Just when it looked like Georgia could finally surpass Alabama at the top of the college football Power Rankings, the Crimson Tide made another statement this season.
The Bulldogs kicked off the day with another top-10 victory, this time a 37-0 rout against No. 8 Arkansas in Athens, and looked like the best team in the country on their way to a 5-0 record. The shutout was the second straight for the Georgia defense, and the unit has allowed only one team to score double digits this season.
After seeing what the Bulldogs did in the early window, the Crimson Tide flexed their muscle over Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss squad. Alabama jumped out to a 28-point lead at halftime and rolled to a 42-21 victory to maintain its top position in the rankings.
Losses from last week’s No. 3 (Oregon), No. 7 (Arkansas), No. 9 (Florida), No. 10 (Notre Dame) and No. 11 (Ole Miss) shook up the Power Rankings this week, and we’re just in the first week of October. With only two dominant teams at this point, the rankings should be chock full of chaos moving forward.
The action of Week 5 is in the books. It’s time to take a look at college football’s Power Rankings.
Don’t look now but Alabama’s defense might be back. Ole Miss entered Tuscaloosa with arguably the best offense and the best quarterback in college football, and came away with next to nothing. Lane Kiffin’s Rebels didn’t find the end zone until the third quarter, and by then the game was well in hand. Phil Mathis, Will Anderson and the Bama front seven shut down the Ole Miss running game and made quarterback Matt Corral work for everything he got, which wasn’t much. Throw in the hard-nosed running of Brian Robinson and it looked like an old-school victory for Alabama. — Alex Scarborough
Whether it’s Stetson Bennett at quarterback or JT Daniels at quarterback, Georgia just keeps rolling. And why not with a defense that has been an absolute brick wall this season? Bennett started in place of the injured Daniels, and Georgia built a 24-0 halftime lead Saturday and cruised to a 37-0 shutout of Arkansas. The running game did most of the damage for Georgia, which finished with 273 rushing yards. With a little more than two minutes left in the first quarter, Georgia had 21 points to Arkansas’ 1 yard of total offense. Through five games, the Dawgs have yet to allow a touchdown in the first three quarters, and the only two fourth-quarter touchdowns they’ve given up came long after the outcome had been decided. — Chris Low
The Bulldogs go up by three touchdowns in the first quarter and cruise to a 37-0 victory over the Razorbacks in the showdown of unbeatens.
In a 51-14 victory, the Hawkeyes cruised to their first conference road win of the season, avoiding any threat of an upset from unranked Maryland on Friday night before a nationally televised audience. Maryland played a mistake-laden game, littered with seven turnovers and 10 penalties, and the opportunistic Hawkeyes capitalized on all of it. Iowa outscored Maryland 31-0 in the second quarter, and recorded four interceptions in the first half. Iowa continued to lean on its running game, led by Tyler Goodson, who was also valuable as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, but the Hawkeyes were able to mix it up offensively against a one-dimensional Maryland team that couldn’t get out of its own way. — Heather Dinich
The Nittany Lions are the first team to start a season 5-0 after starting the previous season 0-5 since Tennessee did it in 1989. Penn State shut out Indiana for the first time in its 24-0 win Saturday. There was a little bit of everything for Penn State with three passing touchdowns, an interception and a blocked field goal. Jahan Dotson added two more receiving touchdowns to his season total and now has a touchdown catch in six straight games. The offense had six players with at least one carry for a total of 199 yards on the ground, as well. — VanHaaren
Luke Fickell’s team highlighted early-season road trips to Indiana and Notre Dame and passed both tests. Cincinnati’s signature defense led the way against the Fighting Irish, forcing three first-half turnovers and flashing outstanding technique in the secondary. The defense bought enough time for quarterback Desmond Ridder and the downfield passing attack to get going. Ridder led a clutch 75-yard touchdown drive and finished with 297 pass yards and three total touchdowns (two passing, one rushing). The Bearcats became the first Group of 5 team in the College Football Playoff era to record a road win against an AP top-10 team from the Power 5. Let the playoff buzz grow. — Adam Rittenberg
The Sooners got a 37-31 road win against a K-State team that beat them the past two seasons, and Spencer Rattler was ultra-efficient, completing 22 of 25 passes and leading the Sooners to scores on seven of their nine possessions in the game (and one of those ended in a victory formation). Overshadowed in concerns about OU’s struggles — four of the Sooners’ first five wins by were seven points or fewer for the first time in school history — is that the Sooners have now won 13 straight. And their coach knows how to win: It was Lincoln Riley’s 50th win in 58 games with only Barry Switzer (56) and Bud Wilkinson (57) reaching 50 victories faster at OU. — Dave Wilson
