College Football Power Rankings: Kentucky rockets up as Iowa, Cincinnati, Oklahoma enter pole position



1

Alabama

No need to grab your popcorn; this one was a yawner. Nick Saban improved to 24-0 against former assistants. Brian Robinson continued to establish himself with a career-high 171 yards rushing and four TDs. It was 35-0 in the third quarter before Ole Miss pushed back. Lane Kiffin said linebacker Will Anderson (nine tackles, 2.5 for loss) should be the No. 1 pick in the draft. High praise, considering he’s a sophomore.

5-0

2

Georgia

The Bulldogs don’t just win, they bludgeon. With JT Daniels injured again, The Rush Chairman Stetson Bennett IV threw only 11 times while Kirby Smart relied on the running game to pound Arkansas. The Dawgs ran 57 times for 275 yards. The defense pitched its second straight shutout. That makes it 10 out of the last 11 quarters without allowing a point. Before Georgia, the last team to score at least 200 points and allow less than 25 in its first five games was Virginia Tech in 2001.

5-0

3

Iowa

Maryland’s Taulia Tagovailoa came into Friday’s game leading the Big Ten in passing. He exited tied for the third-most interceptions in the country (six). Such is the impact of Iowa’s defense, which turned seven turnovers into 24 points. That makes a national-best 16 turnovers for 75 points. The Hawkeyes could win the rest of their games. Check that. The Hawkeyes should win the rest of their games.

2

5-0

4

Cincinnati

Even the playoff seems possible now that Notre Dame has been trashed. “We didn’t just beat a top 10, we beat a top-five program,” coach Luke Fickell said of the win over the Fighting Irish. If the Bearcats lose, they deserve to drop from the CFP. They face one currently ranked opponent (SMU) the rest of the way. Why in the top four already? Why not? Not even Alabama has beaten consecutive Power Five opponents on the road, one of them ranked.

2

4-0

5

Penn State

The Big Ten East is pretty good. You know that already. It goes four deep. Over the next several weeks, it will shake out. For now, the top belongs to Penn State. The Nittany Lions forced Indiana to punt eight times, recovered two turnovers and blocked a field goal. The 24-0 whitewash sets the stage for maybe a preview of the Big Ten Championship Game at Iowa.

1

5-0

6

Oklahoma

The Sooners are better on defense. The issue is offense. But Spencer Rattler shook off criticism (at least from students) to post efficient numbers (22 of 25, two touchdowns) against Kansas State. Don’t let the 37-31 final fool you. OU pulled away in the second half. Now comes the defining moment of the season: Red River. It might be the last meeting of the rivals as Big 12 members.

3

5-0

7

Oregon

The Ducks remain the top team in the Pac-12, but does that mean the Pac-12 is still in playoff contention? The loss to Stanford was crippling. The Ducks rallied from being down 17-7 only to allow a touchdown on an untimed down that sent the game into overtime. Cardinal QB Tanner McKee established himself as the best story in the Pac-12 at Oregon’s expense.

4

4-1

8

Ohio State

Beating Rutgers by 39 was one of the more surprising results of the Big Ten season. We thought the Scarlet Knights had improved. We also thought the Buckeyes defense was substandard. Time to rethink both of those statements. Rutgers gave up 534 yards. Meanwhile, Ohio State’s D surrendered only 111 rushing yards. C.J. Stroud threw five touchdowns, while the defense returned a pick six. Ohio State scored on its first six possessions.

2

4-1

9

Michigan

It’s OK to get excited. It’s OK to think this is something more than just another 10-win Michigan team. It’s OK to think Jim Harbaugh has turned things around in Year 7. The Wolverines have a quarterback (Cade McNamara), a running game (Blake Corum) and all kinds of upside after routing Wisconsin. One downer: Michigan committed its first turnover of the season, becoming the last team this season to do so.

6

5-0

10

BYU

Down to its third-string quarterback, the Cougars outlasted Utah State. Jacob Conover played the entire second after Baylor Romney suffered a head injury just before halftime. Conover threw just nine passes as BYU had built up a 24-13 lead. Boise State next.

4

5-0

11

Kentucky

You can feel the exhale in Lexington from here. The Wildcats finally broke through against Florida after not beating the Gators at home since 1986. There was a blocked field goal touchdown by the Wildcats, 15 penalties (eight false starts) by Florida, only 87 passing yards by Kentucky. It all contributed to perhaps the biggest win of the Mark Stoops era.

