Several teams fell in Week 7, and a couple of near falls in the Top 10 definitely shook up our rankings big time, as Clemson falls from No. 2 with their close call against N.C. State.
Who takes over in the spot? Check out below!
1. Alabama — SEC, 7-0
LW: 1 — Result: W, 49-10 vs. Tennessee
Alabama is just better than everyone right now. Everything I thought could have been a flaw against Tennessee just turned out to be another advantage for the Tide. The game against Texas A&M next week should be interesting, but if Alabama wins that… who’s really left to challenge them, even in the difficult SEC West?
2. Ohio State — Big Ten, 6-0
LW: 3 — Result: W, 30-23 vs. Wisconsin
The Buckeyes now have wins at Oklahoma and at Wisconsin; that might be the most impressive resume in the country. Ohio State took every punch the Badgers had in a difficult Madison atmosphere, and they walked away with a victory that will only give a boost to their young squad.
3. Michigan — Big Ten, 6-0
LW: 4 — Result: BYE
Michigan had a BYE in Week 7, meaning Jim Harbaugh was off… doing what the heck Jim Harbaugh does these days. They move up because… well, I’ll get to that.
4. Washington — Pac-12, 6-0
LW: 5 — Result: BYE
Another BYE week here. The Huskies get Oregon State at home next week.
5. Texas A&M — SEC, 6-0
LW: 7 — Result: BYE
Did I just put Texas A&M at No. 5 over Clemson just so I could put “BYE BYE BYE” in the rankings? Yes. Yes I did.
Texas A&M didn’t play this week, which could be huge; the BYE week gives them some extra time to prepare for Alabama.
6. Clemson — ACC, 7-0
LW: 2 — Result: W, 24-17 vs. NC State
Just when I think Clemson has it together again… they do this.
Look, a win is a win, but N.C. State had a chance at a game-winning field goal as time expired… in Clemson! Even the top teams will have close games against inferior opponents, but this one was way too close for comfort, and it’s not the first time that’s been the case with the Tigers this year.
7. Louisville — ACC, 5-1
LW: 6 — Result: W, 24-14 vs. Duke
Duke is decent enough, so the Cardinals squeaking away with a win doesn’t bother me too much. What does bother me, though, is that in Louisville’s past two games, they been all Lamar Jackson and nothing else. Yes, that is a big difference from how they looked earlier in the year, as it was a complete effort that went into that 63-20 drubbing of Florida State. Considering they still have a good shot at the Playoff, they will need to compose themselves quickly.
8. Baylor — Big 12, 6-0
LW: 10 — Result: W, 49-7 vs. Kansas
They beat Kansas, which isn’t much in the grand scheme of things… but they did it like a Top 10 team should beat Kansas. I mean, quarterback Seth Russell didn’t have a great game at all… and the Bears still led 42-0 at halftime.
9. Nebraska — Big Ten, 6-0
LW: 9 — Result: W, 27-22 vs. Indiana
The Cornhuskers keep chugging along, and a close win at Indiana is better than it might look on paper. Nebraska only has one more game before they get tested for real, though, as a date with Purdue stands between them and back-to-back games at Wisconsin and at Ohio State. That’s… that’s awful scheduling, Big Ten.
10. Wisconsin — Big Ten, 4-2
LW: 8 — Result: L, 23-30 vs. Ohio State
I’m not the biggest fan of using “quality losses” to justify a two-loss team being this high already, but Wisconsin lost by a total of 14 points to two Top 5 teams, and one of those games was in overtime. Their offense isn’t great, but their defense is fantastic and that’s going to allow them to compete with any team in college football.
11. Florida — SEC, 5-1
LW: 15 — Result: W, 40-14 vs. Missouri
And here’s where things start to turn into a giant “???” in the power rankings.
I know Florida lost to Tennessee, and that the Vols have now lost two straight, but I’m willing to give the Gators some benefit of the doubt since quarterback Luke Del Rio was hurt that game. Yes, Del Rio potentially makes that big of a difference.
12. West Virginia — Big 12, 5-0
LW: 22 — Result: W, 48-17 vs. Texas Tech
Is West Virginia for real? It looks like it. Texas Tech has been putting up a silly amount of points all year, and West Virginia holding them to 17 points IN LUBBOCK is a bigger statement than some people will want to admit. The Mountaineers don’t have that “top tier” quality win yet, but this game — combined with wins over Missouri and BYU — prove that they are good enough to be included in the Top 15 for now.
13. Western Michigan — MAC, 7-0
LW: 14 — Result: W, 41-0 vs. Akron
If you’ve been following these rankings, you know this isn’t a joke by this point. Western Michigan is really good.
