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See how they stack up: Week 9 college football top 25 rankings

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USA TODAY

See how they stack up: Week 9 college football top 25 rankings

With Week 9 in the books, here’s my top 25:

1. Georgia (8-0)

The Dawgs are just beating up on everyone, most recently clubbing Florida 42-7 in the Cocktail Party. It looks like a no-doubt collision course with Bama for the SEC crown — but Georgia’s actually beaten some teams.

2. Alabama (8-0)

The Tide are obviously rolling and beating the brains out of everyone. They’ve allowed more than 10 points in just two of their eight games. But their best win to this point is … Texas A&M?

3. Notre Dame (7-1)

The Irish continue to run all over any and every team that lines up across from them, most recently dispatching of a good NC State team in impressive fashion. Josh Adams has 1,169 rushing yards on the season, which is a lot.

4. Ohio State (7-1)

There might not be a more impressive win this season than what the Buckeyes did against Penn State on Saturday. J.T. Barrett looked like the best quarterback in the country in leading an 18-point comeback and jaw-dropping one-point win.

5. Penn State (7-1)

Despite a narrow loss in The Shoe, the Lions might still be the Big Ten’s best team on a neutral field. But now they’ll need Ohio State to lose to get to that neutral field in Indianapolis.

6. Wisconsin (8-0)

Style points were in short supply in a snooze-worthy win over Illinois this weekend, though an offensive lineman did score a touchdown. Still, the Badgers are undefeated and barring a shocking loss will have a chance to play for a Playoff spot in the Big Ten title game.

7. Oklahoma (7-1)

There would be no upset bid for Texas Tech this weekend, and Baker Mayfield and the Sooners were back to looking the part of Big 12 heavyweight. And thanks to TCU’s loss, they’re once more the team to beat.

8. Miami (7-0)

Somehow the Canes are still unbeaten despite coming very close to losing numerous times throughout the last few weeks. That included sweating out a win over one-win North Carolina this weekend.

9. Clemson (7-1)

With Kelly Bryant healthy, Clemson looks like itself. With undefeated Miami teetering and a win over Virginia Tech already in the bank, this could be the Tigers’ ACC to lose once more.

10. TCU (7-1)

You don’t just walk into Jack Trice Stadium and walk out with a win! The Frogs were the latest victims of the Attack of the ‘Clones, and so now their inside lane to the Big 12 title is gone.

11. Oklahoma State (7-1)

Bedlam ought to be fun this week, as Mason Rudolph & Co. got their mojo back and rained 50 points down upon West Virginia this weekend. Hopefully the balls aren’t as slick as they were in Morgantown. So many turnovers.

12. Virginia Tech (7-1)

The Hokies just keep going about their business, unbeaten in all seven of their games not against Clemson. That includes a current three-game winning streak where they’ve outscoring opponents 106-20.

13. Washington (7-1)

The Pac-12 is in full-blown nightmare mode with what seems like no good Playoff contenders. Washington has the best chance with its one-loss record, but is anyone thinking the Pac-12 gets somebody into the final four right now?

14. Iowa State (6-2)

Matt Campbell’s ‘Clone army is slaying Big 12 giants left and right these days. If only Iowa State hadn’t lost in overtime to Iowa, it’d be a top-10 team right now. The ‘Clones are currently tied atop the Big 12 standings with wins over Oklahoma and TCU — two of the teams they’re tied with.

15. UCF (7-0)

After USF’s loss this weekend, UCF is the Group of Five’s last remaining unbeaten. And the Knights are a darn good one, too, averaging 51 points a game for the FBS’ best offense.

16. Stanford (6-2)

Without Bryce Love, the Trees were horrendous against a real bad Oregon State team and needed a late touchdown to sneak out of Corvallis with a 15-14 win. Ugh. Get well soon, Bryce.

17. NC State (6-2)

The Wolfpack’s six-game win streak finally got busted by what looks like a juggernaut of a Notre Dame team. And now comes Clemson. And to think they could’ve had a shot at a 10-win regular season if not for a confounding opening-week loss to South Carolina.

18. Auburn (6-2)

The race for the third-best team in the SEC is extraordinarily unexciting. Auburn is probably the winner as of this moment, but the poor Tigers have to play both Georgia and Alabama in November. So yeah.

19. LSU (6-2)

So maybe it’s LSU? The Bayou Bengals — a team that lost to Troy — could emerge as the SEC’s third-best team because they only have to play one of the top two teams (Bama) in the season’s final month.

20. USC (7-2)

USC back?!? The Trojans demolished Arizona State by a 48-17 score. They can still actually win this year’s whacky Pac-12, but they’ll have to go through menacing Arizona, of all teams, to do it.

