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

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

The first Saturday in November always proves to be a pivotal point in the college football season, and the scores and results from Week 10 made that possible once again. But while the top 10 in the updated college football rankings should shake up significantly on Sunday and Tuesday, the argument for No. 1 has become as simple as it has been in weeks. When the new AP Top 25 is released on Sunday, we predict Georgia will not only retain that top spot, but have enough first-place votes to end the debate over that coveted position in the polls.

Although Georgia was ranked third in the first place College Football In the 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 going No. 1 in the first CFP rankings allowed Saturday’s showdown to get “No. 1 vs. No. 1,” but after the Dawgs dominated nearly the entire game in a two-touchdown victory, voters should definitely have their No. 1 votes have succeeded.

There may be some Ohio State voters holding their ground, but given the Buckeyes’ offensive struggles at Northwestern, there won’t be many Tennessee voters choosing Ohio State over Georgia.

The CFP rankings will also have an impact on voters as they pertain to LSU, which posted an equally significant victory with a 32-31 overtime victory over Alabama. The Tigers were ranked No. 15 in last week’s AP Top 25, but appear at No. 10 in the first CFP rankings despite already having two losses.

Over the last eight years of the CFP era, we’ve seen AP voters consistently react and adjust their rankings based on what the CFP Selection Committee has to say in its first publication of the rankings. It’s not always dramatic because there’s another week of results to consider, but the conversation around the sport changes when the committee starts releasing its rankings. The Tigers not only showed they are a No. 10 closer early on, but proved themselves worthy of top 10 status with a win over the Crimson Tide.

The SEC isn’t the only place where the rankings will experience significant backlash. Clemson suffered its first loss of the season at Notre Dame, an unranked team but likely to be in the top 25 on Sunday, and Kansas State lost to Texas, another unranked team last week but almost certain to return to 25 of the best. In total, nearly half of the top 25 were defeated in Week 10, and that promises to lead to a lot of changes in the college rankings.

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

1. Georgia (last week — 1): The Dawgs’ defense rallied and swallowed up the Vols’ top-ranked offense in a 27-13 win between the hedges. Georgia will not only remain #1, but will receive significant points for the top spot. (Expect to see UGA up to No. 1 in the CFP rankings this Tuesday as well.)

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

3. Michigan (4): Trailing Rutgers 17-14 in the first 30 minutes, the Wolverines went on a 38-0 run in the second half to win 52-17. Ohio State-Michigan State is just a few weeks away for first place in the Big Ten.

4. TCU (7): Trailing Texas Tech 17-13 in the third quarter with wide receiver Quentin Johnston sidelined with an injury, the sirens went off for the undefeated Horned Frogs. But three touchdowns in the fourth quarter gave TCU a 10-point victory that will look just fine to voters who didn’t follow the afternoon’s action. Maybe the Frogs will get more respect from the committee this week.

5. Tennessee (2): The two-touchdown loss to Georgia wasn’t ideal, but Tennessee won’t fall far. The Vols have been incredibly impressive leading up to Saturday and are now 8-1 with a win against Alabama helping them in the standings. The Tide’s loss certainly didn’t help, but it’s hardly catastrophic 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 appear ready for the challenge given their performance in a 49-10 win against Colorado on Saturday.

7. LSU (15): The Tigers and coach Brian Kelly proved their doubters wrong by taking advantage of a crazy evening atmosphere in Death Valley for an upset victory over the Tide in overtime. Kelly’s decision to go for the 2-point conversion and Alabama couldn’t answer proved to be genius, and Jayden Daniels looked fired up, especially in the second half. LSU’s rise will be significant given its CFP ranking along with the win over Bama.

8. Alabama (6): With two losses on their current record, the Tide’s road to the SEC Championship Game and the CFP becomes significantly more difficult. It sits in third place in the SEC West and must beat Ole Miss next week to even have an outside shot at representing the division. Alabama could miss just the second playoff in the nine-year history of the competition.

9. Clemson (5): Wins over the likes of NC State, Wake Forest and Syracuse have helped cement Clemson’s status as one of the top teams in the country, but in a week where two of those teams are likely to fall off the rankings, it’s hard to know where the Tigers will land. It’s possible that voters will remain loyal to a program that has so much experience in the top 10, but Notre Dame’s offensive woes could be enough for voters to make a dramatic move as high as 11th or 12th.

10. USC (9): The Trojans had a 20-point lead going into the fourth quarter, but a late Cal touchdown rush and a successful onside kick kept the Bears in the game deep into the night. However, USC did not add its name to the list of top-10 losing teams in Week 10, holding on for a 41-35 victory.

11. UCLA (10): The Bruins had more than 400 yards rushing and Dorian Thompson-Robinson had four total touchdowns (two passing, two rushing) as a tough test from Arizona State still resulted in a UCLA win. The Bruins improved to 8-1 with the 50-36 win, but will likely remain tied with USC and Ole Miss in the rankings.

12. Ole Miss (11): The Rebels are headed into 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 victory that saw the offense rack up more than 300 yards.

14. Penn State (16): The one-two punch of running back Keiton 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 that Penn State is one of the best two-loss teams in the country.

15. North Carolina (17): Things were 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 a 31-28 win against Virginia.

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

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

18. Notre Dame (NR): The Fighting Irish have a really tough 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 the poll, so after beating Clemson in dominant fashion on Saturday night, we’re predicting an unusually strong move up the rankings.

19. Texas (NR): The Longhorns were the first team just outside the top 25 last week, so there’s no doubt they’re poised to not only climb back up the rankings, but to make a quick jump thanks to a 34-27 road win at ranked Kansas State in 13th place in the game.

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

21. Freedom (23): Hugh Freeze’s stock price is rising 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 dealt 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 predict the fact that the Chanticleers are 8-1 and one of the final one-loss teams left will put them at the front of the lines to make the top 25 .

23. Illinois (14): Michigan State suspended eight players due to tunnel issues last weekend at Michigan, but Illinois was unable to capitalize and a sloppy performance cost the Fighting Illini their entry into the Big Ten West. Since Michigan State isn’t a division foe, there’s a certain limit to how expensive a loss is for a ranking, but it’s sure to be expensive 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 stay in the middle of the AAC race with a 35-28 victory at Memphis. UCF improved to 4-1 in conference play with Tulane, Navy and South Florida remaining on the schedule.

25. Cincinnati (NR): The Bearcats were ranked No. 20 prior to last week’s 25-21 loss at UCF, but still appeared on a decent number of ballots as the 29th most voted team after the loss. On Saturday, Cincinnati beat Navy 20-10, which in itself won’t create as much momentum in the rankings as just 7-2, when it beat a Power Five (even if it’s Indiana) and command the respect of voters thanks to last year’s success.

Expected withdrawal: no. 18 Oklahoma State, no. 21 Wake Forest, no. 22 Syracuse, no. 24 Oregon State

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