The college football season is back and we’re starting to see some separation in the rankings. The top three teams are all holding steady while others have fallen fast. Here’s a look at how we stack up after week nine de-briefing and what happens next for this Top 25 ranked teams list.
The “college football power rankings week 2” is a list of the top 25 teams in college football after Week 9.
9:37 p.m. Eastern Time
Week 9 of college football featured a lot of rivalry matchups.
The Michigan State Spartans defeated Michigan 37-33 to show that they aren’t anyone’s little brother — particularly with Kenneth Walker III on the squad — while Georgia dominated Florida 34-7. Both Georgia and Michigan State have an inside track to the playoffs currently, but with games against Alabama and Ohio State to come, the road isn’t yet totally paved.
The Cincinnati Bearcats, the Group of 5’s best shot at the College Football Playoff, overcame a shaky first half against Tulane to remain undefeated and in contention for the playoffs.
With a 52-21 win against Texas Tech, Oklahoma kept their unblemished season alive. With multiple tight victories this season, the Sooners have had a difficult time climbing the rankings, but it seems like everything is beginning to click for Lincoln Riley’s team at the perfect moment.
The top four teams in the nation are starting to gel, but there were numerous tight games and shocks in Week 9 that wreaked havoc on the Power Rankings this week.
After the action has ended and the rivalry trophies have been awarded, it’s time to look at the Week 9 Power Rankings.
In Saturday’s blowout of rival Florida, the Bulldogs rode the shoulders of their aggressive defense once again, as three mistakes led to 21 points in a shocking 12-play period over the last 212 minutes of the second quarter. The Gators didn’t score until 2:49 left in the game to maintain their NCAA record of 418 consecutive games with at least one point. Georgia’s defense, on the other hand, dominated the opening three quarters, shutting out Florida and allowing just 11 first downs. Stetson Bennett, the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback, completed 10-of-19 throws for 161 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Bennett was chosen over previous starter JT Daniels, who has been out with a lat injury, by coach Kirby Smart and his coaching staff. Schlabach, Mark
The Spartans beat in-state rival Michigan 37-33 after coming back from a 16-point deficit. In the win, Walker rushed for 197 yards and five touchdowns, three of which came in the third and fourth quarters. Late in the fourth quarter, the Spartans were behind by three points, but a fumble recovery gave them one more chance to win with Walker in the end zone. Michigan State is currently 8-0 for the first time since making the College Football Playoff in 2015. VanHaaren (VanHaaren)
The Bearcats won their second consecutive road game to remain unbeaten, but it was a tougher win than the final score showed against a Tulane club that is now 1-7 and starting its third-string quarterback. Cincinnati led 14-12 at halftime before exploding for 17 straight points in the second half. Tulane quarterback Kai Horton threw two interceptions and was sacked four times as a rookie who started since Tulane’s top two quarterbacks were both sidelined. All season, Cincinnati’s defense has been its strength and identity. It was the seventh time in as many games that the Bearcats’ defense had multiple interceptions, the most in the FBS. Heather Dinich is a writer.
In more ways than one, the bye week arrived at the perfect moment. Coach Nick Saban not only had a rare weekend off to celebrate his 70th birthday, but his squad also received some much-needed rest and a chance to regroup before the final stretch of the season. Drew Sanders, who has missed the last three games due to a hand injury, will have his hand checked by physicians next week and, if cleared, may return to play and help shore up a front seven that has struggled at times this season. Alex Scarborough’s remark
Lincoln Riley has said all season that the Sooners will put it all together one day, and it appeared like that day had arrived on Saturday. OU only gained 72 yards on the ground, but Caleb Williams passed for 402 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions, averaging 16.8 yards per completion. The Sooners racked up 541 yards on only 55 offensive plays while holding Texas Tech to 373 yards and a 4-of-13 third-down conversion rate. They also forced two fumbles (one of which they recovered) and intercepted two passes. Dave Wilson is an author.