21. Arizona (6-2)

Arizona’s quarterback, Khalil Tate, is quietly having one of the best seasons of any player in the country. He’s played in only six games yet ranks 13th in the land in rushing yards. This weekend in a rout of Wazzu? 275 passing yards and two passing touchdowns, 146 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.

22. Michigan State (6-2)

While you were watching the fantastic finish between Ohio State and Penn State, Sparty was busy getting upset in triple overtime by Northwestern. A great game in which Brian Lewerke was clutch as heck, but Sparty’s perfect conference mark is now kaput.

23. Memphis (7-1)

After South Florida lost its undefeated season this weekend, Memphis gets to be the new No. 2 in the Group of Five thanks to the Tigers having a much better resume than the Bulls: that awesome win over UCLA plus wins over other good Group of Five teams like Navy and Houston.

24. Mississippi State (6-2)

Six wins and just two losses to Georgia and Auburn? Give Mississippi State some credit. Dan Mullen’s done a good job down there, and so now he might be rewarded (if that's what you want to call it) with the Florida job.

25. Washington State (7-2)

Quite the tumble for the Cougs, who went from a perfect 6-0 to 7-2 thanks to a pair of huge road losses to Cal and Arizona. The first came by 34 points, the most recent by 21.

Others receiving votes:

South Florida (7-1)

There's no margin for error when you're trying to be a Group of Five team of the year. The Bulls lost to Houston and now can really only play spoiler in that season-ending battle against UCF.

Oregon (5-4)

The Ducks have lost three of their last four and four of their last six. But they just beat a previously believed to be good Utah team 41-20. So that’s something. God, the Pac-12 is weird.

West Virginia (5-3)

The balls in Morgantown were real slippery on Saturday. That’s really the only explanation for the ‘Neers’ turnover woes: five of ‘em including four Will Grier interceptions.

Toledo (7-1)

Toledo is 7-1. They play in the MAC. That is all.

Wake Forest (5-3)

The Deacs dropped 42 points on Louisville on Saturday, which might say something about the Deacs but more likely says something about Louisville.

Michigan (6-2)

Hello, Brandon Peters! Jim Harbaugh finally pulled the trigger on a quarterback change, and the results were instant. The fact they were playing Rutgers probably had nothing to do with it, right?

South Carolina (6-2)

I figured I had to give some mention to the Gamecocks being a two-loss SEC team. But so is Kentucky, so maybe I didn’t have to.

See how they stack up: Week 8 college football top 25 rankings

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USA TODAY

See how they stack up: Week 8 college football top 25 rankings

With Week 8 in the books, here’s my top 25:

1. Alabama (8-0)

Of course the Tide continue to roll, this weekend rolling over an increasingly hapless Tennessee team to the tune of 45-7. No, the schedule doesn’t look any tougher than it did last week.

2. Penn State (7-0)

Hello, Penn State. We knew these Nittany Lions had an explosive offense, but the 42-13 beatdown they put on Michigan and its nation-best defense was incredible. Talk about revenge for last year.

3. TCU (7-0)

A 43-0 smackdown of Kansas? That’s to be expected. But the Frogs are still in the driver’s seat in the Big 12, with two road trips against top-25 teams — Iowa State and Oklahoma — coming in the next three games.

4. Georgia (7-0)

No game for the Dawgs this weekend, but how good is that win at Notre Dame looking now that the Irish are looking like one of the country’s top teams? That’ll get the Dawgs barking.

5. Wisconsin (7-0)

The Badgers had no trouble in their 25-point cruise-control win over Maryland. Poor Jonathan Taylor has to live in a world where Saquon Barkley exists, taking attention away from his fantastic freshman year.

6. Miami (6-0)

The Canes haven’t been making things look easy, but they’re still undefeated — and surprisingly the best team in a thought-to-be-loaded ACC — after sweating out giant-killing Syracuse.

7. Notre Dame (6-1)

The Irish are really, really good, you guys, as evidenced in their 49-14 throttling of USC on Saturday. Josh Adams carved up the Trojans for 191 yards and three touchdowns, another guy who unfortunately lives in the same world as Saquon Barkley.

8. Ohio State (6-1)

The Buckeyes sat back and watched as their game against Penn State this coming Saturday became a showdown of epic proportions. Quietly, no team is scoring more points than Ohio State and its 47.3 per-week average.

9. Clemson (6-1)

With a bye following that upset loss at Syracuse, here’s a rarity for you: Clemson will enter next weekend’s game without a win in three weeks!

