Tennessee, NC State end top-10 droughts in AP college football poll

Tennessee and NC State broke into the top 10 of The Associated Press college football poll Sunday, and Florida State is back in the rankings for the first time in four years.

Georgia remained No. 1 and received 55 of 63 first-place votes in the Top 25. No. 2 Alabama (four first-place votes), No. 3 Ohio State (four first-place votes), No. 4 Michigan and No. 5 Clemson all held their places.

Oklahoma's upset loss to Kansas State created room for teams to move up, including USC to No. 6 and Kentucky to No. 7.

Tennessee moved up three spots to No. 8, its best ranking since 2006 and first top-10 appearance since a few weeks at ninth in the first half of 2016. That was the last time the Volunteers started 4-0. They also knocked Florida out of the rankings by snapping a five-game losing streak in the rivalry.

Oklahoma State remained at No. 9, and NC State jumped two spots to No. 10 for its best ranking since it was 10th in 2002.

Texas and Miami both dropped out of the rankings after being beaten by unranked teams to fall to 2-2. The Longhorns blew a 14-point second-half lead and lost in overtime at Texas Tech, while Miami, which started the season at No. 16, was upended by a four-touchdown underdog in Middle Tennessee.

While the Hurricanes and Gators slipped out, No. 23 Florida State (4-0) moved in. The Seminoles are off to their best start since 2015 and in the AP Top 25 for the first time since beginning the 2018 season No. 19, snapping a streak of 69 polls unranked.


Florida State's poll drought was remarkable considering how the Seminoles have been a Top 25 staple since the late 1970s.

Florida State's streak of 211 weeks ranked from 1989 to 2001 is the third-longest streak in the history of the poll, and its streak of 42 seasons appearing in at least one poll from 1977 to 2018 is fourth all time.

Before the current drought, Florida State had not gone consecutive seasons without being ranked for at least one poll since 1976-77, which was the late Bobby Bowden's first season as coach.


Two other teams are making their Top 25 debuts this week:

- No. 21 Minnesota enters the rankings after crushing Michigan State on the road. The Gophers are ranked for the first time since a short stay in 2020.

- No. 25 Kansas State upset a top-10-ranked Oklahoma team for the third time in the past four seasons. The Wildcats have been briefly ranked in each of the past three seasons, but never more than three weeks.


SEC: 7 (Nos. 1, 2, 7, 8, 14, 17, 20)
ACC: 5 (Nos. 5, 10, 22, 23, 24)
Big 12: 4 (Nos. 9, 16, 18, 25)
Big Ten: 4 (Nos. 2, 4, 11, 21)
Pac-12: 4 (Nos. 6, 12, 13, 15)
Independent: 1 (No. 19)


No. 10 NC State at No. 5 Clemson. The 87th meeting will be the first matching top-10 teams.

No. 7 Kentucky at No. 14 Ole Miss. The Wildcats and Rebels have played 44 times dating back to 1944 and have both been ranked just once, in 1958.

No. 2 Alabama at No. 20 Arkansas. The Tide are 6-0 when both teams are ranked.

No. 9 Oklahoma State at No. 16 Baylor. The Cowboys and Bears played twice as ranked teams last season.

No. 22 Wake Forest at No. 23 Florida State. The only ranked meeting in 39 games was 2008, a Wake victory.