These rankings are all about rating teams against their conference brethren, but we also are ranking the conferences against each other.
Check out the chart below, and click on a conference to get full details on why we ranked teams how we did.
1. SEC | 2. Big Ten | 3. Big 12 | 4. Pac-12 | 5. ACC
All was quiet on the SEC West front as Alabama and LSU took the weekend off before their showdown in Baton Rouge on Saturday. Even Auburn and Ole Miss enjoyed a bye.
But that certainly wasn’t the case in the East where Georgia and Kentucky continued to separate themselves from the rest of the pack, albeit in different ways.
Two weeks after a dismal loss on the road at LSU, Georgia once again looked like a playoff-caliber team. There was a quality running game and stifling defense, of course, but quarterback Jake Fromm bounced back and made some big-time passes, including that pivotal throw to Terry Godwin late.
Florida, for the time being, is on the outside looking in. The Gators showed they have the defense — that goal-line stand took guts — and the running game to win right away, but until Feleipe Franks stops turning the ball over, they remain a quarterback away from serious contention. Meanwhile, Kentucky just won’t go away, even though it looked that way when the final whistle blew on Georgia-Florida and the Wildcats were trailing Missouri on the road by double digits. But give Mark Stoops credit. He has instilled something in this team. Something that could overcome a bad start and a quarterback change to score 12 points in the fourth quarter, including a walk-off touchdown pass to C.J. Conrad.
This Saturday, all eyes will be on Alabama-LSU, and rightfully so. But don’t forget that Georgia goes on the road to Kentucky. Florida showed that it’s not ready to unseat Kirby Smart’s squad. Now it’s time to see whether Kentucky is capable.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0)
With both quarterbacks, Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts, recovering from minor injuries, the open week couldn’t have come at a better time for the top-ranked Crimson Tide before they travel to LSU.
2. LSU Tigers (7-1)
The Tigers enjoyed their pre-Bama off week trying to get Devin White eligible to play the first half, but to no avail.
3. Georgia Bulldogs (7-1)
Jake Fromm solidified his hold on the starting quarterback spot, the defense played well and the Bulldogs once again look like title contenders after beating rival Florida.
4. Kentucky Wildcats (7-1)
Better late than never, right? The Wildcats get a game-winning touchdown on an untimed down on the final play to edge Missouri 15-14 and keep their SEC East hopes intact.
5. Florida Gators (6-2)
The game felt closer than the final score — Georgia 36, Florida 17 — indicated. With a little better play from the quarterback position, the Gators could be a powerhouse.
6. Mississippi State: Bulldogs (5-3)
Nick Fitzgerald bounced back with a fantastic performance, by air and by ground, to lead the Bulldogs to a quality win over Texas A&M. This might be something Joe Moorhead’s squad can build upon.
7. Texas A&M Aggies (5-3)
The offense — which scored just one offensive touchdown vs. Mississippi State and hasn’t scored more than two in regulation of an SEC game — still has a ways to go.
8. Auburn Tigers (5-3)
The Tigers were off this week but host Texas A&M in Week 10 in a game that Gus Malzahn needs to win.
9. Missouri Tigers (4-4)
0-for-the-SEC still for the Tigers this season, and the way they lost this one to Kentucky — on the last play — is a gut punch.
10. Tennessee Volunteers (3-5)
You just knew the post-Alabama letdown was coming as the Vols, showing their youth, let a 12-point lead slip away against South Carolina.
11. South Carolina Gamecocks (4-3)
This isn’t the surprise season or the productive offense many anticipated, but give the Gamecocks credit for gutting out a come-from-behind win against Tennessee.
12. Ole Miss Rebels (5-3)
The Rebels return to action in Week 10 vs. South Carolina after getting the weekend off.
13. Vanderbilt Commodores (4-5)
They get their first SEC win of the season and with what remains on their schedule (at Mizzou and home games vs. Ole Miss and Tennessee), there’s a possibility they could get themselves bowl eligible.
14. Arkansas Razorbacks (2-7)
The loss to Vandy wiped away one of their better chances at an SEC win this season with not many good opportunities left.
2. Big Ten
Northwestern staked its claim as an unlikely leader in the wide-open West Division by soundly beating Wisconsin at Ryan Field. The top dogs in the East both took a week off to gear up for what should be an entertaining, drama-filled home stretch.
1. Michigan Wolverines (7-1)
The Wolverines’ spot at the top of the heap will get a serious test this weekend when Penn State visits Ann Arbor.
2. Ohio State Buckeyes (7-1)
The week off was filled with questions about unrest in Buckeyes land, but Urban Meyer still has the most talent in the Big Ten and a playoff shot in front of him.
3. Penn State Nittany Lions (6-2)
A banged-up Trace McSorley found just enough space against a talented Iowa defense to help the Nittany Lions avoid a third home loss.
4. Northwestern Wildcats (5-3)
The Cats held Jonathan Taylor to 46 rushing yards Saturday. It hasn’t always been pretty, but they are now in the driver’s seat to win their division.
