College football power rankings Week 9: Alabama, Ohio State flex their dominance

Updated college football power rankings entering Week 9 sees Alabama and Ohio State assert their dominance and Penn State and Oklahoma State faltered.

  1. Georgia (Idle)

Georgia had the week off but they’ll remain the unanimous No. 1 team in the AP Top 25. The only question about this team is who is going to be the starting quarterback when they get to the SEC Championship Game and the College Football Playoff. Stetson Bennett has played well with JT Daniels recovering from injury. Should Kirby Smart mess with the chemistry of this team and bench Bennett for Daniels? Georgia can win with either because of the nation’s best defense but it’s undeniable Daniels brings a higher ceiling to the offense, which will be needed when they face Alabama for the SEC title and in the playoff.

Next: Florida (Jacksonville, FL)

2. Alabama (Beat Tennessee 52-24)

There is only one team I know for sure that doesn’t want to play Alabama and that’s No. 1 Georgia. There isn’t any other team in the nation I think that can beat Alabama and that’s why they are No. 2 on my power rankings. They aren’t undefeated like others but put them on the same field with Cincinnati, Oklahoma, Michigan, Michigan State or whoever, and it’s a Crimson Tide win. Quarterback Bryce Young holds a slight lead in my Heisman power rankings and the defense is nasty, led by Will Anderson who is the Tide’s next great outside linebacker.

Next: Idle

3. Ohio State (Beat Indiana 54-7)

I don’t care that they lost to Oregon. I don’t care if I have them ahead of undefeated teams. If Ohio State played Oregon on Saturday, they’d win by 28. This is a different team than the one that lost in Week 2. C.J. Stroud has come alive since missing the Akron game with injury and he’s dialed in. It’s not too late for him to make a run at the Heisman Trophy either. Coupled with true freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson and there may not be a more dynamic backfield in the nation.

Next: Penn State

4. Cincinnati (Beat Navy 27-20)

Navy made it a little closer than most would have anticipated. Cincinnati isn’t likely to be tested the remainder of their schedule and should present a tough case to the College Football Playoff committee. No Group of Five team has made the field yet, even undefeated Group of Five teams, which the Bearcats figure to be. Luke Fickell has a great team led by quarterback Desmond Ridder and they can’t afford to lose a game. Heck, their wins need to come with style points but this one didn’t provide any.

Next: Tulane

5. Michigan (Beat Northwestern 33-7)

There’s a chance this is Jim Harbaugh’s best team, but that will be a little clearer based on how well they fare next week against undefeated Michigan State in their toughest test to date. And if they win that one, then they’ll be tested against Penn State and ultimately against rival Ohio State. Cade McNamara, Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins lead the offense that’s been discounted for years in Ann Arbor and Aiden Hutchison is a potential top-five pick at defensive end.

Next: at Michigan State

6. Oklahoma (Beat Kansas 35-23)

Oklahoma was losing to Kansas entering the fourth quarter. Yes, you read that correctly. The same Kansas team that was winless on the year and hadn’t won a Big 12 game since 2019. And the same Kansas program that had lost 16 straight to Oklahoma. It was almost a disaster for the Sooners but thankfully Caleb Williams plays for that team to save the day. He overcame a sluggish start — the whole team lacked energy for three quarters — but their talent won out. They wouldn’t have been so lucky against a more talented team, but a win is a win. However, they drop in my college football power rankings because they should have won by 49.

Next: Texas Tech

7. Michigan State (Idle)

Mel Tucker’s team has to be the biggest surprise of the year. As a result, he’s put himself in position to be a potential candidate for the LSU job. Spartans fans don’t want to hear that, but it’s a testament to the success he’s having at Michigan State. Kenneth Walker III can surge to the top of the Heisman leaderboard with a big game against rival Michigan next week.

Next: vs. Michigan

8. Ole Miss (Beat LSU 31-17)

If MIchigan State is the biggest surprise of the year, Ole Miss might be right behind. Lane Kiffin is a great head coach for the Rebels and I hope he stays in Oxford for a long time and establishes some roots. Kiffin has always been talented but job-hopping has doomed him at several stops. He’s already beloved among the fan base and his offense is a big hit. Quarterback Matt Corral should be a Heisman finalist and could be the highest-finisher in Heisman voting in program history, even better than Archie and Eli Manning.

Next: at Auburn

9. Oregon (Beat UCLA 34-31)

Don’t be dismayed by the final score. Winning on the road is tough to do in college football. UCLA is a pretty good team, not a great team, but their fans were out in full force with College GameDay in attendance. UCLA gave the Ducks their best effort but it was just a little short. Anthony Brown had a couple of bad interceptions but still had a game-high passing and rushing effort to lead Oregon to a win. Their win against Ohio State is just behind Texas A&M’s upset of Alabama for the best win of the year and that’ll carry a lot of weight with the playoff committee.

Next: Colorado

10. Notre Dame (Beat USC 31-16)

Kyren Williams was an absolute beast against USC, rushing for 138 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. The Irish secondary got exposed against Kedon Slovis and Drake London who connected for 15 receptions and 171 yards but they did keep him out of the end zone. Notre Dame controlled the entire game and was never in serious peril against a really bad USC team. Notre Dame may not be great on a weekly basis but they are consistently very good, which this year, is pretty great.

Next: North Carolina

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