Week 10 featured a big time upset as Purdue upset former #3 Michigan State. There has been some movement in the top 10 because of it. One more undefeated top 10 went down as Wake Forest lost at North Carolina. Now, we are in the nitty gritty. There are only three weeks left of the regular season. Can Georgia continue dominating everybody? Where should Cincinnati be ranked? What about Oklahoma? How about one loss Alabama, Oregon, Ohio State, Michigan State, etc.? In these next three weeks, some teams will stake their claim as the best of the best while others will find their way out of the party. In the end, it will all figure itself out. For now, here is the latest edition of my top 50 rankings.
1. Georgia (9-0, 7-0) ↔️
Georgia continued their dominating ways on Saturday as they destroyed Missouri. It was nice to see JT Daniels see some playing time as well. The Dawgs have their toughest remaining game on Saturday at Tennessee.
2. Cincinnati (9-0, 5-0) ↔️
This is the 3rd straight week where Cincinnati hasn’t looked like a playoff team. When you look at their full body of work, they have looked solid for the majority of the season. That Notre Dame win is still huge as the Irish keep winning.
3. Oklahoma (9-0, 6-0) ⬆️1
Despite the bye week, Oklahoma moves up one spot in the top 50 due to Michigan State’s loss. They have a tough road test at Baylor this Saturday. We are going to know a lot about the Sooners in these next 3 games.
4. Alabama (8-1, 5-1) ⬆️1
Alabama slides into the top 4 after MSU’s loss. LSU held Bama to 6 rushing yards on Saturday. The Tide really struggled on Saturday. The Tigers had a few chances to win the game, but couldn’t. Bama does deserve credit for finding a way to win.
5. Oregon (8-1, 5-1) ⬆️1
The Ducks also slide up a spot. They won on the road against their rival Washington in terrible weather. Their passing game was shut down for the most part, but Travis Dye had 211 yards on the ground. Oregon plays a top 50 opponent on Saturday against Washington State.
6. Ohio State (8-1, 6-0) ⬆️1
The Buckeyes struggled against Nebraska. CJ Stroud did throw 2 picks & in their 26-17 win. Ohio State hasn’t been the only team to struggle against Nebraska though. OSU still has two tough games remaining against Michigan State & Michigan, but they can’t overlook Purdue.
7. Michigan State (8-1, 5-1) ⬇️4
Yes, Michigan State’s pass defense was exploited against Purdue. MSU does still control their own destiny. Unfortunately for them, they still have to play Maryland & Ohio State who both have solid passing attacks. The Spartans remain in the top 10 because of their head to head win over Michigan.
8. Oklahoma State (8-1, 5-1) ⬆️1
Since that loss to Iowa State, the Cowboys have only given up 6 points. The Oklahoma State defense hasn’t given up more then 3 touchdowns in a game all year. OSU has two winnable games against TCU & Texas Tech, who are both without head coaches. Bedlam is shaping up to be a huge game.
9. Michigan (8-1, 5-1) ⬆️1
Michigan bounced back with a comfortable win against Indiana. Blake Corum did get injured which could pose an issue for Michigan. Luckily, they still have Hassan Haskins. The Wolverines now have to win at Penn State to keep their playoff hopes alive.
10. Wake Forest (8-1, 5-0) ⬇️2
Wake Forest was knocked from the ranks of the undefeated after their shootout loss to North Carolina. Their defense came back to bite them. The Deacs still have some tough games left as they play against NC State on Saturday.
11. Notre Dame (8-1) ↔️
Notre Dame won easily against Navy. Their loss to Cincinnati really hurts their playoff chances. The Irish have their toughest remanded game on Saturday at Virginia in primetime. Notre Dame needs a ton of help if they want to make the playoff.
12. UTSA (9-0, 5-0) ⬆️2
UTSA has not played a top 50 opponent yet, but they deserve a ton of credit for going out there & winning games week after week. The Roadrunners took care of UTEP on Saturday. Let’s be honest, UTSA won’t make the playoff no matter what they do, but this is a reason why we need to expand the CFP.
13. Ole Miss (7-2, 3-2) ⬆️2
Ole Miss picked up a comfortable win against a tricky Liberty team in non conference play. The defense was impressive & they forced three picks from Malik Willis. The Rebels have a tough game against another two loss team in Texas A&M.
14. Texas A&M (7-2, 4-2) ⬆️5
Texas A&M has looked like a different football team since those two losses. They completely dominated Auburn defensively. The Aggies are in a must win situation at Ole Miss if they want a shot at the SEC title game. They do need Bama to drop a game though.
