AP Top 25 Reality Check: Undefeated Kansas left out again

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Kansas tight end Trevor Kardell (45) is chased by Duke defensive back Joshua Pickett (26) as he runs for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, September 24, 2022 in Lawrence, Kan.  (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Kansas tight end Trevor Kardell (45) is chased by Duke defensive back Joshua Pickett (26) as he runs for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, September 24, 2022 in Lawrence, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

PA

Not quite, Kansas.

A 4-0 start put the Jayhawks atop others receiving votes Sunday in the Associated Press college football poll presented by Regions Bank, 41 points behind No. 25 Kansas State. .

The Jayhawks have not been ranked since mid-October 2009, a nearly 13-year drought that is currently the longest among Power Five conference programs.

Being stuck behind the Sunflower State rivalry must have been particularly annoying for Kansas fans.

The Wildcats entered the standings for the first time this season after upsetting Oklahoma at Norman on Saturday. The big win came a week after K-State lost at home to Tulane, which in turn lost to South Mississippi on Saturday.

These types of results can confuse voters.

Meanwhile, Kansas and quarterback Jaylon Daniels went through Tennessee Tech, West Virginia, Houston and Duke, with the middle two on the road. Take out the FCS opponent and the Jayhawks have an average margin of victory of 13 points.

They also rank third in the nation behind No. 3 Ohio State and TCU and just ahead of No. 2 Alabama in yards per play (7.80). Nice company.

Kansas’ resume resembles Pittsburgh’s No. 24. The two beat West Virginia in close matches. Both have road wins in the Group of Five: Kansas at Houston and Pitt at Western Michigan. Both beat FCS schools.

The difference is that Pitt lost a game in overtime to No. 8 Tennessee at home and Kansas handed Duke its first loss of the season.

Close call, but Reality Check says KU advantage. Voters are going to make the Jayhawks do more.

No. 1 Georgia (4-0)

Next: in Missouri, Saturday.

Reality check: A week off included Kent State winning 248 yards and coming back three times. Excuse the Bulldogs for being a little bored.

Rating: Perfect.

No. 2 Alabama (4-0)

Next: at No. 20 Arkansas, Saturday.

Reality check: Tide had a few weeks of tune-up after Texas to tighten things up before starting a six-game SEC series that includes four teams currently ranked in the top 20.

Ranking: Could argue for Ohio State here.

3rd Ohio State (4-0)

Next: against Rutgers, Saturday.

Reality check: The much-vaunted offense seems to be getting better every week: CJ Stroud has 16 TD passes and 1,231 passing yards with star WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba barely playing.

Ranking: slightly low.

No. 4 Michigan (4-0)

Next: in Iowa, Saturday.

Reality check: RB Blake Corum rushed for 243 yards on 30 carries in the Wolverines’ first competitive game against Maryland. Michigan doesn’t have a big back like Hassan Haskins to team up with the 5-foot-8, 210-pound Corum this season.

Rating: Still seems high.

No. 5 Clemson (4-0)

Next: vs. No. 10 North Carolina State, Saturday

Reality check: An encouraging performance by QB DJ Uiagalelei and his receivers against Wake Forest was tempered by the fact that this Clemson D still has a long way to go to be as dominant as advertised.

Rating: Could be four. Maybe eight.

No. 6 Southern California (4-0)

Next: vs. Arizona State, Saturday.

Reality check: The Trojans lead the nation in steals (11), are tied for the lead in total takeaways (14) and are the only team in the nation not to have committed a turnover. Yes, it will take you 4-0.

Rating: About right.

No. 7 Kentucky (4-0)

Next: at No. 14 Mississippi, Saturday.

Reality check: So far, the Wildcats offense has been different, relying heavily on QB Will Levis and big passing games with a pulverized running game. The expected return of RB Chris Rodriguez could change that.

Classification: high key.

No. 8 Tennessee (4-0)

Next: at LSU, Oct. 8.

Reality check: I’m not sure we really appreciate the talent of QB Hendon Hooker, who has yet to throw an interception and rushed for 112 yards against Florida.

Ranking: slightly low.

9th Oklahoma State (3-0)

Next: at No. 16 Baylor, Saturday.

Reality check: The Cowboys cemented a top-10 spot without much CV as six top-10 teams lost in the first four weeks.

