Week 9 College Football Rankings, No. 1-128: The Big Changes

    The college football rankings just can't seem to settle on one team to be in the top spot. After Georgia Tech's crazy win over Florida State, and Utah getting blasted by USC, where do the beaten teams have to be placed?

    October 25, 2015

    Follow, Contact @PeteFiutak

    It’s getting harder and harder to do this cleanly.

    Yes, voters put in their rankings based on how good they think the teams are, but until the end of the rainbow, you still have to go by the head-to-head results – what happened on the field is what happened on the field.

    But how do you rank Utah now? How about Florida State?

    Utah is a messed up situation because it just got blasted by USC. So Utah should be behind USC, right? Okay, but USC was beaten by Washington, who lost to Cal, who lost to Utah – the Pac-12 South becomes a mess.

    Strangely enough, Florida State is actually easy. Forgetting how it happened, the loss to Georgia Tech means the Seminoles go tumbling down the rankings really, really far, since now, technically, they need to be behind the Yellow Jackets, who needs to be behind North Carolina, who needs to be behind South Carolina – and so on. The FSU wins came against Texas State, South Florida, Boston College, Wake Forest, Miami, and Louisville, and none of them are ranked high. But, of course, this is all fluid, and it all changes as more parts of the puzzle are put together.

    So while these college football rankings might not seem quite kosher, there’s a reason each team is in each spot. As always, based on results first, everything else a distant second …

    1. LSU (7-0)

    The Mississippi State win is looking better and better, beating Florida is terrific, and the Auburn win now looks a little stronger. Call this the best combination or resume and eye test at the moment, but that could all quickly change in two weeks when the Tigers go to Alabama.

    2. Florida (6-1)

    The LSU loss in Death Valley is still as acceptable as it gets. The 38-10 win over Ole Miss looks even better now, and getting by Tennessee is strong. Beating Georgia would all but cement the Gators in this spot with a chance to make a huge run if they can win in Jacksonville.

    3. Ohio State (8-0)

    Yeah, beating Rutgers isn’t any big whoop, but the offense looks the part now that J.T. Barrett is under center. There might have been other huge blowouts so far, but win over the Scarlet Knights might have been the team’s most complete victory.

    4. Clemson (7-0)

    Miami might not be that great, but who cares? Clemson delivered the biggest blowout in Hurricane history. That, combined with being the only unbeaten team this weekend with a win over a top ten team on the resume – getting by Notre Dame – is making this look more and more like a playoff contender. Having a relatively easy schedule helps.

    5. Baylor (7-0)

    How much does the loss of starting QB Seth Russell matter? A lot. This isn’t going to be the same team, even if it comes up with a big number on the board next week against Kansas State. All that matters is winning, and the Bears should do that without a problem before facing Oklahoma on November 14th.

    6. Memphis (7-0)

    You’ve still got to do it. You still have to rank the Tigers ahead of Ole Miss and ahead of Alabama, and the only thing that’ll change that is a loss. Give it a few weeks – Navy, at Houston, at Temple starts out November. The tests are coming.

    7. Ole Miss (6-2)

    Can the Rebels please come up with a wee bit of consistency? Obviously the team wasn’t fully focused for Memphis two weeks ago, but who cares? That’s they deal, and the Rebels lost. Beating Texas A&M like a drum, though, showed just how good this group can be. The SEC West is there for the taking by winning out.

    8. Alabama (7-1)

    It was a bit too much of a fight against Tennessee, but Alabama looked tired – at least for Alabama. With two weeks off to prepare for LSU, now we’ll get to see the Crimson Tide fresh again. When everyone is in one piece, this is the best team in college football – it just can’t be ranked ahead of Ole Miss or Memphis right now.

    9. TCU (7-0)

    The Horned Frogs desperately needed the week off. Now come the Big 12 big boys with road trips to Oklahoma State and Oklahoma coming up soon after dealing with West Virginia on Thursday.

    10. Iowa (7-0)

    How terrific does the blowout win at Northwestern look now that the Wildcats got by Nebraska just a week later? The bumps and bruises had started to pile up – the Hawkeyes needed this week off – sort of. The schedule the rest of the way looks nice and squishy soft, especially considering how lousy Nebraska looked. 12-0 is right there for the taking.

