if we win and teams in front lose we move up...to a point
...but if we're winning ugly there's an invisible line in the sand that we'll never cross unless everyone in the top 5-7 spots all lose 3 games which isn't going to happen.
We beat a ranked ASU team with a very good defense (ranked #6 in total D) by 10 pts and put together an impressive drive to close out the game. Not a sexy win but it was a convincing one even if there was a point late where the game could've swung the other way. As a result we jumped 8 spots in the polls and leapfrogged teams that also won but less convincingly.
This week we won (barely) but didn't look like we won. Two teams ahead of us lost and dropped so we moved up. Arkansas won big and leapfrogged us (they were #16 and moved all the way up to #8).
The closer you get to the top 10 the tougher it gets to move up because there are certain teams the voters just think are too good and powerful to fall too far if they lose (like if Georgia loses to Alabama or visa versa they're not dropping much at all). Barring any surprising upsets you will see the top 5-6 teams just kind of shuffle up and down within that small grouping with other schools like a Cincinnati sitting on the outside hoping to get in.
Winning is important to get into the top 25 but to get into the discussion for an NY6 bowl invite we need the style points or we'll just take our top 15 ranking and go to the Independence bowl.