The Ducks were in desperate need of a game like this. Sure, their opponent was a stale 2-5 Colorado team with nothing to play for, but Oregon wanted to make a statement after winning close games over Cal and UCLA in back-to-back weeks. It accomplished exactly that by thrashing the Buffs 52-29 in Eugene, as if the whole playoff committee was there. The game did not end up being as close as the final score suggested. Colorado was behind 45-14 at the half and scored 15 fourth-quarter points against a Ducks defense that was primarily made up of third-stringers. Oregon gained 568 total yards in its highest offensive performance of the season, with quarterback Anthony Brown having one of his best games of the season with three touchdown passes and 345 total yards. Paolo Uggetti (Paolo Uggetti)
Following a month of stress-free victories and unstoppable offense, Ohio State had to battle it out against Penn State and rely on their resurrected defense to win 33-24. Defensive lineman Jerron Cage scored a touchdown for the Buckeyes, who also had four sacks and only allowed 33 run yards. Coach Ryan Day remarked, “Defense won this game.” C.J. Stroud overcame early shakiness to pass for 305 yards and a score, while rookie running back TreVeyon Henderson eventually broke through in the second half after facing some congested lanes. Ohio State will need to improve its drive completion and third-down defense (PSU converted 11 of 18 opportunities), but it stayed undefeated in Big Ten play and is a strong contender for the CFP. Adam Rittenberg’s remark
After a 45-7 victory against Duke, the Demon Deacons are off to an unbeaten start for the first time in school history. Wake Forest’s attack continued to cruise a week after scoring 70 points in a victory against Army. Sam Hartman joined Tajh Boyd, Lamar Jackson, and Zack Mahoney as the fourth ACC player with 400 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, and two running touchdowns in a game in the last 25 years. After surrendering 56 points versus Army, the defense fared admirably, allowing a season low in points. Andrea Adelson’s remark
The Irish were one of the worst rushing teams in the nation going into their game versus North Carolina. For the second week in a row, they had remarkable success on the ground, with Kyren Williams rushing for 202 yards and a score in a 44-34 victory against North Carolina. This included a 91-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, which gave the Irish the double-digit lead they needed to win the game. North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell fought heroically to keep the Tar Heels in the game, as Notre Dame’s secondary lacked All-American safety Kyle Hamilton. Despite the fact that it was the most points the Irish had given up since their season opener against Florida State, the Irish were able to get the job done thanks to the development of the run game. Andrea Adelson’s remark
In the second half, the Wolverines had a 16-point lead, but they couldn’t hold on in a defeat to Michigan State. Cade McNamara passed for 383 yards and two touchdowns, but threw an interception late in the game, ruining Michigan’s hopes of scoring a score and winning. The Wolverines only gained 146 yards on the run compared to 406 yards passing, but freshman receiver Andrel Anthony had a breakthrough game with 155 yards and two scores. With approximately seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Michigan was leading, but freshman quarterback J.J. McCarthy fumbled and handed the ball to the Spartans, who scored the game-winning touchdown. VanHaaren (VanHaaren)
The Aggies were given a bye week, which came as a nice reprieve to coach Jimbo Fisher after eight weeks of nonstop action. It does, however, come at a time when the Aggies are playing their best football. Following defeats to Arkansas and Mississippi State, the Aggies resurrected their offense under Zach Calzada in a win against Alabama, then trounced Missouri and South Carolina. Fisher intends to keep the momentum going with games against Auburn and Ole Miss on the road. Wilson’s words
After losing a heartbreaker to Iowa State last week, the Cowboys were seeking for a way to vent their frustrations, and they found the ideal opponent. In a 55-3 rout of Kansas, Oklahoma State led 38-0 at halftime. And you want to discuss ultimate dominance? At halftime, the Cowboys had 21 first downs to the Jayhawks’ zero, and 331 total yards to the Jayhawks’ 49. Spencer Sanders, the quarterback, threw two touchdown passes and ran for another. Chris Low (c)
Don’t be afraid to bend, but don’t be afraid to shatter. Baylor restricted Texas to only 10 points in their last nine possessions and turned the game around with a 21-0 second-half outburst. With a 31-24 comeback win in Waco, Abram Smith and Trestan Ebner carried for a combined 179 yards, R.J. Sneed snagged eight passes for 94 yards, and the Bears continued in the race for a Big 12 Championship berth. They’re already 7-1 after finishing 2-7 in Dave Aranda’s first season in 2020. — Sean Connelly
Don’t look now, but the Tigers have been playing good football lately, winning 31-20 over Ole Miss on Saturday to move into second place in the SEC West. The defense has been strong, while the offense has benefited from a resurgent Tank Bigsby, who has scored running touchdowns in three straight games. The performance of Bo Nix, who has looked like a different quarterback since being benched against Georgia State in late September, has been the most crucial. Nix had no interceptions and completed 73 percent of his passes for 276 yards and a score against Ole Miss. He also scored two touchdowns on the ground. Scarborough, North Yorkshire
In a 31-20 defeat at Auburn, it wasn’t the defense that lost Ole Miss the game. Of course, they struggled to start the game, but they recovered and held their own in the second half, allowing the offense to stage a comeback, including forcing a crucial turnover in the fourth quarter. But there was only so much they could accomplish with quarterback Matt Corral playing on two damaged ankles and passing to a wide corps that was without its top three players. Coach Lane Kiffin sought to drive the issue and risk by going for it on a lot of fourth downs, passing up field goal opportunities, and eventually failing. Scarborough, North Yorkshire
UTSA has a bye week after its two most dominant performances of the season — 90-16 triumphs over Rice and Louisiana Tech — to prepare for a crucial road trip to UTEP. The Roadrunner football program is about to embark on its longest streak of games in its history. They should be strong favorites against UTEP, Southern Miss, and North Texas, and a game on Nov. 20 that is a toss-up might decide whether the Roadrunners finish 12-0 or narrowly miss out. Will the CFP committee credit the team’s accomplishments when the initial rankings are out this week? — Connelly
Following a 31-17 loss to Mississippi State on the road Saturday, Kentucky is now on a two-game losing skid after what seemed to be a historic season for the Wildcats. Kentucky only scored one offensive touchdown after turning the ball over four times. The Wildcats led 10-0 after a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown by Josh Ali, but were outscored 31-0 by a Mississippi State squad that outgained Kentucky by more than 200 yards in the second and third quarters. — Low-cost
Marcus Jones altered the tale just when it seemed the Cougars were going to OT against previously unbeaten SMU. With only 17 seconds remaining, Jones returned a kickoff 100 yards to break a 37-37 deadlock and lead Houston over the Mustangs. As time expired, SMU had a shot, but the desperation throw was intercepted, and the unbeaten season was over. Following a season-opening defeat to Texas Tech, the Cougars have won seven consecutive games and have four more winnable matchups on the schedule. Shea Carlson is a writer.