10. Virginia Tech (6-1)

Playing North Carolina these days is like stamping the free space on a bingo card, but Virginia Tech will take the style points that came with a 59-7 crushing of a win.

11. Oklahoma (6-1)

The game of the week was the Sooners’ comeback win in the Little Apple, a classic Big 12 shootout against Kansas State. Baker Mayfield can still ball, and Oklahoma’s only a win over TCU away from being back atop the conference.

12. Michigan State (6-1)

It doesn’t seem that Michigan State is capable of winning any way but ugly, winning this weekend despite having just three points with six minutes left. But Sparty’s 6-1 with its only loss to a dominant Notre Dame team.

13. Oklahoma State (6-1)

Mason Rudolph and the Okie State offense lost their mojo this weekend in Austin but sweated out an entertaining-enough overtime win over Texas. The Cowboys need a statement win of some kind, and they’ll have an opportunity next weekend at West Virginia.

14. West Virginia (5-2)

Allowing 23 fourth-quarter points to Baylor is not a good thing to do. But West Virginia won behind Will Grier and David Sills. Sills has an insane 15 touchdown catches through seven games, eyeing the NCAA record.

15. Washington (6-1)

Who knows what the Pac-12 holds on any given Saturday. Washington didn’t play this weekend, and it’s nearly impossible to predict what it’ll do against any team left on its schedule. Pac-12 insanity ftw!

16. Washington State (7-1)

Wazzu showed up after that upset loss to Cal, blanking Colorado by a 28-0 score on The Palouse. Luke Falk has more touchdown throws than Pac-12 NFL Draft darlings Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen.

17. Stanford (5-2)

No game for the Cardinal after blasting Oregon the weekend prior. Expect another blasting next weekend against terrible Oregon State. Even with no game this week. Bryce Love is still the nation’s top rusher by more than 230 yards.

18. Auburn (6-2)

The Tigers can still run and ran all over Arkansas, with Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson combining for 153 yards and four rushing touchdowns.

19. South Florida (7-0)

Another game, another 30-plus-point showing by the Bulls’ offense. USF racked up 378 rushing yards — 378! — against Tulane. The USF-UCF I-4 Lighting Bowl or whatever the heck they call it needs to happen yesterday.

20. Central Florida (6-0)

Speaking of UCF, an easy-enough 31-21 victory over a good Navy team showed its the Knights and the Bulls then everyone else in the Group of Five. Bring on the I-4 Lightning Bowl!

21. North Carolina State (6-1)

NC State is for real, nobody’s questioning that thanks to wins over Florida State and Louisville. But next weekend brings the test of all tests, a trip to Notre Dame Stadium against a red-hot Irish team.

22. LSU (6-2)

If only this LSU team could’ve been the one to show up against Mississippi State and Troy. Saturday brought a 40-24 beatdown of Ole Miss. The Bayou Bengals are playing real well right now, but this is a three-month season, guys.

23. Memphis (6-1)

Memphis knocked off another Group of Five big boy in Houston. Good for them. Sadly the Tigers aren’t as good as USF or UCF so … 

24. Iowa State (5-2)

For the second time in three weeks, Iowa State knocked off a good Big 12 team and now has the distinction of being a good Big 12 team itself. Clones haven’t been this big a deal since that sheep.

25. Louisville (5-3)

Thanks to James Blackman’s dumbfounding fumble, Louisville avoided a disastrous comeback loss to Florida State. Lamar Jackson is still really good, though, so you’d like to think the Cardinals are still a threat to beat anyone.

Others receiving votes:

Texas A&M (5-2)

For all the negative attention over that Week 1 blown game against UCLA — and the calls for Kevin Sumlin’s job that came with it — the only loss the Aggies have had since was to Alabama.

USC (6-2)

Getting trounced by Notre Dame proved what we already kinda knew: that USC ain’t the preseason national title contender it was cracked up to be. The Trojans’ loss also probably knocked the Pac-12 out of the Playoff. Oops.

Arizona (5-2)

Did you know that Arizona is secretly good? The Cats have five wins, in which they’ve averaged 52.4 points. That’s a lot of points!

Arizona State (4-3)

The Devils have had a penchant for beating teams they shouldn’t beat this season, and they did it again Saturday with a win over Utah. They’re 3-1 in their last four with wins over Oregon, Washington and Utah and the lone loss coming to Stanford.

