Florida climbs into top four in college football Power Rankings after Week 9

1:24 | College Football
Power rankings: Florida makes top 4
Tuesday November 3rd, 2015

Hey, we’ve finally got rankings that sort of actually matter. No, not these ones. But whether you agree with the College Football Playoff selection committee’s rankings Tuesday night or not (and you probably won’t), the unveiling of the rankings means we’ve arrived at the portion of the season when playoff speculation isn’t just an idle waste of time—even if the only rankings that really matter are the ones at the end of the regular season.

With some major showdowns this weekend, the Big 12’s contenders finally starting to play one another, and rivalry week on the horizon, the stage is set for an awesome month of football. Here’s where things stand heading into it:

•​ NADKARNI: Three thoughts on AP poll after Week 9 | Complete AP Top 25

College Football Power Rankings
  • 1
    1Clemson Tigers
    last week: 1
    record: 8–0
    Clemson’s defense didn’t produce its cleanest performance against NC State (though it’s worth noting one of the Wolfpack’s scores was a kick return and two fourth quarter scores came on short fields). Brent Venables’ unit has earned the benefit of the doubt, and Deshaun Watson and the offense look phenomenal.
    Last week: Beat North Carolina State 56-41
    Next week: Saturday vs. Florida State

  • 2
    2LSU Tigers
    last week: 2
    record: 7–0
    The margin separating LSU from Clemson is very slim, so even if Clemson takes down Florida State, the Bayou Bengals could pass them with a convincing win at Alabama. That’s easier said than done though.
    Last week: Bye week
    Next week: Saturday at Alabama

  • 3
    3Baylor Bears
    last week: 3
    record: 7–0
    It was great to hear that Seth Russell’s neck surgery was a success and that he’s expected to make a full recovery. For now, this is Jarrett Stidham’s team, though. It’s time to find out if he’s up to the task of keeping Baylor on course for a playoff spot.
    Last week: Bye week
    Next week: Thursday at Kansas State

  • 4
    4Florida Gators
    last week: 8
    record: 7–1
    We’ll see if the playoff committee agrees with me, but Florida deserves a spot in the top four for now. Losing at LSU on a fake field goal does little to tarnish the Gators’ résumé, and they hold a commanding victory over Ole Miss. Thumping Georgia with a complete shutdown of the Bulldogs’ offense doesn’t hurt, either.
    Last week: Beat Georgia 27-3
    Next week: Saturday vs. Vanderbilt

  • 5
    5Alabama Crimson Tide
    last week: 4
    record: 7–1
    LSU could still make the playoff with a loss to Alabama. The Crimson Tide can’t say the same if they lose to the Tigers. Pressure’s on for Nick Saban’s squad, but that’s been true since the loss to Ole Miss.
    Last week: Bye week
    Next week: Saturday vs. LSU

  • 6
    6Ohio State Buckeyes
    last week: 5
    record: 8–0
    Just when the Buckeyes seem to be back on track, J.T. Barrett’s citation for OVI injects some new chaos. Even with Barrett suspended though, Ohio State should be able to get past Minnesota at home. The more interesting scenario is what happens to the Buckeyes’ QB situation if Cardale Jones seizes his second chance in the starting role vs. the Gophers.
    Last week: Bye week
    Next week: Saturday vs. Minnesota

  • 7
    7TCU Horned Frogs
    last week: 6
    record: 8–0
    TCU has held its opponents scoreless in six of its last eight quarters. Perhaps the Horned Frogs’ defense, which suffered so many injuries early in the season, is finally rounding into form. Still, I can’t move Gary Patterson’s squad any higher than this when it hasn’t played a single team even sniffing the top 25. Luckily that changes Saturday.
    Last week: Beat West Virginia 40-10
    Next week: Saturday at Oklahoma State

  • 8
    8Michigan State Spartans
    last week: 7
    record: 8–0
    Michigan State didn’t practice during its bye week for the first time in Mark Dantonio’s head coaching career, a reflection of just how banged up the Spartans were. With center Jack Allen and cornerback Darian Hicks expected back from injuries this week, things are looking up in East Lansing.
    Last week: Bye week
    Next week: Saturday at Nebraska

