These rankings are all about rating teams against their conference brethren, but we are also ranking the conferences against each other.
Check out the chart below, and click on a conference to get full details on why we ranked teams how we did.
1. SEC | 2. Big Ten | 3. Big 12 | 4. Pac-12 | 5. ACC
The SEC East and West are locked in now.
Time to bring on the rematch of Georgia vs. Alabama.
That it will be in the same stadium — Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta — makes it all the more fitting for a redo of the College Football Playoff national championship from last season.
The bad news for the Bulldogs: The Crimson Tide’s freshman phenom at quarterback who came off the bench and out of nowhere to beat them during that game has only gotten better. Tua Tagovailoa is now up to 27 touchdowns and one interception, and he’s as well on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy.
And that defense? Well, it’s about the same. It was outshined by the offense in recent weeks, but shutting out LSU on the road, at night in Death Valley, captured everyone’s attention yet again. The same team that beat Georgia 36-16 and rushed for 275 yards was held scoreless and was only able to muster 12 yards on 34 carries.
Maybe it’s not exactly apples to apples — the transitive property in college football is tricky — but it’s something to chew on as we wait four weeks for Alabama and Georgia to decide the conference championship.
Until then, we’ll see how the rest of the pecking order fills out.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (9-0)
After beating down LSU and with home games against Mississippi State and Auburn to close out the regular season, it’s hard to imagine anyone giving Alabama a run for its money until the postseason.
2. LSU Tigers (7-2)
The College Football Playoff rankings may have Georgia ahead of the Tigers, but we value the head-to-head. Ed Orgeron’s squad may be reeling after the beatdown at the hands of Alabama, but there’s still plenty of talent on that roster and plenty to play for with a trip to a New Year’s Six Bowl up for grabs.
3. Georgia Bulldogs (8-1)
The Bulldogs are headed back to Atlanta after beating Kentucky to clinch the SEC East title. They ran all over the Wildcats (to the tune of 331 yards) and are in a great position for the homestretch.
4. Kentucky Wildcats (7-2)
The Wildcats’ won’t win the SEC title after getting pounded by Georgia, but the season can still end as a great one. With games against Tennessee, Middle Tennessee and Louisville left, a 10-win season is still on the table.
5. Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-3)
No one is going to sit here and say the Bulldogs aren’t going to be double-digit underdogs at Alabama next week. But … winning back-to-back games against Texas A&M and Louisiana Tech on Saturday was a huge confidence-builder, especially the play of Nick Fitzgerald, who more than kept the defense honest by throwing for four touchdowns and no interceptions.
6. Auburn Tigers (6-3)
What a win for the Tigers. After trailing by 10 in the fourth quarter, they climbed back to pull off a 28-24 victory over Texas A&M. It’ll quiet the noise for a few moments, but only a few, because Georgia and Alabama are two of the Tigers’ final three opponents.
7. Texas A&M Aggies (5-4)
The Aggies had a road win in their hands and let it slip away with a fourth-quarter collapse. After things were looking up a couple weeks ago, Jimbo Fisher’s debut season in College Station is becoming a little bumpier.
8. Missouri Tigers (5-4)
For the second straight season, Drew Lock had success against the Gators, this time throwing for 250 yards and 3 TDs in a big road win for the Tigers. With three winnable games left against teams in the bottom of the SEC, they could finish the season emphatically if they play like they did Saturday.
9. Florida Gators (6-3)
The Gators got pounded at home by Lock and Missouri, giving Dan Mullen perhaps his ugliest loss this season. Mullen benched Feliepe Franks in the second half for Kyle Trask; it will be interesting what happens there moving forward.
10. South Carolina Gamecocks (5-3)
The Gamecocks rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to win a wild one, 48-44 over Ole Miss. Matching last year’s win total (nine) is still in the cards with four games to go.
11. Tennessee Volunteers (4-5)
The Vols won, but a 14-3 win over a Conference USA foe without a winning record (Charlotte) leaves much to be desired. Tennessee was held scoreless in the final three quarters and finished with fewer yards (192) than the 49ers (244). Their bowl hopes are still alive, if nothing else.