15. Houston (8-1, 6-0) ⬆️1
Houston won a shootout at USF on Saturday. The Cougars have now won 8 straight games. This team should be ranked in the playoff poll. If they win out, that would really help Cincinnati’s resume when the AAC title game comes around.
16. Baylor (7-2, 4-2) ⬇️3
Baylor was upset by TCU on Saturday. On top of that, TCU did not have a head coach. The Bears need to put this game behind them because they host Oklahoma on Saturday. With a win, they would cause some chaos in the Big 12.
17. BYU (8-2) ↔️
BYU easily beat FCS Idaho State on Saturday. The Cougars have a bye before they finish out the regular season at Georgia Southern & at USC. This team has a decent shot at finishing the regular season with 10 wins.
18. San Diego State (8-1, 4-1) ⬆️3
San Diego State rebounded with a win at Hawaii, which is always a tough place to play because of the time change & long flight. The Aztecs will play a good Nevada offense coming up. That game will likely decide who will win the division.
19. Pitt (7-2, 4-1) ⬆️4
Pitt responded to their close loss to Miami with a big road win over Duke. Kenny Pickett’s draft stock continues to rise each week. The Panthers have a trap game against North Carolina on Thursday night. UNC can put up points. We’ll see if Pickett & company can keep up.
20. NC State (7-2, 4-1) ⬆️4
NC State has been playing good defense as of late. The Pack need to continue playing good defense against Wake Forest on Saturday night. NCSU needs to win that game if they want a shot at the ACC Championship Game.
21. Louisiana (8-1, 6-0) ⬆️4
Louisiana has now won 8 straight games since their opening loss to Texas. The Ragin Cajuns clinched a spot in the Sun Belt Championship Game after their win over Georgia State this weekend. Louisiana has two tough games against Troy & Liberty coming up.
22. Auburn (6-3, 3-2) ⬇️10
Auburn’s offense really struggled against Texas A&M. The Tigers were dominated in the trenches. The gauntlet doesn’t stop for Auburn as they play the tricky air raid offense of Mississippi State.
23. Coastal Carolina (8-1, 4-1) ⬆️3
Coastal Carolina won comfortably at Georgia Southern on Saturday. The Chants have a critical game against a decent Georgia State team this week. The Panthers are only one game behind Coastal & App State at the top of the Sun Belt east.
24. Arkansas (6-3, 2-3) ⬆️4
Arkansas picked up a solid win over Mississippi State. Yeah, the refs did have a big influence, but Arkansas won the game. They are now bowl eligible. Sam Pittman needs to get his team ready to play at LSU in Death Valley at night.
25. Wisconsin (6-3, 4-2) ⬆️4
Wisconsin has been playing much better football as of late. They have now won five straight games after their 52-3 smashing of Rutgers. The Badgers have a favorable schedule moving forward in a tight Big Ten west division.
26. Purdue (6-3, 4-2) ⬆️10
Purdue jumps up 10 spots after their upset win over Michigan State. The Boilers loss to Wisconsin keeps them below the Badgers in the rankings. Purdue faces yet another top 5 team this week as they play Ohio State.
27. Iowa (7-2, 4-2) ⬆️3
Iowa struggled against Northwestern on Saturday. Spencer Petras was even benched at one point. The Hawkeyes are still 7-2 & have a shot at a Big Ten title. They have a huge Big Ten west battle against Minnesota coming up this week.
28. Appalachian State (7-2, 4-1) ⬆️3
Appalachian State dominated Arkansas State. Steven Jones Jr had three picks & two pick sixes. The Mountaineers have a favorable upcoming schedule & they own the tiebreaker over Coastal Carolina because of their head to head win.
29. Kentucky (6-3, 4-3) ⬇️9
The Wildcats suffered a disappointing loss at home to Tennessee. Kentucky has now lost three straight games after starting 6-0. The Cats have an easy remaining schedule as they play Vanderbilt, New Mexico State & rival Louisville.
30. Penn State (6-3, 3-3) ⬆️3
Penn State snapped their three game losing streak against Maryland. Jahan Dotson had a huge day as he had 242 yards and 3 touchdowns. It doesn’t get any easier for the Nittany Lions as they play a top 10 Michigan team on Saturday.
31. Utah (6-3, 5-1) ⬆️3
Utah completely dominated Stanford on Friday night. The Utes had 441 rushing yards. They made Stanford look like a middle school team. Utah is in sole possession of 1st place in the Pac 12 south. They play Oregon in two weeks which could be a preview of the Pac 12 Championship Game.
32. Clemson (6-3, 5-2) ⬆️5
Clemson rallied in the 4th quarter to beat Louisville. The Tigers have a week to get healthy as they play UConn on Saturday. After that they host the high powered offense of Wake Forest. People forget that this Clemson team gave Georgia their biggest challenge of the season.
