College Football Poll Watch: Michigan Gets Love for Not Playing, West Virginia Emerges as a Contender

There was plenty of inconsistency in the way the AP voters weighed the results of Week 7's games

Things went pretty much chalk over the weekend, not that it didn't make for another exciting Saturday afternoon and night of college football action mind you.

 

A couple of teams snuck away with close wins. Alabama did what Alabama does and once again, we have questionable movement in both of college football's two major polls.

 

Here's what stuck out to me this week. 

 

The AP Voters Love Michigan

Jim Harbaugh's Wolverines had the week off, but that didn't matter in the eyes of the AP voters. Michigan jumped Clemson after Dabo Sweeney's bunch survived an overtime thriller at home against NC State. Apparently, that home win over a team that was 4-1 heading into the contest was less impressive than Michigan doing literally nothing. You'll notice that Alabama earned all but one first-place vote in the AP poll. That other vote went to Michigan, by way of Los Angeles Daily News writer Scott Wolf. He's had the Wolverines as the top team in the country since the first poll of the season was released.

 

Washington Didn't Get Any Michigan Love

Chris Petersen's Huskies had their bye week after back-to-back beatdowns of Stanford and Oregon — two of the most impressive wins of the 2016 college football season thus far. Apparently I'm in the minority in thinking that, as the AP voters allowed Michigan to jump Clemson, but kept Washington at No. 5. Before Michigan's bye week, the Wolverines beat down Rutgers and won a close one against Wisconsin at home — by the same margin Ohio State just beat the Badgers in Madison. You can expect the Huskies will be properly rewarded for those wins by the College Football Playoff committee in a couple of weeks.

 

Louisville Gets a Pass

The Cardinals won a Friday night dogfight at home against now 3-4 Duke. Unlike Clemson's win, Louisville's victory was enough to keep it firmly planted in the No. 7 spot in both polls. The AP voters kept the 5-1 Cardinals one spot ahead of unbeaten Nebraska, who knocked off Indiana in Bloomington, while the coaches kept them ahead of undefeated Baylor.

 

Houston's Rear-View Mirror is Still Crowded

The Cougars snuck away with a close one against a Tulsa team that needed overtime to beat SMU and Fresno State in its last two games. Houston remains the top-ranked Group of Five team in both polls, but Boise State and Western Michigan remained ranked, unbeaten and still favored to win the rest of their games. Tom Herman's team is going to need to win out to lock up a New Year's Six Bowl bid. As we saw this past weekend, that'll be easier said than done.

 

Do Country Roads Lead to the College Football Playoff?

The West Virginia Mountaineers are one of the biggest surprises of the 2016 season so far. There were a lot of people predicting Texas Tech to hand the Mountaineers their first loss of the season, but Dana Holgersen's team stepped up with a statement win on the road. The voters were impressed, bumping them eight spots to No. 12. The Mountaineers control their own destiny in the Big 12. Their toughest remaining road game looks like Oklahoma State in Stillwater. They play TCU, Oklahoma and Baylor all at home. West Virginia couldn't ask for a more favorable scenario at this point. If the Mountaineers can manage to run the table, it'll be tough to keep them out of the College Football Playoff committee's top four.

 

The "U" stands for Unranked

For the first time since the preseason polls were released, the Miami Hurricanes are nowhere to be found in either of the two major polls. If you've been following along, you know I've been waiting for this shoe to drop for a couple of weeks. The Hurricanes climbed from "others receiving votes" status all the way into the top 10 on the back of a laughably weak schedule. Two straight losses — and in-conference at that — have knocked them out of the polls and all but assured that Miami won't even add a division title to its resume from the 2016 season.

 

— 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.

Event Date: 
Sunday, October 16, 2016 - 16:40

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