See how they stack up: Week 6 college football top 25 rankings

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USA TODAY

See how they stack up: Week 6 college football top 25 rankings

A special, if somewhat sad edition of the top-25 rankings this week. Saturday delivered another terrific day of college football, but we also must remember and celebrate one of the best rock n rollers of all-time, Tom Petty, who passed away earlier this week. So, in addition to the usual top 25, you get some bonus rankings, my picks for the 25 best Petty songs ever. Enjoy.

With Week 6 in the books, here’s my top 25:

1. Clemson (6-0)

It wasn’t a blowout, but the champs rolled on with a comfortable-enough win over Wake Forest. Of bigger concern is Kelly Bryant, who left the game with an ankle injury.

No. 25: “Saving Grace” from Highway Companion, 2006

2. Alabama (6-0)

Bama held on to win by eight after a 21-point third-quarter lead shrunk down. But was it ever really in doubt for the Tide? They will no doubt roll through a weak schedule leading up to the Iron Bowl.

No. 24: “The Wild One, Forever” from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, 1976

3. TCU (5-0)

Defensively, the Frogs kept West Virginia out of the end zone through the first 41 minutes. Offensively, Kenny Hill had himself a day and matched the Mountaineers’ late charge. Oh, and TCU is now in complete command of the Big 12.

No. 23: “A Woman in Love (It’s Not Me)” from Hard Promises, 1981

4. Georgia (6-0)

The Dawgs delivered another SEC pounding — yawn — and have outscored their conference foes by 100 points in three games. Expect that number to balloon further with Mizzou on the schedule next.

No. 22: “Rebels” from Southern Accents, 1985

5. Penn State (6-0)

Saquon Barkley had a negative rushing total in the first half Saturday, and this one was somehow never in doubt. Barkley finished with a pair of touchdown runs as the Lions look far and away the best team in the Big Ten East.

No. 21: “The Same Old You” from Long After Dark, 1982

6. Wisconsin (5-0)

Things looked a bit dicey with Wisconsin tied with Nebraska in the third quarter. But the Badgers ran away, closing with three straight touchdowns and winning easily on Jonathan Taylor’s huge night: 249 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries.

No. 20: “Shadow of a Doubt (A Complex Kid)” from Damn the Torpedoes, 1979

7. Washington (6-0)

I doubted Washington early, and at this point I’m not sure why. The Huskies pounded Cal on Saturday night — yes, Chris Petersen, a night game — and are one of three teams (Alabama, Ohio State) in the top 10 nationally in both scoring offense and scoring defense.

No. 19: “Century City” from Damn the Torpedoes, 1979

8. Washington State (6-0)

Wazzu’s still undefeated, taking complete advantage of an Oregon team without its starting quarterback, holding the Ducks to just 10 points, Oregon’s fewest since the LeGarrette Blount punch game.

No. 18: “Hometown Blues” from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, 1976

9. Miami (4-0)

What a wild finish in the rivalry game with Florida State, but Miami finally stopped its losing streak to the Noles. The Canes’ defense allowed more than 400 yards, but Malik Rosier threw three touchdown passes.

No. 17: “Listen to Her Heart” from You’re Gonna Get It!, 1978

10. Auburn (5-1)

Just like Alabama and Georgia, Auburn is clobbering everyone else in the SEC. Since only beating Mercer by 14, the Tigers have smoked Mizzou, Mississippi State and Ole Miss by a combined 144-47 score.

No. 16: “Runnin’ Down a Dream” from Full Moon Fever, 1989

11. Ohio State (5-1)

Somehow, the guy who was one of the most focused-on college football players of the summer, J.T. Barrett, is low-key having a phenomenal season. Saturday against Maryland: 320 passing/rushing yards and four total touchdowns.

No. 15: “Louisiana Rain” from Damn the Torpedoes, 1979

12. Virginia Tech (5-1)

Josh Jackson threw for 322 yards in the Hokies’ 13-point win over Boston College. You would’ve liked to see a bit more, but it was a nice bounce back after the loss to Clemson.

No. 14: “Ways to Be Wicked” from Nobody’s Children, 1995

13. Oklahoma State (4-1)

Okie State finally got to rest up after losing to TCU and almost losing to Texas Tech. The TCU loss looks better and better, but the Cowboys need to hope for a slip-up from the Frogs and not slip up themselves in the back-to-back gauntlet of West Virginia and Oklahoma.

No. 13: “Learning to Fly” from Into the Great Wide Open, 1991

14. Notre Dame (5-1)

Not expected to do much after last year’s eight-loss debacle, the Irish are kind of really good. They’re the No. 6 rushing team in the country, adding to their total with 341 more rush yards against North Carolina.