5. Iowa Hawkeyes (6-2)
The Hawkeyes took a slight step back this week with a respectable loss on the road at Penn State. A trip to Indianapolis is still a real possibility.
6. Michigan State Spartans (5-3)
The Spartans got a nice boost from backup quarterback Rocky Lombardi against Purdue as their yo-yo season continued in East Lansing.
7. Wisconsin Badgers (5-3)
The Badgers aren’t dominant in the trenches this season, which has caused them to fully lose their stranglehold on the West Division.
8. Purdue Boilermakers (4-4)
Rondale Moore was largely bottled up by Michigan State in Purdue’s first loss in more than a month.
9. Maryland Terrapins (5-3)
The Terps hung 63 points on Illinois, but a trio of much tougher defenses await them in November.
10. Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-6)
Scott Frost said his team is finally building some confidence after back-to-back wins, but he’s smart enough to know that will likely take a hit next week against Ohio State.
11. Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-4)
Tanner Morgan passed for 302 yards in his starting debut to help the Gophers snap a four-game losing streak that stretched back to the start of Big Ten play.
12. Indiana Hoosiers (4-5)
A fourth-quarter comeback bid came up short in Minnesota, and suddenly Indiana’s bowl hopes are on life support.
13. Illinois Fighting Illini (3-5)
The Illini have allowed 158 points in their past three games and still haven’t beat anyone but Rutgers in league play.
14. Rutgers Scarlet Knights ( 1-7)
No game this week for Rutgers, which is in for another rough stretch to start November.
3. Big 12
The Big 12 heads into November without a single undefeated team left in league play.
Making for one exciting finish leading up to the Big 12 title game.
After a moribund past few weeks, Oklahoma State finally erupted offensively to knock off sixth-ranked Texas, shaking up the conference picture yet again. Now, as it stands, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia and Iowa State — that’s right, Iowa State — all control their own destinies to the Big 12 championship game (pending a couple various tiebreaking scenarios).
Setting the stage for a series of November showdowns that will ultimately determine who will meet for it all in Arlington.
1. Oklahoma Sooners (7-1)
If not for Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, Kyler Murray would be the overwhelming Heisman front-runner. Tua (97.5) and Murray (97.2) are college football’s only two players with QBRs higher than 90.
2. Texas Longhorns (6-2)
Texas’ win over the Sooners has overshadowed the overall body of work, which has included narrow victories over Tulsa, K-State and Baylor, and now losses to Maryland and Oklahoma State. The Longhorns will have to play much better, especially defensively, if they hope to bounce back against West Virginia.
3. West Virginia Mountaineers (6-1)
After a one-game hiatus, the West Virginia offense returned to its former self, torpedoing Baylor with a 41-point first half. The Mountaineers can get their Big 12 title hopes back on track this weekend in Austin.
4. Iowa State Cyclones (4-3)
The Cyclones are now 3-0 with true freshman Brock Purdy as their starting QB. And they are an unbelievable 7-0 in October the past two years under coach Matt Campbell.
5. Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-3)
The Red Raiders had every opportunity to escape Ames with a win, but too many fourth-quarter mistakes by freshman QB Alan Bowman proved too much to overcome. Bowman still has a bright future, but Saturday provided him with a painful learning experience.
6. Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-3)
Where has this version of Oklahoma State’s offense been all season? Though out of the Big 12 race, the Cowboys can finish strongly if QB Taylor Cornelius & Co. hone the attack they unleashed on Texas.
7. Baylor Bears (4-4)
In a disappointing showing in Morgantown, Matt Rhule’s squad was absolutely KO’d before halftime by an angry West Virginia team. That said, getting to a bowl would still constitute a tremendous season, and that remains firmly on the table for the Bears.
8. Kansas State Wildcats (3-5)
K-State’s ground game disappeared again in Norman. Being so limited through the air, the Wildcats stand little chance of beating anyone in the league without it.
9. Kansas Jayhawks (3-5)
David Beaty desperately needed another conference victory to have a chance of saving his job. Will the win over TCU be enough? Unearthing another one would quietly give Kansas its best season this decade.
10. TCU Horned Frogs (3-5)
The Frogs are spiraling. And between the KaVontae Turpin news and the Kansas loss, this is quickly turning into the worst season of the Gary Patterson era.
The Pac-12 stayed true to form Saturday when all five betting underdogs won straight up. A $100 five-team parlay of Washington State (against Stanford), Cal (against Washington), Arizona State (against USC), Oregon State (against Colorado) and Arizona (against Oregon) would have been worth approximately $170,000. Outside of Washington State and Utah, which clearly deserve to be viewed as the conference’s two best teams at this point, there’s no real way to rank the rest of the league and feel good about the order. Alas, an attempt:
1. Washington State Cougars (7-1)
Quarterback Gardner Minshew has played his way into the Heisman Trophy conversation and the Cougars into the top 10 of the AP poll.
2. Utah Utes (6-2)
The Utes started slowly this season, but have been one of the country’s most impressive teams over the past month.
