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College Football Rankings Week 9: Spartans, Kenneth Walker make a statement

As we head out of Week 9 of the 2021 college football season, let's go over the newest Top 25 Rankings! Who stood out this week?

A whopping 10 Top 25 teams lost in Week 9. As the week grows smaller in the rearview mirror, let’s revisit our Top 25 College Football Rankings. How do the rankings change after the tumultuous events of Week 9?

College Football Rankings | Week 9 Top 25

We have new movement in the top five of our Week 9 Top 25 college football rankings! Which teams now make up the college football pantheon?

1) Georgia Bulldogs (–)

Another week, another SEC opponent completely obliterated by Georgia’s defense. We don’t need to go overboard with this one. Until anyone can withstand the Bulldogs’ defense, Georgia is the top team in our Week 9 Top 25 College Football Rankings.

2) Oklahoma Sooners (–)

At least for now, it doesn’t matter how inconsistent the Sooners’ defense might be. Caleb Williams is a special talent at quarterback, and he might already be one of the most valuable, dynamic signal-callers in the nation. With him, Oklahoma always has a chance.

3) Alabama Crimson Tide (–)

On a bye, the Alabama Crimson Tide didn’t experience any movement in our Week 9 Top 25 College Football Rankings. They remain in third place and comfortably in the CFB playoff conversation.

4) Ohio State Buckeyes (+1)

Ohio State had been sitting at fifth overall for a while. However, after a strong win against a once-ranked Penn State team, the Buckeyes move up into the top four of our Week 9 Top 25 College Football Rankings.

C.J. Stroud has quickly become one of the best young QBs in the nation, and the offense remains formidable even against strong defenses.

5) Michigan State Spartans (+5)

Perhaps the biggest winners from Week 9, the Michigan State Spartans move up into the top five of our Top 25 College Football Rankings. This comes after Michigan State bested Michigan 37-33 in a thriller of a game. Kenneth Walker III is a Super Saiyan, and if the defense can at least make the plays it made on Saturday, MSU can’t be ruled out.

Week 8 College Football Rankings | 6-15

Which teams make up the 6-15 range in our Week 9 Top 25 College Football Rankings?

6) Cincinnati Bearcats (-2)

This move may be surprising because Cincinnati had been at No. 4 for a while. The Bearcats no doubt deserve to at least be in the playoff conversation. But strong wins from Ohio State and Michigan State ultimately bumped Cincinnati down. I have to think if Cincinnati played either team right now, it wouldn’t go well for them.

7) Oregon Ducks (+1)

We’ve taken our fair share of shots at Oregon — and the Pac-12 in general — in recent weeks. That lack of confidence isn’t without merit, but Oregon put together a strong performance in Week 9 against Colorado. Anthony Brown was sharp in a 52-29 win, and dynamic RB Travis Dye found the end zone 3 times.

8) Michigan Wolverines (-2)

The Wolverines enjoyed standout performances from defensive stars like David Ojabo and Aidan Hutchinson, but they still fell short against rival Michigan State. The loss doesn’t drop Michigan far in our Week 9 Top 25 College Football Rankings, but it is their first blemish on a once spotless record.

9) Wake Forest Demon Deacons (+6)

With Pittsburgh having encumbered their first ACC loss, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons are officially at the top of the ACC. On the back of an explosive offense led by Sam Hartman, Wake Forest remains undefeated and is a tough draw for any defense in the final weeks.

10) Texas A&M Aggies (+3)

Although they were on a bye, the Texas A&M Aggies rose three spots in our Week 9 Top 25 College Football Rankings, entering the top 10. This spot comes more from a lack of worthy teams, however. We’re begging someone — anyone — to earn this top-10 spot. Right now, Texas A&M’s win over Alabama gives them the edge.

11) Notre Dame Fighting Irish (+5)

I still don’t believe Notre Dame is a top-tier team, but they’re at least a good program. They may not belong in the top 10, but the 11-15 range is a good spot for them. After their win against Sam Howell and North Carolina, they’re near the top of that range.

12) Auburn Tigers (+6)

An injury to Matt Corral helped slow the Rebels’ roll, but we shouldn’t take credit away from Auburn. The Tigers did a nice job taking care of business against Ole Miss in Week 9. Bo Nix was solid, producing both through the air and on the ground. Tank Bigsby was electric as usual, and the defense made plays in all phases. Auburn is earning respect late in 2021.

13) Ole Miss Rebels (-6)

A regular inhabitant of our top 10, the Rebels finally fall out after their unexpected loss to the Auburn Tigers. It’s important to note that Matt Corral wasn’t 100% for a good portion of this game. But after he returned from an ankle injury, he just didn’t look the same — and a few bad decisions cost him.

