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 the exact same, with some big games to come to separate them, but their plenty of movement from 10 and beyond, this week’s College Top 25.
1. Ohio State (Previous ranking: 1)
J.T. Barrett (+3.3) took the reigns as the Buckeyes starting quarterback again, and had the highest graded game by an Ohio State quarterback this season. He can create big plays with his legs and just seems like a better fit for the offense right now.
2. Michigan State (2)
Over the past three weeks, no quarterback has graded as highly as Michigan State’s Connor Cook. With Aaron Burbridge to throw the ball to, this offense is really starting to click. We’re just two games away from seeing them take on our current number one team in the country, and that’s as exciting a matchup as we’ll see all year.
3. LSU (4)
The LSU train continues to gather steam, and the injury to quarterback Seth Russell for Baylor, combined with yet another outstanding performance from Leonard Fournette sees them jump to third. That game with Alabama is the key though, but as we said last week, Brandon Harris is the best quarterback in the SEC right now.
4. Baylor (3)
Quarterback Seth Russell is out for the year and they didn’t play particularly well on offense against Iowa State, and yet they managed to put up 45 points despite that. Taking over at quarterback is Jarrett Stidham, who has seen three of his four passes of 20 yards or more this year go for touchdowns.
5. TCU (5)
Are they now the favourites in the Big 12? We’ll see soon when the top four in that conference take each other on in what will be a crazy month of November, but with our highest graded quarterback in Trevone Boykin, they’ll feel good about their chances.
6. Clemson (9)
They made a statement against the Miami Hurricanes, in a game that was over by the end of the first quarter. Most importantly, they did it the same week that Florida State slipped up, shifting all the attention in the ACC to the Tigers. That defense, led by defensive end Shaq Lawson and linebacker Ben Boulware have earned the attention, but they still have to get past Florida State late in the year.
7. Alabama (8)
One by one, or two by two in the case of this week, the undefeated teams above the Crimson Tide continue to lose. Meanwhile Alabama continue to get enough offense to get by with that standout defensive line. It hasn’t been pretty, but they continue to grind out wins on their way to the showdown with LSU.
8. Stanford (11)
What we said about Alabama slowly climbing as teams drop off rings true here for Stanford too. That loss against Northwestern to open the year wasn’t good, but they’ve rebounded so well since then. They continue to put the ball in the hands of Christian McCaffrey, who is by far the best all purpose player in the nation. It will be interesting to see what happens if they win out but need to jump an undefeated team to make the College Football Playoff
9. Oklahoma State (10)
They’ve somehow become the forgotten undefeated team in the Big 12 with TCU and Baylor, but they can change all that by beating them in November. Have we mentioned how much fun the Big 12 matchups in November will be?
10. Iowa (13)
Strength of schedule is what keeps the Hawkeyes from being ranked higher, but realistically it’s unlikely that they are going to slip up between now and the end of the year. That means they’ll make it to the Big 10 Championship game to take on whoever makes it out of the chaos that could be the Michigan-Michigan State-Ohio State triangle.
11. Florida State (6)
That was a heartbreaking was to lose their first game of the year, but you could argue that they didn’t get the ball to Dalvin Cook enough in the second half. They’re still a good football team, and can get back on track by beating Clemson later in the year, but a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown might be what keeps them from the College Football Playoff in the end.
12. Florida (12)
That loss against LSU is still the only blemish on their record, and they get the opportunity to clinch their division this weekend against Georgia. Do that and they’ll have a date with Alabama or LSU in the SEC Championship game.
13. Utah (7)
The loss that people have been predicting for weeks finally happened, but it was the manner of the loss which was most troubling. Quarterback Travis Wilson threw some terrible interceptions as they were blown away by USC, that’s the part which will hurt them the most, even if they do run the table.
14. Notre Dame (15)
Don’t look now but suddenly the Fighting Irish are starting to impress a lot of people. C.J. Prosise leads the offense, and has quietly become one of the best running backs in all of football. They get to take to try to end the dreams of one of the AAC undefeated teams in Temple this Saturday.
15. Michigan (16)
After a week off, it’s time to see how the Wolverines respond to the heartbreak that was the loss to Michigan State courtesy of the “kick-six”. It’s hard to imagine that head coach Jim Harbaugh won’t have them fired up to rebound. What’s important to remember is that they are still very much alive in the Big Ten picture.
16. Memphis (17)
Here’s an interesting scenario for you. Imagine Memphis go undefeated, and Ole Miss continue to rack up the wins following their loss to the Tigers, how many undefeated teams need to lose before we start talking about Paxton Lynch leading them into the College Football Playoff?
17. Temple (18)
This might be the week that the dream ends for Temple, but they have the defense to really cause Notre Dame some problems. Defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis and linebacker Tyler Matakevich are just two of the standouts on that side of the ball.
18. Oklahoma (20)
Quarterback Baker Mayfield is looking really good, and the running game is starting to stand out too. The Sooners are the dark horse in the Big 12, and they could really cause some chaos, and even sneak in to win the conference, with those big games in November.
19. Toledo (19)
They’ve been unstaged by the story of the three unbeaten teams in the AAC, but Toledo did beat Power Five opponents in Arkansas and Iowa State early in the year. Their lack of competition will hurt them, but they have a really strong chance at running the table without a loss.
20. Houston (21)
Quarterback Greg Ward Jr. had his lowest graded game of the year against UCF, and that’s something that will be of concern with Cincinnati, Memphis and Navy still looming on the schedule. Still, he’s made so many big plays with his legs this year that this team still has a chance.
21. Duke (22)
Everyone is talking about Clemson and Florida State in the ACC, but Duke have lost just one game all year, to a tough Northwestern team. They have still to play North Carolina and Pittsburgh, with all three currently in play to take on Florida State or Clemson in the ACC Championship game. The Blue Devils boast one of the best defensive players in the nation in do-it-all defensive back Jeremy Cash.
22. Pittsburgh (Unranked)
It only seems fair to have them right alongside the Blue Devils. Their only loss of the year came against unbeaten Iowa earlier in the year, and they have rebounded well, especially considering they lost star running back James Conner for the season. Offensively wide receiver Tyler Boyd has been the star for them in 2015.
23. North Carolina (Unranked)
Why not make it three in a row for the ACC Coastal hopefuls? Losing to South Carolina by four points is what separates them from the unbeatens right now, but we get to see what they are made of against Pittsburgh this week. If they want to make the conference championship game, they’ll need a win here. Quarterback Marquise Williams (+14.5) has our fifth highest rushing grade for a quarterback this year.
24. UCLA (24)
That loss by Utah to USC has really opened things up again in the Pac-12 South division. Suddenly the Bruins are in the position where they could make the conference championship game if they win out, with big games against Utah and USC in the final two weeks of the season.
25. Ole Miss (25)
After the loss to Memphis it was important for the Rebels to bounce back against Texas A&M, and they did so relatively comfortably. With LSU awaiting on November 21st, there is a realistic chance that they will end the season a three loss team, but let’s not forget that this is the only team to make a blemish on Alabama’s schedule this season so far.
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.