33. SMU (7-2, 3-2) ⬇️11
SMU has really struggled in their past two games. They were losses to Houston & Memphis. Unfortunately for the Mustangs, the schedule doesn’t get easier as they have UCF & Cincinnati in their next two games.
34. Iowa State (6-3, 4-2) ⬆️1
Iowa State dominated Texas in the 2nd half to cap off a nice bounce back win. That win keeps the Cyclones within striking distance in the Big 12. ISU has to get through Texas Tech this Saturday before they travel to Norman to play Oklahoma.
35. Fresno State (7-3, 4-2) ⬇️17
Fresno State dropped a home game against Boise State which really hurts them in the Mountain West title race. The Bulldogs still have a chance at getting to 10 wins. They have two winnable regular season games left against New Mexico & San Jose State.
36. Kansas State (6-3, 3-3)⬆️3
Kansas State has now won three straight games after their victory over rivals Kansas. The Cats face a tricky West Virginia team before they host Baylor. K-State needs to win out if they want any shot at a conference title game.
37. Minnesota (6-3, 4-2) ⬇️5
Minnesota now has two embarrassing losses after they got beat by Illinois on Saturday. They do have a solid win over Purdue though. The Golden Gophers are one of four teams tied for 1st in the Big Ten west. Minnesota does still have to play Iowa & Wisconsin.
38. Virginia (6-3, 4-2) ↔️
Virginia had a bye this past week. They need to regroup from the bad loss at BYU. The Cavaliers have a big time game against Notre Dame in primetime in Charlottesville. It doesn’t get easier after that because they play at Pitt & vs rivals Virginia Tech.
39. Utah State (7-2, 4-1) ⬆️1
Utah State handled business against New Mexico State. They have three key, but very winnable conference games coming up against San Jose State, Wyoming & New Mexico. The Aggies are in the hunt for a Mountain West Championship.
40. Nevada (7-2, 4-1) ⬆️2
Nevada beat San Jose State after a game winning field goal. The Pack now face San Diego State is what could be the Mountain West game of the year. The winner of this game will likely make the Mountain West Championship Game.
41. Washington State (5-4, 4-2) ↔️
Washington State stays at 41 due to their bye week. The Cougs have won four out of their last five games. If the Cougars want a shot at the Pac 12 Championship Game they need to win at Oregon on Saturday night.
42. Arizona State (6-3, 4-2) ⬆️1
Arizona State bounced back from two straight losses with a win against USC. The Sun Devils remain below Washington State because of their head to head loss to the Cougars, despite having a better record then them.
43. Mississippi State (5-4, 3-3) ⬇️16
Mississippi State might’ve been the most overrated team in the playoff poll. The Bulldogs lost a tough game at Arkansas on Saturday. Mississippi State still has two more tough games at Auburn & vs Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl.
44. Tennessee (5-4, 3-3) ⬆️7
Tennessee jumps back into the top 50 after their road win against a solid Kentucky team. The Vols can’t celebrate for too long because they host Georgia next. After that, they have two very winnable games to end the year against South Alabama & Vanderbilt.
45. North Carolina (5-4, 3-3) ⬆️6
The Tar Heels are back in the rankings after their huge win over top 10 Wake Forest. North Carolina really showed their offensive firepower in that game. UNC still has difficult matchups against Pitt & NC State still on the schedule.
46. Syracuse (5-4, 2-3) ↔️
Syracuse remains at 46 after their bye week. Sean Tucker has been playing out of his mind as of late & should be a Heisman contender. The Orange have a tough last three games as they play Louisville, NC State & Pitt.
47. Miami (5-4, 3-2) ⬆️4
Miami sneaks into the rankings after they picked up their 3rd straight win over Georgia Tech. The Canes also have three wins against top 50 opponents. Realistically, this team can win out as they have Florida State, Virginia Tech & Duke left on the schedule.
48. UCLA (5-4, 3-3) ↔️
UCLA stays put as they also had a bye week. The Bruins are in need of a bounce back win against Colorado because they lost their last two games to Oregon & Utah. After that, UCLA plays at USC in a big rivalry clash.
49. UCF (6-3, 4-2) ⬆️2
UCF is back in the top 50. They have now won three straight games after starting the season 3-3. The Knights have only played one top 50 opponent this season & they have one more on the schedule: at SMU this Saturday.
50. Liberty (7-3) ⬇️3
Liberty stays ranked after their loss to a tough Ole Miss team. Malik Willis threw three picks & the offense didn’t have enough firepower to catch up after going behind 24-0 at the half. The Flames have a chance to rebound against Louisiana this week.
On the Horizon