Rating: too high.

No. 10 North Carolina State (4-0)

Next: at No. 5 Clemson, Saturday.

Reality check: The Wolfpack leads the ACC in interceptions with seven, including two each of DB Tyler Baker-Williams and Aydan White, and should be a good barometer for how much Clemson’s passing game has improved .

Rating: Low Touch.

11 Penn State (4-0)

Next: vs. Northwestern, Saturday.

Reality check: Led by lanky CB Joey Porter Jr., the Nittany Lions are averaging 11.25 passes defended per game, three more than any other team.

Rating: Too low.

No. 12 Utah (3-1)

Next: vs. Oregon State on Saturday.

Reality check: Utes has been rolling since leaving The Swamp disappointed in Week 1, but suffered a big loss to Arizona State when leading receiver and TE Brant Kuithe left with a leg injury.

Rating: too high.

No. 13 Oregon (3-1)

Next: against Stanford, Saturday.

Reality check: it wasn’t just Georgia. Pass defense is a problem. The Ducks allow 72.5% of passes to be completed, third worst in the nation.

Rating: About right.

#14 Mississippi (4-0)

Next: against No. 8 Kentucky, Saturday.

Reality check: The Running Rebels are averaging 281 yards per game rushing behind the combination of transfer Zach Evans (365 yards and four touchdowns) and rookie Quinshon Judkins (429 and five).

Rating: too high.

#15 Washington (4-0)

Next: at UCLA, Friday night.

Reality check: QB Michael Penix Jr.’s return to health has garnered a lot of attention, but third-year WRs Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan have also blossomed.

Rating: About right.

No. 16 Baylor (3-1)

Next: vs. No. 9 Oklahoma State on Saturday.

Reality check: The Bears lead the Big 12 in rushing touchdowns with 15, led by RB freshman Richard Reese’s six.

Rating: Low.

No. 17 Texas A&M (3-1)

Next: at Mississippi State on Saturday.

Reality check: Aggies threw for a total of 388 yards against three FBS opponents and could be without lead receiver Ainias Smith, who left the Arkansas game with an apparent leg injury, for a while .

Rating: too high.

No. 18 Oklahoma (3-1)

Next: at the TCU, Saturday.

Reality check: No, Brent Venables wasn’t able to solve all of Oklahoma’s defensive problems in his first season as coach.

Rating: too high.

No. 19 BYU (3-1)

Next: Against Utah State on Thursday.

Reality check: Young WRs Keanu Hill (20.21 yards per catch) and Chase Roberts (14.87) filled a void left by injuries.

Rating: Low Touch.

No. 20 Arkansas (3-1)

Next: against No. 2 Alabama, Saturday.

Back to reality: A fumble on the goal line and a doink from the top of a post prevented the Razorbacks from a 4-0 start. The schedule is relentless for the next three weeks.

Ranking: slightly low.

No. 21 Minnesota (4-0)

Next: against Purdue, Saturday.

Reality check: It’s hard to overstate how dominant the Gophers have been – albeit against questionable competition – in their hard-working ways. They lead the nation in time of possession (40:34) by four minutes and in rushing for at least 10 yards with 41.

Ranking: slightly low.

No. 22 Wake Forest (3-1)

Next: at No. 23 Florida State, Saturday.

Reality check: The latest model of the Wake Forest receiving machine is Jahmal Banks, who has 12 catches for 196 yards and four touchdowns over the past two games.

Rating: Perfect.

No. 23 Florida State (4-0)

Next: vs. No. 22 Wake Forest, Saturday.

Reality check: Seminoles are ranked for the first time in four years and the turnaround looks real with a top-20 offense (7.27 yards per play) and top-40 defense (4.91 ypp) .

Ranking: Just to go slow with Florida State.

No. 24 Pittsburgh (3-1)

Next: vs. Georgia Tech, Saturday.

Back to reality: someone has to come out of these rankings for Kansas and, sadly, it’s Pitt.

Rating: too high.

No. 25 Kansas State (3-1)

Next: against Texas Tech, Saturday.

Reality check: The promised Adrian Martinez arrived against Oklahoma, with 382 total yards and five touchdowns.

Rating: Perfect.

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

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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/ap_top25. Sign up for the PA college football newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/mrxhe6f2

This story was originally published September 26, 2022 2:45 a.m.

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