  • 9
    9Iowa Hawkeyes
    last week: 9
    record: 8–0
    Iowa’s win over Maryland summed up a lot about the Hawkeyes’ season. They were hardly flashy—particularly on offense, where they gained just 53 yards after halftime—but they systematically steamrolled a lesser foe. Iowa’s defense is now No. 8 in yards allowed per play at 4.2.
    Last week: Beat Maryland 31-15
    Next week: Saturday at Indiana

  • 10
    10Stanford Cardinal
    last week: 11
    record: 7–1
    Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott’s life likely flashed before his eyes as Washington State kicker Erik Powell’s 43-yard boot went up. But as Powell, who had already made five field goals Saturday, pushed the kick wide right, Scott likely got his breath back. The Pac-12’s best playoff shot remains alive.
    Last week: Beat Washington State 30-28
    Next week: Saturday at Colorado

  • 11
    11Notre Dame Fighting Irish
    last week: 14
    record: 7–1
    I kept the Fighting Irish low in past rankings because their only strong argument was a close loss to a very good team. Now Notre Dame has some strengths to point out as well. The Irish beat a tough Temple team on the road and proved just how good their offense is. The Owls entered Saturday allowing 4.2 yards per play; while Notre Dame didn’t consistently pummel Matt Rhule’s defense, it still gained 7.0 yards per play.
    Last week: Beat Temple 24-20
    Next week: Saturday at Pitt

  • 12
    12Utah Utes
    last week: 10
    record: 7–1
    The Utes returned to looking like the team that rose to No. 1 in these rankings before a loss to USC. Quarterback Travis Wilson was efficient, running back Devontae Booker was dominant and the defense was stout. If the Trojans get on a run under interim head coach Clay Helton, Utah’s playoff hopes would immensely benefit.
    Last week: Beat Oregon State 27-12
    Next week: Saturday at Washington

  • 13
    13Memphis Tigers
    last week: 12
    record: 8–0
    The Tigers spotted Tulane a 13–0 lead before rattling off 41 straight points for an easy win. Memphis can’t afford to get too comfortable, though. Its next three matchups (vs. Navy, at Houston, at Temple) will all test its resolve to go undefeated.
    Last week: Beat Tulane 41-13
    Next week: Saturday vs. Navy

  • 14
    14Oklahoma State Cowboys
    last week: 13
    record: 8–0
    It’s hard to know what to make of a team capable of scoring 70 points on a conference foe but also of giving up 53 points. Still, Oklahoma State was gifted a schedule that allowed it the possibility of starting off 8–0, and the Cowboys capitalized. With TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma all coming to Stillwater, anything is possible.
    Last week: Beat Texas Tech 70-53
    Next week: Saturday vs. TCU

  • 15
    15Ole Miss Rebels
    last week: 16
    record: 7–2
    The Rebels’ supremacy over Auburn didn’t fully get reflected in the game’s eight-point margin. Ole Miss outgained the Tigers by 131 yards, averaged 6.1 yards per play and held Auburn to 2 of 15 on third-down conversions.
    Last week: Beat Auburn 27-19
    Next week: Saturday vs. Arkansas

  • 16
    16Michigan Wolverines
    last week: 15
    record: 6–2
    It’s not a good look for Michigan to be getting sizably outgained by 4–4 Minnesota 461–296. It’s definitely not a promising sign for a defense that leads the country in yards allowed per play to give up 6.8 per play to the Gophers. Luckily for Michigan, Minnesota needed 462 yards to win, and the Wolverines made sure to deny that final yard. After losing in incredibly unlucky fashion in their last game, I guess they were due.
    Last week: Beat Minnesota 29-26
    Next week: Saturday vs. Rutgers