The last time the Wolverines were in Madison, in 2019, it was for a 35-14 blowout by Wisconsin in which the Badgers had 359 rushing yards. This time, it was Michigan’s defense that did the dominating, holding Wisconsin to only 43 rushing yards and 167 passing yards in the 38-17 win. Michigan has taken some criticism for relying on the run this season, and while the passing game was not perfect against the Badgers, quarterbacks Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy threw for 253 yards and three touchdowns with three completions going for over 30 yards. This was supposed to be Michigan’s first big test, and it passed with flying colors. — VanHaaren
The Ducks aren’t completely out of playoff contention after losing 31-24 to Stanford in overtime, but that’s no longer a scenario worth discussing. Since its impressive win at Ohio State, Oregon — over a span of three games — has gotten progressively worse. The Ducks were outgained last week against lowly Arizona and came out completely flat against Stanford, falling behind 17-7 at halftime. They showed some heart and played well in the second half, but it was ultimately rendered meaningless. — Kyle Bonagura
A week’s worth of rest did quarterback C.J. Stroud well. He threw for 330 yards and five touchdowns in a 52-13 win over Rutgers after taking a week off to nurse a shoulder injury. The offense had help on the ground, as well, with 210 yards rushing and one touchdown in the game. It wasn’t just the offense that was able to put points on the scoreboard, either, as freshman corner Denzel Burke had a pick-six in the victory. The Ohio State defense was able to force three interceptions in total and allowed only two touchdowns. Nearly everything went right for the Buckeyes in this game, and Rutgers was never able to make it close. — VanHaaren
C.J. Stroud lights up Rutgers with five touchdowns to help Ohio State cruise to a win.
Michigan State remained unbeaten with a mostly easy 48-31 win over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. The major difference: The Spartans had Jayden Reed, and WKU didn’t. The junior playmaker scored on an 88-yard punt return and a 46-yard pass in the first quarter and finished with 134 yards from scrimmage in just five touches. Throw in Kenneth Walker III (126 rushing yards) and Jalen Nailor (128 receiving yards), and MSU just had too many playmakers for the WKU defense. The Hilltoppers made the Spartan defense work for 60 minutes, scoring two late touchdowns to briefly cut the lead to 14, but the outcome was never in doubt. MSU is 5-0 for the first time since 2015. — Bill Connelly
Despite the absence of starting quarterback Jaren Hall and other significant injury concerns, the Battle for the Old Wagon Wheel wasn’t much of a battle. BYU controlled the game from start to finish to beat Utah State 34-20. That was largely thanks to running back Tyler Allgeier, who rushed for 218 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries. He alleviated the pressure on Baylor Romney, who started in place of Hall for the second straight week, and then third-stringer Jacob Conover came in after Romney exited due to injury. — Bonagura
During the month of September, Arkansas was the most physical team when it stepped onto the field, particularly in wins over Texas and Texas A&M. But on Saturday at Sanford Stadium, the Hogs were no match for a Georgia team playing as well as anybody in the country in a 37-0 loss. The Hogs were rattled early by the crowd noise — committing back-to-back false-start penalties after Georgia had scored on its first possession — and for the rest of the first half, Arkansas was saddled with terrible field position. Georgia led 21-0 before the end of the first quarter, the third touchdown coming on a blocked punt. But to the Hogs’ credit, they kept fighting, made some adjustments and hung in there on defense. Offensively, they simply couldn’t get anything going and managed just five first downs through the first three quarters. — Low
Another week and another close Kentucky Wildcats game that could’ve gone either way. But, for the Wildcats, they’ve gone only one way this season, and that way is wins. The Wildcats outscored Florida 13-3 in the second half to rally for a 20-13 win and hand their division rival another loss this season. Kentucky has LSU next week before a big matchup against Georgia in Athens on Oct. 16 for control of the SEC East. — Shea Carlson
After last season’s barn burner in Oxford, Lane Kiffin told Nick Saban he’d kept a notebook of every play that gave Alabama trouble during his three seasons as offensive coordinator, using them to help Ole Miss rack up the most yards ever against a Tide defense. Well, it appears that Saban is good at taking notes, too. Saban’s Alabama defense had an answer for almost everything Kiffin, quarterback Matt Corral and Ole Miss threw at it on Saturday in Tuscaloosa, not allowing the Rebs to find the end zone until the third quarter when the game was already well in hand. — Scarborough
Jamey Chadwell’s Chanticleers kept on cruising with a 59-6 destruction of Louisiana Monroe. Grayson McCall was a perfect 13-for-13 for 212 yards and two touchdowns; Coastal outgained the Warhawks 351-99 in the first half and cruised to a 38-3 halftime lead. The backups took it from there — McCall didn’t take a single snap in the second half. The Chants moved to 5-0 with four wins by at least 27 points, and they could get another big win against Arkansas State next week. But everything’s steaming toward what could be an incredible midweek Sun Belt clash when Coastal visits 4-1 Appalachian State on Oct. 20. — Connelly