NR

5-0

12

Notre Dame

Cincinnati won breaking a 26-game home winning streak by the Irish. It’s time to reconsider the season. A New Year’s Six bowl is certainly in reach, but forget about the playoff. No CFP participant has lost to a Group of Five team. The Irish have given up 22 sacks. Only two teams are worse.

5

4-1

13

Michigan State

Jaylen Reed took a punt back for a touchdown for the third straight week. The Spartans flexed overall, scoring 48 against Western Kentucky to stay undefeated. Bailey Zappe made his mark throwing for 489 yards and three touchdowns as the Hilltoppers outgained the Spartans, 557-521.

5

5-0

14

Auburn

Bo Nix played the game of his life a week after being yanked. The win at LSU was the Tigers’ first since 1999, piling more pressure on Ed Orgeron. Nix made a Patrick Mahomes-like throw for one score after scrambling around then led the Tigers on a game-winning drive with 3:11 to play. Not bad for a guy who was lifted the previous week for not playing well against Georgia State. It looks like we might have our second-best team in the SEC West.

NR

4-1

15

Oklahoma State

Sorry for looking ahead, but Bedlam is going to be something this year. The Sooners and Cowboys remain on a collision course as the Big 12’s only two undefeated teams (each 5-0). The Cowboys D has yet to allow more than 23 points in any game this season. Baylor was held to 14 points in the first Big 12 game played between two games that were both at least 4-0 since 2015.

7

5-0

16

Arkansas

Yessir! The Razorbacks were run over by Georgia. Time to start a new winning streak after Arkansas was never even in it. “I don’t want to simplify this, but they just whipped us physically,” coach Sam Pittman said. Georgia posted back-to-back shutouts in SEC games for the first time since 1980. Yes, we know, that was the last time the Dawgs won a national championship.

8

4-1

17

Florida

Best two-loss team in the nation? It’s come to that for the Gators, who played Alabama tougher than anyone and didn’t play Kentucky tough enough. QB Emory Jones is tied with Kentucky’s Will Levis for most interceptions in the SEC (six). Which one would you rather be today?

6

3-2

18

Coastal Carolina

The Chanticleers have played one Power Five (Kansas) and no opponent with a winning record. In fact, the five opponents have a combined 7-16 record. Still, we should continue to be impressed. Grayson McCall is the most accurate passer in FBS after going 13 of 13 against ULM. He tweaked an ankle and was in a walking boot but is expected to be ready Thursday at Arkansas State.

3

5-0

19

Texas

The Longhorns went on the road in the Big 12 for the first time since declaring undying love for the SEC. The trip to TCU wasn’t comfortable, but it was a win. Casey Thompson has now emerged as perhaps the Big 12’s best QB. Red River will define him as it does each QB who plays in it for the first time.

NR

4-1

20

NC State

The discussion continues over who is the best team in the ACC. The Wolfpack made their bid by outlasting Louisiana Tech. That was a significant accomplishment one week after the emotional Clemson win. Bye week before consecutive road games at Boston College and Miami.

5

4-1

21

Clemson

Someone named Kobe Pace ran for 125 yards in a tight win over Boston College. The sophomore got the call after Lyn-J Dixon transferred and freshman Will Shipley was injured. The offense continued to struggle (only one touchdown), while the defense preserved the win late with a fumble recovery as BC was driving for the potential winning score.

1

3-2

22

SMU

Tanner Mordecai threw four more touchdowns, reinforcing his Heisman Trophy candidacy in a win over South Florida. The former Oklahoma backup how has 24, five more than anyone else in the country. Mordecai is on pace for 58. Don’t think it can’t happen in Sonny Dykes’ offense.

NR

5-0

23

Wake Forest

Nick Sciba kicked a game-winning field goal with 22 seconds left to beat Louisville on his 22nd birthday. It doesn’t get much better than that for the Demon Deacons (5-0), who are 3-0 in the ACC for the first time since 2011. It will be a heck of an AAC Atlantic race with NC State and Clemson just a game behind the Deacons.

NR

5-0

24

Arizona State

The Sun Devils are for now the team to beat in the Pac-12 South after a dominating win at UCLA. QB Jayden Daniels stood behind max protection all night and took shots. The result was 286 yards passing on only 18 throws.

NR

4-1

25

Pittsburgh

QB Ken Pickett entered the Heisman conversation throwing four more touchdown passes in an easy win over Georgia Tech. Pickett has thrown the second-most touchdowns in the country (19) with only one pick. It must be fun to be a Panther these days as they lead the country in scoring (52.4 points) and touchdowns (36 in five games).

NR

4-1



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