College football rankings: Texas and Miami drop top 10

A month into the college football season, one thing seems certain: The teams many of us thought were return are really not return.

We’re looking at you Texas and Miami. Texas Tech beat the Longhorns in overtime and Middle Tennessee beat Miami in perhaps the most shocking result of the day (on Coach Mario Cristobal’s birthday, no less). Saturday was good to be a Raider, both Red and Blue.

It was good to be Orange too. Just ask Tennessee, who rode in Florida, and Clemson, who survived a scare at Wake Forest. And then there’s Auburn, which didn’t exactly win as much as Missouri lost in an epically lousy overtime game at the Plains. Coach Bryan Harsin survives at least another week.

In another SEC battle, Arkansas took a 14-0 lead in a 23-21 loss to Texas A&M that included one of the most bizarre missed field goals you’ve ever seen. Cam Little’s go-ahead attempt in the final two minutes cut from the top of the right pillar and fell in the end zone! The Hogs along with the Sooners disappeared from the Top 10. The Kansas State Wildcats led by Adrian Martinez, a week after losing to Tulane at home, hit the road to stun Oklahoma.

Meanwhile, Kansas went undefeated with a win over Duke, and Sonny Dykes’ TCU team took him to SMU upon his return to Dallas. Pan returns to Fort Worth. Michigan eventually faced a Power 5 team, Maryland, and passed the test, while Minnesota traveled to Michigan State and pummeled Sparty.

In Colorado, things went from bad to worse. The Buffaloes and Rams are a combined 0-8, losing Saturday by an aggregate score of 86-27 to UCLA and Sacramento State, respectively (yes, Sacramento State). At Georgia Tech, things aren’t much better. Geoff Collins’ hot seat is hot after the Yellow Jackets fell to 1-3 with a 17-point UCF loss.

But back to discussing which ones are really not return. The Longhorns are now 2-2 to start Year 2 under coach Steve Sarkisian after losing to Tech for the first time since 2017. In Miami, Year 1 of the Cristobal era kicks off wrong. The Hurricanes scored nine points in a loss at A&M last week, and their defense gave Middle Tennessee chunks of yards. The Blue Raiders got yard scores for 69, 71 and 98, and their quarterback, Chase Cunningham, threw for 401 yards on just 16 passes (it seems almost impossible).

Needless to say, the Longhorns and Hurricanes are not part of our Top 10. Before we get to the rankings, know that we attach particular importance to who teams played (ahem, Michigan fans).


1. Georgia (4-0)

Last match: Beat Kent State 39-22

Next game: in Missouri (Saturday)

First, give it up for Kent State, which played in Washington, Oklahoma and Georgia this year as the sacrificial lamb for payday. The Flashes picked up $5.2 million in game guarantees. And they appeared to have Georgia on the ropes midway through the third quarter. The Bulldogs led 12-10 before retiring, mostly on the heels and hands of versatile tight end Brock Bowers, who had two carries for 77 yards (both touchdowns) and five catches for 60 more.

2. Ohio State (4-0)

Last match: Beat Wisconsin 52-21

Next game: Rutgers (Saturday)

The Buckeyes took a 21-0 lead before the first quarter even ended. For the most part, Ohio State got their way against the Badgers, which is somewhat unusual. In fact, the 52 points are the most given up by Wisconsin in a non-overtime game in at least six years.

3. USC (4-0)

Last game: beat Oregon State 17-14

Next game: Arizona State (Saturday)

Oregon State gave USC everything it could handle for more than three quarters at Corvallis on Saturday night. But the Trojans’ defense and special teams kept Lincoln Riley’s team in place to set the stage for QB Caleb Williams, whose 11-play drive late in the fourth quarter gave USC the lead for more. Well. Jordan Addison, who had been relatively quiet most of the night, caught the game-winning 21-yard pass to seal the drive.

4. Penn State (4-0)

Last match: Defeat Central Michigan 33-14

Next game: Northwest (Saturday)

The Nittany Lions continue to produce running back talent. Last week it was Nick Singleton running all over Auburn. This year, it was freshman Kaytron Allen who helped PSU put away a feisty Central Michigan team coached by one Jim McElwain. Allen had 111 yards rushing and James Franklin’s team turned a game from a halftime score into a second-half rout.

5. Alabama (4-0)

Last match: Defeat Vanderbilt 55-3

Next game: Arkansas (Saturday)

Bryce Young plods ahead in his bid to become just Heisman’s second repeat winner, filling the OL stat book against the Commodores with 385 yards and four touchdowns. Nick Saban’s side not only kept Vandy out of the end zone, but the ‘Dores took a total of 11 shots from Bama’s side of the pitch (seven of those on the field goal drive).

6. Tennessee (4-0)

Last match: Beat Florida 38-33

Next game: USL (October 8)

The Vols and sophomore coach Josh Heupel have exploded out of the gates in 2022, scoring in clusters. They average over 500 yards on offense and they racked up 576 against the Gators. Do not sleep on Flights. They get a week off before traveling to play LSU and then hosting Alabama in what could be the first relevant UT-Bama game in a very long time.

Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Bru McCoy (15) celebrates with tight end Jacob Warren (87) after scoring a touchdown against the Florida Gators during the first half at Neyland Stadium.

7. Clemson (4-0)

Last match: Beat Wake Forest 51-45 in overtime

Next game: NC State (Saturday)

The Tigers, for a second straight season, aren’t dominating, but they found a way to win on the road in overtime and their quarterback finally had a game-breaking one. DJ Uiagalelei passed for 371 yards and five touchdowns to help Clemson to the victory. Wake had four second-half leads (one in overtime) which he blew. Dave Clawson is now 0-9 against Dabo Swinney, who claimed in a post-game interview that the game aged him 10 years.

8. Florida State (4-0)

Last match: Defeat Boston College 44-14

Next game: Wake Forest (Saturday)

The Noles are welcomed into our Top Ten at 4-0 for the first time since 2015. This comes a year after starting 0-4. QB Jordan Travis continues to make plays (321 passing yards) and Mike Norvell’s defense choked against the Eagles in what was 60 minutes of FSU dominance. BC had two shots from over 25 yards.

9. Kansas (4-0)

Last match: Beat Duke 35-27

Next game: at Iowa State (Saturday)

A month into the season, Kansas still hasn’t lost. Who would have a thunk that before the start of the year? ! The Jayhawks snuffed out the Blue Devils when they met surprisingly undefeated basketball powerhouses. KU QB Jalon Daniels delivered a gem. He completed 82% of his passes for 324 yards, four touchdowns and rushed for 83 more.

10. Michigan (4-0)

Last match: Beat Maryland 34-27

Next game: against Iowa

Wolverines, welcome to the Top Ten! An uninspired start-of-season schedule — Colorado State, Hawaii, UConn — kept us from placing Michigan in our Top Ten. But the victory over the Terps was enough for them to move up the rankings. It wasn’t the prettiest of performances, but RB Blake Corum rolled in for 243 yards and two scores to stifle a gutsy outing from Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa

10. NC status (4-0)

Last match: beat UConn 41-10

Next match: at No. 5 Clemson

The quality of NC State’s wins isn’t great, we know that. But we’ll see if the Wolfpack is real next week in a game at Clemson. After the scare at East Carolina to open the season (NC State won 21-20), Dave Doeren’s team beat Charleston Southern, UConn and Texas Tech. This win for Tech looks awfully good after the Red Raiders knocked out Texas.

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