I get that beating Akron isn’t going to inspire a lot of people, but the margin is essentially the same that Wisconsin beat Akron by, and the Broncos pitched this shutout in Akron; not on the road. Head coach P.J. Fleck is definitely going to be fielding some calls from Power 5 schools soon.
14. Houston — AAC, 5-1
LW: 11 — Result: W, 38-31 vs. Tulsa
The Cougars are still licking their wounds from a loss to Navy last week, as they definitely had a hangover against Tulsa on Saturday. Houston needed a goal-line stand — a potentially illegal goal-line stand, mind you — to take care of the Golden Hurricane. That’s not exactly what you want to hear about a team that was considered a Playoff contender just eight days ago.
15. Oklahoma — Big 12, 4-2
LW: 17 — Result: W, 38-17 vs. Kansas State
So my opinion has finally started to rebound on Oklahoma. The Sooners have played well in recent weeks, with the Baker Mayfield-Dede Westbrook combo looking like one of the best in all of college football. The defense looked well against Kansas State, too, and that’s good news for a team that had given up 40 points in each of the last three games.
16. Auburn — SEC, 4-2
LW: 21 — Result: BYE
Auburn has almost backdoored themselves into being ranked in the Top 15, and it’s kind of hilarious. The Tigers are literally in the same boat as Wisconsin, where their quality losses speak louder than their quality wins… they even share a “quality win” over LSU!
17. Florida State — ACC, 5-2
LW: 25 — Result: W, 17-6 vs. Wake Forest
It wasn’t pretty, but Wake Forest is actually a decent team, so there is nothing wrong with the double-digit win here. Dalvin Cook was forced to leave the game at one point, but he was able to come back and the star running back said he was fine after the game. The Noles get a much needed BYE week before facing Clemson on Oct. 29.
18. Arkansas — SEC, 5-2
LW: 24 — Result: W, 34-30 vs. Ole Miss
This was a huge win for Arkansas. They already have Texas A&M and Alabama in the rear-view mirror, and dropping to 0-3 in conference definitely wouldn’t have been ideal. Arkansas definitely isn’t a contender for anything at this point, but a nice nine-win season with a quarterback and running back that should return next season would be something to really hang their hat on.
19. Tennessee — SEC, 5-2
LW: 12 — Result: L, 49-10 vs. Alabama
The Vols are missing so many pieces on defense that I don’t want to disqualify them too much for this loss to Alabama, but the offense doesn’t have that excuse. Ole Miss and Arkansas were able to put up some points against Alabama’s defense, and Tennessee should have been able to do the same. Instead, Josh Dobbs look rattled and he was eventually pulled when the game got out of hand.
20. Boise State — MW, 6-0
LW: 20 — Result: W, 28-23 vs. Colorado State
Boise got the win, but oh man, did they almost blow this. Colorado State scored 20 points in the fourth quarter, and they recovered two onside kicks late to keep hope alive. The Broncos got the win, though, which is more than a lot of our ranked teams from the previous week can say.
21. Navy — AAC, 4-1
LW: 23 — Result: Did not play
Their scheduled Thursday game with East Carolina was postponed thanks to the after effects of Hurricane Matthew. The game will instead be played on Nov. 19, and they didn’t need a giant media fuss to agree to that.
22. Utah — Pac-12, 6-1
LW: NR — Result: W, 19-14 vs. Oregon State
I had Utah on upset alert since they were missing approximately 18 of their running backs for this game. They got the job done and got the win, but boy, this was an ugly game for people that are used to seeing Pac-12 teams light up the scoreboard.
23. North Carolina — ACC, 5-2
LW: NR — Result: W, 20-13 vs. Miami
I’m willing to give them somewhat of a pass for last week’s 34-3 loss to Virginia Tech due to the playing conditions of that game. (that doesn’t excuse the loss to Georgia, however) The Tar Heels rebounded nicely with a big win at Miami, and they are still very alive in the ACC Coastal division.
24. LSU — SEC, 4-2
LW: NR — Result: W, 45-10 vs. Southern Miss
Welcome back to the rankings, LSU!
After all the chaos that the Les Miles firing caused, LSU and interim coach Ed Orgeron have righted the ship, and they’ve mostly done it without Leonard Fournette. They will get their biggest test under Orgeron next week, as they get Ole Miss at home.
25. South Florida, AAC — 6-1
LW: NR — Result: W, 42-27 vs. UConn
USF creeps into the Top 25 after yet another decent win. They already have good wins at Syracuse and at Cincinnati on their schedule, and their lone blemish is a loss to Florida State — not the worst thing in the world. They’ve definitely done enough to earn a spot here, even if it is only at No. 25.
DROPPED FROM THE RANKINGS: Ole Miss (13), Miami (16), North Dakota State (18), Virginia Tech (19)