Home Sports College Football Power Rankings: Five different conferences represented in top 5

College Football Power Rankings: Five different conferences represented in top 5

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College Football Power Rankings: Five different conferences represented in top 5

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College football has reached its midpoint with a deep pool of contenders still alive for a College Football Playoff berth and a spot atop our Power Rankings.

It’s a diverse pool, too, with each of the Power 5 conferences represented in the top five.

Washington has an early claim as the lead dog in the Pac-12 following a down-to-the-wire victory over Oregon. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and his receivers — Rome Odunze especially — continue to impress as Washington improved to 6-0 for the first time since 2017, the last time the Huskies or the Pac-12 made the CFP.

Elsewhere, the nation’s top-ranked teams — Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Florida State, Penn State — rolled, while the top of the Big 12 sat out following last week’s Red River Rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma.

With all that in mind, here’s how the Power Rankings play out after Week 7 results:


Plagued by yet another slow start, Georgia recovered to win comfortably at Vanderbilt. But the biggest concern coming out of the game for the Dawgs was the health of star tight end Brock Bowers, who sprained his ankle in the second quarter and was unable to return. Coach Kirby Smart said Bowers thinks “he’ll be fine,” but that he’s going to have an X-ray performed. After falling behind 7-0 and then losing a fumble on its first possession, Georgia reeled off 27 unanswered points to extend its school-record winning streak to 24 games. The Dawgs have won 23 straight SEC regular-season games and will now get a week off before facing Florida in Jacksonville on Oct. 28. Georgia outgained Vanderbilt 542 to 219 yards with Daijun Edwards rushing for a career-high 146 yards on 20 carries. The Dawgs finished with a season-high 281 rushing yards. — Chris Low

Up next: at Florida, Oct. 28 (12:30 p.m. ET)


Michigan running back Blake Corum scored two touchdowns in the win against Indiana, which put him third all-time in program history for career rushing touchdowns. He passed his running backs coach Mike Hart and former quarterback Denard Robinson and sits behind Anthony Thomas and Tyrone Wheatley on the list. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy got in on the scoring, as well, throwing three touchdown passes on just 17 attempts before he was pulled for the backups in the third quarter. Michigan’s defense was able to shut Indiana’s offense down, allowing just one touchdown in the first quarter. — Tom VanHaaren

Up next: at Michigan State (7:30 p.m. ET, NBC)


The Huskies passed their first big test of the season with a 36-33 win against Oregon, as quarterback Michael Penix Jr. strengthened his Heisman Trophy résumé. The sixth-year left completed 22 of 37 passes for 302 yards, including the go-ahead touchdown pass with less than two minutes to play. The Huskies enter what should be a manageable two-game stretch against Arizona State and Stanford before finishing the year with four teams that entered this week ranked in the AP Top 25. After going mostly unchallenged to this point, the win was a valuable test headed into the second half of the season. — Kyle Bonagura

Up next: vs. Arizona State (10:30 p.m. ET, FS1)


Receiver Keon Coleman was ready and willing to pick up the slack with Johnny Wilson still sidelined after last week’s injury as Florida State cruised to a victory over Syracuse. Targeted 11 times by quarterback Jordan Travis, Coleman caught nine passes for 140 yards and a 58-yard touchdown — his seventh of the season, matching his 2022 total at Michigan State (12 games). Coleman racked up a career-high 247 all-purpose yards, spurred on by a 72-yard punt return late in the third quarter. Travis, who threw for 284 yards and completed passes to eight receivers, accounted for three touchdowns (two rushing), leading an offense that churned out 535 total yards. Florida State topped the 30-point mark for a 12th straight time and is now 6-0 for the first time since 2015. — Blake Baumgartner

Up next: vs. Duke (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC)


The Sooners spent their bye week in pole position for a spot in the Big 12 title game after a remarkable game-winning drive to beat No. 3 Texas last weekend. Coach Brent Venables said this week he was giving his team a little time to rest and get healthy. Leading receiver Andrel Anthony, who hurt his knee in the fourth quarter against Texas, is out for the season. The Sooners get back on the field next week vs. UCF, but then have tests on the road against Kansas and the final Bedlam game (maybe?) against Oklahoma State in Stillwater. The Sooners will be favored the rest of the way and appear destined to face Texas again in the title game in December if they can navigate the always unpredictable Big 12. — Dave Wilson

Up next: vs. UCF (noon ET, ABC)


