2016 college football rankings, Week 7: Top 5 holding steady, but changes elsewhere
New AP and Coaches polls will finally be released Monday. We'll add them in the chart below as soon as they're available.
This was a lengthy college football weekend, with TV schedules and Hurricane Matthew conspiring to have games played from Wednesday night until Sunday afternoon. There wasn’t any great sea change at the top of the national rankings, with the top five teams continuing to look like top-five teams.
Last week’s No. 6, Houston, knocked itself from Playoff contention by losing at Navy. But Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Michigan, and Washington all looked strong. Most of this week's changes likely come throughout the rest of the top 25.
Last season seemed to have a dearth of clear Playoff teams at this point, but that’s not a problem now. There’s plenty of eliteness at the top, and a couple of elite teams play each other soon. So we'll have more sorted out as we go forward, but there's no reason to think it won't be a lot of fun.
We’re still three weeks from the first Playoff committee rankings, on Nov. 1, a Tuesday night. The AP and Coaches Polls can stand in as decent estimations until that time, and both will be out Monday.
The four rankings used here
The Associated Press Top 25: The longest-running and best-respected human poll. Didn't have any official bearing on the latter years of the BCS, and doesn't have any official bearing on the Playoff. Most outlets (including SB Nation) will use the AP's rankings as the standard until the committee takes over in November, though. You can expect these rankings to drop early Sunday afternoon.
The USA Today Coaches Poll: Formerly part of the BCS, and now just a poll. It tends to react more cautiously than the AP's. Though polling athletic departments in order to rank other athletic departments is dubious, we still want multiple human polls in here, and this is the other big one. These rankings typically come in around noon.
The Massey computer composite: A collection of every rating out there. We include the latest version as of publication. (It does also include the two human polls, but they can't sway it all that much.)
Bill Connelly's S&P+ ratings: SB Nation's favored advanced stat, which arrives a bit later than the others. An important thing to keep in mind: for the first few weeks, it also factors in preseason projections. It'll look pretty weird early on, but it's proved to be a very strong predictor against the Vegas spread over the long term.