For some, Week 5 of the college football season served as a moment of validation. For others — and there were more than a few — the last weekend was a sizable wakeup call.
When it comes to our CFB power rankings, this was a violent week of movement. And that movement doesn’t just start at No. 3, as the Oregon Ducks fell to Stanford.
There is also a new No. 1 team, and Alabama fans likely won’t agree.
From No. 1 to No. 50, change is the only constant. With more games, we are learning more about each team with every result. As such, I am staying flexible, particularly at the bottom of the rankings, to reward teams that have been undervalued thus far.
As we head into Week 6 — yet another lineup of meaningful games — things are starting to pick up.
Here are our updated CFB power rankings as turbulence is likely to become the new normal. Texas A&M fans, you might want to look away.
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50. Air Force (Last Week Unranked)
Last week, it was Army holding down the No. 50 spot. This week, I’m giving it to a 4-1 team quietly playing some good ball. A road game at Boise State in a few weeks should be telling.
49. East Carolina (Last Week Unranked)
48. Virginia (Last Week Unranked)
47. Houston (Last Week Unranked)
46. Stanford (Last Week Unranked)
45. Kansas State (Last Week No. 36, Down 9)
The Wildcats played hard against Oklahoma, which is pretty normal given the way this series has gone. But back-to-back losses, albeit against good teams, will stunt momentum some.
44. Texas Tech (Last Week Unranked)
43. Fresno State (Last Week No. 34, Down 9)
42. North Carolina (Last Week Unranked)
41. Nevada (Last Week No. 47, Up 6)
40. Appalachian State (Last Week No. 46, Up 6)
While other Group of 5 teams are getting more attention, App State could make a splash this month when it draws Coastal Carolina at home.
39. Boston College (Last Week No. 39, Unchanged)
38. Texas A&M (Last Week No. 15, Down 23)
37. Pittsburgh (Last Week Unranked)
36. Iowa State (Last Week No. 41, Up 5)
35. LSU (Last Week No. 26, Down 9)
The Tigers are a decent team, but that loss to Auburn hurts quite a bit. Moreover, there are still some unbelievably tough teams still on the schedule: Kentucky, Florida, Ole Miss, Alabama and Arkansas. Yikes.
34. Western Michigan (Last Week Unranked)
33. Liberty (Last Week No. 37, Up 4)
32. Baylor (Last Week No. 24, Down 8)
31. UCLA (Last Week No. 17, Down 14)
30. Oregon State (Last Week No. 35, Up 5)
I love the way this team competes. While the Beavers had to grind out a win against Washington, it speaks to their growth that they pulled that game out. Time to embrace your new Pac-12 North leader.
29. Maryland (Last Week No. 21, Down 8)
28. North Carolina State (Last Week No. 32, Up 4)
27. UTSA (Last Week No. 33, Up 6)
26. Virginia Tech (Last Week No. 29, Up 3)
25. Clemson (Last Week No. 27, Up 2)
The offense still doesn’t look right, and the expectations for this team are completely broken from what they were. But beating Boston College amid injuries and disappointment isn’t a bad thing.
24. SMU (Last Week No. 31, Up 7)
This team, for whatever reason, is really flying under the radar. Sonny Dykes has done another wonderful job as head coach, and the ponies could certainly push to stay unbeaten a while longer.
23. San Diego State (Last Week No. 23, Unchanged)
Speaking of coaches doing a solid job, how about Brady Hoke? A stretch of games coming up against Air Force, Fresno State and Hawaii will certainly push this ranking one way or another.
22. Texas (Last Week No. 28, Up 6)
Bijan Robinson is making a case as the best football player in America. The superstar Texas RB guided the Longhorns over TCU last week, and he’ll likely continue to get a workout.
A massive tussle against rival Oklahoma is up next.
21. Arizona State (Last Week No. 30, Up 9)
What a win at UCLA. QB Jayden Daniels played a beautiful game, and ASU is now firmly entrenched in the Pac-12 mix.
The Sun Devils welcome Stanford next week, which feels like a matchup between the two hottest teams in the conference.
20. Auburn (Last Week No. 25, Up 5)
While every Bo Nix drop back feels like an adventure, Auburn deserves credit for grinding out a road win against LSU.
Now, the fun starts. The Tigers play Georgia next week, head to Arkansas and take on Ole Miss to cap off October.
19. Michigan State (Last Week No. 18, Down 1)
It wasn’t perfect against Western Kentucky, but Sparty is still unbeaten. Winning the next two games — on the road at Rutgers and then on the road at Indiana — is crucial given how backloaded the schedule is.
18. Wake Forest (Last Week No. 19, Up 1)
Louisville did its best to down the Demon Deacons, though Wake Forest found ways to keep its unblemished record intact. That’s most important.
While we have a long way to go, there is a real possibility that Wake Forest could flirt with a magical year.
17. Oklahoma State (Last Week No. 22, Up 4)
It’s been a strange season thus far, but Oklahoma State is still unbeaten. A win over Baylor in Week 5 is a nice step forward, and this defense could carry this team for a while.
