Week 6 College Football Rankings

The Coaches' Journal/Twitter

Through the first month of the season, three of the preseason top four teams have already lost (Ohio State, Florida State, USC). And for the third straight year, Alabama and Clemson look like the best two teams in college football.

But the unpredictability of college football can strike at any moment, so what seems like a sure thing now can change during any given week. Our rankings look considerably different from last week, and while the top four teams remained the same, we have a new No. 1 this week.

First, here are the six teams who just missed the cut: Virginia Tech (4-1), Oklahoma State (4-1), Louisville (4-1), South Florida (5-0), Notre Dame (4-1), San Diego State (5-0).

The Big 10

14. USC (5)

The Trojans were upset at Washington State, and they were outplayed on both sides of the ball by the Cougars. Sam Darnold wasn’t sharp again, though he was without both offensive tackles. The schedule lightens a bit this week as they host Oregon State, but the margin for error is slim for USC moving forward. — Cole Frederick

13. Miami (13)

Is “The U” finally back? We haven’t seen much of the 2017 version of the Canes due to two games being cancelled because of Hurricane Irma. Friday night they put together a solid all around performance on the road in a 31-6 win over Duke. This Saturday will go a long way in telling us if “The U” is back as they travel to Tallahassee to take on rival Florida State. If the Canes grab a win this week against the Noles, they will be a serious contender for the ACC title—and maybe even a contender for the four-team playoff. — Lance Barton

12. Auburn (14) 

The Auburn Tigers put together a complete performance last week in a 49-10 win over Mississippi State. The offensive line looks like it is starting to jell, and it seems clear that Kerryon Johnson is going to be the feature back. Jarrett Stidham has improved since his game against Clemson, and he will need to continue this trend as the Tigers are about to face a tough midseason road schedule. He has completed 83 percent of his passes over the last three weeks, and he only has 12 incompletions in the last three games.

Kevin Steele has created a stingy Auburn defense that currently ranks as one of the best in the nation. It will be intriguing to see how they hold up this week against one of the SEC’s most athletic quarterbacks in Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson. —TJ Daugherty

11. Washington State (NR)

Everyone’s favorite coach pulled off a huge home upset as Mike Leach and the Cougars took down USC last Friday night. Leach and senior quarterback Luke Falk have one of the dynamic passing attacks in the country. Leach said it best about the Cougs’ upset over the Trojans: “It’s like Woodstock except everybody’s got their clothes on.”

The Cougars have a favorable October schedule and could possibly be undefeated for the season finale at Washington for what could be a chance to go the Pac-12 title game. I’m not saying we need to start talking playoffs for this team yet, but with a little confidence and some magic from wacky coach, this team could be elbowing their way into the playoff conversation. — Sam Johnson

10. Wisconsin (11)

The Badgers were tested last week after the started slowly and allowed Northwestern to jump out to an early lead—mostly due to turnovers. But the Wisconsin front seven turned it on in the second half, and they finished the game with eight sacks in a 33-24 win. The Badgers’ defense averages four sacks per game, and they have been dominant in the second halves of games this season. Paul Chryst’s team will have their first conference road test this week against Nebraska, and if they win that game, they will have a major advantage in the Big 10 West. — TJ Daugherty 

9. Ohio State (10)

It’s difficult to tell whether the Buckeyes have improved offensively since their loss to Oklahoma because they haven’t played a good team over the last three weeks. They were dominant in a 56-0 win over Rutgers, but let’s not act like the Scarlet Knights are a quality opponent. Ohio State should handle Maryland and Nebraska easily in the next two weeks, and they host Penn State at the end of the month. — Cole Frederick

8. TCU (9)

The Horned Frogs had the week off after their impressive 44-31 win over Oklahoma State, and they have another tough conference game this week as they host West Virginia. The conference schedule only gets tougher from here, so this is a game TCU can’t afford to lose if they want to contend for a playoff spot. — Cole Frederick

7. Michigan (8)

Michigan was off last week, and they host rival Michigan State on Saturday. Quarterback Wilton Speight is out, but backup John O’Korn was efficient against Purdue and had two weeks to prepare for the Spartans. — Cole Frederick

6. Washington (6)

Washington struggled in the first half against Oregon State, but they pulled away in the second half for a 42-7 win. The Huskies still haven’t been challenged, and they shouldn’t have any problem with Cal on Saturday. — Cole Frederick

5. Georgia (7)

The Bulldogs’ defensive dominance continued in a 41-0 rout over Tennessee last weekend. Kirby Smart’s defense looks similar to those early Nick Saban defenses at Alabama, and Georgia looks to be a contender not only for the SEC title, but also for a national title. They should be 7-0 heading into a massive showdown with Florida on Oct. 28. — Cole Frederick

Week 6 College Football Playoff Field

4. Penn State (4)

Penn State had no trouble dismissing Indiana in a 45-14 win, and they controlled the game from the start as Heisman frontrunner Saquon Barkley returned the opening kick for a touchdown. Saturday’s road game at Northwestern could be tricky, and they have two huge games back-to-back following their bye week against Michigan and Ohio State. — Cole Frederick

3. Oklahoma (3)

The Sooners had a bye week following their narrow 49-41 victory over Baylor, and they host Iowa State on Saturday in what should be an easy win. The conference schedule toughens next week as they take on Texas in the Red River Rivalry. — Cole Frederick

2. Alabama (1) — three first place votes

Nick Saban’s team has won its first two conference games by a combined score of 125-3, and it doesn’t look like any team will challenge them in the next month. The Tide and Clemson appear to be on a collision course for a third straight meeting in the national title game, though a lot can happen between now and December. — Cole Frederick 

1. Clemson (2) — four first place votes

Another week and another impressive win against a top 15 opponent for the Tigers as they beat Virginia Tech 31-17 in Blacksburg on Saturday night. The defense was dominant again as they forced three turnovers and held the Hokies to under 100 yards rushing. So far, Clemson has the best resume in college football with three wins against the top 15 (Auburn, Virginia Tech, Louisville). They will welcome a tough, well-coached Wake Forest team to Death Valley this Saturday. — Lance Barton