AP Top 25 Heat Check: TCU, UGA move up _ but not far enoughSeptember 25, 2017 1:29pm

The effects of preseason rankings are still lingering in the AP college football poll, and probably holding back the two newest members of the top 10.

No. 7 Georgia and No. 9 TCU were the big movers in the rankings this week after impressive victories last Saturday. The Bulldogs, who started the season ranked No. 15, have been the only Southeastern Conference team outside Alabama to give off the scent of a College Football Playoff contender. The Horned Frogs were unranked at the start of the season. Now they look like they might be the biggest threat to Oklahoma in the Big 12.

An argument can be made that both the Bulldogs and Horned Frogs are still lacking the support they deserve from AP voters. Heat check is here to do it.

No. 1 Alabama (4-0)

What separates the Tide from every other team in college football over the last decade is Nick Saban's guys so rarely have the off days and lapses that are routine across college football. Oh, and all those five-star recruits and NFL prospects. That, too.

Next: vs. Mississippi.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 2 Clemson (4-0)

A sleepy performance resulted in a 27-point win over Boston College and some work at the end for the backup quarterback. The Tigers still have a slightly better body of work than 'Bama.

Next: at No. 12 Virginia Tech.

Heat check: Too cold. The Tide and Tigers are 1 and 1a at this point.

No. 3 Oklahoma (4-0)

The Sooners have arguably the best single victory of the season at Ohio State and three victories against teams with a combined total of one win against FBS opponents.

Next: vs. Iowa State, Oct. 7.

Heat check: Just right, but not for much longer.

No. 4 Penn State (4-0)

Everybody knew Saquon Barkley and the Nittany Lions' offense would be good. The defense has been playing at a high level, too, ranking eighth in the nation in yards per play allowed (3.98) — albeit against some sketchy offenses.

Next: vs. Indiana.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 5 Southern California (4-0)

Three victories against Power Five teams and no FCS opponents balance out some of the Trojans' spotty play.

Next: at No. 16 Washington State, Friday night.

Heat check: Flip a coin between the Trojans and Nittany Lions.

No. 6 Washington (4-0)

The Huskies looked like the best team in the Pac-12 in a rematch of the conference title game against Colorado, but it was their first real test of the season.

Next: at Oregon State.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 7 Georgia (4-0)

The road victory against Notre Dame looks better every week and the performance against Mississippi State was easily the most impressive of coach Kirby Smart's short tenure in Athens. Georgia and Clemson are the only teams with two victories against teams currently ranked.

Next: at Tennessee.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 8 Michigan (4-0)

Sure, Purdue coach Jeff Brohm is good, but the Wolverines beating the Boilermakers should never be considered a big deal.

Next: vs. Michigan State, Oct. 7

Heat check: Just right.

No. 9 TCU (4-0)

Two true road victories against Power Five teams. None of the teams ranked ahead of the Horned Frogs can claim that.

Next: vs. No. 23 West Virginia, Oct. 7.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 10 Wisconsin (3-0)

The Badgers are still waiting for their first big victory, but that is common for the rest of the top 25.

Next: vs. Northwestern.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 11 Ohio State (3-1)

Could the Buckeyes have played Army, UNLV and Rutgers at the same time just to move things along?

Next: at Rutgers.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 12 Virginia Tech (4-0)

The Hokies have been hammering bad teams since a nice win against West Virginia to start the season. Got a chance to make a really big move.

Next: vs. No. 2 Clemson.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 13 Auburn (3-1)

The problem with trying to figure out Auburn is the Tigers have played one excellent team (Clemson) and three terrible ones. Get a better idea this week.

Next: vs. No. 24 Mississippi State.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 14 Miami (2-0)

New QB Malik Rosier has had two good tuneups before conference play and his first road trip.

Next: at Duke, Friday.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 15 Oklahoma State (3-1)

The Cowboys are still likely to be heard from again this season.

Next: at Texas Tech. Next: vs. Baylor, Saturday, Oct. 14.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 16 Washington State (4-0)

The Cougars are 18th in the nation in defense (4.37 yards per play). We'll see just how good that D is this week.

Next: vs. No. 5 Southern California.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 17 Louisville (3-1)

At least the Cardinals have a couple of victories away from home.

Next: vs. Murray State.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 18 South Florida (4-0)

The Bulls are averaging 10 penalties per game, but it won't matter against most of the teams on their schedule.

Next: at East Carolina.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 19 San Diego State (4-0)

The Aztecs can make a case to be a top-10 team after beating Air Force on the road. Their wins against Stanford and at Arizona State got a boost on Saturday, too.

Next: vs. Northern Illinois.

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 20 Utah (4-0)

Still lacking a signature victory, but the Utes have earned the benefit of the doubt.

Next: vs. Stanford, Oct. 7.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 21 Florida (2-1)

First place in the SEC East. Somehow.

Next: vs. Vanderbilt.

Heat check: Too hot.

No. 22 Notre Dame (3-1)

Two very winnable games away from being 5-1 when USC comes to South Bend, Indiana.

Next: vs. Miami (Ohio).

Heat check: Too cold.

No. 23 West Virginia (3-1)

Playing Virginia Tech to a virtual standstill in the opener is looking pretty good.

Next: at No. 9 TCU, Oct. 7.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 24 Mississippi State (3-1)

The Bulldogs followed up their big win against LSU with a humbling loss to Georgia. A third straight game against a ranked team should determine what exactly Mississippi State will be this season.

Next: at No. 13 Auburn.

Heat check: Just right.

No. 25 LSU (3-1)

The Tigers are still ranked. Somehow.

Next: vs. Troy.

Heat check: Too hot.

INSTEAD OF .... Florida and LSU how about Duke and Iowa.

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP

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More college football coverage: http://collegefootball.ap.org and www.Twitter.com/AP_Top25

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