This week was actually kind of a mess.
I mean that, of course, in the best way possible. Mess means exciting. Mess means change.
While Michigan State’s win over rival Michigan was the main talking point during Week 9, there was major movement across the CFB Power Rankings this week.
Iowa once again looked rough, Arizona State fell somewhat shockingly and emphatically to Washington State, SMU and San Diego State each lost for the first time this season, and teams riding highs, Pittsburgh and Kentucky to name a few, could not avoid issues.
As we inch closer to the College Football Playoff, things are happening. Lots of things.
Here is the updated Top 50 as we cruise into Week 10.
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50. UCF (Last Week No. 38, Down 12)
Gus Malzahn has his team at 5-3, coming off consecutive victories after being blown out by Cincinnati. Outside of the matchup with SMU, the schedule is pretty favorable down the stretch.
49. Washington State (Last Week Unranked)
48. Miami (Last Week Unranked)
47. Kansas State (Last Week Unranked)
46. Air Force (Last Week No. 45, Down 1)
45. Northern Illinois (Last Week No. 46, Up 1)
The Huskies are on a nice run, coming off a bye, and look like the cream of the crop in the MAC. Midweek play kicks up in earnest this week, and the game against Kent State could be a doozy.
44. Clemson (Last Week No. 42, Down 2)
43. UCLA (Last Week No. 34, Down 9)
42. Utah State (Last Week No. 48, Up 6)
41. Texas (Last Week No. 33, Down 8)
40. Nevada (Last Week No. 43, Up 3)
Nevada has won four of five games, and the loss, a two-point defeat to Fresno State, looks pretty good right now. I think the Wolf Pack could push San Diego State in a couple of weeks.
39. Virginia (Last Week No. 30, Down 9)
38. Oregon State (Last Week No. 28, Down 10)
37. Arizona State (Last Week No. 25, Down 12)
36. Florida (Last Week No. 31, Down 5)
35. Mississippi State (Last Week No. 49, Up 14)
Mike Leach can muster up some magic now and then, and he did last week against Kentucky. The Bulldogs upended the Wildcats at home, and they have won three of their past four games.
Huge one at Arkansas next Saturday.
34. Appalachian State (Last Week No. 35, Up 1)
33. Iowa State (Last Week No. 23, Down 10)
32. Pittsburgh (Last Week No. 19, Down 13)
31. Purdue (Last Week No. 37, Up 6)
30. Fresno State (Last Week No. 38, Up 8)
The Bulldogs handed San Diego State its first loss on Saturday, and they enter Week 10 on a three-game winning streak. Fresno State could push into the Top 25 very, very soon.
29. Wisconsin (Last Week No. 41, Up 12)
28. Penn State (Last Week No. 22, Down 6)
27. Minnesota (Last Week No. 40, Up 13)
26. Louisiana (Last Week No. 36, Up 10)
25. Utah (Last Week No. 39, Up 14)
It’s been a rollercoaster for the Utes when it comes to CFB Power Rankings, and one constant seems to stand out. When this team plays at home, as it did against UCLA last week, it tends to do well.
Utah heads on the road for the next two weeks with games at Stanford and Arizona.
24. Arkansas (Last Week No. 26, Up 2)
Although the Hogs have three losses, the schedule has been brutal. I still think Sam Pittman’s team can stack up with pretty much anyone in the Top 25 (non-Georgia category) and be competitive.
Arkansas plays Mississippi State, at LSU, and at Alabama next. Brutal.
23. North Carolina State (Last Week No. 29, Up 6)
A week after a disappointing loss to Miami, NC State bounced back with a double-digit win over Louisville. After Florida State, which is no gimmie these days, the Wolfpack play unbeaten Wake Forest.
22. Coastal Carolina (Last Week No. 24, Up 2)
While the loss to App. State is still fresh, Coastal Carolina was able to get past an underrated Troy team in Week 9. It was an overwhelming performance, but it was a solid recalibration.
21. Iowa (Last Week No. 9, Down 12)
The free fall continues for the Hawkeyes following a dreadful showing at Wisconsin. Since beating Penn State, Iowa has struggled to do anything offensively. Kirk Ferentz needs to find some offense, and the defense needs to get healthy.
20. BYU (Last Week No. 32, Up 12)
Did you stay up and watch BYU-Virginia in its entirety? Be honest now.
Regardless, the Cougars dropped 66 points in a wild game, and they have two losses with only three games remaining. The only one with any real teeth is USC in the season finale, and I’m not even sure how many teeth that will have.
19. SMU (Last Week No. 16, Down 3)
Not a huge drop for a team that just suffered its first loss of the year, although the stumble against Houston, which appears to be pretty good, is still sub-optimal. A fascinating stretch of games upcoming.
18. Houston (Last Week No. 27, Up 9)
Since losing the opening game to Texas Tech, Dana Holgorsen has ripped off seven consecutive wins. The latest, a wild victory over SMU, is the biggest he’s had since arriving in Houston. A huge jump in the rankings was warranted.