No. 12: “You Wreck Me” from Wildflowers, 1994

15. Michigan State (4-1)

Out of nowhere, here comes Sparty. A sensational defensive performance against a top-10 Michigan team in rain-soaked Ann Arbor, plus a not-so-bad loss to Notre Dame, has Mark Dantonio’s team skyrocketing.

No. 11: “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” from Stevie Nicks’ Bella Donna, 1981

16. West Virginia (3-2)

A valiant comeback attempt by Will Grier & Co. was shut down by Kenny Hill, but that doesn’t take away from West Virginia managing to look good on the road against one of the country’s best teams.

No. 10: “I Won’t Back Down” from Full Moon Fever, 1989

17. USC (5-1)

You don’t really get any points for beating up on terrible Oregon State. But things are about to get much tougher for Sam Darnold and USC with back-to-back games coming against Utah and Notre Dame.

No. 9: “Anything That’s Rock N Roll” from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, 1976

18. Oklahoma (4-1)

Iowa State played out of its mind, had a linebacker throwing passes and pulled the upset of the year. Baker Mayfield played well, the Sooners were just derailed by fumbling at the worst possible time. And like that, the Playoff chances take a nosedive.

No. 8: “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” from Greatest Hits, 1993

19. North Carolina State (5-1)

Don’t talk back to the Wolfpack, who now have beaten Florida State and Louisville this season. A Week 1 home loss to South Carolina — how did that happen? — is all preventing the Nov. 4 game against Clemson from determining the ACC.

No. 7: “Breakdown” from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, 1976

20. Stanford (4-2)

With a big win over previously undefeated Utah, the Cardinal are really still in the mix for the Pac-12 crown. Two losses (even two good ones) might box Stanford out of the Playoff race, but Bryce Love & Co. are a good team.

No. 6: “Don’t Do Me Like That” from Damn the Torpedoes, 1979

21. South Florida (5-0)

No game for the high-scoring Bulls this weekend. All eyes are on the season finale against UCF.

No. 5: “Even the Losers” from Damn the Torpedoes, 1979

22. Louisville (4-2)

Not even Lamar Jackson’s 427 total yards and three total touchdowns could put Louisville past NC State. The Cardinals have allowed 37.3 points per game in their four contests against Power Five teams this season.

No. 4: “Free Fallin’” from Full Moon Fever, 1989

23. San Diego State (6-0)

Another win for the Aztecs and another big day for Rashaad Penny. They’ve got six wins, two of them coming against Pac-12 teams, and can’t possibly lose to another Mountain West team, right?

No. 3: “The Waiting” from Hard Promises, 1981

24. Michigan (4-1)

The Wolverines’ offensive ineptitude really bit them hard on Saturday night, as the Big Ten-iest game of all-time ended in Michigan State walking out of the Big House with a win. Michigan can’t run the ball, nor can it throw the ball, which is a horrendous combination.

No. 2: “American Girl” from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, 1976

25. Utah (4-1)

The Utes are undefeated no more, losing to a good Stanford team on Saturday. In a crowded and competitive Pac-12, Utah gets no rest: USC next and Oregon, Wazzu and Washington down the line.

No. 1: “Refugee” from Damn the Torpedoes, 1979

Others receiving votes

UCF (4-0)

The Knights are rolling just as well as any Group of Five team out there, dropping 51 points in three quarters on Cincinnati.

Georgia Tech (3-1)

Off week for the Jackets, who have the second-best rushing offense in the country (shocking, I know) and a one-loss record in a crowded ACC.

Iowa (4-2)

The Hawkeyes finally got to exhale from those back-to-back losses to Penn State and Michigan State, two of the best-looking teams in the Big Ten. Iowa beat up on Illinois for a near 30-point win.

Texas Tech (4-1)

Scoring 65 points against Kansas is always fun! A good tune up for the Red Raiders who play road games at West Virginia and Oklahoma over the course of their next three games.

LSU (4-2)

Good for Coach O to go into The Swamp and get a huge road win over a ranked Florida team to stop his program’s free fall. Beating Florida is a whole lot better than losing to Troy.

Florida (3-2)

The Gators somehow lost a home game to an LSU team that lost to Troy last weekend. But I wanted to include Florida here to sign off with what The Swamp did to honor Tom Petty. It was awesome.

Other Tom Petty songs receiving votes

“Baby’s a Rock N Roller” from You’re Gonna Get It!, 1978

“Letting You Go” from Hard Promises, 1981

“Straight Into Darkness” from Long After Dark, 1982

“Make It Better (Forget About Me)” from Southern Accents, 1985

“The Apartment Song” from Full Moon Fever, 1989

“Surrender” from Anthology: Through the Years, 2000