Two teams fell out of the top 10 in the College Football Power Rankings heading into Week 10, meaning two teams joined the esteemed group — or should I say, returned. However, barring any catastrophic losses in the season’s final stretch, the true College Football Playoff contenders are nearly set.
Week 10 Top 25 College Football Power Rankings
1. Ohio State Buckeyes
Penn State gave Ohio State a run for its money, but J.T. Tuimoloau single-handedly put the Buckeyes in a position to win. He played a role in all four of the Nittany Lions’ turnovers, securing two interceptions (one pick-six), two sacks (one strip sack and fumble recovery), and a pass deflection that led to a third interception.
The offense resurrected due to Tuimoloau’s efforts, exploding for 28 points in the fourth quarter alone. Marvin Harrison was the chain mover (10 catches, 185 yards), with TreVeyon Henderson punching in two scores. Regardless, OSU needs to tighten the ship before hosting Michigan to the end regular season.
2. Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia has struggled with slow starts this season, but that wasn’t the case against Florida. The Bulldogs bolted their way to a 28-3 lead that turned into a 42-20 win. It wasn’t all clean, as they turned the ball over twice in the third quarter and gave up a 78-yard touchdown.
With Tennessee coming to town, Georgia can’t have any miscues defensively or turn the ball over to avoid the upset Alabama couldn’t just a few weeks ago.
3. Michigan Wolverines
Once again, Blake Corum powered Michigan to a victory, this time over Michigan State. It wasn’t the prettiest, but the Wolverines buttoned it up in the second half, holding the Spartans to 63 yards of offense and zero points.
Michigan should face little resistance into one of the most difficult two-game stretches to finish the year: Illinois and Ohio State.
4. Tennessee Volunteers
Tennessee‘s offense is a nuclear bomb this year — everyone knows it is coming, but you can’t do anything to stop it. The Hendon Hooker and Jalin Hyatt show keeps getting green-lit for new episodes, and they keep delivering.
With Kentucky’s blood still fresh after a 44-6 slaughter, the Vols must begin preparations for their Week 10 opponent: Georgia. We know David took down Goliath, but can he do it twice in the span of four games?
5. Clemson Tigers
All eyes will be on DJ Uiagalelei following his benching for five-star recruit Cade Klubnik last week. Clemson travels to South Bend to take on a rather hot Notre Dame squad that’s unseated their last two ranked opponents (BYU and Syracuse).
Still, the Fighting Irish’s passing offense is anemic outside of Michael Mayer, and Clemson’s front seven is going to have a field day with QB Drew Pyne.
6. Alabama Crimson Tide
Dropped passes and penalties have plagued Alabama‘s season, two things you don’t expect from a Nick Saben-led program. But they rebounded from an emotional loss to Tennessee with a thrashing of Mississippi State, then had a week off.
LSU is next on Alabama’s revenge tour, and they better bring their A-game if they hope to survive.
7. TCU Horned Frogs
In Sonny Dykes’ first season, TCU is 8-0 for the first time since 2015. During the summer, I wrote a piece on the top darkhorse contenders for every conference, and the Horned Frogs were my pick for the Big 12:
“Typically, profound change is viewed as a negative for a program. But in TCU’s case, it could be the catalyst toward Big 12 superiority.”
Safe to say, that prediction has come to fruition, although the rest don’t look as great nine weeks into the season.
8. Oregon Ducks (Last Week: 10)
Bo Nix’s ascent continued in Oregon‘s matchup with Cal. Yes, they were 17.5-point favorites, so the victory was expected. But Nix tossed three TDs, ran for three more, and generated nearly 500 total yards of offense.
Plus, his two INTs (one bounced off his WR’s chest, and the other was a Hail Mary) shouldn’t be counted against him. RB Noah Whittington also deserves a shout-out, as he led the team in rushing (66 yards) and receiving (67).
9. USC Trojans (Last Week: 12)
USC‘s defense struggled once again this week, conceding 37 points and 543 total yards to Arizona. And the Trojans likely would’ve lost with star WR Jordan Addison and OL Andrew Vorhees out were it not for an otherworldly performance from Caleb Williams.
Williams threw for 411 yards and five TDs to zero INTs on the night, torching Arizona’s secondary. Tahj Washington and Kyle Ford both went for 100+ yards, and Brenden Rice came down with a difficult toe-tap touchdown in the back of the end zone.
10. UCLA Bruins (Last Week: 13)
Stanford began their contest against UCLA with the ball and kicked a field goal — that was their only lead of the game. Dorian Thompson-Robinson wasn’t asked to sling the football all that much, reaching just 199 yards.
But that was by design, as RB Zach Charbonnet bowled his way to 198 yards and three scores on just 21 carries. It was good to see the Bruins bounce back with a 38-13 after a tough loss to Oregon last week.
11. North Carolina Tar Heels (Last Week: 16)
Drake. Maye. You can’t say enough about North Carolina‘s redshirt freshman. I mean, for a program that’s had Sam Howell and Mitch Trubisky, he’s already clearly the better prospect. He’s thrown 29 TDs to just three INTs while completing over 70% of his passes this season.
As long as Maye, Josh Downs, and Antoine Green are healthy, the Tar Heels will be in every game they play.
12. Illinois Fighting Illini (Last Week: 17)
Illinois is on a roll. Tommy DeVito had the same amount of incompletions as he had touchdowns (two), Chase Brown recorded his ninth straight (dating back to last season) 100+ rushing yard game, and the secondary snatched another three INTs, bringing their season total to 15.
The Fighting Illini have a very real possibility of traveling to the “Big House” 9-1 when they square off against Michigan.
