College Football Power Rankings: Notre Dame claims No. 1, Florida rejoins top five after huge wins

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College Football Power Rankings: Notre Dame claims No. 1, Florida rejoins top five after huge wins



1


Notre Dame
The Power Rankings are bestowing an honor on the Irish that they have not reached since 2012 — a No. 1 ranking. That 2012 team didn’t have near the talent as this one. Give me quarterback Ian Book, safety Kyle Richardson and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in any foxhole, and I’ll take my chances. One of my favorite stats this season: Notre Dame opponents have led for a total of 23 minutes all season. 4 7-0
2


Alabama
You snooze (during a bye week), you lose (the No. 1 ranking). Don’t worry, it will all work out in the end. Mac Jones is still a Heisman Trophy candidate. The receivers are still the best. Nick Saban still invented quantum physics (or so I’m told). But Notre Dame just beat No. 1. Patience Bama, you’ll get your chance to prove yourself. — 6-0
3


Ohio State
If you get past Rutgers’ fearlessness (onside kicks, trick plays), it was another dominating Buckeyes performance. Not to be ignored was Justin Fields throwing five touchdown passes, increasing his Ohio State total to 52 with only three interceptions in two seasons. Yes, you are impressed. — 3-0
4


Clemson
Would anything have been different with Trevor Lawrence? Doubtful. Notre Dame made it a point to shut down the run. That put the game on freshman D.J. Uiagalelei, who almost won it with a Notre Dame-opponent record 439 passing yards. In two starts in place of Lawrence, he’s passed for 788 yards and four touchdowns. Lawrence returns after a bye week to face Florida State. 3 7-1
5


Florida
There is a changing of the guard in the SEC East. For the first time in four years, the Gators beat Georgia and all but clinched the division. Kyle Trask should be the Heisman frontrunner — or something close to it — after tossing four more touchdowns. He is no Joe Burrow yet, but after five games in their respective breakout seasons, they both are even at 22 touchdown passes. 2 4-1
6


Cincinnati
Here’s the weird thing. Luke Fickell would be perfect for Michigan. But in the silly, loyalist world of college football, Michigan would never hire an Ohio State guy if it parted ways with the ultimate Michigan Man (Jim Harbaugh). (Yes, Bo Schembechler coached at Ohio State, but he didn’t go to school there.) The Bearcats remain on the doorstep of CFP consideration with a 38-10 win over Houston. — 6-0
7


Oklahoma State
Cowboys needed some guts at Kansas State. Down several offensive players, the defense stepped up in a 20-18 win that kept Oklahoma State in Big 12 contention. The defense returned a fumble 85 yards for a score then stopped a Wildcats two-point conversion that would have tied it with 2 minutes left. 1 5-1
8


BYU
Zach Wilson reminds me of Lennon. Quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick is McCartney. Together they are one of the best quarterback-play caller combo in the game. Wilson lit up Boise State for 359 passing yards in a 51-17 dismantling. Roderick, a former assistant under Kyle Whittingham at Utah, was brilliant with his shifts and motions. The shame is there’s no guaranteed New Year’s Six berth for independents. 1 8-0
9


Texas A&M
The Aggies’ playoff run continues. A 48-3 win at South Carolina was so complete the boos rained down at Brice-Williams Stadium. Kellen Mond set a school record with his 68th career touchdown pass. “We’re turning heads and doing a lot of things that people didn’t think we were going to do,” defensive tackle Bobby Brown III said. 3 5-1
10


Georgia
Remember when Kirby Smart was the standard in defensive coaching? The Dawgs have now given up at least 41 points twice in a season for the first time since 2013. The loss to Florida looked a lot like the Alabama game. Georgia just does not have the offensive weapons to win a championship. Not in the SEC this season. JT Daniels’ knee must be really hobbled if he can’t get on the field. Georgia simply can’t win at a high level with Stetson Bennett IV. 6 4-2
11


Oregon
It wasn’t efficient, but what did you expect? It’s Stanford, one of the most physical squads in the country. Physical but not very good on offense. Mario Cristobal’s crew opened the season with a convincing 35-14 win. Cardinal QB Davis Mills was unavailable meaning Tyler Shough had the stage to himself. In his first start, he threw for 227 yards and ran for 85 more. 1 1-0
12