Ohio State came into its game against Purdue without running backs TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams. And then running back Chip Trayanum was injured in the first half against Purdue. But Dallan Hayden stepped in and picked up the majority of carries against the Boilermakers, getting a touchdown and 76 rushing yards. Both Marvin Harrison Jr. and freshman receiver Brandon Inniss had touchdowns, while tight end Cade Stover had two touchdowns in what ended up being a lopsided game. The Ohio State defense stifled quarterback Hudson Card and was stingy in the run game, limiting the Boilermakers to under 200 yards of total offense. — VanHaaren

Up next: vs. Penn State (Noon ET, Fox)


The Nittany Lions’ final pre-Ohio State tuneup went as planned, recording their largest shutout win, 63-0, since an 81-0 clobbering of Cincinnati in 1991. Quarterback Drew Allar had three touchdown passes, two to tight end Theo Johnson, and no interceptions. Running backs Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen along with backup QB Beau Pribula combined for 206 rushing yards and two scores. Penn State’s defense wasn’t tested much during the first six games, but continued its virtually flawless play by recording its second shutout in the past three games, while holding UMass to 109 yards and 10 first downs. Adisa Isaac, Chop Robinson and Cam Miller combined for 6.5 sacks. The Lions jumped ahead on Daequan Hardy‘s 56-yard punt return touchdown — the first of his career. — Adam Rittenberg

Up next: at Ohio State (Noon ET, Fox)


The Tar Heels promised that receiver Tez Walker would enhance an already explosive offense with Drake Maye at quarterback. We saw why against Miami. Walker had three touchdown receptions in his second game back since the NCAA granted him immediate eligibility, and the Tar Heels turned in a dominant second half to stay undefeated. Though Miami was able to get pressure on Maye, the Hurricanes had no answer for Walker, who simply ran past Miami defenders with ease. North Carolina has now scored 30 or more points in six games this season. The last time UNC did that? 1914. — Andrea Adelson

Up next: vs. Virginia (6:30 p.m. ET, CW Network)


Oregon’s three failed fourth-down conversion attempts are the major talking point coming out of a heartbreaking loss at Washington, but that shows how thin the margin was. If Oregon converted on any of them, it likely would have won the game. And the Ducks still had a field-goal attempt within range to tie the game at the end. As far as coaching blunders go, Lanning’s were amplified because of the setting and the stakes, but there are worse things a coach can do than be aggressive, albeit a bit unnecessarily. Like, maybe, not kneeling down to guarantee victory. Without divisions in the Pac-12, the Ducks are still a force in the conference title race. — Bonagura

Up next: vs. Washington State (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)


The schedule was cruel to the Longhorns, giving them a week off to stew about the last-second loss to Oklahoma. But the Horns have hit the halfway point at 5-1, including that Week 2 win at Alabama, and the rest of the schedule shapes up to give Texas one more shot at OU to end the season if they both end up in the Big 12 title game. The Longhorns haven’t finished a season with fewer than three losses since 2009, and none of the Horns’ last six opponents are currently ranked. They’ll look to finish strong, beginning on Saturday at Houston, where the Cougars and a sold-out crowd await for their one Big 12 shot at Texas. — Wilson

Up next: at Houston (4 p.m. ET, Fox)


The Crimson Tide reminded us again how imperfect a one-loss team they really are against Arkansas. They came out sluggish and spotted the Razorbacks a 6-0 lead. And then, after looking great and running off 24 unanswered points, they let their foot off the gas as Arkansas scored back-to-back touchdowns in the second half to make it a one-score game. The defense has its share of responsibility, but a lot of the blame falls on the offense, which can’t generate consistency in either the run or the passing game. Jalen Milroe averaged more than 23.8 yards per completion, which sounds great, but completing 10 of 21 passes is a problem. While Alabama ultimately prevailed, the game was a reminder of the challenges ahead, whether you’re looking at Tennessee and LSU the next two games or Kentucky and Auburn to end the regular season. — Alex Scarborough

Up next: vs. Tennessee (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)


Behind another sound performance from quarterback DJ Uiagaleilei (266 yards and two touchdowns) and three interceptions (including one pick-six and another defensive score) by the Beavers’ staunch defense, Jonathan Smith’s team handled UCLA 36-24. Despite the loss to Washington State earlier this year, the Beavers look every bit the part as one of the best teams in the Pac-12 right now. They are thriving with a balanced offense that threw the ball 28 times against UCLA and ran it 26 times. It is a sign of how far Smith has taken this OSU team that reaching bowl eligibility is not news after not getting to six wins from 2014 through 2020. — Paolo Uggetti

