A new team moves into the No. 4 spot in this week’s college football power rankings. How much do the Sooners rise after their win in Waco?
1. LSU Tigers (10-0) | Last week: 1
The defense of the Tigers is a bit of a concern after they gave up 37 points to Ole Miss, but Joe Burrow and the offense continue to light it up unlike any LSU team we are used to seeing. Defensively, Ed Orgeron’s squad will look to get things sorted out this Saturday versus Arkansas. The receiving corps led by Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson (339 combined yards against the Rebels) deserves a lot of credit for LSU emerging with an elite passing attack in 2019.
2. Clemson Tigers (11-0) | Last week: 2
All the talk about Clemson not being the same this year looks way off now. The Tigers became the third team since 1936 to win four consecutive games by at least 45 points, and sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence had one of the best games of his career with 272 yards and four passing scores against Wake Forest. Clemson has off this week before facing South Carolina.
3. Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0) | Last week: 3
Ohio State doesn’t have four consecutive wins of 45+ points, but they have been as dominant as any team in college football this season. The Buckeyes have an average margin of victory of 43.5 over the past four contests, and their Big Ten play resumes with their toughest game of the year to this point when they host Penn State this Saturday.
4. Georgia Bulldogs (9-1) | Last week: 5 (+1)
Auburn made a late run to make it a 21-14 game, but Georgia was pretty much in complete control in the huge conference matchup over the weekend to clinch their third consecutive SEC East title. Kirby Smart will make sure his guys are ready to go these next two weeks, but an opportunity in the SEC Championship means the Bulldogs are almost certainly just a win away from making the Playoff.
5. Alabama Crimson Tide (9-1) | Last week: 4 (-1)
It’s tough to see anyone get hurt the way Tua Tagovailoa did in Alabama’s win over Mississippi State, but it’s especially unfortunate for a good kid like Tua, who likely had his NFL draft stock take a hit following the serious hip injury. It will be interesting to see what the Committee does with the Crimson Tide with Tagovailoa done for the year, but Alabama is still an excellent team with plenty of playmakers for Mac Jones to distribute the ball to. Running back Najee Harris is likely to get a heavier workload moving forward.
6. Oregon Ducks (9-1) | Last week: 7 (+1)
Because it came on a neutral field against a great SEC opponent (Auburn) to open the season, Oregon arguably has the “best” loss of any of the contending one-loss teams. The Ducks have dominated USC and Arizona in the past two games, and they are on a path to a potential Pac-12 title. Might they already leapfrog Alabama tonight? If they do, it would bode well for their Playoff chances.
7. Oklahoma Sooners (9-1) | Last week: 9 (+2)
The Sooners move up a couple of spots after their gritty comeback win over Baylor in Waco on Saturday night. Without top weapon CeeDee Lamb on the outside, Jalen Hurts and the offense stayed composed despite falling behind—but the OU defense also deserves a ton of credit for making plays in the second half of the comeback victory. It’s probably important for the defense to pick up some style points over the next couple of weeks.
8. Penn State Nittany Lions (9-1) | Last week: 10 (+2)
While they fell after their loss to Minnesota, the 9-1 Nittany Lions bounced back with a win against Indiana, and they would likely vault up to the top four if they are able to upset the Buckeyes in Columbus this weekend. This will be an incredibly difficult task for Penn State as they face former commit Justin Fields and the explosive Ohio State team.
9. Minnesota Golden Gophers (9-1) | Last week: 6 (-3)
Minnesota could arguably still be ranked above Penn State because of their head-to-head win, but it might have been a different story if that game was in Happy Valley. But Iowa is one of the toughest places to play at night, and the first loss for the Gophers does not knock them out of the Playoff discussion. Look for Minnesota to bounce back this week against Northwestern.
10. Utah Utes (9-1) | Last week: NR
UCLA came into last Saturday’s game against Utah with a lot to play for (a Pac-12 title and Rose Bowl berth somehow still on the line), but the Utes completely overmatched the Bruins to improve to 9-1. Utah has the nation’s No. 4 scoring defense, and the team is really good in all three phases; they are already well-liked by the Committee and are very much in the Playoff mix.