College Football: Week 9 top 25 rankings

2T2XDMH Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy, right, scrambles against Michigan State defensive back Malik Spencer (43) during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

• The top eight remains mostly the same as last week: Despite an eventful Week 8, the top eight teams in this ranking are still in the top eight.

• Ole Miss joins the top 10: The Rebels check in at No. 9 with an impressive 6-1 record.

• James Madison is the best Group of Five school: With a 7-0 record, the Dukes are the highest-ranked Group of Five team at No. 18.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

A chaotic Week 8 saw a few College Football Playoff contenders get their hopes dashed, specifically Penn State, North Carolina and USC. 

As the dust settles from the action-packed weekend, here’s a look at our top-25 teams entering Week 9. Please note that these rankings are not the same as PFF’s power rankings.


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

Week 9 Matchup: vs. Florida Gators

Georgia enjoyed its bye week before beginning the most brutal stretch of its season. Over the next four weeks, the defending national champs must face Florida, Missouri, Ole Miss and Tennessee. All four are currently in the top 30 of PFF’s power rankings. 

Making the next month even more challenging is the fact that the Bulldogs’ star, tight end Brock Bowers, will miss the next three to five weeks with ankle surgery.

2. Michigan Wolverines (Record: 8-0, AP Ranking: 2nd)

Week 9 Matchup: Bye

Michigan has looked like the most dominant team in the country this year, as the Wolverines have won their first eight games by an average of 29.5 points. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy is the betting favorite to win the Heisman Trophy — his 92.6 grade leads all quarterbacks in the country. However, none of those eight victories have come against a team inside the top 30 of our power rankings.

Michigan’s next opponent after the bye is Purdue, the No. 69 team in that ranking. Then, the Wolverines close out the regular season with three straight top-40 opponents in Penn State, Maryland and Ohio State.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes (Record: 7-0, AP Ranking: 3rd)

Week 9 Matchup: at Wisconsin Badgers

Meanwhile, the Buckeyes boast the best resume in college football. Ohio State most recently took down then-No. 7 Penn State 20-12 this past Saturday. This is in addition to a 17-14 road victory over then-ninth-ranked Notre Dame a month ago. Both schools remain in the top 15 of this ranking.

As evidenced by those final scores, the defense leads the way in Columbus. The Buckeyes are currently fourth in the country in expected points allowed per play.

4. Florida State Seminoles (Record: 7-0, AP Ranking: 4th)

Week 9 Matchup: at Wake Forest Demon Deacons

If Ohio State has the best resume in the country, Florida State isn’t too close behind. Two of the teams FSU beat, LSU and Duke, remain in the top 25 of this ranking. 

Jordan Travis is picking up right where he left off a year ago. The sixth-year senior’s 86.8 grade this season is a top-15 mark among all quarterbacks in the country.

5. Oklahoma Sooners (Record: 7-0, AP Ranking: 6th)

Week 9 Matchup: at Kansas Jayhawks

Oklahoma endured a scare from UCF on Saturday, as the Sooners trailed with fewer than 10 minutes left before escaping with a 31-29 victory.

Oklahoma’s offense has been incredibly efficient this season, placing seventh nationally in EPA per play.

6. Washington Huskies (Record: 7-0, AP Ranking: 5th)

Week 9 Matchup: at Stanford Cardinal

After experiencing an incredible high of beating then-No. 8 Oregon in a thriller a week ago, Washington barely survived its hangover this week. The Huskies beat Arizona State 15-7 despite entering the contest as 28-point favorites.

Washington’s normally elite offense didn’t score a single touchdown and then-Heisman frontrunner Michael Penix Jr. posted just a 48.0 grade, his worst performance over his two years in Seattle.

7. Texas Longhorns (Record: 6-1, AP Ranking: 7th)

Week 9 Matchup: vs. BYU Cougars

Like the two teams preceding them, Texas nearly lost to an unranked opponent but prevailed for the victory. The Longhorns made a crucial stop on the 10-yard line to take down Houston 31-24.

However, the win came at a price. Texas starting quarterback Quinn Ewers suffered a Grade 2 AC joint sprain to his throwing shoulder and will “miss some time” according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel. His replacement will likely be redshirt freshman Maalik Murphy, who’s earned a 50.3 grade on 33 snaps this season. However, the whole nation is eager to see his backup, 2023 No. 1 overall recruit Arch Manning, make his debut.

8. Alabama Crimson Tide (Record: 7-1, AP Ranking: 9th)

Week 9 Matchup: Bye

After going down 20-7 at halftime, Alabama scored 27 unanswered in the second half to take down then-No. 17 Tennessee.

Jalen Milroe continues to prove that he’s the right man for the job in Alabama’s quarterback room. Since being benched against USF, the redshirt sophomore’s 90.1 grade trails only Jayden Daniels and J.J. McCarthy among Power Five quarterbacks.

9. Ole Miss Rebels (Record: 6-1, AP Ranking: 12th)

Week 9 Matchup: vs. Vanderbilt Commodores

This is a few spots higher than its AP ranking, but Ole Miss deserves more love for what it’s accomplished this season. 

The Rebels have beaten two teams that are currently in the top 25 in LSU and Tulane, the former being in the top 15. Ole Miss’ only loss was on the road to a top-10 team in Alabama. Jaxson Dart has been the star for the Rebels as his 91.5 grade is tied for fifth among FBS quarterbacks.

10. Oregon Ducks (Record: 6-1, AP Ranking: 8th)

Week 9 Matchup: at No. 11 Utah Utes

Oregon’s offense continued to show why it’s the most efficient in college football with a 38-24 victory over Washington State on Saturday. The Ducks averaged 7.8 yards per rushing attempt and 11.7 yards per pass attempt in the win.

That offense will be tested this week against the next team on this ranking, Utah. The Utes are currently 11th in the Power Five in EPA per play and are coming off a statement 34-32 win over then-No. 18 USC and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams.

11. Penn State Nittany Lions (Record: 6-1, AP Ranking: 10th)

12. Utah Utes (Record: 6-1, AP Ranking: 13th)

13. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Record: 6-2, AP Ranking: 14th)

14. LSU Tigers (Record: 6-2, AP Ranking: 15th)

15. Missouri Tigers (Record: 7-1, AP Ranking: 16th)

16. Oregon State Beavers (Record: 6-1, AP Ranking: 11th)

17. North Carolina Tar Heels (Record: 6-1, AP Ranking: 17th)

18. James Madison Dukes (Record: 7-0, AP Ranking: 25th)

19. Tennessee Volunteers (Record: 5-2, AP Ranking: 21st)

20. Air Force Falcons (Record: 7-0, AP Ranking: 19th)

21. Kansas State Wildcats (Record: 5-2, AP Ranking: NR)

22. Louisville Cardinals (Record: 6-1, AP Ranking: 18th)

23. USC Trojans (Record: 6-2, AP Ranking: 24th)

24. Duke Blue Devils (Record: 5-2, AP Ranking: 20th)

25. Iowa Hawkeyes (Record: 6-2, AP Ranking: NR)

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