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College Football Rankings Week 9: Bleacher Report's Official Top 25

Jonathan McDanalContributor IIIJanuary 1, 2017

College Football Rankings Week 9: Bleacher Report's Official Top 25

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    College football's Week 8 was no disappointment to fans of the underdog.

    UCLA and Louisville are no longer undefeated. Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Texas A&M all took another loss, breaking the logjam of SEC teams in the rankings.

    What else happened? Take a look at Bleacher Report's official Top 25 to see. Oct. 19 spared no conference. Everyone lost someone important.

    Poll voters: Chris Bello, Eric Bowman, Carter Bryant, Phil CallihanAndrew Coppens, Bill Eichenberger, Michael Felder, Kyle Kensing, Ben Kercheval, Sanjay Kirpalani, Marc Kohn, Adam Kramer, David Luther, Jonathan McDanal, Max Rausch, David RegimbalPatrick Runge, Barrett Sallee, Alex Sims, Erin Sorensen and Marc Torrence.

    Each voter submitted an individual Top 25, and every first-place team was given 25 points. The second-place team received 24, and so on, with the 25th-place team earning one point. The teams are ranked in order according to total points.



    *All times are ET

Others Receiving Votes

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    Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

    Notre Dame Fighting Irish: 40

    Georgia Bulldogs: 37

    Arizona State Sun Devils: 36

    Michigan State Spartans: 31

    Oregon State Beavers: 23

    Florida Gators: 13

    Ole Miss Rebels: 7

    Utah Utes: 7

    Washington Huskies: 6

    Texas Longhorns: 5

25. Central Florida Knights

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: N/A

    Week 8 Result: Central Florida 38, Louisville 35

    Week 9: vs. Connecticut, Saturday, Oct. 26, at noon

    Overall Record: 5-1

    Poll Points: 49

    The Central Florida Knights knocked off Louisville in Week 8, taking immediate control of the American Athletic Conference and its guaranteed BCS berth.

    The Knights looked out of their league halfway through the third quarter. They were down 28-7, but they were able to turn everything around. Midway through the third, they scored 21 points to tie the game heading into the fourth.

    Up 35-31 with three minutes left in the fourth, the Cardinals handed the ball back to UCF with too much time left. With the win, the Knights earned respect for themselves and quarterback Blake Bortles. Turns out the South Carolina game wasn't a fluke. They are this good.

24. Michigan Wolverines

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    Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: N/A

    Week 8 Result: Michigan 63, Indiana 47

    Week 9: Bye

    Overall Record: 6-1

    Poll Points: 65

    Michigan won a 110-point shootout with the Indiana Hoosiers in Week 8 to remain in control of its divisional destiny. If the Wolverines win out, they'll have the head-to-head tiebreaker with both Michigan State and Nebraska.

    Devin Gardner was a rock star on Oct. 19, completing 21 of 29 passes for 503 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Wolverines put up 751 yards of offense in the 16-point win. As impressive as all of that was, this defense will need to improve before its game versus the Ohio State Buckeyes.

    If the secondary continues to give up over 400 yards per game, Michigan is going to start sliding the other way in the rankings.

23. Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 24

    Week 8 Result: Bye

    Week 9: at Minnesota, Saturday, Oct. 26, at noon

    Overall Record: 5-1

    Poll Points: 71

    Nebraska sat at home and watched a number of Top 25 teams fail to secure wins. Currently, the Cornhuskers are sitting at No. 2 in their division (behind Michigan State).

    The 'Huskers have put together one of the country's most formidable rushing attacks, and it's responsible for 285 yards per game. More importantly, they have little trouble finding the end zone, having registered 18 touchdowns on the ground.

    The Minnesota Golden Gophers also have a strong run game (ranked 27th nationally), so this will be an interesting matchup. 

22. Northern Illinois Huskies

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    Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 23

    Week 8 Result: Northern Illinois 38, Central Michigan 17

    Week 9: vs. Eastern Michigan, Saturday, Oct. 26, at 3:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 7-0

    Poll Points: 113

    Northern Illinois may not have the most impressive resume of the bunch, but the Huskies are quietly winning every game on their schedule. If power conferences continue dropping the ball (looking at you, SEC), the Huskies might back into the BCS just by logging a perfect record.

    The Huskies took down a weak Central Michigan squad by 21 points in Week 8, but the operative phrase is “took down.” In a world where avoiding losses is enough to propel you up the rankings, Northern Illinois is playing itself into a promising position. 

21. South Carolina Gamecocks

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 11

    Week 8 Result: Tennessee 23, South Carolina 21

    Week 9: at Missouri, Saturday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m.

