While this past week’s slate of games wasn’t as enticing as past weeks, college football did not disappoint – let’s recap a bit.
Ohio State is finally playing like the #1 that they have been all season. Clemson handed Miami their worst loss in school history which led to Al Golden’s long overdue firing. Utah was upset by a rejuvenated USC squad – forcing the Utes out of the top 10. Florida State suffered a devastating loss in the final seconds after a blocked field goal led to a game-winning Georgia Tech touchdown – the 2nd consecutive week with a whacky play to end a game.
There wasn’t a big shakeup in this week’s rankings, especially compared to last week. However, with each week that comes and goes, the rankings become more clear. Take a look at this week’s top 25 below:
1.) Ohio State Buckeyes (+/- 0)
Finally, the Buckeyes are playing like the top team in the nation – where they have been sitting all season long. J.T. Barrett was named the starter this week and the offense flourished. Now with cohesion on offense, the Buckeyes are a force to be reckoned with. They end the season with Michigan State and Michigan – their only competition from here on out.
2.) Baylor Bears (+/- 0)
They didn’t make it as pretty as they usually do, but Baylor remains at #2 after a conference win. Their 45 points this past week was the lowest they have posted all season long. Seth Russell remains in the thick of things in the Heisman race and has a lot to gain from a tough stretch to close the season.
3.) LSU Tigers (+/- 0)
Leonard Fournette and LSU continue to roll through the competition. The only remaining undefeated team in the SEC will enjoy a bye week before they head to Tuscaloosa in what shapes up to be a great game with major CFB Playoff and SEC implications.
4.) Clemson Tigers (+1)
Clemson is making their case as a strong candidate to be in the CFB Playoff. Things are good in Clemson right now after handing Miami their worst loss in school history (58-0) which finally led to the firing of Al Golden. The Tigers are just two weeks away from a matchup with Florida State – which will likely be the ACC championship in a few weeks as well.
5.) Michigan State Spartans (-1)
It was late start for Michigan State, but they left East Lansing with a big win over Indiana. The Spartans have as good of a chance to go undefeated as any team in the nation. With only 4 games left, Ohio State is the only game that looks to be competitive – on paper at least.
6.) TCU Horned Frogs (+1)
Trevone Boykin and the Horned Frogs were off this past week which could prove to be beneficial with extra time to prep for West Virginia – a team that looks to play spoiler on Thursday this week.
7.) Alabama Crimson Tide (+2)
It was too close for comfort, but Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide were able to squeak out a victory against Tennessee. A bye week is just what they need heading into their matchup with LSU. Fournette against that ‘Bama defense makes for a compelling matchup.
8.) Iowa Hawkeyes (+2)
The third and final undefeated Big Ten team come in at #8 this week. The Hawkeyes have flown under the radar, perhaps it’s time to give them some national recognition. They have a strong chance to finish the regular season undefeated with a soft conference schedule that doesn’t even feature Ohio State, Michigan State or Michigan.
9.) Oklahoma State Cowboys (+2)
Now we’re onto the third and final undefeated Big 12 team – but it won’t be that way much longer. Even if my upset pick against Texas Tech doesn’t hold up, they are just two weeks away from matchup with TCU. J.W. Walsh made a name for himself with 5 TDs in a blowout win against a winless Kansas team.
10.) Stanford Cardinal (+3)
The Cardinal are playing the best football of any team in nation right now which slides them into the top 10. Currently on a 6 game win streak, they have been rolling through conference competition and don’t show any signs of letting up. They visit an underrated Washington State team this week – they have wins against Oregon and Arizona. Definitely not a team to sleep on.
11.) Notre Dame Fighting Irish (+1)
Their loss to Clemson is looking really good right now. The Fighting Irish are set to face ranked teams on the road in the next two weeks. They start with Temple this week in what could be an upset for the Irish.
12.) Florida Gators (+2)
With Utah and Florida State losses, the Gators rise this week. They look to bounce back this week following their loss to LSU. It won’t be easy, however, as they are up against a hungry Georgia team who are desperate for a win in order to stay relevant in the SEC. It’ll be a fun one in “The Swamp” this week.
13.) Oklahoma Sooners (+3)
After their loss to Texas, the Sooners have bounced back in a big way as they posted their highest scoring totals all season since the loss. Things are rockin’ in Norman, but they still have Baylor and TCU coming up.
14.) Utah Utes (-8)
The Utes had their bubble bursted this past week in an upset loss to USC. Nonetheless, they are still in the driver seat in the Pac-12. Kyle Whittingham’s squad looks to bounce back this week against Oregon State.
15.) Florida State Seminoles (-7)
A loss was bound to happen sooner or later for the Seminoles; but who would’ve thought it would happen the way it did? Florida State’s bid for an undefeated season ended after Georgia Tech blocked an Aguayo field goal attempt and returned it for a touchdown as time expired. The Seminoles will still likely be in the ACC championship.
16.) Memphis Tigers (+1)
Paxton Lynch and Memphis posted 66 points in a rout of Tulsa – they continue to be one of the most impressive teams so far this season. Things don’t get any easier, however, as they play Navy, Houston and Temple in consecutive weeks – it’ll be interesting to see if they can survive that stretch and where they would rank afterwards.
17.) Houston Cougars (+2)
The offense continues to roll for Tom Herman and the Cougars as they posted 59 against a winless UCF team – which led to George O’Leary’s immediate retirement. Greg Ward Jr. remains a dark horse Heisman candidate and leads all players in rushing TDs.
18.) Michigan Wolverines (+2)
A bye week was just what the Wolverines needed to ease the shellshock after their heartbreaking loss to Michigan State. Still, they played tremendous so far this season and are way ahead of schedule under Jim Harbaugh. The best two-loss team in the nation.
19.) Duke Blue Devils (+4)
I didn’t think the Blue Devils would leave Blacksburg with a win, but they did so in impressive fashion. Thomas Sirk played an excellent game under center and led Duke to a dramatic win in 4OT. I gained a lot of respect for Duke this past week – David Cutcliffe remains to keep Duke’s football team relevant. A win against Miami this week would be big.
20.) Toledo Rockets (-2)
Even with a win, Toledo slips a couple spots – they didn’t look good against a one-win Massachusetts team and even fell behind by 18 at halftime. Still, Matt Campbell has done a tremendous coaching job and Toledo very well could go undefeated.
21.) Temple Owls (+1)
Get ready for this week. ESPN’s College GameDay heads to Temple in what shapes up to be the best game of the weekend as Notre Dame visits. The Owls have a lot to gain with a win and would make their case as a top 10 team. This is the biggest football game for the program in quite sometime.
22.) Ole Miss Rebels (+3)
After an upset loss to Memphis, the Rebels responded in a big way with a big win against Texas A&M – kicking them out of this week’s top 25. Ole Miss has tremendous talent on that team and look to finish strong in conference play.
23.) Pittsburgh Panthers (+1)
Their only loss has come to a now top 10 Iowa team which gives Pittsburgh a solid résumé to this point. They have a lot to gain in the coming weeks with a tough conference schedule ahead of them.
24.) UCLA Bruins (NR)
The Bruins trampled Cal which gets them back in this week’s rankings after previously losing consecutive games. A strong finish for UCLA could put them right back in the national spotlight.
25.) Mississippi State Bulldogs (NR)
With a huge conference win against Kentucky, Mississippi State finds themselves ranked for the first time in weeks. Their only two losses have come to good LSU and Texas A&M teams. Their matchup against Alabama in a few weeks holds a lot of weight for MSU’s season.
Dropped Out: Texas A&M, California
Under Consideration: Georgia, BYU, Navy