14) Baylor Bears (+5)

The loss to Oklahoma State was disappointing. But outside of that game, Baylor has been rolling and making short work of potentially problematic opponents. Three weeks ago, they beat a troublesome BYU team by 14. And this past Saturday, they bested a more talented Texas squad. With strong OL and defensive play, the Bears can keep rising.

15) Pittsburgh Panthers (-3)

Just a week ago, Pitt was being hailed as a potential ACC champion and New Year’s Bowl contender. Now, their plans have hit a snag — courtesy of Tyler Van Dyke and the Miami Hurricanes. Pitt still leads the Coastal division, as this was their first conference loss. But their margin for error is much slimmer now.

Week 9 College Football Rankings | 16-25

Here’s a look at the final segment in our Week 9 Top 25 College Football Rankings, where four new teams find their place.

16) Oklahoma State Cowboys (+5)

Much of this rise comes courtesy of several other teams falling. Yet, Oklahoma State did beat Kansas 55-3 in Week 9 — the same Kansas that was leading at the half against Oklahoma a week prior. Thus, the transitive property says that Oklahoma State is greater than Oklahoma. We’ll go against that hypothesis here, but the Cowboys will have a chance to prove us wrong on November 27.

17) Houston Cougars (N/A)

Clayton Tune has the SMU Mustangs singing a somber tune after Houston’s upset of Sonny Dykes’ squad in Week 9. Tune outdueled Tanner Mordecai with 419 yards and 4 touchdowns, while returner extraordinaire Marcus Jones logged the game-winning score. Houston is quietly 7-1 and one of the best Group of Five teams in the nation.

18) Kentucky Wildcats (-7)

The Will Levis experience has been a roller coaster this year. At his best, he’s looked very good. At his worst, however, he’s been volatile and detrimental to his offense. Week 9 was the latter. Levis tossed 3 picks, while Kentucky fell 31-17 to Mississippi State. The Wildcats have talent, but they’re slipping on their own accord.

19) UTSA Roadrunners (+4)

Four teams fell out of the Top 25 this week, opening the door for UTSA to move up in our Week 9 Top 25 College Football Rankings. The Roadrunners had a bye this week, but they’ll be tested in Week 10 against the 6-2 UTEP Miners.

20) Minnesota Golden Gophers (N/A)

Don’t look now, but the Minnesota Golden Gophers are the best team in the Big Ten West. Granted, that’s not saying much. Nevertheless, everyone was writing off the Gophers when they were 2-2 and coming off a loss to Bowling Green. Now, they’re 6-2, with just one conference loss against Ohio State. If they can beat Iowa and Wisconsin, Minnesota could ultimately appear in the Big Ten Championship game.

21) Iowa Hawkeyes (-12)

Let’s be real. We all knew Iowa’s offense was bad. We just thought the defense would be able to cancel things out long enough for Iowa to take the West division. But time seems to have run out for the Hawkeyes. Their defense has regressed, and the offense can’t pick up the slack. They’re 0-2 in their last two games. Another loss sends them into unranked territory.

22) SMU Mustangs (-8)

The Mustangs were finally toppled, though it happened earlier than expected. Many circled Cincinnati as the undefeated matchup to watch, but SMU was instead beaten by one-loss Houston. The Mustangs still belong in our Week 9 Top 25 College Football Rankings, but they don’t have as much security anymore.

23) Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (+1)

Nothing but smooth sailing for the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns in our Week 9 Top 25 College Football Rankings. Billy Napier’s squad had no trouble against Texas State, beating them 45-0. With Georgia State, Troy, Liberty, and UL-Monroe remaining, the Ragin’ Cajuns must stay on their game if they want to reach 11-1.

24) Fresno State Bulldogs (N/A)

Rejoice, members of the Jake Haener QB1 fan club. The Fresno State Bulldogs are back in our Week 9 Top 25 college football rankings! Fresno State steals this spot from San Diego State, who only enjoyed being on this list for a week before losing to Fresno State 30-20. Perhaps Fresno State can stay here for the long haul — but losing Jalen Cropper is a big blow.

25) BYU Cougars (N/A)

After beating Virginia 66-49 in one of Week 9’s most exciting contests, the BYU Cougars are back again as well. Jaren Hall threw 3 scores, and Tyler Allgeier had a monster outing, churning out 266 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns on 29 carries. BYU has a better résumé than every Pac-12 team except Oregon, and they’ve beaten four Pac-12 teams head to head.

Moving Out

  • Arizona State Sun Devils
  • Iowa State Cyclones
  • San Diego State Aztecs
  • Penn State Nittany Lions

Closing In

  • Mississippi State Bulldogs
  • Appalachian State Mountaineers
  • NC State Wolfpack
  • Nevada Wolfpack
  • Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

Ian Cummings is a Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and his voice and face on Pro Football Network Daily. Follow him on Twitter @ian_cummings_9.

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