    Overall Record: 5-2

    Poll Points: 120

    Tennessee finally knocked over an SEC power. The Vols have been on the warpath since the season began, and they came closer and closer to victory over the past two SEC games.

    The Gamecocks had a horrible time trying to pass the ball in this game. Connor Shaw completed one 76-yard touchdown pass to Damiere Byrd out of a 161-yard performance.

    Shaw was 7-of-21 with one touchdown and one interception before he was knocked out of the game with a knee injury. And things don't get any easier for South Carolina, with games against Missouri, Mississippi State, Florida and Clemson ahead.  

20. Wisconsin Badgers

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    Michael Hickey/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 25

    Week 8 Result: Wisconsin 56, Illinois 32

    Week 9: Bye

    Overall Record: 5-2

    Poll Points: 131

    Wisconsin continued its one-loss run through the Big Ten with a lopsided win over Illinois. The Badgers ran up 478 yards, and they kept control of the football. That's the first zero-turnover game they've had all year.

    Joel Stave went 16-of-21 for 189 yards and two touchdowns against the Illini. As much as people will want to talk about balance, if you're winning, stick to the plan.

19. Virginia Tech Hokies

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 21

    Week 8 Result: Bye

    Week 9: vs. Duke, Saturday, Oct. 26, at 3:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 6-1

    Poll Points: 170

    Virginia Tech benefited from the Week 8 bye, as the Hokies got to watch a ton of Top 25 teams falter. They haven't won a single FBS game by more than 10 points, and that could prove to be an issue in a potential ACC championship game against Clemson or Florida State. 

    There's a chance that the Hokies will get to that game with an 11-1 record, since they don't play either FSU or Clemson during the regular season. Miami figures to be their stiffest test remaining. 

18. Louisville Cardinals

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 7

    Week 8 Result: UCF 38, Louisville 35

    Week 9: at South Florida, Saturday, Oct. 26, at noon

    Overall Record: 6-1

    Poll Points: 177

    Louisville looked like a potential championship team against UCF. The Cardinals got out to a 28-7 lead halfway through the third quarter.

    Unfortunately for Louisville, UCF's defense showed up and helped the Knights outscore the Cardinals 31-7 from that point on. Louisville's Cinderella season officially ended on an unsuccessful Hail Mary.

    The Cardinals are still gunning for the American Athletic Conference's automatic BCS berth, but they are no longer leading the race. UCF is.

17. Oklahoma Sooners

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    John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 19

    Week 8 Result: Oklahoma 34, Kansas 19

    Week 9: vs. Texas Tech, Saturday, Oct. 26, at 3:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 6-1

    Poll Points: 204

    Oklahoma had a nerve-wracking slow start against the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday. Blake Bell went 15-of-25 on the day for 131 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, eventually leading the Sooners to victory.

    Oklahoma is still behind Texas Tech, Texas and Baylor in the conference race, but the Sooners are quietly marching on. Too keep going, though, they will have to lock down the line of scrimmage.

    Kansas racked up 185 rushing yards in this game, and that won't fly against teams who pass better than Kansas...which is everyone else in the Big 12.

16. Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    Brett Deering/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 17

    Week 8 Result: Oklahoma State 24, TCU 10

    Week 9: at Iowa State, Saturday, Oct. 26, at noon

    Overall Record: 5-1

    Poll Points: 209

    Oklahoma State's win over TCU kept it in the top half of the conference standings for another week. The Cowboys owned the first half, taking a 17-0 lead into the break. TCU fought to get back in the game, but the Cowboys iced the game with a score at the 6:04 mark.

    Oklahoma State has a rough ride between here and the BCS (Texas Tech, Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma), but it's winning. That's more than a lot of the teams on this list can say.

15. Texas A&M Aggies

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    Previous Rank: No. 8

    Week 8 Result: Auburn 45, Texas A&M 41

    Week 9: vs. Vanderbilt, Saturday, Oct. 26, at 12:21 p.m.

    Overall Record: 5-2

    Poll Points: 229

    In Week 8, Texas A&M effectively iced its national championship hopes with loss No. 2.

    The Auburn Tigers outlasted the Aggies in the fourth quarter to score the upset victory on Kyle Field. Johnny Manziel sustained an injury to his throwing shoulder late in the game. He did return, but it could be an issue going forward. 

    Dee Ford sacked Manziel twice on the final Aggies drive of the game to secure the win. A&M still has a chance at a BCS bowl, but it's a long shot.

14. Fresno State Bulldogs

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    Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 18

    Week 8 Result: Fresno State 38, UNLV 14

    Week 9: at San Diego State, Saturday, Oct. 26, at 10:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 6-0

    Poll Points: 231

    Fresno State kept itself perfect for the season, and that's enough to move up in the rankings. 

