There was a lot of reshuffling of teams ranked in the AP Top 25 for the Week 6 poll, as the following teams all lost:
(Week 5 ranking)
No. 3 Oregon
No. 8 Arkansas
No. 9 Notre Dame
No. 10 Florida
No. 12 Ole Miss
No. 15 Texas A&M
No. 18 Fresno St
No. 20 UCLA
No. 21 Baylor
This allowed for some maneuvering from the teams that were able to avoid the upset bug and take care of business. NC State was able to do just that last night, as it gutted out a closer-than-it-needed-to-be win over LA Tech.
Although other teams made the most of the chaos, NC State’s position remains unchanged at #23 nationally. And to that, I say, it’s fine.
The team got through a tough non-conference game and managed to stay on track for the year while keeping its top 25 ranking. That was the only objective this week. Win and move on (if only there was a more catchy phrase for this, someone should come up with one).
The Week 6 AP poll can be found here. Of note for the ACC, Wake Forest jumped up from #24 to #19, which is a more appropriate spot for them at this point. Starting 5-0 and 3-0 in the ACC is big accomplishment for the Deacons. It hasn’t been pretty, but the voters are giving credit for what they’ve done on the field so far.
Additionally, Clemson came up 15 votes short and drops out of the AP poll for the first time since November 2014. NC State and Wake are currently the only two ACC teams ranked, which feels good, but ultimately puts more pressure on the Pack.
With the bye week next week, this basically marks the halfway point of the season for NC State. If there’s more ranked losses next week, the Wolfpack may move up without playing next week. But even if they don’t, it doesn’t matter. There are seven games remaining, and all are in conference. The goal should squarely be on winning the division. They have to keep pace ahead of Clemson. After Boston College literally handed the Tigers a win last night, they are right back in the race for the Atlantic division. BC was charging with little to no resistance down the field at the end, and were on the precipice of having their biggest win in some time. Dennis Grosel took his eyes off the ball at the completely wrong time, fumbling the snap and gifting Clemson the win. The AP voters took note of this, and penalized them with voting their play not representative of a top 25 team.
If Clemson continues to win, no matter how ugly the wins, they will be hot on the tail of NC State, and anyone else ahead of them in the Atlantic. The Pack need Clemson to lose at least once more for some cushion, while considering BC and Wake games must-wins.
The big test will be in two weeks. NC State and BC BOTH have bye weeks next week, leading to a big matchup in the great state of Massachusetts. They will both have something to prove, as both teams need the win to have a shot at the conference title game. An NC State win gives them the tiebreaker against two of the three leading opponents fighting for pole position.
Everything will shake itself out as it always does, but we should be glad NC State is ranked right now, regardless of the number. Just having that little number has all the perks that come with it. Keep winning to stay ranked, sure, but keep pace in the division.