12. Ole Miss Rebels (5-4)
The Rebels compiled 616 offensive yards and 44 points but still lost. That’s a tough one. Their last three weeks (at Texas A&M, at Vanderbilt and the Egg Bowl vs. Mississippi State) won’t be easy.
13. Vanderbilt Commodores (4-5)
The Commodores were off this week but have a tough game against Mizzou in Week 11. A win would be huge for their bowl hopes (they need two wins to get there).
14. Arkansas Razorbacks (2-7)
The Razorbacks got a much-needed off week, but their reward is a game against LSU next. If the Hogs are gonna notch an SEC win, they’ll have to do it against the Tigers, Mississippi State or Mizzou.
2. Big Ten
While there are questions about most of the Big Ten and where each team should be ranked, it’s becoming more clear each week that Michigan has been the most consistent team down the stretch. Outside of the Wolverines, the conference can be debated on who falls in where.
1. Michigan Wolverines (8-1)
The Wolverines finished off No. 3 on its revenge tour by beating Penn State 42-7. The Michigan defense was hoping for a shutout, but it was a big win nonetheless.
2. Ohio State Buckeyes (8-1)
The Buckeyes are still No. 2 after beating Nebraska, but this team is still working through different struggles. The Michigan game is going to be a big one, but this team can’t look past Michigan State.
3. Northwestern Wildcats (5-4)
The Wildcats are in the driver’s seat to represent the West in the Big Ten championship. If Northwestern can win two of its last three games, it will make the title game.
4. Penn State Nittany Lions (6-3)
The Nittany Lions now have three conference losses and were beat pretty bad by Michigan. Wisconsin is the next game up and it’s not out of the question that this could turn into a loss as well.
5. Purdue Boilermakers (5-4)
A close win over Iowa in its last game has Purdue rising up the power rankings. That’s two wins over top-25 teams now for the Boilermakers.
6. Wisconsin Badgers (6-3)
The Badgers were able to get past Rutgers, but it wasn’t all that pretty. Wisconsin came away with the win, but might have lost quarterback Alex Hornibrook with another concussion.
7. Michigan State Spartans (6-3)
The defense held Maryland to 100 total yards in the most recent games and the run game came alive for the Spartans. There are still some issues with this team, though, and Ohio State is next on the schedule.
8. Iowa Hawkeyes (6-3)
Now 6-3 on the season, and 3-3 in the conference, Iowa’s chances at making the Big Ten championship just got that much smaller. There is still a shot, but the Hawkeyes are going to need some help from other teams.
9. Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-7)
It was another loss for Nebraska, this time at the hands of Ohio State, but this team is improving week-to-week.
10. Maryland Terrapins (5-4)
The Terps ran into a buzz saw in Iowa and were held to 115 total yards. The schedule doesn’t get any easier from here.
11. Indiana Hoosiers (4-5)
The Hoosiers had a bye this week and benefited from others’ misfortune
12. Illinois Fighting Illini (4-5)
The Illini picked up their second Big Ten victory, this one against Minnesota. It was a good win for Illinois, but there is still a ton of work to do for this team.
13. Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-5)
The Golden Gophers are now tied for last place in the division after losing to Illinois. That was a loss this team couldn’t afford to take.
14. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (1-8)
Rutgers is the only team in the conference without a conference win, and it’s not going to get much easier as the Scarlet Knights close out the season with Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State.
3. Big 12
After Saturday, the Big 12 no longer has just one Heisman Trophy contender.
With time running out, West Virginia QB Will Grier produced a pair of Heisman moments — a perfect 33-yard TD pass with 16 seconds remaining, then a two-point conversion run off a draw — to lift the Mountaineers to the dramatic comeback victory at Texas.
Until then, Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray seemed to be the only legitimate challenger to Alabama front runner Tua Tagovailoa.
After Saturday’s heroics, Grier should be considered the other.
1. Oklahoma Sooners (8-1)
The Sooners have now won 19 straight true road games, the longest active streak in college football. Their toughest one yet, though, could be their next one — at surging West Virginia on Black Friday (Nov. 23).
2. West Virginia Mountaineers (7-1)
Grier’s clutchness plus Dana Holgorsen’s boldness equaled West Virginia’s biggest victory since joining the Big 12. Now, the Mountaineers can set their eyes on winning the conference.