    The Bulldogs more than doubled the UNLV Rebels in total yardage, 641-294, and points. Derek Carr went 33-of-48 for 412 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. If he keeps performing like he has, a Heisman Trophy with a BCS berth is a possibility. 

    He deserves a trip to New York at this point, but there are still a couple of months left in the season.

13. LSU Tigers

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 6

    Week 8 Result: Ole Miss 27, LSU 24

    Week 9: vs. Furman, Saturday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m.

    Overall Record: 6-2

    Poll Points: 244

    LSU was outdone on the ground and through the air as the Tigers lost their second game of the season. This time, it was the notoriously difficult Ole Miss game that did them in. They converted just five third downs (out of 11), and they committed three turnovers.

    The biggest issue was the secondary. Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace went 30-of-39 for 346 yards. He nearly outgained the entire LSU offense by himself. He also led his team down the field on the game-winning field-goal drive. 

    LSU will now need a lot of help to make the SEC championship game. 

12. Auburn Tigers

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    Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: N/A

    Week 8 Result: Auburn 45, Texas A&M 41

    Week 9: vs. Florida Atlantic, Saturday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 6-1

    Poll Points: 247

    Auburn logged its second victory this season over a ranked opponent after taking down Texas A&M on the road.

    The Tigers kept themselves in the game, and Gus Malzahn's fourth-quarter preparation did wonders for them. He substituted liberally on defense early in the game to keep his players fresh later. The payoff? A 21-10 advantage over A&M in the final period of the game.

    The Tigers have leaped up into the mix, especially after so many other Top 25 losses.

11. UCLA Bruins

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 9

    Week 8 Result: Stanford 24, UCLA 10

    Week 9: at Oregon, Saturday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m.

    Overall Record: 5-1

    Poll Points: 287

    Stanford's defense got the better of UCLA on Saturday. The Bruins tallied just 74 rushing yards through the game, and a total of 192 passing yards wasn't enough to make up the difference.

    UCLA couldn't convert a third down to save its life...or its season. It went 5-of-15 on the down and never attempted on fourth. The Bruins are still tied with Arizona State in the loss column in the Pac-12 South, but that's about the only positive that they brought out of Week 8.

10. Texas Tech Red Raiders

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    John Weast/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 16

    Week 8 Result: Texas Tech 37, West Virginia 27

    Week 9: at Oklahoma, Saturday, Oct. 26, at 3:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 7-0

    Poll Points: 326

    Texas Tech edged out the always dangerous West Virginia Mountaineers. The Red Raiders took a four-point deficit into the fourth quarter, and they dominated the final 15 minutes for the 10-point win.

    They are heading into back-to-back games against ranked teams: Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. And it doesn't get easier with Baylor and Texas to finish off the year. 

    Davis Webb, a true freshman, went 36-of-50 for 462 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions in this game. At this rate, even a healthy Baker Mayfield won't oust Webb from his slot on the depth chart.

9. Clemson Tigers

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 3

    Week 8 Result: Florida State 51, Clemson 14

    Week 9: at Maryland, Saturday, Oct. 26, at 3:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 6-1

    Poll Points: 341

    Clemson was completely outclassed by the Florida State Seminoles. Tajh Boyd was held to 17 of 37 passing for 156 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. As uncharacteristic as that seems, this was the first time Clemson faced a defense like FSU's (ranked No. 2 nationally).

    There were clear issues on defense, too. The Tigers secondary was full of holes, to the point that the Seminoles put 444 passing yards on them to just 121 on the ground.

    Florida State took everything that Clemson gave it, and that was the end zone...repeatedly Best advice? Hire Florida State's recruiters.

8. Missouri Tigers

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 15

    Week 8 Result: Missouri 36, Florida 17

    Week 9: vs. South Carolina, Saturday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m.

    Overall Record: 7-0

    Poll Points: 404

    Missouri's rise through the rankings continues after knocking off the Florida Gators. Mizzou jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back. From Maty Mauk (18-of-36 for 295 yards) to Henry Josey (18 carries for 136 yards), they dominated the Gators 500-151 in total yardage.

    The Missouri Tigers moved into a commanding lead for the SEC East, as South Carolina and Georgia both lost conference games on Saturday. The question is whether they can develop into a national championship squad by the time they get to Atlanta.

7. Miami Hurricanes

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 12

    Week 8 Result: Miami 27, UNC 23

    Week 9: vs. Wake Forest, Saturday, Oct. 26, at noon

    Overall Record: 6-0

    Poll Points: 405

    Miami kept its perfect season alive despite Stephen Morris' four-interception dud. The Hurricanes did not look like potential national champions against the UNC Tar Heels, but neither did a lot of other teams in Week 8.