Up next: at Arizona, Oct. 28


Cameron Rising‘s absence has unquestionably impacted what Utah can do on offense. But Bryson Barnes managed the game effectively, and the running game racked up a season-high 317 yards and four touchdowns as the two-time reigning Pac-12 champions turned away California. The 210 first-half total yards the Utes put together eclipsed the number they had in the entire game against Oregon State two weeks ago (198). Barnes completed 15 of 21 passes for 128 yards with a rushing touchdown. Sione Vaki (158 rushing yards and two TDs) and Ja’Quinden Jackson (94 rushing yards and a TD) spearheaded matters on the ground. Utah eclipsed 300 yards rushing for the first time since doing it twice in a four-week period last November (Arizona and Colorado) and dominated time of possession (37:53-22:07). Defensive end Van Fillinger recorded two of the defense’s five sacks. — Baumgartner

Up next: at USC (8 p.m. ET, Fox)


Coming off an open date, Tennessee was anything but sharp in holding off Texas A&M for a mistake-filled 20-13 win in front of a deafening Neyland Stadium crowd. The Vols’ swarming defensive line seems to get better each week, and Tennesseee got two game-changing plays on special teams. Punter Jackson Ross pinned the Aggies at their own 1 with a 49-yard punt midway through the third quarter. Texas A&M couldn’t budge the Tennessee defense and ended up having to punt from deep in its own end zone, and Dee Williams took the short punt back 39 yards for a touchdown. Quarterback Joe Milton III was intercepted in the end zone, and the Vols committed 12 penalties for 115 yards. But they were able to run the ball for 237 yards, which has been a staple under coach Josh Heupel when they win big games. — Low

Up next: at Alabama (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)


After dropping two of three games, coach Marcus Freeman’s team played with the required desperation, especially on defense, and dominated USC 48-20 in its fourth consecutive game against an undefeated opponent. Notre Dame became the first team to intercept Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams three times, and did so in the first half. Safety Xavier Watts had the game of his life — two interceptions, a forced fumble and a scoop-and-score in the closing minutes — but so many other Fighting Irish defenders contributed, including linebackers JD Bertrand and Marist Liufau, cornerbacks Benjamin Morrison and Cam Hart, safety DJ Brown, and a line that pushed around USC’s offensive front for much of the night. The Irish forced five turnovers and committed none of their own. Notre Dame’s offense capitalized on short fields with 21 points off of Williams’ interceptions, and answered USC’s first touchdown with a strike play — Sam Hartman found a crossing Chris Tyree for a 46-yard score — to extinguish any realistic hope of a Trojans rally. The Irish also got a Jadarian Price 99-yard kick return touchdown to put the win on ice. — Rittenberg

Up next: vs. Pittsburgh, Oct. 28


Just like a year ago, Ole Miss is off to a hot start in the first half of the season. The Rebels are 5-1 (2-1 in the SEC). They were 7-0 and 3-0 in the league a year ago before losing five of their final six games. This team appears to be more equipped to finish the season on a strong note, and the bye week comes at a good time with some key players recovering from injuries. Quarterback Jaxson Dart has been extremely efficient. He’s passed for 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions and is also Ole Miss’ second leading rusher with 302 yards and four touchdowns. Sophomore running back Quinshon Judkins had the one big game against LSU and battled some injury issues earlier in the season, but should be fresh for the stretch drive. On defense, Ole Miss gave up 49 points in the 55-49 win over LSU, but hasn’t given up more than 24 points in the other five games. Pete Golding’s unit is tied for ninth nationally in tackles for loss (47). — Low

Up next: at Auburn (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)


Quarterback Riley Leonard missed the game with an ankle injury, but it hardly mattered as the Blue Devils completely dominated NC State 24-3. Henry Belin IV made his first career start and showed off his arm strength with a 69-yard touchdown pass to Jalon Calhoun for the longest completion of the season. But Belin did not have to do much with the way Jordan Waters ran the ball. Waters had a career high with 123 yards rushing. Duke now has a rushing touchdown in seven straight games dating back to last season, its longest streak since 2015-16 (13 straight games). — Adelson

Up next: at Florida State (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC)


When Caleb Williams throws three interceptions in a half on the road, a tough matchup against a Notre Dame team coming off a loss suddenly turns into an impossible mountain to climb. The Irish forced five turnovers, ran back a kickoff 99 yards and dominated the game from start to finish, handing Lincoln Riley and Co. their first loss of the season by a score of 48-20. Williams not only threw three picks — the most he’s thrown in a game during his college career — but he was pressured all night thanks to a USC offensive line that had their worst performance of the season. Things had been trending this way for USC, which escaped close calls against Colorado and Arizona in the last two weeks. While the defeat at the hands of Notre Dame is not a conference loss, the Trojans will have plenty to fix ahead of tough matchups against Utah, Washington, Oregon and UCLA in the coming weeks should they have any chance of fighting for the Pac-12 title. — Uggetti

