Oklahoma, one of the six undefeated teams atop last week’s AP Top 25 poll, lost over the weekend, shrinking the top group of College Football Playoff contenders and increasing in size the second tier of teams that hope to have a shot at making the playoff if they can get some help across the country.
Alabama won in dominant fashion without star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Ohio State picked up its best win of the season.
Here are our AP Top 25 poll predictions for Week 10. As a reminder, this isn’t a personal ballot. This is a prediction of how AP poll voters will collectively vote.
Dropped out of rankings: No. 23 Iowa State, No. 24 Arizona State
25. Wake Forest (6-1)
The Demon Deacons were off in Week 9 after winning 22-20 against Florida State. Next up is a home game against NC State in Week 10.
24. Texas (5-3)
If Texas’ name wasn’t Texas, there’s a chance the Longhorns wouldn’t receive serious consideration among AP poll voters but since it is, and since two of Texas’ three losses came against LSU and Oklahoma, the Longhorns will likely stay in the top 25 after their 37-27 loss at TCU. Even though Texas out-gained TCU 447 yards to 435, had just one fewer first down and converted on 8-of-18 third down attempts, the Longhorns lost by double digits because quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw four interceptions and TCU averaged nearly 3.5 more yards per pass attempt.
23. Kansas State (5-2)
The Wildcats handed then-No. 5 Oklahoma its first loss of the season, giving first-year head coach Chris Klieman a signature victory in a Year One that also includes wins at Mississippi State and over TCU. Kansas State is now just one win from bowl eligibility and it still has games against Big 12 bottom-feeders West Virginia, Kansas and Texas Tech.
22. Memphis (7-1)
The Tigers won a shootout at Tulsa 42-41 on Antonio Gibson’s one-yard touchdown in the final five minutes. Kenneth Gainwell rushed for 149 yards and three touchdowns in the victory. Memphis is a game behind SMU in the AAC West.
21. Boise State (6-1)
The Broncos were off in Week 9 after losing 28-25 at BYU in Week 8. Next up is a trip to San Jose State in Week 10.
20. Appalachian State (7-0)
The Mountaineers remain in the hunt for the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six bowl bid after a decisive 30-3 win over South Alabama in which Appalachian State kept the Jaguars off the scoreboard until the final six minutes of the game.
19. Iowa (6-2)
The Hawkeyes pitched a shutout on the road against Northwestern, 20-0, as Iowa scored once each quarter to coast to a three-possession victory. Iowa wasn’t efficient on a per-carry basis (3.1 yards per rush) but the Hawkeyes rushed for 123 yards on the afternoon and held Northwestern to just 64 rushing yards on 1.8 yards per carry. They sit two games behind Minnesota in the Big Ten West standings.
18. Notre Dame (5-2)
The Fighting Irish have now fallen in their two marquee road trips this season, the latest coming in a 45-14 fashion against a Michigan team that has looked far from a world-beater this season. The Wolverines closed as a one-point favorite in Vegas but they were dominant, holding Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book to 8-of-25 passing for 73 yards and the Fighting Irish managed just 47 rushing yards.
17. Michigan (6-2)
The Wolverines’ Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff hopes are all but over but they rallied for a nice win against Notre Dame, 45-14, in Ann Arbor. Michigan was dominant on the ground with 303 rushing yards, including 149 from Hassan Haskins, and 74 yards and two touchdowns from Zach Charbonnet.
16. Wisconsin (6-2)
In the span of two weeks, the Badgers have gone from a dark horse College Football Playoff contender to a team with significant work to do to even make the Big Ten Championship. Wisconsin lost 38-7 at Ohio State as the Buckeyes bottled up Jonathan Taylor (52 yards on 20 carries) and quarterback Jack Coan (108 yards on 10-of-17 passing).
15. Cincinnati (6-1)
The Bearcats were off in Week 9 after winning 24-13 against Tulsa in Week 8. Next up is a trip to East Carolina in Week 10.
14. Minnesota (8-0)
The Big Ten West-leading Gophers now have a two-game lead in the division after they beat Maryland 52-10 on a day in which Wisconsin lost at Ohio State. Minnesota absolutely dominated time of possession, holding the ball for 42 minutes and 53 seconds thanks to a 7-for-11 effort on third down and a perfect 2-for-2 success rate on fourth down. Rodney Smith needed just 17 carries to break the 100-yard mark.