17. UTSA (Last Week No. 17, Unchanged)
Jeff Traylor is about to become one of the most popular names in coaching searches, and he should be considering what he’s done at UTSA. The Roadrunners are 8-0, coming off a bye, and have a fascinating tussle with UTEP on tap.
16. Kentucky (Last Week No. 10, Down 6)
The Wildcats magical season hit a roadblock at Mississippi State. Kentucky’s loss derails a ton of momentum gained throughout 1the season, although the remaining schedule is extremely favorable.
15. Ole Miss (Last Week No. 8, Down 7)
It’s been a weird few games for QB Matt Corral, who was carted off last week only to return to the playing field shortly after. The offense just hasn’t been the same of late, although a game against Liberty next week could help things get back on track.
14. Texas A&M (Last Week No. 18, Up 4)
The Aggies have bounced back brilliantly after back-to-back losses, and they look like a different team since beating Alabama. Having enjoyed a bye in Week 9, games against Auburn and Ole Miss are upcoming.
13. Baylor (Last Week No. 20, Up 7)
Because of losses in the meat of the Top 25, Baylor catapults upward with a win over Texas. The Bears have just one and are now a real player in the Big 12.
The game to circle? November 13 against Oklahoma.
12. Auburn (Last Week No. 21, Up 9)
The Tigers have won four of five games, with the only loss coming against Georgia. Along the way, Bo Nix and Tank Bigsby have become a pretty formidable duo on offense. A brutal schedule stretch stays challenging as Auburn heads to Texas A&M in Week 10.
11. Oklahoma State (Last Week No. 14, Up 3)
How do you get right after a disappointing loss? Play Kansas.
The Pokes won 55-3, and they slide up with losses from other teams. A trip to Morgantown is next.
10. Notre Dame (Last Week No. 13, Up 3)
National Championship Odds: (+10000) at Caesars
The Irish have quietly marched back into the Top 10 with a win over UNC, which is no small achievement. And the remaining games (Navy, Virginia, Georgia Tech, and Stanford) are all very winnable. An 11-1 season is within reach.
9. Michigan (Last Week No. 5, Down 4)
National Championship Odds: (+8000) at Caesars
The loss against Michigan State certainly stings, and it’s the kind of loss that has plagued Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan tenure. There is still a ton to play for down the stretch, although this could linger. The Wolverines play Indiana at home next.
8. Oregon (Last Week No. 12, Up 4)
National Championship Odds: (+5000) at Caesars
The Ducks have quietly rallied amid injuries since losing to Stanford, and the win against Ohio State continues to get better each week. Oregon, despite injuries, has a chance to close strong despite a tricky schedule.
Next up? Washington. Don’t sleep on it.
7. Wake Forest (Last Week No. 11, Up 4)
National Championship Odds: (+15000) at Caesars
The Demon Deacons are 8-0, although that stretch is poised to be tested. Wake Forest plays at North Carolina and against North Carolina State the following week. With two wins there, things could get weird.
6. Oklahoma (Last Week No. 6, Unchanged)
National Championship Odds: (+1200) at Caesars
Caleb Williams threw for more than 400 yards and six touchdowns, which is all you need to know about how it went against Texas Tech. After looking sloppy against Kansas, Oklahoma rebounded. After a bye, the Sooners travel to Baylor for a massive showdown.
5. Cincinnati (Last Week No. 4, Down 1)
National Championship Odds: (+3000) at Caesars
I want the Bearcats to make the College Football Playoff. Seriously, I do. But for the second week in a row, Cincinnati was unimpressive against an inferior team. It’s not going to help.
4. Michigan State (Last Week No. 7, Up 3)
National Championship Odds: (+4000) at Caesars
I’ve been waiting for a meaningful win, and Sparty certainly delivered that. While it wasn’t always pretty against Michigan, running back Kenneth Walker III was an absolute monster.
Until they lose, this team is a problem.
3. Ohio State (Last Week No. 3, Unchanged)
National Championship Odds: (+550) at Caesars
It wasn’t easy against Penn State, but the Buckeyes beat a division rival despite a slower start. They stay stagnant in rankings largely to the “meh" around them, although I doubt they care much about that.
2. Alabama (Last Week No. 2, Unchanged)
National Championship Odds: (+260) at Caesars
Nick Saban’s team enjoyed a bye after dropping a 50-burger on Tennessee. Speaking of 50-burgers, the Crimson Tide plays LSU at home on Saturday. It might be NSFW.
1. Georgia (Last Week No. 1, Unchanged)
National Championship Odds: (+110) at Caesars
It was a little sloppy early, although Georgia pulled away against Florida as the team progressed. I’d like to see more on offense, but this is looking like an all-time defensive team.
Georgia has already locked up the SEC East, which is both remarkable and perhaps not all that shocking.