3. Iowa State Cyclones (5-3)
Brocktober may be over, but Brock Purdy remains undefeated — 4-0 — as Iowa State’s starting QB.
4. Texas Longhorns (6-3)
This is now no longer a lock to be the breakout season for Texas it seemed to be last month. Not after two straight losses, and a rugged two-game stretch (at Texas Tech, Iowa State) coming up.
5. Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-4)
The Red Raiders were going to have to score 50 to have a chance of keeping up with Oklahoma. Unfortunately for them, QB Alan Bowman never stepped on the field in the second half, severely diminishing their chances to keep pace. Tech, however, has a second shot at a marquee victory with Texas coming to Lubbock this weekend on the 10-year anniversary of the Michael Crabtree catch that knocked off the then No. 1 Longhorns.
6. Baylor Bears (5-4)
Charlie “Willis Reed” Brewer came off the sidelines and delivered down the stretch for the Bears, who are now one game away from bowl eligibility just a year after winning one game. What a terrific year this is turning into for Baylor in Matt Rhule’s second season.
7. Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-4)
You can’t fault Mike Gundy for going for it on fourth down to try to clinch the victory late in Waco. You can fault the play call — a naked bootleg — which ended in disaster, and set the Bears up for the game-winning touchdown.
8. TCU Horned Frogs (4-5)
Credit the Frogs for fighting back against K-State following the Kansas loss to avoid the first four-game losing streak of the Gary Patterson era.
9. Kansas State Wildcats (3-6)
If this somehow turns out to be Bill Snyder’s final season, it won’t end in a bowl, most likely. The Wildcats now have to win out to reach bowl eligibility, which would include knocking off Iowa State in Ames in the regular-season finale.
10. Kansas Jayhawks (3-6)
The David Beaty era has come to its end at Kansas. Can the Jayhawks send him out with a win in his final month?
Another week, another (not so?) surprising upset in the Conference of Parity as Utah fell in the desert to Arizona State. There was a case that Utah had been the best team in the conference for the previous month, but at this point it seems pointless to pretend like there is some kind of true pecking order. Washington State is the clear No. 1, but even the Cougars came within a few plays of losing at home to Cal late Saturday night as Pac-12 After Dark did its thing.
1. Washington State Cougars (8-1)
The Cougars are just a game in front of Washington in the North standings, which — for now, at least — represents a one-game buffer. They can lose against Colorado or Arizona and still win the division with a win against the Huskies in the Apple Cup, but that rivalry game is still, theoretically, a must-win. If Washington drops a game before then, the Cougars would then be a near lock for the Pac-12 title game.
2. Washington Huskies (7-3)
By jumping out to a 21-0 halftime lead against Stanford, the Huskies seemingly made a statement that they had figured things out. Then they were held out of the end zone in the second half as Stanford nearly clawed its way all the way back. If the Huskies win the division, as outlined above, it wouldn’t be a surprise.
3. Oregon Ducks (6-3)
We’ve arrived at the point of the rankings where pulling names out of a hat might be just as effective a method as trying to slot teams based on logic. At their best, the Ducks are a top-25 team. At their worst, they lost by nearly 30 to Arizona.
4. Utah Utes (6-3)
The Utes’ defense will keep them in the South race, but without quarterback Tyler Huntley, who suffered a season-ending broken collarbone, it’s hard to feel good about their chances the rest of the way.
5. Stanford Cardinal (5-4)
With Oregon State, Cal and UCLA to end the year, Stanford should win out and finish the regular season at 8-4. The Big Game will be the most interesting version in years.
6. USC Trojans (5-4)
It’s entirely possible the Trojans will win the South (Cal and UCLA remain) and then would be just an upset win away from the Rose Bowl. Can a coach get fired after reaching the Rose Bowl? Some USC fans would advocate for it.
7. Arizona State Sun Devils (5-4)
Back-to-back wins against USC and Utah have the Sun Devils trending in the right direction. Make sure to watch N’Keal Harry play before he goes off to star in the NFL.
8. Arizona Wildcats (5-5)
They’re tied for first in the South, but the Wildcats still aren’t a lock for a bowl game needing a win at Wazzu or at home against Arizona State to reach six wins.