3. Stanford Cardinal (5-3)
The Cardinal have lost three of four, but all of those losses came to No. 3 Notre Dame, No. 10 WSU and No. 16 Utah. A trip to Washington this week will be telling.
4. Washington Huskies (6-3)
It got so bad during the Huskies’ game against Cal on Saturday that coach Chris Petersen benched quarterback Jake Browning, a four-year starter. His backup, Jake Haener, threw a pick-six and the Huskies went on to lose by two.
5. Oregon Ducks (5-3)
Too high? There are valid cases for that argument after the Ducks were embarrassed at Arizona in a 44-15 loss.
6. Arizona State Sun Devils (4-4)
Herm Edwards took his last-place team to the Coliseum and ended the Trojans’ 19-game home winning streak. A bowl game is definitely on the table.
7. USC Trojans (4-4)
It’s never as bad as USC fans think it is, but there is now serious heat on coach Clay Helton. With Oregon State, Cal and UCLA up next, the Trojans should pile up some wins.
8. Arizona Wildcats (4-5)
At their best, the Wildcats should be one of the better offensive teams in the conference. Saturday’s win against Oregon is the example.
9. California Golden Bears (5-3)
Losses to Arizona and UCLA; a win against Washington. That sums up the conference quite well.
10. Colorado Buffaloes (5-3)
That 5-0 start seems like forever ago. Any sort of good vibes around the program disappeared after blowing a 31-3 lead against Oregon State, which hadn’t beaten a FBS opponent since 2016.
11. UCLA Bruins (2-6)
The Bruins were outclassed at just about every position against Utah Friday night and now Chip Kelly will prepare for his return to Autzen Stadium.
12. Oregon State Beavers (2-6)
Getting that first conference win was huge for morale. It’ll give the Beavers reason to believe after two long seasons of losing.
Clemson handed Florida State the worst home loss in school history, dominating the Seminoles 59-10 in what used to be the showcase game in the conference. But given the way Clemson has pulled away from everyone else, is there such a thing as marquee conference game headed into the final month of the season? It certainly does not appear that way, given the way the rest of the league has played. Miami and Virginia Tech, preseason choices to finish 1-2 in the Coastal Division, lost in embarrassing fashion in Week 9.
That leaves Virginia as the ESPN FPI favorite to represent the division in the ACC championship game. It should be noted Virginia was chosen to finish last in the division in the ACC preseason media poll. That brings new meaning to the phrase Coastal chaos.
1. Clemson Tigers (8-0)
Since rallying in the fourth quarter to beat Syracuse, the Tigers have outscored their past three opponents 163-10.
2. Virginia Cavaliers (6-2)
Bryce Perkins scored four total touchdowns against North Carolina as the Cavaliers won their third straight.
3. Boston College Eagles (6-2)
With AJ Dillon back from an ankle injury, BC thoroughly outplayed Miami in a 27-14 win. Could the Eagles pose the biggest remaining challenge for Clemson?
4. Syracuse Orange (6-2)
The Orange are winning wild shootouts, but does that even matter? This team is fun to watch and now bowl eligible for the first time since 2013.
5. NC State Wolfpack (5-2)
After starting 5-0, the Wolfpack have now lost two straight after falling to Syracuse. NC State has allowed 92 points in consecutive games.
6. Pittsburgh Panthers (4-4)
Pitt won a wild game against Duke in which it rushed for 484 yards. Now imagine the Panthers’ odds in the Coastal if they had not lost inexplicably to North Carolina.
7. Miami Hurricanes (5-3)
Beyond Virginia, ranking the middle of the Coastal Division is a little like throwing darts. The Hurricanes are a mess right now and need to find some answers on offense in a hurry.
8. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4-4)
As Paul Johnson said after a 49-28 win over Virginia Tech, the Hokies got good Georgia Tech, not bad Georgia Tech.
9. Virginia Tech Hokies (4-3)
The Hokies could not stop Georgia Tech, but that seems to be the same old story in recent years. This is a young, banged-up team that is trending down.
10. Duke Blue Devils (5-3)
Duke has lost three of its past four after failing to hold a fourth-quarter lead against Pitt.
11. Wake Forest Commodores (4-4)
All the defensive issues were put in the rearview mirror in a 56-35 win over Louisville. It was Matt Coburn’s day to get revenge on the team that pulled his scholarship offer at the last minute, as he rushed for 243 yards and three touchdowns.
12. Florida State Seminoles (4-4)
Coach Willie Taggart called the loss to Clemson embarrassing and said he had players quit on the team, vowing to make changes next week against NC State.
13. North Carolina Tar Heels (1-6)
The Tar Heels are suffering through another losing season, but at least they have been competitive. That is more than we can say for the team at No. 14.
14. Louisville Cardinals (2-6)
It is unclear if Louisville hit rock bottom in its loss to Wake Forest. But if that is the best the Cards can muster after having a bye week to prepare, then what does that say about Bobby Petrino’s future?
Source: Read Full Article