AP Top 25 Heat Check: Utah exposed? Hardly; Clemson rising

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Nothing brings out the I-told-you-so crowd in college football like a surprising team losing for the first time.

What a fraud! Overrated! Exposed!

Such was the reaction from many fans when Utah was removed from the list of unbeaten teams in FBS by Southern California. The turnover-filled 42-24 loss in Los Angeles certainly laid bare the Utes' faults: inconsistent quarterback play by Travis Wilson and a shortage of explosiveness in general on offense.

The Utes dropped from No. 3 to No. 13 in The Associated Press College Football poll on Sunday, but to say Utah was exposed suggests those shortcomings were being ignored. And that the Utes had not earned the first-place votes they were receiving.

Voting a team No. 1 doesn't necessarily mean it has to stay there to validate that vote. A voter can at one time believe the Utes deserved to be atop the poll and fully expect them not to stay there.

Utah lost to a talented team. It happened to Alabama. It happened to Notre Dame. Both are still in the College Football Playoff race and the Utes a capable of doing the same.

Heat checking the latest Top 25.

No. 1 Ohio State (8-0)

J.T. Barrett's Buckeyes Cardale Jones' Buckeyes. Though Jones might have been wondering why he didn't get to face Rutgers' defense.

Next: Minnesota, Nov. 7

Heat check: Still a bit too hot, but the defending national champions are trending up.

No. 2 Baylor (7-0)

QB Seth Russell (neck) is likely to miss some time. How much is unknown, but the timing could not be worse. Baylor has the toughest November schedule in the country. How good the Bears are might come down to how good highly touted freshman Jarrett Stidham can be. But if Heat Check had to pick one coach to get a freshman quarterback to play at a championship level, Art Briles would be that coach.

Next: at Kansas State, Nov. 5.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 3 Clemson (7-0)

Beating Miami isn't what it used to be, but no team has ever beaten the Hurricanes the way the Tigers did. Maybe the definition of Clemsoning should now be playing like the No. 1 team in the country.

Next: at North Carolina State.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 4 LSU (7-0)

QB Brandon Harris has lifted some of the offensive load from TB Leonard Fournette and removed some of the doubt about LSU.

Next: at No. 7 Alabama, Nov. 7.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 5 TCU (7-0)

The Big 12 favorite now? Maybe.

Next: West Virginia, Thursday.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 6 Michigan State (8-0)

There are at least a couple teams with one loss that should be ranked ahead of the unbeaten Spartans.

Next: at Nebraska.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 7 Alabama (7-1)

This is one. The Tide is the best team in the Southeastern Conference.

Next: No. 4 LSU, Nov. 7.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 8 Stanford (6-1)

This is the other. The Cardinal are the Pac-12's best team.

Next: at Washington State.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 9 Notre Dame (6-1)

The good news is Temple and Pitt are good enough to give the Fighting Irish a little resume boost the next two weeks. The bad? The Irish could lose if they mess around with either.

Next: at Temple.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 10 Iowa (7-0)

Hawkeyes get a bye-week bump from voters with two other unbeatens going down and now, yes, Iowa is a top-10 team. What a world?

Next: vs. Maryland.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 11 Florida (6-1)

The only team keeping the SEC East relevant.

Next: Georgia in Jacksonville, Florida.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 12 Oklahoma State (7-0)

Sad times in Stillwater.

Next: at Texas Tech.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 13 Utah (6-1)

Utes coach Kyle Whittingham called USC the best team Utah has played this season. You know, coach, if you like the Trojans that much ...

Next: Oregon State.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 14 Oklahoma (6-1)

Sooners should be in the discussion for best one-loss team.

Next: at Kansas.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 15 Michigan (5-2)

Wolverines got the week off to recover after Michigan State's miracle.

Next: Minnesota.

Heat check: A touch too cold.

No. 16 Memphis (7-0)

Should be noted that two AAC teams and a MAC team scored in the 40s against the Tigers and Ole Miss had 24.

Next: Tulane.

Heat check: A tad too cold.

No. 17 Florida State (6-1)

Seminoles had not lost a regular-season game since 2012.

Next: Syracuse.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 18 Houston (7-0)

Cougars putting up crazy numbers behind quarterback Greg Ward Jr., but their opponents are 13-37 (.260), the lowest winning percentage of any Top 25 team's foes.

Next: Vanderbilt.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 19 Mississippi (6-2) and No. 24 UCLA (5-2)

Rebels and Bruins should play for the title of hardest team to figure. Injuries and absences have played a part in their inconsistencies, especially UCLA.

Next: Colorado at UCLA

Ole Miss at Auburn

Heat check: Rebels are just right and Bruins are too cold because they should be tied with Ole Miss.

No. 20 Toledo (7-0)

Fast starts are overrated: Rockets have scored 114 points the last two weeks, three in the first quarter.

Next: Northern Illinois, Nov. 3.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 21 Temple (7-0)

We are one victory away from having conversations about the Owls being a dark horse playoff contender.

Next: Notre Dame.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 22 Duke (6-1)

A line maybe never written in a football story: Miami could not have picked a worse time to have to face Duke.

Next: Miami.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 23 Pittsburgh (6-1)

About to start a tough stretch with North Carolina, Notre Dame and at Duke.

Next: North Carolina, Thursday.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 24 UCLA (see above)

No. 25 Mississippi State (6-2)

This season has not been quite the thrill ride that last was for the Bulldogs, but props to coach Dan Mullen for turning a potential eight- or nine-win season into no big deal in Starkville.

Next: at Missouri.

Heat check: Just right.

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