  • 17
    17Oklahoma Sooners
    last week: 17
    record: 7–1
    It was a strange position, but no one not wearing burnt orange was rooting harder for Texas to ride wins over Oklahoma and Kansas State into a second-half surge than Sooners fans. After the Longhorns’ 24–0 loss to Iowa State, it’s safe to say that isn’t happening. Oklahoma’s just going to have to make the best résumé it can with a truly inexplicable loss.
    Last week: Beat Kansas 62-7
    Next week: Saturday vs. Iowa State

  • 18
    18Houston Cougars
    last week: 18
    record: 8–0
    Hey, Houston shut out an SEC team! Don’t ask which one. Please, don’t. Why would you ruin the fun?
    Last week: Beat Vanderbilt 34-0
    Next week: Saturday vs. Cincinnati

  • 19
    19Toledo Rockets
    last week: 20
    record: 7–0
    Let’s take this moment to celebrate the return of Tuesday night #MACtion. We’ve reached the wonderful portion of the calendar when there is college football on every night of the week from Tuesday to Saturday.
    Last week: Bye week
    Next week: Tuesday vs. Northern Illinois

  • 20
    20North Carolina Tar Heels
    last week: NR
    record: 7–1
    The Tar Heels finally have a win of note after taking down Pittsburgh on the road Thursday night. Their Week 1 loss to South Carolina remains befuddling, but the Miami-Duke mess puts North Carolina in the driver’s seat in the ACC Coastal. Tar Heels fans owe a ton of gratitude to defensive coordinator Gene Chizik, who turned one of the worst pass defenses in the country last year into the No. 12 unit in yards allowed per pass attempt.
    Last week: Beat Pitt 26-19
    Next week: Saturday vs. Duke

  • 21
    21Florida State Seminoles
    last week: 22
    record: 7–1
    Do the Seminoles have a quarterback controversy on their hands? Granted it was against Syracuse’s abysmal pass defense, but Sean Maguire certainly did his part to create one by completing 23 of 35 passes for 348 yards with three touchdowns Saturday. Maguire even did something Jameis Winston never did, throwing for 300 yards by halftime.
    Last week: Beat Syracuse 45-21
    Next week: Saturday at Clemson

  • 22
    22Northwestern Wildcats
    last week: 24
    record: 6–2
    The abundance of losses from teams in the latter third of these rankings Saturday proved a blessing and a curse for Northwestern. The Wildcats moved ahead of all three (Pittsburgh, Duke and Temple), but the Blue Devils’ loss cost Pat Fitzgerald’s squad one of its wins over a top 25 team.
    Last week: Bye week
    Next week: Saturday vs. Penn State

  • 23
    23Texas A&M Aggies
    last week: 25
    record: 6–2
    Kevin Sumlin and Jake Spavital built up Kyler Murray’s confidence with short, high-percentage throws against a mediocre South Carolina pass defense. Murray inherits a pretty good situation with one of the deepest groups of receivers in the country and no major challenges until a Nov. 28 trip to LSU.
    Last week: Beat South Carolina 35-28
    Next week: Saturday vs. Auburn

  • 24
    24Temple Owls
    last week: 23
    record: 7–1
    After spending its first seven games beating teams ranging from horrid (UCF) to O.K. (Penn State), Temple finally got a shot to prove how good it really is. The Owls weren’t able to pull the upset on Notre Dame, but anyone watching saw a physically tough, technically sound team. The teams ranked ahead of Temple can beat it, but they would probably prefer to not have to.
    Last week: Lost to Notre Dame 24-20
    Next week: Friday at SMU

  • 25
    25Wisconsin Badgers
    last week: NR
    record: 7–2
    The Badgers flopped in their two tests of the year, falling to Alabama and dropping an ugly game at home to Iowa. But they’ve quietly steamrolled just about everyone else. Wisconsin’s 11 points allowed per game leads the country, and its offense, though not explosive, manages to keep the chains moving with a 44% third-down conversion rate.
    Last week: Beat Rutgers 48-10
    Next week: Saturday at Maryland

Dropped out: Pittsburgh, Duke
Next five: Mississippi State, USC, Duke, UCLA, Pittsburgh

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