9. California Golden Bears (5-4)
The results have been good the last three weeks, but Cal is still just 2-4 in Pac-12 play.
10. Colorado Buffaloes (5-4)
The Buffaloes have a real shot at doing the unthinkable: starting the season 5-0 and still missing out on bowl eligibility.
11. UCLA Bruins (2-7)
This is a team that scored 37 points at Cal – a Cal team that has suffocated both Washington and Washington State the last two weeks. Go figure.
12. Oregon State Beavers (2-7)
There is no question the Beavers are the worst team in the conference, but there have been enough encouraging signs along the way to feel like first-year coach Jonathan Smith has the team pointed in the right direction.
Clemson scored 77 points on Louisville, and that was not even the most unexpected thing that happened in Week 10. Pitt emerged as the favorite in the Coastal Division after beating No. 25 Virginia, while Virginia Tech and Miami lost. Pitt played one of the most difficult nonconference schedules in the country, so perhaps that helped it prepare for conference play. Or perhaps the Coastal Division is even crazier than usual.
What could be even more wild? A Clemson-Pitt ACC championship in Charlotte, which would be a game dripping with intriguing storylines — none more than what happened the last time these two teams played in 2016, when Pitt handed Clemson its last home loss.
1. Clemson Tigers (9-0)
Over its last three ACC games, Clemson has outscored its opponents 177-33, making everything look easy. But Boston College will present a far greater challenge Saturday with the Atlantic Division on the line.
2. Boston College Eagles (7-2)
The Eagles overcame a halftime deficit to beat Virginia Tech on the road behind backup Travis Levy. The concern now is whether AJ Dillon, who tweaked his ankle injury, will be completely healthy for Clemson.
3. Syracuse Orange (7-2)
Syracuse won its first ACC road game in more than two years thanks to its strong ground game against Wake Forest. The Orange will be heavily favored this week against Louisville before facing a huge showdown against undefeated Notre Dame.
4. NC State Wolfpack (6-2)
NC State broke a two-game losing streak with a 47-28 win over Florida State to get the Wolfpack bowl eligible for a fifth straight season. They had a 100-yard rusher (Reggie Gallaspy II) and 100-yard receiver (Jakobi Meyers).
5. Pittsburgh Panthers (5-4)
Guess who is all alone atop the Coastal Division standings with three weeks left? That’s right, it is Pitt after a physically dominant 23-13 win over Virginia. Pitt is the only team in the division that controls its destiny with Virginia Tech coming to town in Week 11.
6. Virginia Cavaliers (6-3)
The Cavaliers had a disappointing performance in a loss to Pitt. But it was more than an inability to slow down the Panthers’ ground game. Virginia played undisciplined, with 10 penalties costing them at key moments.
7. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (5-4)
It was not the prettiest win, but the Jackets did enough to get past North Carolina for their fourth win in five games. They are still alive for the Coastal Division title.
8. Virginia Tech Hokies (4-4)
Virginia Tech has lost three of its last four, and its offense has been unable to get into much of a rhythm with Josh Jackson out. An injury-depleted defense has struggled, too.
9. Duke Blue Devils (6-3)
Injuries have hit Duke hard this season, yet the Blue Devils have found a way to become bowl eligible again, a tribute to coach David Cutcliffe and staff. Duke won in Miami for the first time since 1976.
10. Miami Hurricanes (5-4)
Miami opened the season in the preseason Top 10, but the season has been a major letdown. The Hurricanes have now lost three straight, and keep flip-flopping quarterbacks without a real plan.
11. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-5)
Making it back to a bowl game is going to be a tough proposition for the Demon Deacons, who have struggled on defense and with depth this season. All three of their remaining opponents have winning records.
12. Florida State Seminoles (4-5)
After another blowout loss, this time to NC State, it is getting harder to see how this team avoids its first losing season since 1976.
13. North Carolina Tar Heels (1-7)
Yet another heartbreaking loss for North Carolina, which was tied with Georgia Tech with three minutes left before giving up the game-winning score.
14. Louisville Cardinals (2-7)
When you allow more than 70 points for the first time since the 1930s, there is no more appropriate place than the basement.
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