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College Football Poll Watch: Louisville and Wisconsin Get Respect; Washington Enters Title Discussion

Author:
Chris Petersen

Chris Petersen

With three matchups between top 10 teams on the schedule heading into this past weekend, we knew we were going to learn a lot more about how this college football season would eventually shake out. We learned that Clemson and Michigan were every bit the contenders that we thought they were. Both were able to rise to the task and take care of business against formidable opponents at home. We also learned quite a bit about the teams they defeated, as well as one team from the Pacific Northwest that put the nation on high alert.

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From what I can see, the voters in the major polls didn't make many mistakes this week.

Wisconsin and Louisville earned some respect in losing efforts

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The Badgers and Cardinals each went into hostile territory and held their own against two of the best teams in college football. Paul Chryst's Wisconsin team went toe-to-toe in a defensive battle in the Big House with Michigan for four quarters, while Louisville entertained us all in a losing effort against Clemson in Death Valley. The voters acknowledges the valiant efforts of each team, as Wisconsin only fell three spots in the AP Poll and five sports in the Amway Coaches Poll. Louisville remained in the top 10 of both polls, landing at No. 7 in the AP Poll and No. 8 in the Coaches Poll. Kudos to the voters in both polls for recognizing the talent and using the eye test to keep both teams in the College Football Playoff conversation — as they should be.

Washington is for real

You had to have known it was going to happen eventually. If Chris Petersen was able to get some of the best players from the West Coast to go to Boise, you knew he'd be able to talk some talent into playing in Seattle. Since arriving in the Emerald City in 2014, he has done just that. Under the Friday night lights of Husky Stadium, Petersen's team dominated a Stanford club that doesn't get dominated often — making Christian McCaffrey look human in the process. That win sent shockwaves across the nation, along with a clear message: The Washington Huskies are for real. The voters agreed, bumping them five spots in the AP Poll and three spots in the Coaches Poll — subsequently inserting the Huskies squarely into the College Football Playoff discussion.

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Be on the lookout

There are a couple of unbeaten teams with some fairly impressive resumes hovering just outside the top 25 of both the AP and Coaches Polls. The Western Michigan Broncos — let by Coach P.J. Fleck — are 5-0, average 44.8 points per game and have already defeated two Big Ten teams. They are winning games by almost a four touchdown margin and looking like they might be the best Group of Five team not named Houston. They are No. 25 in the AP Poll but still unranked in the Coaches Poll.

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Back in the Power Five, first-year head coach D. J. Durkin has his Maryland Terrapins firing on all cylinders and hanging impressive numbers of their own on scoreboards this season. They are currently 4-0 and coming off of a 50-7 win over fellow Big Ten opponent Purdue. Their next four opponents are Penn State, Minnesota, Michigan State and Indiana. It's not crazy to suggest that the Terps could be 8-0 when they travel to Ann Arbor on Nov. 5 to take on the Michigan Wolverines.

Don't get comfortable

There are some teams riding high right now that could be falling down the rankings in the next couple of weeks. The Miami Hurricanes — currently ranked No. 10 in both major polls — play three games against currently ranked teams between now and Oct. 20.

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College Football Top 25: Miami

Texas A&M — No. 8 in the AP and No. 7 in the Coaches Poll — take on Tennessee at home this weekend before taking a week off to prepare for a trip to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to face the defending national champions.

Suffice to say, it's a safe bet we'll see some moving and shaking in the top 10 of both major polls in the next couple of weeks.

— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo! and Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.