Clemson easily held Alabama from Sunday to retain No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll, extending his longest run on top of the poll to seven weeks.
Crimson Tide ran away from Georgia Saturday night to make the case No. 1, but that was not enough to overthrow the Tigers.
Clemson defended his turf with a historic blowout against Georgia Tech. The 66-point route was the biggest ever in a football game at the Atlantic Coast Conference. Clemson received 54 first-place votes out of 62 from the panel of sports writers and TV stations.
Crimson Tide got the remaining eight votes in first place. Notre Dame moved up to a season-high No. 3, No. 4 Georgia dropped somewhere, and Ohio State moved up to No. 5 a week before the Big Ten begins playing.
Clemson has been No. 1 since the preseason. The Tigers have been top-ranked 23 times in the school’s history, but never more than five times in a season before this year.
North Carolina took a big drop and dropped nine spots to No. 14 after losing to Florida State.
Oklahoma State is No. 6, with Texas A&M, Penn State, Cincinnati and Florida rounding out the top 10.
When it comes to winning games against ranked teams, Alabama coach Nick Saban is the best ever.
Even before he beat Georgia, Saban had the record for most wins against the AP top-five teams (now 25) and top-10 teams (now 42). Saban’s most recent victory was his 86. He tied Penn State’s Joe Paterno out the most all time.
Saban has benefited from having his coaching career at a time when the rankings extend to 25 teams as opposed to 20, which was the case at the front end of Paterno’s 46-year career. The average number of games played in a college football season is also longer now than ever before.
But it took Saban just 25 seasons and 318 games in total to match what Paterno did in 548 games. It may take a while before Saban gets a chance to break the tie. Alabama currently does not have another ranked team left on its schedule.
Unbeaten Coastal Carolina is ranked for the first time in the program’s short history. Chanticleers from Conway, South Carolina, joined FBS in 2017.
They beat Sun Belt rival Louisiana-Lafayette last Wednesday to improve to 4-0. The loss knocked Ragin ‘Cajuns out of the Top 25, but it has still been a banner year for the Sun Belt. The conference has had three of its teams located at one time or another. Never before had more than one Sun Belt team been ranked in any season.
• March 22 moved back to the location. The undefeated Thundering Herd was ranked in September, was offended by the return of the Big Ten and Pac-12 team, but has played its way back.
• No. 23 North Carolina State is ranked for the first time since 2018.
Two SEC teams participated in the Louisiana-Lafayette to drop out of the standings. Auburn and Tennessee both suffered another loss of the season, falling for the first time from the Top 25.
ACC – 6 (Nos. 1, 3, 11, 14