Iowa has had a severe case of regression to the mean after posting a plus-15 turnover margin during a 6-0 start. In a defeat to Purdue two weeks ago, the Hawkeyes had a minus-3 margin, and they were minus-3 again on Saturday in Madison. Iowa’s outstanding defense allowed just 270 total yards (3.9 per play), but Wisconsin rushed out to a 20-0 lead early on, owing in part to a pair of turnovers, and cruised to a 27-7 victory. Iowa only gained 156 yards on the ground (2.9 yards per play) and had to rely on a monster punt return to get its sole touchdown. A terrible offense has been too much to overcome without turnovers. Bill Connelly’s quote
BYU welcomed back former coach Bronco Mendenhall with one of the highest-scoring games in college football this season on a defense-optional night in Provo. Tyler Allgeier was someone who was on a mission. He rushed for 266 yards (on 29 carries), which is the third-best single-game total in school history, and equaled a school record with five rushing touchdowns. BYU’s 66 points rank ninth all-time in a game and are the highest against an FBS opponent since scoring 70 against Tulane in 2001. Kyle Bonagura (Kyle Bonagura)
If you were wondering how the Chanticleers would respond after losing their first game of the season, the answer was a mixed bag. On the one hand, the rushing game resurrected itself with 216 yards on the ground, up from 55 yards the previous week. But that wasn’t exactly a dominant performance. The defense faltered, Grayson McCall threw just his second interception of the season, and coach Jamey Chadwell had to take a chance on fourth-and-4 from his own 31-yard line with a fake punt to help seal a 35-28 victory at home. Scarborough, North Yorkshire
With 30 seconds remaining, the Mustangs had recovered from a 17-point hole to tie the game at 37 versus Houston, only to give up a 100-yard kickoff return to Marcus Jones with 17 seconds left. Despite this, Tanner Mordecai had one more attempt from 35 yards out to throw it into the end zone with no time remaining, but it was incomplete. It was a thrilling conclusion to a slugfest between two of the top teams in the AAC. While neither team ran well, Clayton Tune passed for 412 yards and four touchdowns, and SMU couldn’t stop him. Wilson’s words
The Panthers experienced a dismal effort in a 38-34 defeat to Miami one week after stunning Clemson. Kenny Pickett passed for 519 yards and three touchdowns in a single game, but he also had two important interceptions, including one in the red zone with a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter. The defense was the greater problem, as it couldn’t generate a stop when it needed to, had trouble tackling consistently, and couldn’t stop short screen passes from converting into huge gains. Pitt gave up 426 yards passing to Tyler Van Dyke as a rookie, and there were a couple plays the Panthers would want back. Despite the defeat, Pitt is still in first place in the Coastal Division. The Panthers will advance to the ACC championship game if they win out. — Sheldon Adelson
In Wisconsin’s 27-7 win against a top-10 Iowa team on Saturday, the defense came to play. The Badgers defense had three turnovers and six sacks, while the Iowa offense was limited to only 156 yards in the defeat. Wisconsin surged out to a 20-0 lead in the first half, with Graham Mertz scoring three touchdowns to help the Badgers reclaim their place in the Power Rankings after losing three of their first four games. Carlson’s words
Who knows how this Penn State season might have gone if quarterback Sean Clifford had been healthy the whole time? Clifford, who didn’t play in the second half of Penn State’s defeat to Iowa on Oct. 9 and was far from 100 percent in last week’s loss to Illinois, led the team with 361 passing yards against Ohio State. The Nittany Lions were much better in general than they were against Illinois, but their poor run defense and three turnovers were the difference in a 33-24 defeat. Penn State is out of the Big Ten competition after losing for the sixth time in a row against Ohio State. In November, the Lions can still play spoiler against Michigan and Michigan State, but most of the attention will be on coach James Franklin’s future. — Richard Rittenberg
The “espn college football rankings – week 2” is a list of the top 25 teams in the country. The rankings are compiled by ESPN and are updated each week.
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