    Duke Johnson's backup, Dallas Crawford, broke out for 137 yards and two touchdowns against the Heels, cementing himself as a viable option in the 'Canes backfield. Miami needs to fix its passing defense to earn “elite” status, though, as the Hurricanes allowed 395 passing yards.

    The Hurricanes will need to improve quickly with games against Florida State and Virginia Tech ahead. 

6. Stanford Cardinal

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    Previous Rank: No. 13

    Week 8 Result: Stanford 24, UCLA 10

    Week 9: at Oregon State, Saturday, Oct. 26, at 10:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 6-1

    Poll Points: 412

    Stanford gained some respect back by shutting down Brett Hundley and the UCLA Bruins. Prior to this game, UCLA averaged 45.8 points per game. Stanford was not nearly as generous.

    The Cardinal sought revenge after their crushing loss to Utah, and they dealt out 419 yards of it at home. Stanford has to get some help to get to the national championship game, but the Pac-12 title is still within reach. 

5. Baylor Bears

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    Cooper Neill/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 10

    Week 8 Result: Baylor 71, Iowa State 7

    Week 9: at Kansas, Saturday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m.

    Overall Record: 6-0

    Poll Points: 444

    After the 35-point “debacle” against Kansas State, the Baylor Bears regrouped and hung 71 on the Iowa State Cyclones. Now the Bears are back in business. They're averaging 64.7 points per game, allowing just 16.2 and well on their way to a Big 12 title.

    At their best, the Bears can compete with anyone in the country, especially with that dynamic offense. Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State are the next three up after Kansas, and each is fully capable of giving Baylor its first loss. 

4. Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 4

    Week 8 Result: Ohio State 34, Iowa 24

    Week 9: vs. Penn State, Saturday, Oct. 26, at 8 p.m.

    Overall Record: 7-0

    Poll Points: 490 (1)

    Ohio State had a big performance against the Iowa Hawkeyes, though the final score does not show it. Braxton Miller went 22-of-27 for 222 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He added 102 yards on the ground as well.

    Carlos Hyde led the ground attack with 149 yards and two scores off 24 carries. The Buckeyes were impressive statistically, amassing 495 total yards against the Hawkeyes. More importantly, they proved that they can win a tough, physical game.

    A gutty win like this can go a long way down the road. 

3. Florida State Seminoles

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    Previous Rank: No. 5

    Week 8 Result: Florida State 51, Clemson 14

    Week 9: vs. NC State, Saturday, Oct. 26, at 3:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 6-0

    Poll Points: 509 (1)

    Florida State made Clemson look a lot like Maryland. Tajh Boyd? Ineffective. Clemson's entire offense? Also ineffective. Defense? Well, you get the point. The Seminoles looked unbeatable against the Tigers. 

    They put up 444 passing yards, and Clemson's secondary was practically useless against the Jameis Winston onslaught. Florida State rushed for just 121 yards in this game, as Clemson kept leaving itself open for touchdown passes.

    FSU takes what it wants, and it's looking like a national championship bid more and more each week.

2. Oregon Ducks

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    Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

    Previous Rank: No. 2

    Week 8 Result: Oregon 62, Washington State 38

    Week 9: vs. UCLA, Saturday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m.

    Overall Record: 7-0

    Poll Points: 525 (3)

    Oregon scared more than a few fans with a slow start to the Washington State game. The Cougars were within six points with 5:35 left in the first half. Then, Oregon opened up, took a 34-24 lead into halftime and dominated for 30 minutes after the break.

    The Ducks left the Florida State Seminoles a rare opening to pass them in the rankings, but it didn't happen. If they win out, a BCS title game berth is likely theirs.

    Marcus Mariota went 23-of-32 for 327 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions with an extra 67 rushing yards for one more score. He definitely didn't hurt his Heisman campaign.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Previous Rank: No. 1

    Week 8 Result: Alabama 52, Arkansas 0

    Week 9: vs. Tennessee, Saturday, Oct. 26, at 3:30 p.m.

    Overall Record: 7-0

    Poll Points: 544 (17)

    Alabama handed Arkansas its worst loss of the season. Alabama's defense, which gave up 42 points to Texas A&M, has allowed just 16 points since then.

    Alabama's Week 8 rout further confirmed that the Tide still belong in the No. 1 slot. They may not be unbeatable, but they are the closest team in the country to fitting that description.

    Under-the-radar quarterback AJ McCarron had another solid game, going 15-of-21 for 180 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. 

     

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