There was no change to our top four from last week, but there were still a few shakeups to this week’s rankings as three new teams moved into our top 14.
Here are the six teams who just missed the cut this week for our rankings: Washington State (4-0), Oklahoma State (3-1), Louisville (3-1), South Florida (4-0), Notre Dame (3-1), San Diego State (4-0).
Last week’s rankings are in parentheses.
The Big 10
14. Auburn (NR)
The Tigers finally showed signs of life on offense in a 51-14 win over Missouri, though some of that can be attributed to Mizzou’s porous defense. Auburn has a major SEC West showdown Saturday against Mississippi State that will go a long way in determining whether the Tigers can contend for the SEC title.
13. Miami (NR)
After not playing for three weeks thanks to Hurricane Irma, the Hurricanes looked sluggish in the first half against Toledo. But Mark Richt’s team woke up after halftime and controlled the game en route to a 52-30 win over Toledo. Miami has a tough road test against a surprising 4-0 Duke team this weekend before another huge showdown against Florida State.
12. Virginia Tech (12)
The Hokies have dominated three consecutive inferior opponents, but they have a real challenge coming into Blacksburg this weekend. We’ll find out if Virginia Tech is for real as they host the defending national champion Clemson Tigers on Saturday night.
11. Wisconsin (11)
Wisconsin had the week off last week before they welcome Northwestern on Saturday in a matchup that could determine the winner of the Big 10 West.
10. Ohio State (9)
The Buckeyes haven’t been challenged since losing to Oklahoma, and they’ll have another easy win on Saturday as they travel to take on Rutgers.
9. TCU (NR)
Outside of Clemson, no team in the country has a pair of better wins than the Horned Frogs. Gary Patterson’s team has defeated both Oklahoma State and Arkansas on the road by double digits, and it appears as if Patterson will have perhaps the best defense in the Big 12. As long as Kenny Hill isn’t reckless with the ball, TCU can play with any team in the country. — Cole Frederick
8. Michigan (8)
The Wolverines’ offense still doesn’t look great, but they took care of business against an improved Purdue team. Wilton Speight left the game with an injury, but John O’Korn was efficient while he was filling in and Michigan pulled away in the second half. Jim Harbaugh’s team has the week off before they host rival Michigan State next week.
7. Georgia (10)
The Bulldogs put together their most impressive performance of the Kirby Smart era on Saturday night. They dominated Mississippi State from the opening whistle in a 31-3 win. Georgia was very balanced on offense as they rushed for 203 yards and threw for 201. The defense held Nick Fitzgerald and Mississippi State’s offense to only three points after they dropped 37 on LSU the previous week. Georgia hits the road this week as they take on rival Tennessee on Rocky Top. — Lance Barton
6. Washington (7)
We weren’t sure what to make of the Huskies after three weeks since they hadn’t been challenged. But Saturday’s road rout over Colorado in a Pac-12 title game rematch signified the Huskies are still a playoff threat, and they should definitely be 8-0 heading into November.
5. USC (6)
The Trojans weren’t exactly impressive in a 30-20 road win at Cal, but they did enough to get the job done. Friday’s game against Washington State will be a much tougher road test, and the Cougars might be the last team to challenge the Trojans for the next few weeks.
Week 5 College Football Playoff Field
4. Penn State (4)
Penn State struggled against Iowa in a 21-19 win, but they were able to pull out a win in a hostile environment. Iowa is a tough place to win for highly ranked Big 10 teams, but Trace McSorely led the team on a game-winning drive that included a spectacular game-winning throw as time expired on fourth-and-goal. Saquon Barkley looks the like the Heisman frontrunner after amassing nearly 300 yards of total offense against the Hawkeyes. Penn State looks like a legit national title contender that showed championship-caliber toughness in a difficult road win. — Sam Johnson
3. Oklahoma (3)
The Sooners struggled against Baylor, and the defense is going to be an issue worth monitoring moving forward as they face some great Big 12 offenses. But Oklahoma still has Baker Mayfield, and he wasn’t going to let his team lose to winless Baylor. He is, after all, Baylor’s daddy (his words, not mine).
2. Clemson (2) — two first place votes
Clemson looking sluggish for nearly three quarters against Boston College wasn’t unsurprising. The Tigers had just won back-to-back games against high profile opponents, and an early afternoon home game for Boston College isn’t exactly the most enthralling matchup—especially with Virginia Tech on deck. But they pulled away for a 34-7 win, and they can now turn their attention to the Hokies for what should be a thrilling game Saturday night.
1. Alabama (1) — five first place votes
ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED? The top ranked Crimson Tide throttled previously unbeaten Vanderbilt in Nashville 59-0 last Saturday. Alabama’s offense had 677 total yards, and 496 of those came on the ground. After being criticized the previous week for giving up 396 yards and 23 points to Colorado State, the defense dominated Vanderbilt as they held the Commodores to only 78 total yards. Vandy never even crossed midfield. The Tide will welcome the Ole Miss Rebels to Tuscaloosa on Saturday night for a prime time matchup. — Lance Barton