Tomorrow’s Top 25 Today: LSU soars after Alabama win as Georgia secures No. 1 in college football rankings

The first Saturday in November always proves to be a pivot point in the college football season, and the scores and results from Week 10 provided that once again. But while the top 10 of the updated college football rankings should get significantly shaken up come Sunday and Tuesday, the argument for No. 1 has become as simple as its been in weeks. When the new AP Top 25 is released Sunday, we’re projecting that Georgia will not only hold that top spot but carry enough first-place votes to end the debates around that coveted poll position. 

Though Georgia was ranked No. 3 in the first College Football Playoff Rankings released last Tuesday, the Bulldogs were No. 1 in last week’s AP Top 25 with 30 first-place votes compared to 18 for Tennessee and 15 for Ohio State. Tennessee getting No. 1 in the first CFP Rankings allowed for Saturday’s showdown to get a “No. 1 vs. No. 1 billing,” but after the Dawgs dominated nearly the entire game in a two-touchdown win, the voters should certainly have their first-place votes worked out.

There may be some Ohio State voters who hang on to their position, but considering the Buckeyes’ offensive struggles at Northwestern, there won’t be many of those Tennessee voters who choose Ohio State over Georgia.

The CFP Rankings will also have an influence on voters as it pertains to LSU, which recorded just as significant of a win with its 32-31 overtime victory against Alabama. The Tigers were ranked No. 15 in last week’s AP Top 25 but showed up at No. 10 in the first CFP Rankings despite already holding two losses.

Across the last eight years of the CFP era, we have seen that AP voters consistently react and adjust their rankings based on what the CFP Selection Committee has to say in its first rankings release. It’s not always dramatic as there is another week of results to consider, but the conversation around the sport changes when the committee begins to release its rankings. The Tigers not only showed that they was closer to being No. 10 initially, they proved worthy of top-10 status with their win over the Crimson Tide. 

The SEC was not the only place where the rankings are going to see some significant reactions. Clemson took its first loss of the season at Notre Dame, a team that was unranked but will likely be in the top 25 on Sunday, and Kansas State lost to Texas, another team that was unranked last week but will almost certainly be back in to the top 25. In total, nearly half of the top 25 were defeated in Week 10, and that promises to lead to plenty of changes in the college football rankings.  

Here’s how we think the new AP Top 25 will look on Sunday: 

1. Georgia (Last week — 1): The Dawgs defense swarmed and swallowed the top-ranked Vols offense in a 27-13 win between the hedges. Georgia will not only remain No. 1 but gain significant rankings points first-place votes. (Expect to see UGA up to No. 1 in the CFP Rankings this coming Tuesday, too.)

2. Ohio State (2): With the inclement weather conditions neutralizing Ohio State’s edge with the passing attack (C.J. Stroud had just 76 yards on 10-of-26 passing), this was tougher than desired for the Buckeyes. Still, OSU scored the final 21 points of the game and held Northwestern scoreless across the final three frames.

3. Michigan (4): Trailing at Rutgers 17-14 through the first 30 minutes, the Wolverines poured it on in the second half with a 38-0 margin to win decisively, 52-17. Just a couple weeks left until Ohio State-Michigan for the top spot in the Big Ten.

4. TCU (7): Trailing Texas Tech 17-13 in the third quarter with star wide receiver Quentin Johnston sidelined by injury, the upset alert sirens were out for the unbeaten Horned Frogs. But three fourth-quarter touchdowns gave TCU a 10-point win that will look just fine to voters who weren’t tracking the action through the afternoon. Perhaps the Frogs will get more respect from the committee this week.

5. Tennessee (2): The two-touchdown loss to Georgia was not ideal, but Tennessee will not fall far. The Vols have been incredibly impressive up until Saturday and now sit 8-1 with a win against Alabama helping their ranking. The Tide’s loss certainly did not help, but it’s hardly disastrous given the tough road SEC teams face.

6. Oregon (8): Three tough tests remain on the regular season schedule with Washington, Utah and Oregon State, but the Ducks seem to be tuned up for the challenge given their performance in a 49-10 win at Colorado on Saturday.  

7. LSU (15): The Tigers and coach Brian Kelly proved their doubters wrong taking advantage of a crazy evening atmosphere at Death Valley for an upset win over the Tide in overtime. Kelly’s decision to go for a 2-point conversion with Alabama unable to answer proved genius, and Jayden Daniels looked electric, particularly in the second half. LSU’s rise will be significant given its placement in the CFP Rankings coupled with its win over Bama.

8. Alabama (6): With two losses on its record now, the Tide’s road to the SEC Championship Game and CFP becomes notably tough. It sits third in the SEC West and must beat Ole Miss next week to even have an outside shot at representing the division. Alabama may miss just its second playoff in the nine-year history of the event.

