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 8.
PFF’s Top 25 teams in college football
Our top nine stay in the same positions, with some big games looming that could shake things up, but there’s plenty of movement from No. 10 and beyond in this week’s Top 25.
1. Ohio State (Previous ranking: 1)
The change at quarterback has finally happened, with J.T. Barrett (-1.0) the new starter taking over from Cardale Jones (-8.0). It’s unlikely to do much to boost the passing game, but he was the far superior runner of the two last year so it should spark the offense a bit.
2. Michigan State (2)
They might still undefeated thanks to that botched punt by Michigan, but it doesn’t make them any less of a threat going forward. Connor Cook (+17.2) is playing well right now, and he has the luxury of throwing to one of our highest-graded receivers in Aaron Burbridge (+17.7).
3. Baylor (3)
56, 66, 70, 63, 66, 62. That’s the points totals produced by Baylor every week this season. At some point someone has to slow that offense down, but how much can you actually slow it down? At this stage slowing down the touchdown passes from Seth Russell (+23.0) to Corey Coleman (+16.0) would mean holding them to 40 points.
4. LSU (4)
It’s the year of the running back but it feels like it’s just Leonard Fournette’s (+24.5) year. In six games he has rushed for over 1,200 yards and forced 41 missed tackles on the ground. He’s not the only reason behind the Tigers’ success though, with quarterback Brandon Harris (+13.2) arguably the best quarterback in the SEC right now.
5. TCU (5)
The Horned Frogs have some stars on both sides of the ball, with wide receiver Josh Doctson (+12.6) having a big year catching passes from Trevone Boykin (+22.7) on offense. Defensively, safety Denzel Johnson (+18.5) is impressing both against the run and in coverage.
6. Florida State (6)
Dalvin Cook (+19.5) came alive in the second half after a slow first half against Louisville. He had one of the best runs you’ll see all year, and it’s easy to see how much he is powering this Florida State offense.
7. Utah (7)
Each week we wonder if they can stay unbeaten, and each week they do. They got past a tricky Arizona State team last week, but need to be careful against a USC team that has talent beyond their 3-3 record.
8. Alabama (8)
That loss against Ole Miss might not hurt them after all, but it’s going to come down to the game against LSU on November 7th. They need to get past Tennessee this week before they start worrying about Leonard Fournette coming to town though.
9. Clemson (9)
They did what was asked of them against Boston College, and remain on track to take on Florida State in a battle of the unbeatens on November 7th. Before then though, they need to get past the Miami Hurricanes, including running back Joseph Yearby (+12.0), who has forced 23 missed tackles as a runner this year.
10. Oklahoma State (13)
They’ll be expected to pick up wins against Kansas and Texas Tech each of the next two weeks to ensure they are 8-0, but that’s when the fun really starts, with games against TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma in the final four weeks of the year.
11. Stanford (15)
If they hadn’t lost against Northwestern to open the year, we’d be talking about Stanford as potentially the number one team in the country right now. That’s how well they are playing. 41 points or more in four straight games has seen many picking them to win the Pac-12 over the currently undefeated Utah Utes.
12. Florida (11)
They lost to LSU, as most expected, but it was close. Now they need their defensive stars like defensive tackle Johnathan Bullard (+25.4) to dust themselves off and get to the Florida State game to end the year with just the one loss.
13. Iowa (17)
The Big 10 team everyone forgets about. While Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan battle it out in one division, the Hawkeyes are unbeaten and looking likely to be part of the conference championship game. Defensively, led by defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson (+16.6), they have been stout against the run.
14. Texas A&M (10)
It was always going to be tough to stay unbeaten going against Alabama, but the Aggies have still had a solid season so far. Their schedule sets up nicely for them to get to the final game of the year against LSU with just the one loss, so they aren’t out of it yet.
15. Notre Dame (14)
They’ve rebounded from that loss to Clemson in impressive fashion, and have kept themselves in the College Football Playoff hunt for now. The offense is really clicking, with C.J. Prosise (+18.5) having a really impressive season.
16. Michigan (12)
Such a tough way to lose a game for the Wolverines, but they had several opportunities to pull away from Michigan State and never took them. Quarterback Jake Rudock (-13.7) has really struggled last year, and it’s made life harder for the Wolverines, who have one of the very best defenses in the country.
17. Memphis (19)
Being 10.5 point underdogs at home against Ole Miss always seemed harsh on the Tigers, especially with Paxton Lynch (+24.4) our sixth highest graded quarterback on the year. He continues to make big time throws, and has the Tigers in position for a New Year’s Six bowl appearance.
18. Temple (21)
They still have tough games against Notre Dame and Memphis over the final six games of the season, but the Temple Owls continue to impress defensively. Defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis (+14.3) has impressed as a pass rusher, with three sacks, six hits and six hurries this year so far.
19. Toledo (22)
Another week and another victory for the rockets, this time putting up 63 points on Eastern Michigan. Quarterback Phillip Ely (+6.0) is having a solid season, and they look like the favorites in the MAC, with a realistic shot to go unbeaten.
20. Oklahoma (23)
The rebounded from the costly loss against Texas to hammer Kansas State 55-0. Quarterback Maker Mayfield (+24.5) is our fifth highest graded player at the position, and has the Sooners ready for a tough three game stretch to end the year, with games at Baylor, against TCU, and at Oklahoma State to end the year.
21. Houston (24)
All the talk right now is about how Memphis are undefeated, but Houston are right there with them, with a potential battle of the undefeated looming between the two on November 14th. Quarterback Greg Ward Jr. is our highest graded quarterback right now, thanks in no small part to his +17.8 rushing grade.
22. Duke (25)
It won’t be easy, with six ACC games left to go, but the Blue Devils have a real shot to with their division and go to the ACC Championship game. On defense safety Jeremy Cash (+20.2) is finally starting to get the credit he deserves.
23. UCLA (20)
Their second loss of the season against Stanford has likely ended their hopes of being part of the College Football Playoff, but this season they have shown improvement. The big hope for the future has been the play of quarterback Josh Rosen (+8.0) and the expectation is already there for what he can do, both this season and beyond.
24. Western Kentucky (unranked)
Their only loss so far this year was decided by a field goal in a 38-35 defeat at Indiana, and the key to the Hilltoppers big season has been quarterback Brandon Doughty (+24.8). Our fourth highest graded quarterback this season, he has continually made big throws in 2015.
25. Ole Miss (15)
A second loss on the year is tough, especially with games against Texas A&M and LSU to come. Once a big part of the College Football Playoff picture, they have really fallen away in recent weeks. Star defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche (+15.3) missed most of the game after picking up an injury playing on offense.
Gordon McGuinness | 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.