The obvious flaws finally caught up to Notre Dame, which fought hard but couldn’t overcome three first-half turnovers and some big plays allowed on defense against Cincinnati. Drew Pyne might be the team’s best option at quarterback behind a shaky offensive line, as he sparked the team in the second half against Cincinnati despite completing only 9 of 22 pass attempts. Notre Dame’s defense kept the game close for a while but ultimately couldn’t make enough stops against Cincinnati’s Alec Pierce and others. The loss almost guarantees Notre Dame won’t be headed back to the playoff, and a tough stretch continues next week at Virginia Tech. — Rittenberg
The Cowboys held Baylor to 10 first downs, 107 rushing yards (it was averaging 272) and 280 total yards but led just 17-14 in the fourth quarter because quarterback Spencer Sanders threw three interceptions. Doesn’t matter, because the Cowboys are 5-0 and the defense continues to impress, holding a Baylor offense that was averaging 43 points per game to 14. OSU has allowed more than 20 points just once this season, in a 28-23 win over Tulsa. — Wilson
Louisville provided the biggest test of the season for Wake Forest, but Nick Sciba made a field goal with 22 seconds left to lift the Demon Deacons to a 37-34 win and a 5-0 start. Despite a defense that looked shaky at times, Wake Forest made the key stops and plays with the game on the line late. Sam Hartman threw for 324 yards, while two receivers went over 100 yards — Jaquarii Roberson (135) and Taylor Morin (122). Wake Forest has scored 192 total points this season, the most in school history through its first five games. — Adelson
Louisville Cardinals vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Full Highlights
With his job security under threat as Auburn’s starting quarterback, Bo Nix played one of his most memorable games, throwing for 255 yards and rushing for another 74 as the Tigers came from behind to beat LSU 24-19. His scrambling, gambling 24-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Fromm late in the first half gave the team life after an early 13-0 deficit, and his two third-down completions, plus a 44-yard run by Jarquez Hunter, set up the winning score, a 1-yard plunge by Hunter. Auburn stared down an aggressive opponent and a chaotic Death Valley environment to move to 4-1. Its reward: a visit from Georgia next week. — Connelly
Coach Dave Doeren knew this week would provide a huge challenge for his team, hoping to avoid a letdown after a big win over Clemson. Indeed, Louisiana Tech gave NC State everything it could handle, but the Wolfpack found a way in a 34-27 victory. The Wolfpack gave up 341 yards passing but also forced two turnovers, and that made a huge difference in the game. It was not the sharpest performance, but in the past this was the type of game NC State would lose. — Adelson
After the Gators nearly upset Alabama, it appeared they were poised for a breakthrough. Instead, they put together a dismal performance in a 20-13 road loss to Kentucky in which they were completely outplayed and outcoached. Most surprising, Florida had 15 penalties for 115 yards — including eight false starts — and that tells the story of the game in a nutshell. With two SEC losses, Florida faces a steep climb back to the conference championship game — especially with Georgia looming later in the month. — Adelson
The Sun Devils started the day as an unranked underdog, but after their 42-23 win against UCLA, they look more like the team to beat in the Pac-12. Jayden Daniels threw for 286 yards with a pair of touchdown passes to Ricky Pearsall (4 catches, 132 yards) as the Sun Devils capitalized on a number of explosive plays. ASU limited UCLA to just three second-half points to take control in the Pac-12 South. — Bonagura
The Mustangs kept rolling, beating South Florida 41-17 behind quarterback Tanner Mordecai’s four touchdown passes and 301 passing yards. When South Florida made it a tight game in the third quarter, SMU outscored it 24-7 to finish the game. Ten different receivers caught passes for SMU, and the Mustangs ran up 463 yards and moved to 5-0 for the third straight season under coach Sonny Dykes. — Wilson
The Longhorns exorcised a few demons on Saturday, winning their first game at TCU since 2013 as Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson has had Texas’ number, including with wins in the past two seasons. But this year, Texas put the ball in Bijan Robinson‘s hands, and he set career highs with 35 carries for 216 yards and two touchdowns, and added two catches for 22 yards. Texas QB Casey Thompson didn’t light it up but was 12-of-22 for 142 yards and added a 41-yard run to win his third straight start. The Longhorns continue to make drives count, going 24-of-26 with 20 touchdowns in the red zone for the season. — Wilson
The Tigers were able to move the ball on Boston College but once again failed to put together sustained drives and score with any frequency. Still, they did enough to win 19-13 after recovering a fumbled snap deep in their own territory. If there was a bright spot, it was the way Clemson was finally able to run the ball — with 231 yards on the ground — its highest rushing total of the season. Though D.J. Uiagalelei threw for over 200 yards for the first time this season, he completed less than 50% of his passes and did not throw a touchdown. — Adelson