    11. Notre Dame (6-1)

    Notre Dame needed the USC win over Utah. Now the Irish playoff argument is looking stronger and stronger with Clemson destroying Miami, Texas rolling by Kansas State, and USC starting to look the part again just one week after leaving South Bend.

    12. Michigan State (8-0)

    Don’t fall for the big numbers Michigan State put up on Indiana – that was a lot closer and a lot more of a firefight than the 52-26 final might indicate. There’s nothing the Spartans are doing to suggest they’re getting through the season unscathed.

    13. Utah (6-1)

    How do you rank the Utes now? They got blown out by USC, but the Trojans have a slew of other losses to messes up the entire ranking system. For now, accept the good – the Michigan win, Oregon, Arizona State – and let Michigan keep on winning. Then let’s see what happens.

    14. Michigan (5-2)

    The Wolverines are getting two weeks to sit and stew over the Michigan State debacle, and now it’s on the road for three of the next four weeks. They’ll be favored the rest of the way before Ohio State comes to Ann Arbor. At the very least, the 38-0 win over Northwestern is looking more and more impressive.

    15. Oklahoma State (7-0)

    It’s amazing Oklahoma State was able to go out and destroy Kansas after the tragedy before the game. On the field, the Texas win is the only positive on the resume – victories over Kansas State and West Virginia are nice, but there’s no more hiding. At Texas Tech, TCU, at Iowa State – okay, there’s some relaxing – Baylor, Oklahoma.

    16. Northwestern (6-2)

    That’s how you pull up out of a nosedive. Just when it seemed like Northwestern’s season was going into the tank, boom – it comes up with a win over Nebraska and is bowl eligible. Consider the season a rousing success as long as Stanford keeps winning.

    17. Stanford (6-1)

    It’s going to be the problem the rest of the year – Stanford won’t be able to shake the Northwestern loss in the rankings. This is looking more and more like an 11-1 team that’ll roll into the Pac-12 championship, but it lost to the Wildcats. The committee won’t care as long as the Cardinal are 12-1 with a Pac-12 title, but that’s the albatross.

    18. Texas A&M (5-2)

    Yuck. To be fair, how many teams would do any better facing Alabama and Ole Miss in back-to-back weeks? The Mississippi State win is better than it might get credit for, and the Arkansas victory is solid enough to keep the high ranking.

    19. Texas (3-4)

    Now the Longhorns are starting to look like they know they’re alright. Beating Kansas State was a solid big step, but the Oklahoma win is going to make the season. It has to keep being said, the losses are to Notre Dame on the road, California and Oklahoma State on special teams mistakes, and to a loaded TCU – that’s not bad.

    20. Oklahoma (6-1)

    It’s on now. Considering the running game is starting to roll, and the defense has found a groove – at least it did against Kansas State two weeks ago and in the win over Texas Tech this week – and with Texas already with two Big 12 losses, OU will be right there for the Big 12 title. Consider the Sooners 8-1 with Kansas and Iowa State up next.

    21. Mississippi State (5-2)

    No quarterback in college football is playing any better than Dak Prescott. However, here’s the problem – losing 21-19 to LSU on a missed kick can only go so far. The loss to Texas A&M now doesn’t look all that great, and the one good win is over Auburn on the road. It’s going to get fun fast with Alabama and Ole Miss coming to Starkville in November.

    22. Wisconsin (6-2)

    Beating Illinois in Champaign is probably better than it appears, especially with starting QB Joel Stave knocked out of the game and with star RB Corey Clement still on the sidelines. Unfortunately, the win over Nebraska on the road just doesn’t seem to matter that to the overall resume. Yeah, the Badgers should be able to sleepwalk their way to 10-2 – as long as they wake up for Northwestern.

    23. Pitt (6-1)

    It took a battle to get by Syracuse, but consider this – Pitt just closed out a run of five road games in six weeks. How did the Panthers survive? They pounded away and got timely plays from the defense, and now there’s only one road game left at Duke.

