AP Top 25 Reality Check: Michigan joins Ohio St. in 900-club


By Ralph D. Russo - AP College Football Writer



Ohio State running back Dallan Hayden (5) celebrates his touchdown with offensive lineman Luke Wypler (53), wide receiver Julian Fleming (4) and offensive lineman Donovan Jackson (74) during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Maryland, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in College Park, Md. Ohio State won 43-30. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Ohio State running back Dallan Hayden (5) celebrates his touchdown with offensive lineman Luke Wypler (53), wide receiver Julian Fleming (4) and offensive lineman Donovan Jackson (74) during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Maryland, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in College Park, Md. Ohio State won 43-30. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)


Michigan running back Blake Corum (2) runs the ball as Illinois defensive back Xavier Scott (14) defends in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


Moving toward the latest monumental matchup between Michigan and Ohio State, the Big Ten rivals share another Associated Press college football poll milestone.

Michigan became the second school, joining Ohio State, to appear in at least 900 rankings since the media poll started in 1936.

The Wolverines were ranked third and the Buckeyes second, behind No. 1 Georgia, on Sunday in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank.

Ohio State has been ranked 963 times — that’s 79% of all AP polls. Michigan’s 900 appearances represent 74% of all polls.

Oklahoma is next up with 882, followed by Alabama (854) and Notre Dame (854). Southern California on Sunday became the sixth school to reach 800 poll appearances.

As for The Game, Michigan and Ohio State will meet as ranked teams for the 48th time, the most of any rivalry. Texas and Oklahoma are next at 42, followed by Notre Dame and Southern California, which will play their 34th rivalry game with both teams ranked next week.

At this point in the season, the results mostly speak for themselves and it gets harder to quibble with the rankings, though Reality Check will always try.

No. 1 Georgia (11-0)

Next: vs. Georgia Tech, Saturday.

Reality check: You know Kirby Smart, a defensive coordinator at heart, would be fine winning every game 16-6 with minimal stress.

Ranked: Perfect.

No. 2 Ohio State (11-0)

Next: vs. No. 3 Michigan, Saturday.

Reality check: Freshman RB Dallas Hayden saved the Buckeyes’ injury-depleted running game with 147 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries against Maryland. The luxuries afforded by elite recruiting.

Ranked: Just right.

No. 3 Michigan (11-0)

Next: at No. 2 Ohio State, Saturday.

Reality check: By contrast, playing without their top two tailbacks (Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards) neutered the Wolverines’ offense. It doesn’t look like QB J.J. McCarthy is ready to carry a heavier load.

Ranked: Just right.

No. 4 TCU (11-0)

Next: vs. Iowa State, Saturday

Reality check: One of the most impressive parts of the Frogs’ remarkable season is they haven’t had an open date since Sept. 17. They have played nine straight weeks of highly competitive football games and won them all.

Ranked: Perfect.

No. 5 Southern California (10-1)

Next: vs. No. 13 Notre Dame, Saturday.

Reality check: USC’s offense has four total turnovers. Its rate of one turnover every 193 plays is by far the best in the country. Michigan is second at one every 130 plays. You can say it’s unsustainable, but USC needs to keep it up for only two more games to make the playoff.

Ranked: Why fight it when you can Fight On!

No. 6 LSU (9-2)

Next: at Texas A&M, Saturday.

Reality check: Jayden Daniels already has set LSU’s record for yards rushing (740) and rushing touchdowns (11) in season by a quarterback and he likely will become the first Tigers QB to lead the team in rushing since Nelson Stokley in 1965.

Ranked: Little high. After Georgia, the SEC teams might be out of order.

No. 7 Clemson (10-1)

Next: vs. South Carolina, Saturday.

Reality check: Tigers have nine sacks the last two weeks. If there is another gear for Clemson, it’s got to start with DE Myles Murphy and its talented defensive front.

Ranked: Clemson should either be just ahead or just behind the next two-loss SEC teams.

No. 8 Alabama (9-2)

Next: vs. Auburn, Saturday.

Reality check: This is likely to be the first season since 2017 that Alabama doesn’t have a 1,000-yard receiver and it could be the first time since 2011 that nobody breaks 700.

Ranked: Little high. Probably should still be behind Tennessee.

No. 9 Tennessee (9-2)

Next: at Vanderbilt, Saturday.

Reality check: QB Hendon Hooker’s dream season ended with a knee injury against South Carolina, a brutal development for the Heisman Trophy contender and the Vols.

Ranked: The loss was bad, but Tennessee should still be ahead of LSU and probably Alabama, too.

No. 10 Oregon (9-2)

Next: at No. 22 Oregon State, Saturday.

Reality check: The Ducks’ best defensive game of the season against Utah (4.41 yards per play) helped them survive a limited but gritty performance by Bo Nix. Could be tough to replicate it in Corvallis.

