PFF's Top 25 teams in college football
Our selection for the top four doesn’t match the College Football Playoff committee, but we do still have two teams from the same conference in the top two spots, along with Clemson finally surging to the top. Here is the PFF College Top 25 this week:
- Clemson (Previous ranking: 4)
They picked up their biggest win of the year so far in beating ACC rival Florida State. Most impressive has been quarterback Deshaun Watson (+21.6). He’s the highest graded quarterback in the nation in the past two weeks, as Clemson continue to get hot as the year comes to an end.
- Ohio State (1)
They finally drop from the number one spot but do so without losing. They are still incredibly dangerous, especially with arguably the nation’s best defensive player in defensive end Joey Bosa (+54.1), but their struggles on offense allow Clemson to jump them.
- Baylor (5)
With Seth Russell (+18.8) out, Jarrett Stidham (+11.1) proved that he can hold his own as a starter. It looks like he and Corey Coleman (+20.5) will continue to add touchdowns to the receiver’s ridiculous touchdown total. They have three tough games to come, but if they can get through them, then they should be considered one of the top four teams in the country.
- Alabama (7)
Their defensive line shutdown the Leonard Fournette show, while Derrick Henry (+11.8) had his best game of the year to beat LSU and confirm themselves as the top team in the SEC at this stage. A SEC Championship showdown with Florida now looks likely.
- Michigan State (2)
That loss was disappointing, but we’re not willing to drop them too far away yet. They still have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, including wide receiver Aaron Burbridge (+22.5) and defensive end Shilique Calhoun (+27.1).
- LSU (3)
Proving themselves as worth contenders in the College Football Playoff will be tough, especially when it’s likely that they end the year with one loss, which will have come against Alabama. They might be the best team that miss out, while Fournette (+30.5) will look to get back on track quickly to stop Heisman voters shifting their focus.
- Oklahoma State (9)
We noted last week how the fact that they had all three of the top teams in the Big 12 at home could be crucial. Well, they’ve taken care of business with the first of those in dispatching TCU and handing them their first loss. Mason Rudolph (31.7) is now our fourth-highest graded quarterback.
- Stanford (8)
For Stanford to make the College Football Playoff, they need to keep winning, hope that they get a one-loss Utah in the Pac-12 Championship game. That would give them some win power to end the year, especially with Notre Dame on the schedule. Christian McCaffrey (+29.0) continues to stand out regardless of how he gets the ball.
- Iowa (10)
Quarterback C.J. Beathard (+11.7) had his highest graded game of the year against Indiana. Just imagine if they can get to the end of the year undefeated and he can have another big game against an unbeaten Ohio State. Could they eventually sneak into the College Football Playoff?
- Notre Dame (11)
Sheldon Day (+37.6) is our third-highest graded defensive tackle this season, and arguably Notre Dame’s best player. They made the College Football Playoff rankings this week, and will like their chances of making it if they can run the table.
- TCU (5)
That loss hurts, more so because it’s highly unlikely that a one-loss team from the Big 12 is making the College Football Playoff. They can still win the conference though, with big games to come against Oklahoma and Baylor, and they still boast our highest-graded quarterback in Trevone Boykin (+43.0).
- Florida (13)
A place in the SEC Championship game with Alabama is on the cards, but perhaps the Gators have bigger goals. Win out and they’ll have wins over Florida State and Alabama. Could Treon Harris (-2.6) actually lead the Gators to the playoff?
- Utah (14)
That loss against USC really looks to have hampered their hopes of being in the final four. They need to win out, but even then their biggest win will have come against a Stanford team that would have to end the year with at least two losses. Travis Wilson (-1.7) and those interceptions against USC might be how this season is remembered for them.
- Michigan (15)
Jourdan Lewis (+19.0) is our highest-graded cornerback this year, and the Wolverines are still hoping for a bit of luck and winning out to clinch a spot in the SEC Championship game. Quarterback Jake Rudock (-10.4) had his best game of the year against Rutgers.
- Oklahoma (16)
Baker Mayfield (+35.5) is our second highest-graded quarterback, with the Sooners lurking as the surprise team who could still win the Big 12. It won’t be easy with games against the top three teams in the division to come.
- Houston (17)
Losses by Memphis and Temple see Houston as the lone unbeaten team in the AAC. Greg Ward Jr. (+29.1) has struggled in the past three weeks, so they’ll be hoping our highest-graded rushing quarterback can get back on track, with Memphis visiting this week.
- Temple (18)
They lost to Notre Dame, but they’ll be hoping to win out and clinch a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl game by being the best non-Power-5 team in the country. Linebacker Tyler Matakevich (+21.5) remains one of the best linebackers in the nation.
- North Carolina (19)
Are people sleeping on the Tar Heels? They’ve just beaten Pittsburgh and Duke, and look set to take on Clemson in the ACC Championship game. They’ll be underdogs there, but with Marquise Williams (+22.0) continuing to impress at quarterback, they have a chance.
- Florida State (12)
Two losses have ended their College Football Playoff chances, but they still have plenty to play for, especially with Florida to end the year. Based on our grades, we’d start Everett Golson (+18.8) at quarterback over Steven Maguire (-3.5).
- Memphis (16)
That slip up has ended their chances of upsetting the odds and making the final four, but they can still win the AAC. Paxton Lynch (+28.1) had his worst game of the year and will need to be much better against Houston.
- UCLA (22)
A 41-0 win over Oregon State gives them momentum heading into the final three games, where they’ll still be hoping to make the Pac-12 Championship game. Josh Rosen (+12.5) has been up and down, but has shown some really strong play in flashes.
- Wisconsin (24)
Wisconsin are going to get to the end of the year and be one of the best two loss teams in the country if they win out. Quarterback Joel Stave (+15.8) has quietly had a very solid year.
- USC (25)
Their early season play has hurt their ability to challenge for the Pac-12 and beyond, but USC are playing good football right now. They get to play the role of spoiler to end the year.
- Oregon (UR)
Like USC, they are likely resigned to the role of spoiler to end the year after some early season struggles. After some poor play early in the year, quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. (-0.7) has shown some more of the ability that got him to Oregon in the past two weeks, on the ground at least.
- Navy (UR)
Keenan Reynolds (+14.8) didn’t break the all-time NCAA rushing touchdowns against Memphis, but they did pick up the win and kept their hopes of a AAC title in the process. Reynolds is now our third highest graded quarterback as a runner.