13. SMU (8-0)
The Mustangs kept their undefeated record intact wit a 34-31 win over Houston on Thursday night in a game in which they never trailed. Quarterback Shane Buechele threw for two touchdowns and running back Xavier Jones ran for two in the victory.
12. Baylor (7-0)
The undefeated Bears were off in Week 9 one week after a 45-27 win in Week 8. Next up is a Thursday night home game against West Virginia.
11. Auburn (6-2)
The Tigers can say goodbye to their College Football Playoff hopes as they lost for the second time this season, 23-20 at LSU. Auburn led in each of the first three quarters but Joe Burrow, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and the Tigers’ defense proved to be too much down the stretch.
10. Utah (7-1)
The Utes pitched a 35-0 shutout against Cal to keep Utah on the outer edges of the College Football Playoff discussion. Running back Zack Moss was outstanding again with 17 carries for 115 yards and two touchdowns, while the Utes’ defense held Cal to a dismal 1.9 yards per play.
9. Oregon (7-1)
The Ducks’ College Football Playoff hopes remain alive after true freshman kicker Camden Lewis’ game-winning 26-yard field goal went through the uprights as time expired as Oregon beat Washington State 37-35 after the Cougars scored a go-ahead touchdown with 1:03 left in the game. Running back CJ Verdell had a career day with 23 carries for 257 yards and three touchdowns.
8. Georgia (6-1)
The Bulldogs were off in Week 9 after beating Kentucky 21-0. Next up is the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party against Florida.
7. Oklahoma (7-1)
The Sooners lost for the first time this season, falling 48-41 at Kansas State, after a 10-0 lead turned into a 48-23 deficit. Quarterback Jalen Hurts put up numbers – 19-of-26 passing for 395 passing yards and a touchdown, plus 96 yards and three scores on the ground – but a few costly plays like an interception on a trick play and a botched on-side kick kept Oklahoma from escaping Manhattan unscathed.
6. Florida (7-1)
The Gators were idle in Week 9 after winning 38-27 at South Carolina. Next up is the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party against Georgia.
5. Penn State (8-0)
After some recent struggles against Michigan State, Penn State was dominant in East Lansing, winning 28-7 and holding the Spartans to just 2.7 yards per rush and 4.2 yards per pass attempt. Quarterback Sean Clifford found tight end Pat Freiermuth for a touchdown three times and the Nittany Lions’ defense kept the Spartans out of the end zone for the first 52 minutes.
4. Clemson (8-0)
The Tigers coasted 59-7 against Boston College as Trevor Lawrence threw for three touchdowns and running back Travis Etienne added three touchdowns on the ground. In Clemson’s three games since it squeaked out a win against North Carolina, the Tigers have outscored their opponent 149-31 but right or wrong, you’ll likely continue to hear about that UNC game given the lack of ranked opponents on Clemson’s schedule.
3. Ohio State (8-0)
The Buckeyes might be the best team in the country and arguably the only things keeping them from the No. 1 ranking are the name value of Alabama and LSU’s impressive resume. Ohio State treated a top-15 Wisconsin team like it has basically every other opponent it has faced this season – like a monster truck going over an empty soda can. Running back J.K. Dobbins was the best running back on the field in Ohio State’s 38-7 win, running for 163 yards and two touchdowns on 20 attempts, while defensive end Chase Young had a game that showed why he might be the best player in the country – six total tackles, four sacks, five tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.
2. LSU (8-0)
The strongest resume in the country just got stronger as LSU held off then-No. 9 Auburn 23-20. Heisman Trophy frontrunner Joe Burrow completed 32-of-42 passes for 321 yards, one touchdown and a pick, while running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran 26 times for 136 yards and a touchdown, plus seven receptions for 51 yards.
1. Alabama (8-0)
No Tua, no problem for the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide in Week 9 against Arkansas. With backup Mac Jones under center, Alabama won 48-7 as Jones only had one more incompletion (four) than touchdown passes (three) on 22 attempts. He threw for 235 passing yards, while running back Najee Harris rushed for 86 yards and two touchdowns, and the Crimson Tide’s defense picked off Arkansas quarterback Nick Starkel three times.