UK & Ireland Top 25 College Football Rankings: Week 9
By Simon Carroll
If the AP and the College Football Playoff committee can’t get it right, then perhaps we can!
The CFP release their first rankings of the season later today. Week 9’s results have answered some questions but not others – and the UK & Ireland panel have made their own selections. Lets get into it!
The bottom end of the rankings has a distinct Big 12 flavour to it. Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Kansas all return to the rankings after impressive wins this weekend – none more so than the Jayhawks’ victory over previously undefeated Oklahoma. Mike Gundy and Chris Kliemann have both overseen mini-revivals in Stillwater and Manhattan respectively, and the panel has taken notice.
Tulane march on in their attempt to run it back in the American, whilst Tennessee maintain a presence in the rankings – their big wins seeingly more valued than two tough losses.
The Group of Five remains strong! Liberty and JMU, two undefeated programs, continued their march to immortality with wins over Western Kentucky and Old Dominion respectively. Head coaches Jamey Chadwell and Curt Cignetti both showing their credentials as potential award winners come the end of the season – and maybe something even more special for their teams too.
LSU enjoyed a bye in Week 9, but two Pac-12 programs stumbled in their pursuit of a playoff berth. Oregon State and Utah both suffered losses in tough tests – and whilst they remain amongst the elite in College Football, postseason aspirations are probably now capped at a New Years 6 bowl berth.
Who would have thought that Air Force would be ranked in the top fifteen as the season enters November? Well, me for one – I had the Falcons as Mountain West Champs in preseason. But having now given myself a pat on the back, it’s important to acknowledge just how impressive this service academy has been in 2023. Add Troy Calhoun’s name to those in line for personal accolades this season.
Bye weeks for Notre Dame and Missouri do nothing to diminish their credentials, whilst Ole Miss despatched Vanderbilt with relative ease. But Louisville’s incredible rise continues – a win over previously ranked Duke on the back of a big win over ND earlier in the season makes the Cardinals the only real challenger to FSU in the ACC – a surprise defeat to Pitt the oly blemish on what has been an excellent debut season back home for Jeff Brohm.
The undisputed winner in this group was Oregon, who went to Rice-Eccles Stadium and did what very few teams are able – turn over Utah. Not only that, but it was a bloodbath, with Bo Nix slaying one of the best defenses in College Football. He gets his flowers from the UK & Ireland panel later, but it seems the Ducks are one very slender loss against Washington from being a top four candidate right now.
Bye weeks for Alabama and Texas see them hold ground in the race for a playoff spot. Penn State did nothing to quell concerns of overconfidence in the Nittany Lions, squeaking by Indiana thanks to some questionable play calling from Hoosiers HC Tom Allen. But the panel have been very generous to the Sooners, who fell to Kansas one week after barely scraping past UCF. Oklahoma’s defense has problems, and unless they correct them quickly could see any shot for a Natty go up in flames – quick.
The top five picks itself right now. But what order they fall is now becoming more and more important, with less opportunities to stumble as the season progresses. The panel has decided that Ohio State – who struggled past Wisconsin in Week 9 – are the odd ones out in the race for a playoff place. The Buckeyes have every opportunity to right that slight when they head to Ann Arbor in a few weeks time, but considering Michigan’s dominance, a win in the Big House would be an incredible achievement.
Georgia went to the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party and stayed sober enough to dismantle Florida, whilst the Gators’ in-state neighbours battered Wake Forest to stay third. Are Washington slowing down? After the big win over Oregon, the Huskies have eeked past both Arizona State and Stanford. A shootout against USC looms large in Week 10.
Buckle up folks – the season is starting to come into the final stretch.
Forget the #CFBPlayoff committee... there is only one #CollegeFootball Top 25 ranking that matters!— Owain Jones (@Owain_Jones_) October 31, 2023
🔹A return for @KU_Football
🔹More rotation in the top 5
🔹@LouisvilleFB big risers
Player awards continue in the thread⬇️🧵#NCAA #NCAAF #Top25 #CFB pic.twitter.com/eiR8VcpVC5
Players Of The Week:
Offense - Bo Nix, QB, Oregon
Defense - Marshawn Kneeland, DL, Western Michigan
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.