By Ralph D. Russo
AP College Football Writer
The Big Ten has four teams in the top 10 of The Associated Press college football poll during the regular season for the first time since 1960, and No. 24 Western Michigan is ranked for the first time in school history.
No. 8 Wisconsin and No. 10 Nebraska joined No. 2 Ohio State and No. 4 Michigan in the first 10 of the AP Top 25 released Monday. The poll release was delayed one day because two FBS games were postponed until Sunday due to Hurricane Matthew.
Alabama remains No. 1. The Crimson Tide received 56 first-place votes. Ohio State and No. 3 Clemson each received two first-place votes. Michigan had one first-place vote.
Washington was fifth as the top five went unchanged after all had decisive victories last weekend.
The Big Ten had four teams ranked in the top 10 in the preseason poll of 1999, but the last time it happened during the regular season was Oct. 3, 1960, with No. 3 Iowa, No. 4 Illinois, No. 5 Ohio State and No. 7 Purdue.
No. 24 Western Michigan is 6-0 for the first time since 1941 and is in position to contend for a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl. The Broncos have already beaten two Big Ten teams (Northwestern and Illinois). This season has continued as a steady rise for the Broncos since coach P.J. Fleck, who at 35 is the second-youngest head coach in the FBS, took over in 2013 and went 1-11. WMU was 8-5 the past two seasons, reaching bowl games in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history.
“Of course it means something. I think it matters a lot,” Fleck said Monday. “Internally, we play it down a lot because where you are right now doesn’t mean you have the right to be there tomorrow.
“What I do love it for is our community,” Fleck said. “This is a 109-year history of our program, we’ve never been ranked. This city of Kalamazoo is a special place. We have an incredible institution with an amazing student body. And incredible faculty and professors that deserve to have a top-25 football program. And now they have one. They can say they have one.”
— No. 23 Auburn is ranked for the first time this season.
— No. 25 Navy is ranked after upsetting Houston 46-40 on Saturday.
— Stanford dropped out of the rankings for the first time since early in the 2015 season.
— North Carolina is out again after losing at home to Virginia Tech 34-3.
— After a two-week stay, Colorado dropped out after losing at USC.
— No. 14 Florida State has been all over the rankings through the first six weeks of the regular season. After dropping to No. 23 last week, the Seminoles jumped nine spots after beating Miami.
— No. 17 Virginia Tech moved up eight spots after beating North Carolina. The Hokies are ranked in consecutive weeks for the first time since 2013.
— No. 13 Houston slipped seven spots after losing its first game of the season.
— No. 16 Miami dropped six.
— No. 22 Arkansas fell six spots after losing to Alabama.
The SEC regained sole possession of the top of the conference standings after being matched by the ACC last week.
SEC — 7
ACC — 5
Big Ten — 4
Big 12 — 3
Pac-12 — 2. The last time the Pac-12 had only two teams ranked was Sept. 6, 2011.
American — 2
Mountain West — 1
MAC — 1
RANKED vs. RANKED
No. 1 Alabama at No. 9 Tennessee. The fourth ranked opponent in four weeks for the Volunteers is the toughest yet.
No. 2 Ohio State at No. 8 Wisconsin. First regular-season meeting since 2013.
No. 12 Mississippi at No. 22 Arkansas. Losing to the Razorbacks in overtime last season, thanks in large part to a crazy lateral play, cost Ole Miss a chance to play for SEC title.