Ranked: Little high.

No. 11 Penn State (9-2)

Next: vs. Michigan State, Saturday.

Reality check: Nittany Lions have feasted on the non-Ohio State/Michigan portion of their schedule, with eight games of 17 points or fewer allowed.

Ranked: Touch low.

No. 12 Washington (9-2)

Next: at Washington State, Saturday.

Reality check: Oregon’s O-line has gotten a lot of attention for allowing only three sacks this season, but the Huskies have been excellent, too, giving up seven.

Ranked: Too low. Similar to Tennessee, Washington has a bad loss (Arizona State) but did beat the Ducks. And it was on the road.

No. 13 Notre Dame (8-3)

Next: at No. 5 USC, Saturday.

Reality check: Irish have found a lockdown cornerback in freshman Ben Morrison, who has five picks in the last three games.

Ranked: Little high.

No. 14 Utah (8-3)

Next: at Colorado, Saturday.

Reality check: Statistically, QB Cam Rising has been about the same player he was last year. That’s not bad, but Utes fans were probably hoping for more.

Ranked: Too low.

No. 15 Kansas State (8-3)

Next: vs. Kansas, Saturday.

Reality check: Kansas State turned to P Ty Zentner to handle its place-kicking four games ago and he’s perfect on seven field-goal attempts and 19 PATs since.

Ranked: About right.

No. 16 Florida State (8-3)

Next: vs. Florida, Friday.

Reality check: Seminoles’ big turnaround is still being obscured by three close losses in the middle of the season. They need to make a statement against a mediocre Florida team.

Ranked: Touch low.

No. 17 UCLA (8-3)

Next: at California, Friday.

Reality check: QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson has improved every season he has been at UCLA and will leave having helped gotten the program back on track.

Ranked: Just right.

No. 18 North Carolina (9-2)

Next: vs. North Carolina State, Friday.

Reality check: Ironic that it was the offense and not the much-maligned defense that failed the Tar Heels against Georgia Tech and broke their six-game losing streak.

Ranked: Too high.

No. 19 Tulane (9-2)

Next: at No. 21 Cincinnati, Saturday.

Reality check: Two wins away from Tulane playing in the Cotton Bowl. If that sounds like something out of the 1930s it’s because from 1932-40 Tulane played twice in the Sugar Bowl and once in the Rose Bowl.

Ranked: Touch low.

No. 20 Mississippi (8-3)

Next: vs. Mississippi State, Thursday.

Reality check: After playing tough against Alabama, the Rebels’ defense cratered against Arkansas.

Ranked: Little high.

No. 21 Cincinnati (9-2)

Next: vs. No. 19 Tulane, Friday.

Reality check: A third straight AAC title and New Year’s Six game is two victories away. Impressive considering all the rebuilding needed this season.

Ranked: Touch high.

No. 22 Oregon State (8-3)

Next: vs. No. 10 Oregon, Saturday.

Reality check: Freshman RB Damien Martinez has become the focus of the offense with five straight 100-yard rushing games.

Ranked: Little low.

No. 23 Coastal Carolina (9-2)

Next: at James Madison, Saturday.

Reality check: The Chants have the Sun Belt East wrapped up because the Dukes cannot play in the title game while transitioning to FBS.

Ranked: Too high. Unranked UTSA might be more deserving of this spot.

No. 24 Texas (7-4)

Next: vs. Baylor, Friday.

Reality check: We’re likely running out of opportunities to appreciate RB Bijan Robinson. He needs 98 yards to move into fourth on Texas’ career list, passing Jamaal Charles and only behind Ricky Williams, Cedric Benson and Earl Campbell. That’s quite a crew.

Ranked: Little low.

No. 25 UCF (8-3)

Next: at USF, Saturday.

Reality check: An inconsistent passing game has nagged the Knights all season, but they can still play for the conference title with a win and some help.

Ranked: This is fine.

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

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Ohio State running back Dallan Hayden (5) celebrates his touchdown with offensive lineman Luke Wypler (53), wide receiver Julian Fleming (4) and offensive lineman Donovan Jackson (74) during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Maryland, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in College Park, Md. Ohio State won 43-30. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/11/web1_130186677-02d7a0fdc1c4464c87aa0481799f72db.jpgOhio State running back Dallan Hayden (5) celebrates his touchdown with offensive lineman Luke Wypler (53), wide receiver Julian Fleming (4) and offensive lineman Donovan Jackson (74) during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Maryland, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in College Park, Md. Ohio State won 43-30. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Michigan running back Blake Corum (2) runs the ball as Illinois defensive back Xavier Scott (14) defends in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/11/web1_130186677-d43d50e5418d4c3ea1339363240e11ec.jpgMichigan running back Blake Corum (2) runs the ball as Illinois defensive back Xavier Scott (14) defends in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

By Ralph D. Russo

AP College Football Writer