UK & Ireland Top 25 College Football Rankings: Week 7
By Simon Carroll
If the AP and the College Football Playoff committee can’t get it right, then perhaps we can!
Week 7 saw some high flying programs face their first real tests of the season, the results of which have had a significant impact on this weeks’ rankings. Without further ado, lets get to it:
Welcome back to the rankings Tulane! Many people’s pick for the strongest GO5 team in the nation, the Green Wave lost a competitive game against Ole Miss back in Week 2, and slipped out of the top 25. Five wins later, and they look ready to run it back in the American Conference.
JMU are the only undefeated team in this group, with seven wins already to their name. That is a good enough resume to keep them above Iowa, who look the pick of the Big Ten West despite their defense being better at putting up points than their offense is.
LSU have rebounded nicely from a couple of big losses, whilst Louisville’s big win over Notre Dame seems to have mitigated a disappointing loss to Pitt this week.
Air Force confirmed their credentials as the team to beat in the Mountain West with a huge win over a tough Wyoming team on Saturday. Should the Falcons go undefeated the rest of the way a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl game is not out of the question.
The SEC is well represented in this group. Kudos to Mizzou, who have proven a lot of doubters this season – this week’s win over Kentucky making the Tigers bowl eligible with five games remaining. Tennessee maintained momentum ahead of a trip to Tuscaloosa, whilst Ole Miss enjoyed a rest.
Perhaps the most disappointing defeat of the week belongs to USC. Notre Dame are no mugs, but this was a real litmus test for Lincoln Riley and his team – and the loss confirms many people’s fears about the Trojans and their ability to hold it together for a full season. The panel haven’t totally given up on them, but a playoff berth seems a tough ask in a stacked PAC-12.
Notre Dame’s aforementioned victory over USC sees the Irish bounce back admirably after a demoralising loss to Louisville seven days prior. They now sit just one spot behind Duke, who they beat earlier in the season – go figure.
Every team in this bracket has a loss on their resume, but some are better than others. Alabama have started looking like a Saban team of old, and are now heavy favourites to make the SEC Championship Game again. Win that, and they’ll be in the playoffs. But for now, they’ll be focused on a tough tilt against Tennessee this weekend.
Oregon State’s loss to Wazzu is looking more and more disappointing, but the Beavs are playing lights out right now – and Saturday’s win over UCLA was huge. If they run the table in the PAC-12, could they possibly have a case for a top four finish?
The undoubted game of the week was in Seattle, where Oregon fell to Washington in a thriller that ended with a missed field goal. The Ducks went toe to toe with the Huskies and there wasn’t much between them – and the panel have acknowledged that by keeping them in the top ten.
North Carolina are quietly going from strength to strength, and a 41-31 win against Miami sounds a lot closer than it was. The Tar Heels look like the cream of the ACC – and will likely be 9-0 before their next big test comes against Duke on November 11.
Saturday FINALLY sees two of the Big Ten heavyweights play each other. Penn State will never have a better opportunity of beating Ohio State than they do this weekend – the Buckeyes are still a formidable opponent, but not invincible – and the Nittany Lions have an elite defense and an offense that doesn’t make mistakes. One of these two teams will be gatecrashing the top five next week.
You could say that recency bias has gone to the heads of the UK & Ireland panel. A three point victory at home has propelled Washington to the top of the rankings, which on the surface seems a little too giddy. Considering all five teams at the top of the rankings are undefeated, I guess the best way to split them at this stage is to look at how good their big wins are.
In that regard, Michigan should be fifth. However, they also have DOMINATED every team they have faced. But! Oklahoma has beaten Texas. FSU has beaten LSU. Washington did the Ducks on Saturday. And Gerogia beat, er, Kentucky…
College Football has created such a convoluted system, that putting the best teams in some sort of pecking order is as much an art as it is a science. The good news? Right now, it doesnt matter. There’s plenty of time to find out the truth about all of these teams, and currently they appear to just represent each of the Power 5 conferences. Lets see if we learn a little more next week!
The UK&I College Football Media Panel have spoken on their current Top 25— Owain Jones (@Owain_Jones_) October 18, 2023
🔹@UW_Football & @GeorgiaFootball split by a tiebreaker! #GoDawgs #USvsUS
🔹@AF_Football continue to rise #FlyFightWin
🔹@BeaverFootball rebound #GoBeavs
Individual awards below ⬇️#Top25 #CFB #NCAAF pic.twitter.com/2FOBWhSYBU
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:
Offense: Michael Penix, QB, Washington
Defense: Xavier Watts, DB, Notre Dame
PREVIOUSLY THE FOUNDER OF NFL DRAFT UK, SIMON HAS BEEN COVERING COLLEGE FOOTBALL AND THE NFL DRAFT SINCE 2009. BASED IN MANCHESTER, SIMON IS ALSO CO-CREATOR & WEEKLY GUEST OF THE COLLAPSING POCKET PODCAST.