    24. Texas Tech (5-3)

    It might not seem quite right with a defense that’s getting ripped to shreds, but the three losses were to TCU, Baylor and on the road to Oklahoma. There’s no shame there, while the win over Arkansas is the street cred victory needed to get into the top 25.

    25. Toledo (7-0)

    The Rockets beat Arkansas, and that’s the gateway. They might have needed a massive comeback to get by UMass, but the 37-7 win over Arkansas State now seems fantastic to go along with the victories over Iowa State and Arkansas. November will be a blast with Northern Illinois, at Central Michigan, at Bowling Green, Western Michigan. Good luck with that.

    [RELATED: Projected College Football Playoff Rankings, Week 9]

    No. 26-128 College Football Rankings

    26. Arkansas (3-4)

    27. Tennessee (3-4)

    28. Georgia (5-2)

    29. USC (4-3)

    30. Arizona State (4-3)

    31. UCLA (5-2)

    32. California (5-2)

    33. Auburn (4-3)

    34. Houston (7-0)

    35. Louisville (3-4)

    36. BYU (6-2)

    37. West Virginia (3-3)

    38. Washington State (5-2)

    39. Oregon (4-3)

    40. Washington (3-4)

    41. Bowling Green (5-3)

    42. San Diego State (5-3)

    43. Utah State (4-2)

    44. Boise State (6-2)

    45. Temple (7-0)

    46. Arizona (5-3)

    47. Penn State (6-2)

    48. Kentucky (4-3)

    49. Cincinnati (4-3)

    50. South Carolina (3-4)

    51. North Carolina (6-1)

    52. Duke (6-1)

    53. Georgia Tech (3-5)

    54. Florida State (6-1)

    55. Miami (4-3)

    56. Vanderbilt (3-4)

    57. Missouri (4-3)

    58. Illinois (4-3)

    59. Navy (5-1)

    60. Nebraska (3-5)

    61. Kansas State (3-4)

    62. Minnesota (4-3)

    63. Virginia Tech (3-4)

    64. East Carolina (4-4)

    65. NC State (4-2)

    66. Rutgers (3-4)

    67. Indiana (4-4)

    68. Maryland (2-5)

    69. South Florida (4-3)

    70. Virginia (2-5)

    71. Syracuse (3-4)

    72. Wake Forest (3-5)

    73. Appalachian State (6-1)

    74. Boston College (3-5)

    75. Georgia Southern (5-2)

    76. Western Michigan (4-3)

    77. Central Michigan (4-4)

    78. Northern Illinois (5-3)

    79. WKU (6-2)

    80. Iowa State (2-5)

    81. Louisiana Tech (5-3)

    82. Arkansas State (4-3)

    83. Colorado (4-4)

    84. Purdue (1-6)

    85. Colorado State (3-4)

    86. Air Force (4-3)

    87. Middle Tennessee (3-5)

    88. Oregon State (2-5)

    89. San Jose State (4-4)

    90. Fresno State (2-6)

    91. UNLV (2-5)

    92. Nevada (5-3)

    93. Buffalo (3-4)

    94. Ohio (5-3)

    95. Marshall (7-1)

    96. Southern Miss (5-3)

    97. Rice (4-3)

    98. Massachusetts (1-6)

    99. FIU (4-4)

    100. Tulsa (3-4)

    101. Akron (3-4)

    102. Kent State (3-5)

    103. Louisiana-Lafayette (2-4)

    104. Texas State (2-4)

    105. South Alabama (3-4)

    106. Old Dominion (3-4)

    107. Connecticut (3-5)

    108. Kansas (0-7)

    109. New Mexico (4-4)

    110. Hawaii (2-6)

    111. UTSA (1-6)

    112. UTEP (3-4)

    113. Tulane (2-5)

    114. Army West Point (2-6)

    115. Florida Atlantic (1-6)

    116. SMU (1-6)

    117. Charlotte (2-5)

    118. Miami University (1-7)

    119. Eastern Michigan (1-7)

    120. Wyoming (1-7)

    121. UCF (0-8)

    122. Georgia State (2-4)

    123. Ball State (2-6)

    124. Idaho (3-4)

    125. ULM (1-6)

    126. Troy (2-5)

    127. North Texas (0-7)

    128. New Mexico State (0-7)

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