No. 7 West Virginia re-entered the top 10 of The Associated Press college football poll after another weekend in which the number of ranked teams losing reached double digits.
Unanimous No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Notre Dame remained unchanged, and No. 4 Michigan, No. 5 Georgia and No. 6 Oklahoma each moved up a spot. The Mountaineers surged from No. 12 after beating Texas on a go-ahead 2-point conversion in final minute.
Ten ranked teams lost this weekend, four in games against other ranked teams. Over the last two weeks, 21 ranked teams have lost, the most over a two-week span since the AP poll expanded to 25 in 1989.
Iowa State was ranked for the first time this season, one of five teams to move into the ranking this week.
There are seven teams in the ranking after Week 10 of the regular season that already have lost three times. If that seems like a lot, it is. Last season after Week 10, there were three teams in the Top 25 that had lost three games. In the previous five years, from 2012-16, there were a total of five teams ranked in the Week 10 AP poll that already had lost three times.
What’s going on?
A few logistical changes to the college football season are at least in part to blame for the increase. The Big Ten went to a nine-game conference schedule, joining the Big 12 and Pac-12, in 2016, meaning more opportunities for those teams to pick each other off.
Also, the Big 12 restarted its conference championship game last year after six-year hiatus. That condensed the conference’s regular season, which from 2011-16 ran through the first weekend of December.
Still, the only scheduling change throughout the Football Bowl Subdivision this season is in the Sun Belt, which became the final conference to add a championship game.
In conclusion: There are more opportunities for teams to lose, so the new normal is likely somewhere between this season’s seven ranked three-loss teams by Week 10 to last season’s three.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at https://www.podcastone.com/AP-Top-25-College-Football-Podcast