College Football: Week 8 top 25 rankings

2T1K129 Georgia quarterback Carson Beck (15) is congratulated by offensive lineman Tate Ratledge (69) and running back Kendall Milton (2) after scoring a touchdown against Vanderbilt in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

• Georgia remains at the top, but at what cost?: The Bulldogs are still No. 1 but just lost its star player, tight end Brock Bowers, for four-to-six weeks due to an ankle injury.

• Washington leaps into the top-five: After taking down then-No. 8 Oregon, the Huskies are now ranked fifth.

• Top-10 showdown headlines Week 8: Both Ohio State and Penn State are in the top 10 of this ranking and face off this weekend.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

We’re now at the midway point of the college football season and the race to the College Football Playoff is still wide open. 

Ahead of a jam-packed Week 8, here are our top 25 teams in the country. Please note that these are not the same as PFF’s power rankings.

1. Georgia Bulldogs (Record: 7-0, AP Ranking: 1st)

Week 8 Matchup: Bye

Georgia took down Vanderbilt 37-20 on Saturday for its 24th straight victory. However, it might have come at a price. 

Superstar tight end Brock Bowers sprained his left ankle midway through the second quarter and did not return. It was recently reported by ESPN’s Pete Thamel that he’s having tightrope surgery on his injured ankle and is expected to miss four-to-six weeks.

2. Michigan Wolverines (Record: 7-0, AP Ranking: 2nd)

Week 8 Matchup: at Michigan State Spartans

Michigan continued steamrolling its competition with a 52-7 victory over Indiana this past weekend. The Wolverines have looked like the most dominant team in the country so far. Their 97.2 overall grade is nearly two points higher than the next-closest school.

It’s worth noting though that Michigan has played a relatively weaker schedule thus far. None of the U-M’s seven victories have come against a team that’s currently in the top 40 of PFF’s power rankings. Michigan’s next two opponents, Michigan State and Purdue, are currently outside the top 65.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes (Record: 6-0, AP Ranking: 3rd)

Week 8 Matchup: vs. No. 9 Penn State Nittany Lions

Ohio State destroyed Purdue 41-7 this past weekend thanks to a career-high 85.0 grade from quarterback Kyle McCord. 

He’ll face his toughest test this weekend, though. Penn State’s defense leads the nation in expected points allowed per play and is tied for third in pass-rushing grade. That could be an issue for the redshirt sophomore, as he ranks just 123rd among FBS quarterbacks with a 34.0 grade under pressure.

4. Florida State Seminoles (Record: 6-0, AP Ranking: 4th)

Week 8 Matchup: vs. No. 21 Duke Blue Devils

For the first time since its season-opening victory over then-No. 5 LSU, FSU looked dominant against a Power-Five team. Florida State demolished Syracuse 41-3 on Saturday for the program’s first 6-0 start since 2015. 

The Seminoles have their second-ranked opponent of the season on deck in No. 21 Duke on Saturday. However, the Blue Devils might be without star quarterback Riley Leonard, who’s dealing with a high ankle sprain.

5. Washington Huskies (Record: 6-0, AP Ranking: 5th)

Week 8 Matchup: vs. Arizona State Sun Devils

Washington has no such issues with facing weak competition after emerging victorious over then-No. 8 Oregon this past Saturday. Michael Penix Jr. is now the clear favorite to take home the program’s first Heisman Trophy after throwing for 302 yards and four touchdowns against the Ducks. His 93.3 grade this season leads all quarterbacks in the country.

6. Oklahoma Sooners (Record: 6-0, AP Ranking: 6th)

Week 8 Matchup: vs. UCF Golden Knights

After beating Texas in the Red River Rivalry a couple of weeks ago, Oklahoma enjoyed its bye week this past weekend before resuming conference play. The Sooners don’t play a currently-ranked opponent the rest of the season, giving them a golden opportunity to go from a 6-7 team last season to one that’s in the College Football Playoff just a year later.

7. Texas Longhorns (Record: 5-1, AP Ranking: 8th)

Week 8 Matchup: at Houston Cougars

Texas is similar to Oklahoma in that it had its bye week this past weekend and doesn’t play a ranked opponent for the rest of the regular season. With a loss though, the Longhorns can’t afford to drop another game. If they win their remaining six games, Texas could face Oklahoma again in the Big 12 championship game with potentially a playoff spot on the line.

8. Alabama Crimson Tide (Record: 6-1, AP Ranking: 11th)

Week 8 Matchup: vs. No. 19 Tennessee Volunteers

Alabama endured a scare from a struggling Arkansas team over the weekend, squeaking by with a 24-21 victory. Jalen Milroe continued to show why he’s one of the bigger boom-or-bust quarterbacks in college football. The redshirt sophomore’s 21.4-yard average depth of target was the highest single-game mark a quarterback has had all season. That led to a 48% completion rate but still a 73.3 passing grade in the victory. 

He’ll have his hands full with a Tennessee defense that’s sixth in the country in pass-rushing grade (86.9) and third in coverage grade (93.5).

9. Penn State Nittany Lions (Record: 6-0, AP Ranking: 7th)

Week 8 Matchup: at No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes

Penn State’s defense posted its second shutout victory of the season with a 63-0 blanking of UMass. 

While the defense has looked elite, it hasn’t exactly had to face a murderer's row of offenses so far. West Virginia is the best offense the Nittany Lions have played thus far, and the Mountaineers rank just 62nd in the nation in EPA per play. The other five are composed of four schools that rank outside the top 100 in that same metric and Delaware, an FCS school. Penn State’s defense will prove how legit it is this Saturday against an Ohio State offense that’s 13th in expected points added per play this season.

10. North Carolina Tar Heels (Record: 6-0, AP Ranking: 10th)

Week 8 Matchup: vs. Virginia Cavaliers

Drake Maye had just a 58.2 grade on Saturday, the lowest of his career. For a team that’s so reliant on its star quarterback, that’d normally spell trouble for North Carolina, especially against a top-25 opponent in Miami (FL). However, the Tar Heels still downed the Hurricanes 41-31 thanks to 197 rushing yards from Omarion Hampton and three touchdown catches from Tez Walker. 

Maye will have an opportunity to get right against Virginia, the 117th highest-graded defense in the country.

11. Oregon Ducks (Record: 5-1, AP Ranking: 9th)

12. Ole Miss Rebels (Record: 5-1, AP Ranking: 13th)

13. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Record: 6-2, AP Ranking: 15th)

14. LSU Tigers (Record: 5-2, AP Ranking: 19th)

15. USC Trojans (Record: 6-1, AP Ranking: 18th)

16. Oregon State Beavers (Record: 6-1, AP Ranking: 12th)

17. Iowa Hawkeyes (Record: 6-1, AP Ranking: 24th)

18. Missouri Tigers (Record: 6-1, AP Ranking: 20th)

19. Tennessee Volunteers (Record: 5-1, AP Ranking: 17th)

20. Utah Utes (Record: 5-1, AP Ranking: 14th)

21. Duke Blue Devils (Record: 5-1, AP Ranking: 16th)

22. Louisville Cardinals (Record: 6-1, AP Ranking: 21st)

23. James Madison Dukes (Record: 6-0, AP Ranking: NR)

24. Air Force Falcons (Record: 6-0, AP Ranking: 22nd)

25. Clemson Tigers (Record: 4-2, AP Ranking: NR)

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