Up next: vs. Utah (8 p.m. ET, Fox)


Auburn coach Hugh Freeze was right when he said you can’t stop LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels; he’s too good. Spearheading a dominant win at home, Daniels amassed more than 400 total yards of offense. And this time the defense didn’t try to give it all right back. After back-to-back shaky performances on the road at Ole Miss and Missouri, the LSU defense did a solid job at home of limiting Auburn in the running game and forcing Payton Thorne to throw the ball — something he’s struggled with all season. Get past a tricky game against Army next week and it’s on to the bye week to prepare for the biggest game of the season at Alabama. — Scarborough

Up next: vs. Army (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)


Down 14-0 early in the second quarter, Mizzou attempted some trickeration: Punter Luke Bauer lobbed a fake-punt pass to a well-covered Marquis Johnson, who reeled in a 39-yard touchdown. That was the start of a 38-7 run that defined a 38-21 Tiger road win, their first in Lexington since 2013. The Mizzou offense stuttered throughout — quarterback Brady Cook threw for only 167 yards and an interception, and Luther Burden III managed just two catches for 15 yards. But the Tiger defense dominated quarterback Devin Leary, sacking him four times and picking him off twice, and Mizzou scored a big road win. — Bill Connelly

Up next: vs. South Carolina (3:30 p.m., ESPN)


After losing quarterback Zac Larrier late in the game, the Falcons lost fumbles on back-to-back possessions, putting Wyoming in position to win and take control of the Mountain West title race. However, the Cowboys missed an extra-point and a field goal on their ensuing possessions before a 58-yard touchdown run from Air Force’s John Lee Eldridge III provided Air Force the points it needed in a 34-27 win. At 6-0, Air Force has positioned itself as possibly the best Group of 5 team in the country. — Bonagura

Up next: at Navy (Noon ET, CBS)


Louisville’s unbeaten season imploded in a dire second half at Pittsburgh. The Cardinals led the host Panthers 21-14 at halftime and outgained them, 430-288 — Jack Plummer threw for 350 yards, 120 to Jamari Thrash — but a host of miscues led to a 38-21 loss. In eight second-half drives, they threw two red zone interceptions (one of which was returned 86 yards for a touchdown), missed a field goal and turned the ball over on downs four times. A 31-yard pass from Christian Veilleux to Konata Mumpfield clinched the upset. The Cards are still very much involved in the ACC title race, but they’ll need to lick their wounds and figure out what the heck just happened. — Connelly

Up next: vs. Duke, Oct. 28


The Green Wave continued their unbeaten streak with Michael Pratt at quarterback, their only loss coming against Ole Miss when Pratt was sidelined with a knee injury. But Friday’s win at Memphis was a little too close for comfort for coach Willie Fritz and his staff. Tulane needed to run off 21 unanswered points in the final 20 minutes to secure the 31-21 win. The good news is that a path back to a New Years Six bowl — where last season they beat USC in the Cotton Bowl for arguably the biggest win for the program in at least the last 70 years — appears to be wide open with none of the team’s final six opponents with a record above .500. — Scarborough

Up next: vs. North Texas (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)


James Madison scored on its first four possessions (two touchdowns), tallying touchdowns on five of its first eight drives on Saturday to jump out all over Georgia Southern. Quarterback Jordan McCloud was sharp in the first half for the Dukes, completing 15 of 22 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns (Elijah Sarratt and Kaelon Black), connecting with six different receivers in the process. Black had 83 total yards and three total touchdowns (two receiving) while Sarratt hauled in five passes for 105 yards, his second career 100-yard receiving game. McCloud concluded his day with 259 passing yards and three touchdown passes. James Madison has scored at least 31 points in five games this season. — Baumgartner

Up next: at Marshall, Thursday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)


Their offense gets worse every year, but their defense might be getting even better. Iowa beat Wisconsin 15-6 on Saturday in Madison and took the lead in the final Big Ten West race. This was as Iowa a win as humanly possible: The Hawkeyes gained only 237 yards — 82 of which came on a single Leshon Williams touchdown burst — and quarterback Deacon Hill completed 6 of 14 passes for all of 37 yards. But the Hawkeye defense forced two turnovers and held Wisconsin to 4.3 yards per play and a dismal 2-for-17 on third downs, and that was that. Iowa is now 3-1 in Big Ten play. The Hawkeyes are defiantly winning in the Hawkeye way. — Connelly

Up next: vs. Minnesota (3:30 p.m. ET)

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