After a bye, the Pokes head to Texas and then Iowa State. Massive stretch upcoming.
16. Florida (Last Week No. 8, Down 8)
Oof. That’s all we can say about a loss to Kentucky, not that the Wildcats are a bad team. It’s just not something Florida has done much of.
Under Dan Mullen, however, it’s happened twice in four years. After Vanderbilt, the Gators’ season will likely be defined with games against LSU and Georgia.
15. Coastal Carolina (Last Week No. 16, Up 1)
Amid the praise for Cincinnati and BYU, Coastal Carolina’s Group of 5 case keeps plugging along. Arkansas State and App State are up next.
Also, teams beginning to think they’ll need a head coach should take a long, hard look at Jamey Chadwell.
14. Ole Miss (Last Week No. 11, Down 3)
Well, that didn’t go well. Ole Miss got clobbered by Alabama, and the momentum gained in the young season was largely lost.
Still, Lane Kiffin has a talented team with a great offense. Massive game upcoming against Arkansas.
13. Notre Dame (Last Week No. 9, Down 4)
The inevitable happened. Notre Dame, after flirting with defeat, finally lost a game. The offense remains an issue, and that much was on display against Cincinnati.
Things don’t get much easier with a trip to Virginia Tech on tap.
12. BYU (Last Week No. 14, Up 2)
It wasn’t easy against Utah State, but BYU heads into Week 6 unbeaten. Running back Tyler Allgeier has a monster game, and that theme is likely to continue.
Some fascinating matchups ahead, including games against Baylor, Virginia and USC.
11. Arkansas (Last Week No. 7, Down 4)
A dream season hit a roadblock. In fairness, that roadblock was the Georgia Bulldogs.
While that loss stings, it shouldn’t take away from what this team has accomplished. No time to lick those wounds, though, because Matt Corral and Lane Kiffin are coming to town.
10. Kentucky (Last Week No. 20, Up 10)
National Championship Odds: (+20000) at DraftKings
Into the top 10 Kentucky goes, and credit really must be given to head coach Mark Stoops. He has made wins possible, like the one the Wildcats enjoyed over Florida.
However, a kind schedule gets tough in a hurry. Kentucky plays LSU, at Georgia and at Mississippi State in the next three.
9. Michigan (Last Week No. 13, Up 4)
National Championship Odds: (+7500) at DraftKings
Jim Harbaugh just won a game as an underdog for the first time at Michigan, which is hard to believe. That game against Wisconsin, however, is the kind of win that has escaped him in Ann Arbor.
Don’t sleep on the Week 6 game at Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are playing well.
8. Ohio State (Last Week No. 12, Up 4)
National Championship Odds: (+1000) at DraftKings
Ohio State moves up largely because many others lost, although the Buckeyes’ offense looked dangerous against Rutgers. If C.J. Stroud plays like that, the Buckeyes might not lose another regular-season game.
7. Oregon (Last Week No. 3, Down 4)
National Championship Odds: (+4500) at DraftKings
The Ducks lost an absolute heartbreaker to Stanford, which was a mix of injuries, poor play and questionable officiating. The win over Ohio State keeps Oregon from falling further, although it was certainly less than ideal.
6. Oklahoma (Last Week No. 10, Up 4)
National Championship Odds: (+1500) at DraftKings
It wasn’t dominance, but Oklahoma’s win at Kansas State was a step in the right direction. The Sooners’ unbeaten season will be put to the test this week as rival Texas, led by a potent offense, could really challenge the trajectory of the season.
5. Cincinnati (Last Week No. 5, Unchanged)
National Championship Odds: (+2500) at DraftKings
Following the Bearcats’ win over Notre Dame, their national championship odds were essentially cut in half. QB Desmond Ridder is now a popular Heisman dark horse, and the playoff possibilities are real with the rest of the schedule very much conquerable.
4. Penn State (Last Week No. 4, Unchanged)
National Championship Odds: (+2500) at DraftKings
It’s been a back-and-forth in the rankings between Penn State and Iowa, and we don’t have to wait long to put that discussion to rest. The Nittany Lions head to Iowa City this week, which promises to be one of the most electric atmospheres all season.
3. Iowa (Last Week No. 5, Up 2)
National Championship Odds: (+3500) at DraftKings
What a win. It’s not just the fact that Iowa beat undefeated Maryland; it’s the way the Hawkeyes completely dismantled their opponent.
Penn State and Iowa have played some doozies over the years, and this could be another. Let’s go.
2. Alabama (Last Week No. 1, Down 1)
National Championship Odds: (+150) at DraftKings
Now, I am not trying to be controversial here. Alabama is incredible, and Nick Saban‘s team proved it once again against Ole Miss. The drop in placement is more of a testament to Georgia’s dominance than anything else.
Alabama is just fine; A&M up next.
1. Georgia (Last Week No. 2, Up 1)
National Championship Odds: (+175) at DraftKings
Georgia has allowed one offensive touchdown this season, and it came in garbage time against South Carolina. Arkansas saw just how good this defense is, although it doesn’t get any easier now.
The Bulldogs head to Auburn this weekend.