Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press
The top of the college football rankings will be significantly altered over the next few weeks.
Starting with Week 7’s clash between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs, there are a few matchups that will reshape the list of potential national championship contenders.
Alabama and Georgia enter Saturday as the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in the AP Top 25, and it could be the first of three Top 10 matchups in the next four weeks.
The No. 1 Clemson Tigers are building up to their November 7 clash with the No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Both ACC teams play three unranked sides in the lead up to the clash at Notre Dame Stadium, and the Fighting Irish could be in the top three as early as Sunday.
Saturday will be the final chance for Notre Dame, the North Carolina Tar Heels and others to build a cushion over the top Big Ten teams in the polls.
The Ohio State Buckeyes have seen a few programs jump over them at No. 6, but they could be in the top three by November 1 if they beat the Penn State Nittany Lions October 31.
Week 7 AP Top 25
1. Clemson (4-0)
2. Alabama (3-0)
3. Georgia (3-0)
4. Notre Dame (3-0)
5. North Carolina (3-0)
6. Ohio State
7. Oklahoma State (3-0)
8. Cincinnati (3-0)
9. Penn State
10. Florida (2-1)
11. Texas A&M (2-1)
13. Miami (3-1)
14. BYU (5-0)
15. Auburn (2-1)
17. SMU (5-0)
18. Tennessee (2-1)
20. Iowa State (3-1)
21. Louisiana (3-1)
22. Kansas State (3-1)
23. Virginia Tech (2-1)
Depending on how the Alabama-Georgia game plays out, the winner could steal first-place votes away from Clemson.
Clemson received 59 of the 62 first-place votes in the AP poll ahead of Week 7. Alabama had two and Georgia took the other.
The Crimson Tide enter with an edge over the Bulldogs since they won the last three meetings and are playing on home soil at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Although Alabama’s defense did not look great in its 63-48 win over Ole Miss in Week 6, its offense bailed it out by producing its second straight 50-point performance.
Mac Jones and Co. are expected to face a tougher test against a Georgia defense that conceded 37 points in its first three contests.
That total would have been smaller if the Tennessee Volunteers did not score a defensive touchdown in the first quarter of Week 6.
If Alabama’s offense with two potential first-round picks at wide receiver in Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith breaks down Georgia’s defense, it could move closer to Clemson in poll points.
The same could be said about Georgia if Stetson Bennett IV picks apart the deficiencies in the Alabama secondary that allowed Matt Corral to throw for 379 yards a week ago.
Clemson will likely remain atop the Top 25 since it is expected to run through the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Dabo Swinney’s side outscored its first four opponents 169-53 and it is coming off a domination of the Miami Hurricanes on home soil.
Travis Etienne was a menace to the Georgia Tech defense in the 2019 season opener, as he ran for 205 yards in a 52-14 victory.
If Clemson continues to play at its high level, it should still receive a majority of the first-place votes over the winner of the SEC’s biggest clash of the season.
There may not be much movement beneath the top three since Notre Dame and North Carolina are the only other top 10 teams in action. Ohio State and Penn State start the Big Ten season next week, while Oklahoma State, Cincinnati and Florida all had their games postponed.
The BYU Cougars may be the week’s largest gainer in the polls since they knocked off the Houston Cougars Friday night and could leap over a few teams not in action.
That may also apply to the SMU Mustangs, who could break into the Top 15 at 5-0 after downing the Tulane Green Wave in overtime Friday.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.
Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.