Notre Dame (11-1)

Next: TBD.

Reality check: Irish closed with seven straight victories, none against teams with a better record than 6-6. Coach Brian Kelly has done a nice job in a reload season, but it’s fair to say they caught a break with their opponents.

Ranked: Little high.

No. 7 Ohio State (10-2)

Next: TBD.

Reality check: The defense got better but it never got well and Michigan exposed that with 297 yards rushing and 8.0 yards per play.

Ranked: Hard to say too low after what just happened, but the Buckeyes should be ahead of Notre Dame.

No. 8 Mississippi (10-2)

Next: TBD.

Reality check: Rebels completed their first 10-win regular season in program history.

Ranked: Little low.

No. 9 Baylor (10-2)

Next: vs. No. 5 Oklahoma State, Big 12 championship, Saturday.

Reality check: The only game this season the Bears were held under 20 points was against Oklahoma State in one of their two losses.

Ranked: Just right.

No. 10 Oregon (10-2)

Next: vs. Utah, Pac-12 championship, Friday

Reality check: The Ducks get a second crack at the team that ran them out of Salt Lake just two Saturdays ago.

Ranked: Little high.

No. 11 Michigan State (10-2)

Next: TBD.

Reality check: RB Kenneth Walker III fell a little bit behind in the race to lead the nation in rushing over the last couple weeks. He heads into bowl season at 136.3 yards per game, trailing only Central Michigan’s Lew Nichols III (142.5).

Ranked: Little low.

No. 12 BYU (10-2)

Next: TBD.

Reality check: The Cougars went 5-0 against Pac-12 teams, including 4-0 against the South Division.

Ranked: Little low..

No. 13 Oklahoma (10-2)

Next: TBD.

Reality check: The first coaching search for Oklahoma since 1999 is underway after the Lincoln Riley-to-USC bombshell.

Ranked: About right.

No. 14 Utah (9-3)

Next: vs. No. 10 Oregon, Pac-12 championship, Friday.

Reality check: RB Tavion Thomas has run for 573 yards and 12 touchdowns in his last four games.

Ranked: Too low.

No. 15 Iowa (10-2)

Next: vs. No. 2 Michigan, Big Ten championship, Saturday.

Reality check: RB Tyler Goodson has gone over 130 yards rushing in three of his last four games.

Ranked: Too high.

No. 16 Houston (11-1)

Next: vs. No. 3 Cincinnati, AAC championship, Saturday.

Reality check: Cougars are fourth in the nation in sacks at 41 and they come from all over. Eight players have at least two and seven more have at least one sack.

Ranked: About right.

No. 17 Pitt (10-2)

Next: vs. No. 18 Wake Forest, ACC championship, Saturday.

Reality check: With 40 touchdown passes, Kenny Pickett broke Dan Marino’s school record of 37.

Ranked: Little low.

No 18 Wake Forest (10-2)

Next: vs. No. 17 Pitt, ACC championship, Saturday.

Reality check: Demon Deacons don’t play particularly good defense, but they do take the ball away. With 27 takeaways, they are tied for fourth in FBS.

Ranked: About right.

No. 19 San Diego State (11-1)

Next: vs. Utah State, Mountain West championship, Saturday.

Reality check: Only Georgia has allowed fewer rushing touchdowns (two) than the Aztecs’ four.

Ranked: Just right.

No. 20 Louisiana-Lafayette (11-1)

Next: vs. Appalachian State, Sun Belt championship, Saturday.

Reality check: Ragin’ Cajuns have proven they can be good on the last two coaches. Interesting job opening after Billy Napier leaves for Florida.

Ranked: Too high.

No. 21 North Carolina State (9-3)

Next: TBD.

Reality check: Wolfpack put together one of the best defenses in the ACC, despite a slew of injuries that forced lineup changes and dipped into their depth. LB Drake Thomas led the way with 13.5 tackles for loss.

Ranked: Touch low.

No. 22 Clemson (9-3)

Next: TBD.

Reality check: Tigers are going to be a really difficult and motivated opponent in whatever second-tier bowl they end up in.

Ranked: Touch low.

No. 23 Arkansas (8-4)

Next: TBD.

Reality check: Razorbacks reached eight wins before bowl season for the first time since going 11-2 in 2011.

Ranked: This is fine.

No. 24 Texas A&M (8-4)

Next: TBD.

Reality check: Step-back season for the Aggies, who struggled on offense with a backup quarterback. Except, oddly, against Alabama.

Ranked: Too high.

No. 25 Kentucky (9-3)

Next: TBD.

Reality check: Two nine-win regular seasons for the Wildcats in the last three years. Kentucky had not won nine regular season games since 1977.

Ranked: Too low.


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


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