9. Clemson (5): Wins over the likes of NC State, Wake Forest and Syracuse have helped prop up Clemson’s status as one of the top teams in the country, but in a week that will likely see two of those teams fall from the rankings, it’s difficult to know where the Tigers will land. It’s possible voters will remain loyal to a program that has so much experience in the top 10, but the offensive woes at Notre Dame could be enough for voters to make a dramatic move all the way down to No. 11 or No. 12. 

10. USC (9): The Trojans are currently in action against Cal. 

11. UCLA (10): The Bruins are currently in action at Arizona State 

12. Ole Miss (11): The Rebels were off in Week 10 and will be back in action next week hosting Alabama in the SEC on CBS Game of the Week. 

13. Utah (12): After being a surprise scratch from last Thursday’s win against Washington State, quarterback Cameron Rising returned to action for the Utes against Arizona in a 45-20 win that saw the offense roll up more than 300 rushing yards. 

14. Penn State (16): The one-two punch at running back of Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton combined for 159 yards and four touchdowns on the ground in a 45-14 win at Indiana. It’s the kind of result that helps voters move past last week’s disappointing loss to Ohio State and change the perspective to Penn State being one of the best two-loss teams in the country.  

15. North Carolina (17): Things got a little tight at times in Charlottesville, but Drake Maye had three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) and connected with wide receiver Josh Downs 15 times for 166 yards in the 31-28 win against Virginia. 

16. Tulane (19): With a 27-13 win at Tulsa, the Green Wave improve to 8-1 overall and 5-0 in AAC play. The home stretch is going to be thrilling for the AAC and New Year’s Six race as Tulane plays UCF and SMU in New Orleans followed by a road game at Cincinnati over the final three weeks of the season.  

17. NC State (21): The Wolfpack outscored the Demon Deacons 13-7 in the second half to pull off a 30-21 win as MJ Morris tossed three touchdowns for NC State. The Pack will have their eyes set on North Carolina in Week 13, while the Deacons must lick their wounds after dropping consecutive games.

18. Notre Dame (NR): The Fighting Irish have a really difficult profile for voters to balance. The team has wins against Clemson, North Carolina and Syracuse — all ranked in last week’s poll — but also losses to Marshall and Stanford. Last week, Notre Dame finished 30th in voting points, so after beating Clemson in dominant fashion on Saturday night, we’re projecting an unusually strong move up in the rankings. 

19. Texas (NR): The Longhorns were the first team just outside the top 25 last week, so there is no doubt that they are poised for not only a return to the rankings but a quick jump up thanks to the 34-27 road win at Kansas State, which was ranked No. 13 heading into the game.  

20. Kansas State (13): Some of the churn at the bottom of the rankings, and Texas’ rise into the top 25, should keep the Wildcats in the top 25 after Saturday night’s close defeat.  

21. Liberty (23): The Hugh Freeze stock price is soaring now that the Flames are 8-1 after a 21-19 win at Arkansas. Considering the opponent, the setting and the fact that Liberty has been dealing with significant injury issues all season, this has to go down as one of the bigger wins in program history.  

22. Coastal Carolina (NR): There were a lot of eyes on Thursday night’s 35-28 win against Appalachian State, so we’re projecting that the fact the Chanticleers are 8-1 and one of the final one-loss teams remaining will get them bumped to the front of the line for a move into the top 25.  

23. Illinois (14): Michigan State suspended eight players in the wake of last weekend’s tunnel issues at Michigan, but Illinois was not able to take advantage and a sloppy performance cost the Fighting Illini their in-road to winning the Big Ten West. Since Michigan State is not a division foe, there is some limit to how costly the loss is for the standings, but it will certainly be costly in the AP Top 25 poll.  

24. UCF (25): Mikey Keene, starting in place of the injured John Rhys Plumlee, threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes (and three for the game) to help the Knights remain in the thick of the AAC race with a 35-28 win at Memphis. UCF improved to 4-1 in conference play with Tulane, Navy and South Florida left on the schedule. 

25. Cincinnati (NR): The Bearcats were No. 20 before last week’s 25-21 road loss at UCF, yet still showed up on a decent number of ballots as the 29th team in voting points after the defeat. Saturday saw Cincinnati beat Navy, 20-10, which by itself won’t create as much rankings momentum as just being 7-2, having a Power Five win (even if its Indiana) and carrying some voter respect thanks to recent year’s success. 

Projected to drop out: No. 18 Oklahoma State, No. 21 Wake Forest, No. 22 Syracuse, No. 24 Oregon State 

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