Miami (FL)
In a performance for the ages, D’Eriq King ran up 535 yards in total offense and tossed five touchdown passes against NC State. He is the first to achieve those numbers at two different schools in 25 years. The Hurricanes suddenly find themselves a half game out of second in the ACC. If you need to be reminded, the top two in the ACC this season play for the championship. 1 6-1
13


Indiana
The last time Indiana beat Michigan by double digits was 1959. The Hoosiers are 3-0 for the first time since 1988 after a 38-21 win. This is the first time they’ve beaten Michigan and Penn State in the same season. And if you’re wondering, the Ohio State game is in two weeks. The Big Ten East will be at stake. 1 3-0
14


Oklahoma
The Sooners have won four in a row after an expected beat down of Kansas, 62-9. Rhamondre Stevenson ran for 104 yards in his second game back from a drug positive suspension. “I still don’t feel like … that we can’t play with them,” Kansas coach Les Miles said. What the what?! 1 5-2
15


North Carolina
When the Tar Heels offense is humming, it’s as good as any in the nation. North Carolina scored touchdowns on its first six possessions and rolled Duke, 56-24. Sam Howell tossed three touchdowns. The rushing attack averaged 7.2 yards. Mack Brown followed by saying something witty and humble. 4 5-2
16


Coastal Carolina
The Chanticleers scored on their first two possessions against South Alabama, then went to sleep offensively. They carved out only three field goals the rest of the way in a 23-6 win over South Alabama. “I told them that when they have their own kids, there’s no ugly baby,” CCU coach Jamey Chadwell said. So there’s that. 2 7-0
17


Iowa State
For the first time, Iowa State has started a conference season 5-1. That after a 38-31 home win over Baylor. The Bears turned three Brock Purdy interceptions into touchdowns. The Cyclones still lead the Big 12 with three games left. Hey, it’s only been 108 years since Iowa State won a conference title. 4 5-2
18


Wisconsin
Idle: Sooner or later, the Badgers need to start playing. COVID-19 positives have ground the program to a halt. Coach Paul Chryst is over the coronavirus and some football activities have begun. The Badgers can’t afford another cancellation and (per Big Ten rules) compete for the conference title. 3 1-0
19


USC
The Trojans spent the first 55 minutes mostly falling behind Arizona State. Then in the last 5 minutes, Kedon Slovis led USC back in a 28-27 win. Down six, the Trojans recovered an onside kick and drove 45 yards for the game-winning pass to Drake London. They did it all in time for lunch. The game started at 9 a.m. PT. 1 1-0
20


SMU
The Mustangs just keep hanging around the New Year’s Six conversation. Since losing to Cincinnati a couple of weeks ago, SMU has scored a combined 98 points in its last two games. Temple went down 47-23 when SMU scored 37 second-half points. Only five quarterbacks have more touchdown passes than Shane Buechele’s 20 this season. 3 7-1
21


Texas
West Virginia was stopped on downs twice in the red zone in the fourth quarter and the Longhorns held on 17-13. Texas has won three straight following the four-overtime loss to Oklahoma NR 5-2
22


Marshall
A week before the 50th anniversary of the Marshall plane crash, the Thundering Herd moved to 6-0 with a 51-10 win over UMass. Grant Wells threw three more touchdowns and sits at 11 on the season. Only four freshmen quarterbacks have more. 2 6-0
23


Liberty
In some parallel universe, the Flames might be a playoff team. They’ve certainly accomplished more than some contenders. The win over Virginia Tech was their second over a Power Five team this season. NR 7-0
24


Northwestern
The Wildcats are 3-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 2000. The defense hasn’t allowed a point in the second half after a 21-13 win over Nebraska. Coach Pat Fitzgerald continues to make the Wildcats the easiest team to root for this side of “Hoosiers”. NR 3-0
25


San Jose State
Why not some Mountain West love? Boise State got embarrassed, and the Spartans are 3-0 for the first time since 1982. If you want a trendy pick for national coach of the year, you could do worse that San Jose State’s Brent Brennan. In five of the last 11 seasons, the Spartans haven’t won more than three games. NR 3-0





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