PFF’s Top 25 teams in college football

Gordon McGuinness, Steve Palazzolo, and Mike Renner use PFF's data to rank the top 25 teams heading into Week 7.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/LM Otero)

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

PFF’s Top 25 teams in college football

The top three remain the same, but several big upsets have shaken up the rest of the top 25, with a new addition to round out the group.

1. Ohio State (previous rank: 1)

Cardale Jones graded positively at +1.9 for the first time since the season opener. More importantly, the Buckeyes got creative on offense to get the ball in the hands of J.T. Barrett (+0.8) and Braxton Miller (+3.1).

2. Michigan State (2)

Last week, we noted that quarterback Connor Cook has been something of a disappointment recently, not quite living up to his preseason hype. Naturally, he responded with a +6.9 showing against Rutgers, his highest graded game of the year so far.

3. Baylor (3)

People continue to expect the wheels to fall off for Baylor at some point, but the simple fact is that nobody has been able to come close to slowing their offense down.

4. LSU (6)

Climbing each and every week, the Tigers continue to be powered by Leonard Fournette. Five games into the 2015 season, and he has forced 30 missed tackles on the ground. They have a tough challenge against also-undefeated Florida this week, who’s tough defense should give Fournette as much resistance as any defense he’ll face all year.

5. TCU (4)

Credit where credit is due: the Horned Frogs keep winning. They just don’t ever look particularly impressive doing so. Defensively, they have allowed 37 or more points in three games already this year, something that will be a big concern when it comes time to play Baylor.

6. Florida State (5)

Quarterback Everett Golson is quietly having a very solid year for Florida State, limiting mistakes and making plays when he needs to. Running back Dalvin Cook is the star of the offense, though, with 30 missed tackles forced from just 88 carries.

7. Utah (11)

Utah really doesn’t seem to be getting the respect it deserves. The Utes have made it to the halfway point of the year unbeaten, and are the only team to beat Michigan—a team that is starting to look really good. In the year of the running back, Devontae Booker is having a huge year for the Utes.

8. Alabama (7)

Jake Coker’s -5.0 performance against Arkansas last weekend was his worst of the year, but once again, the Crimson Tide survived. Their loaded defense can continue to carry them, but they need more consistency from Coker.

9. Clemson (8)

The Tigers’ defense continues to look better and better each week. Up front, Shaq Lawson (+13.0) and Kevin Dodd (+9.3) have really impressed, while linebackers B.J. Goodson (+9.0) and Ben Boulware (+12.5) have looked just as good.

10. Texas A&M (10)

Looking for the respect that they haven’t quite found, despite an undefeated start to the season, the Aggies get the chance to earn that this weekend when they take on Alabama. Can defensive end Myles Garrett and company create enough havoc to beat the Crimson Tide?

11. Florida (12)

The big news this week was the suspension of quarterback Will Grier. It’s a loss they would rather not have to deal with, but let’s not forget that the Gators got this far mainly off the strength of their defense. Backup QB Treon Harris should be able to keep the offense ticking in Grier’s absence.

12. Michigan (24)

It’s time to start taking the Wolverines very seriously. Back after that Week 1 loss, we all thought this would be a rebuilding year for Jim Harbaugh. Three straight shutouts later, and we’re realizing that isn’t the case at all. Offensively, they have their issues, but this Michigan defense is stacked from top to bottom, with cornerback Jourdan Lewis (+15.3) playing as well as any defensively player in the country.

13. Oklahoma State (UR)

They survived quarterback Mason Rudolph’s lowest-graded game of the season (-1.3) to get past the West Virginia Mountaineers, and ultimately their defensive talent is what can help them stay undefeated. Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (+20.4) is having a huge year.

14. Notre Dame (17)

The Irish bounced back from that late loss to Clemson to keep themselves alive in the college football playoff picture. Looking ahead on their schedule, this weekend’s game against USC and the final game of the year against Stanford look to be their toughest challenges.

15. Stanford (24)

You have to wonder if we’d be talking about Stanford as the best team in the Pac-12 if they hadn’t lost in the first game of the year against Northwestern, but their offense continues to get better each week.

16. Northwestern (13)

Michigan ended their hopes of an unbeaten season with a big win on Saturday, but let’s not take away from a tremendous 2015 from the Wildcats so far. They held Stanford to six points in Week 1, and since then, nobody has kept the Cardinal below 31.

17. Iowa (20)

While everyone is talking about the three-way battle between Ohio State, Michigan State, and Michigan in the Big Ten East, Iowa is quietly undefeated in the West. Linebacker Josey Jewell (+11.5) has now registered 21 defensive stops this season.

18. Ole Miss (15)

They might have blown out New Mexico State, but once again, quarterback Chad Kelly (-1.6) graded negatively. That’s four games in a row, and it won’t be easy for him this week against undefeated Memphis in one of the more underrated games of the weekend.

19. Memphis (21)

Did we mention that the Tigers are unbeaten? Quarterback Paxton Lynch (+15.8) is having a big year, and is currently our third-highest graded quarterback. Getting past Ole Miss won’t be easy, but if they do, it sets them up for an exciting end to the season.

20. UCLA (19)

This weekend’s game against Stanford is huge for both teams, with the loser likely out of the college football playoff picture. They need a steady performance from quarterback Josh Rosen (-0.1), but their defense will give the improved Stanford offense a tough test.

21. Temple (21)

Another week, another win for the Owls. A tough run in the second half of the season with games against Notre Dame and Memphis will really push them if they want to go undefeated, but they have the talent defensively to cause a shock or two like they did in the season opener against Penn State.

22. Toledo (25)

Compared with a lot of other undefeated teams, the Rockets have a soft schedule in the second half of the season. Based on how they’ve played so far this year, particularly on defense, they should like their chances of running the table.

23. Oklahoma (9)

A shocking loss against Texas on Saturday causes the Sooners plummet in our Top 25. More surprising was that they lost despite Baker Mayfield (+8.9) having his second highest graded game of the year. They have as tough of an ending to the season as any team in college football, with undefeated, Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State in three successive weeks to end the year.

24. Houston (UR)

Our highest-graded quarterback, from a rushing stand point, so far this year is Houston’s Greg Ward Jr. He’s forced 16 missed tackles on his way to helping the Cougars to a 5-0 start, with them now looking at an exciting second half of the season, with some tough games to navigate if they are to stay unbeaten.

25. Duke (UR)

Safety Jeremy Cash is a player that more people need to hear about. Having a fantastic season, he’s been dominant against the run, and made the most of his limited pass rushing opportunities. He’s rushed the passer 27 times this season, and has produced two sacks, seven hits, and 10 hurries. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils are 5-1 with their only loss coming against a tough Northwestern team.

| Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst

Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.

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