13. Ole Miss Rebels (Last Week: 15)
Ole Miss may not have much of a passing attack, but boy, can they run the ball. Freshman sensation Quinshon Judkins and Zach Evans are electric on the ground, and QB Jaxson Dart even gets in on the fun.
The defense allowed Texas A&M freshman Conner Weigman to throw all over them, but they’re cut from the “bend but don’t break” cloth. A bye week couldn’t have come at a better time, as the next time the Rebels hit the field, Alabama will be waiting for them.
14. Utah Utes (Last Week: 18)
Way back on Thursday night, Utah stove off Washington State 21-17. The score may not be too thrilling at first sight, but it’s impressive when you realize starting QB Cameron Rising and RB Tavion Thomas were both out.
The Utes will need to be at full strength hosting an Arizona team that just gave USC headaches in a 45-37 dogfight.
15. Kansas State Wildcats (Last Week: 20)
Kansas State 48, Oklahoma State 0. That final score had a 1-in-14,000,605 chance of occurring in 2022, and it just so happened to be in our universe. The Cowboys were averaging 44.7 points per game, tied for the third most in the country.
But QB Will Howard, RB Duece Vaughn, and WRs Malik Knowles and Kade Warner (Kurt Warner’s son) paid no attention to that. Now, they’ve set themselves up nicely for a Big 12 championship run with QB1 Adrian Martinez nursing an injury.
16. LSU Tigers (Last Week: 19)
Unfortunately, LSU, this is likely the highest we will see you in our College Football Power Rankings. After upsetting then-top-10-ranked Ole Miss 45-20 in Week 8, the Tigers are rewarded with … Alabama. Even if Jayden Daniels and the offense can scrounge up some points, the defense won’t be able to slow down the vengeful Crimson Tide.
17. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Last Week: 8)
I don’t even know where to begin with Wake Forest‘s meltdown against Louisville. The Demon Deacons entered halftime up 14-13. How in the world did they leave with a 48-21 defeat?
Turnovers. Lots and lots of turnovers. Sam Hartman and Co. handed the Cardinals the ball six times in the third quarter alone, including two pick-sixes. There isn’t much else to glean from this one; games don’t get much uglier.
18. Penn State Nittany Lions (Last Week: 11)
Penn State’s only two losses have come at the hands of two top-five teams in Michigan and Ohio State. The Nittany Lions gave their all against the Buckeyes, scoring 31 points and holding their opponent to 16 entering the fourth quarter. And that’s even with their first two drives ending in INTs.
Yet, Ohio State came to life, dropping 28 and turning Sean Clifford over two more times (one INT, one fumble). Therein lies Penn State’s ultimate problem: they will only go as far as their QB can take them.
Oh, and we can’t forget to shout out WR Parker Washington; he couldn’t do much more after securing 11 passes for 179 yards and a score.
19. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Last Week: 9)
Oklahoma State’s presence in our College Football Power Rankings is on life support after their putrid performance vs. Kansas State. They were shut out for the first time since 2009, and the 48-0 loss was the Cowboys’ worse in HC Mike Gundy’s 18 years at the helm. In a heated Big 12, they’ll need to rebound quickly to stay in the conference title race.
20. Syracuse Orange (Last Week: 14)
Starting the day off with a pick-six is rough, but that was only the beginning of what turned into a long day for Syracuse.
QB Garrett Schrader left with a knee injury in the second quarter and didn’t return. Notre Dame held the offense to a season-low 286 total yards. And the defense allowed 41 points, their most this season.
21. Tulane Green Wave (Last Week: 22)
Did anyone have Tulane being 7-1 this season? If you did, hats off to you because predicting that following a 2-10 outing takes some gall. The Green Wave is the only team 4-0 in AAC contests, putting up the fifth-most (33.6) and allowing the least (17.4) points in the conference.
22. Oregon State Beavers (Last Week: 25)
Oregon State was on a bye after strolling past Colorado last week, and they’ll need the extra rest and preparation as they travel to Washington in Week 10. The Beavers’ front seven leaves some to be desired, but they have one of the best secondaries in the Pac-12.
QB Chance Nolan suffered a concussion vs. Utah on October 1 and has yet to clear protocol. His health obviously comes first, and Ben Gulbranson has provided similar play in his stead. However, handing the ball off to a red-hot freshman RB in Damien Martinez certainly makes the job easier.
23. North Carolina State Wolfpack (Last Week: Unranked)
Devin Leary’s out for the season, and backup Jack Chambers struggled mightily. So, North Carolina State HC Dave Doreon threw first-year QB MJ Morris into the fire, hoping to spark the offense. And that’s exactly what Morris did, as he threw three second-half TDs to turn an 18-point deficit into a 1-point win.
Is Morris’ success sustainable? That has yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure: he is NC State’s present and possibly future.
24. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (Last Week: Unranked)
Coastal Carolina roared to a 21-0 first-quarter lead and proceeded to not score until a field goal in the fourth. And yet, they held off Marshall en route to a 7-1 record as arguably the top Group of Five team in the nation. That’s the keyword to their success: team.
With App State, Southern Miss, Virginia, and James Madison up next, we are going to see just how real Chanticleers are in 2022.
25. UCF Knights (Last Week: Unranked)
UCF not only knocked off Cincinnati in Week 9, but they also took their spot in our College Football Power Rankings. Starter John Rhys Plumlee left the game with a scary head injury (presumed concussion), but backup Mikey Keene led the Knights on two fourth-quarter touchdown drives to put the Bearcats away.
Nevertheless, Plumlee is the engine that makes UCF run, so an extended absence could hinder their ability to climb the top 25 in our College Football Power Rankings.
Teams on the Outside Looking In
- Liberty Flames
- Maryland Terrapins
- Washington Huskies
- Florida State Seminoles
- UTSA Roadrunners