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College football Power Rankings for Week 5

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TCU hands No. 9 Texas first loss in heartbreaking fashion (2:02)

TCU overcomes a four-touchdown performance by Sam Ehlinger with a 33-31 road victory against No. 9 Texas. (2:02)

Order was restored this week in the SEC.

Mississippi State is out of the top 10 in ESPN's latest power rankings, and Georgia is back in after the Dawgs beat up on Auburn for a 27-6 victory that was even more dominant than the final score suggests.

Georgia vaulted to No. 4, giving the SEC three of the top five teams. Alabama remains No. 1, and Florida is No. 5 this week.

Mississippi State, meanwhile, fell from No. 8 all the way to No. 21 after losing at home to Arkansas, a team that had dropped 20 straight SEC games. But let's give first-year coach Sam Pittman and the Hogs a little credit. They went toe-to-toe with Georgia for much of the game a week ago before breaking through against Mississippi State.

And who knows what to think about the Big 12? The season is less than a month old and there's only one unbeaten Big 12 team -- Oklahoma State.

The two Big 12 blue bloods, Oklahoma and Texas, both tumbled out of the power rankings this week, with the Sooners losing for the second straight week and seeing their chances of a fourth consecutive College Football Playoff appearance slowly fading away.

Raise your hand if you had Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Iowa State as the only three unbeaten teams in Big 12 play at this point.

The 2020 season had weirdness written all over it, and so far, that's exactly what we've gotten.


1. Alabama Crimson Tide (2-0)

Nick Saban won't like giving up 24 points, but the Crimson Tide are still the class of college football to this point. And just when you think they can't get any more explosive on offense, sophomore receiver John Metchie III breaks out with touchdown receptions of 78 and 63 yards in Alabama's 52-24 win over Texas A&M on Saturday. Quarterback Mac Jones also connected with Jaylen Waddle on an 87-yard scoring pass. While it's easy to get caught up in how dynamic Alabama is at the skill positions on offense, this is an O-line that has been excellent in the way it has protected Jones.

Up next: at Ole Miss (Saturday, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN)

2. Ohio State Buckeyes (0-0)

Even before Ohio State got the news last week that two of its best players were returning, the Buckeyes already had the look of a top-5 team. But now that cornerback Shaun Wade and offensive guard Wyatt Davis have been declared eligible by the NCAA after initially deciding to turn pro when the Big Ten announced it wouldn't play this fall, the Buckeyes have everything in place to win a national championship. And that starts with quarterback Justin Fields, who accounted for 51 touchdowns a year ago, including 41 passing.

Up next: vs. Nebraska (Oct. 24, TBA)


3. Clemson Tigers (3-0)

Maybe it was the open date the week before, but Clemson was a bit ho-hum on Saturday in a 41-23 home win over Virginia. Trevor Lawrence passed for 329 yards and three touchdowns, and the Tigers led 24-3 in the second quarter. But the reality is they've been so dominant against ACC competition that an 18-point victory almost seems close. That's what happens when you win 24 straight against conference foes, including the past eight by an average margin of 37.3 points.

Up next: vs. Miami (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC)


4. Georgia Bulldogs (2-0)

As anemic as Georgia was offensively in the first half of its season-opening win over Arkansas a week ago, the Dawgs have looked like a different unit ever since. There was nothing fancy about what they did to Auburn on Saturday night in racing out to a 24-0 lead and winning 27-6. The Dawgs' O-line played lights out and paved the way for 442 yards of total offense; and to nobody's surprise, Georgia's defense is every bit as good as advertised. Kirby Smart went with Stetson Bennett again at quarterback, and Bennett's confidence is only growing, not to mention the confidence of everybody else around him.

Up next: vs. Tennessee (Saturday, TBA)


5. Florida Gators (2-0)

Kyle Trask threw four more touchdown passes after tossing six in the opener, and Florida continues to cruise along after winning 38-24 over South Carolina on Saturday. The Gators, though, still need to tighten up on defense, and they didn't finish the game very well after taking a 38-14 third-quarter lead, which is the reason they dropped some this week. Even so, nobody has stopped the Trask-to-Kyle Pitts connection. They've hooked up for six touchdowns in two games, and Florida as a team had 33 passing touchdowns in 13 games a year ago.

Up next: at Texas A&M (Saturday, TBA)


6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-0)

The Irish will have gone three weeks without playing a game when they take on Florida State. They were off this weekend, and a COVID-19 outbreak caused their Sept. 26 game with Wake Forest to be postponed. Notre Dame's passing game could be getting a boost for the FSU game with the potential return of talented junior receiver Kevin Austin Jr., who has been out since undergoing foot surgery this summer. The Irish are going to need some more pop in their passing game, especially with Pittsburgh and Clemson looming down the road.

Up next: vs. Florida State (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC)


7. Penn State Nittany Lions (0-0)

Even though there were some real conversations in the past few weeks about star linebacker Micah Parsons playing this season, he has decided to stick with his original plan to opt out. Replacing a player with his talent, skill and versatility is never easy, but Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry likes his depth and young talent at linebacker, where the Nittany Lions will have three new starters in 2020. Brandon Smith and Jesse Luketa are the projected starters outside, while Ellis Brooks is the likely starter in the middle. Luketa also has played in the middle.

Up next: at Indiana (Oct. 24, TBA)


8. Miami Hurricanes (3-0)

We won't have to wait much longer to find out if The U is truly back. After an open date this weekend, the Hurricanes travel to Clemson on Saturday. Through three games, Miami certainly looks better on offense with the additions of offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee and quarterback D'Eriq King, who transferred from Houston. The Hurricanes have scored 47 or more points in their past two games, both ACC wins. That's after scoring more than 25 points only four times in their previous 14 ACC games dating back to the 2018 season.

Up next: at Clemson (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC)


9. Cincinnati Bearcats (3-0)

It's no surprise that Cincinnati is rock-solid on defense under Luke Fickell, whose defensive background speaks for itself. But the Bearcats, who remained unbeaten Saturday with a 28-7 victory over South Florida, are beating teams in a number of different ways. They have allowed just 17 points the past two weeks, but they also scored on Tre Tucker's 97-yard kickoff return against the Bulls, while Gerrid Doaks rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown after scoring three touchdowns in the opener.

Up next: at Tulsa (Oct. 17, TBA)

10. Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-0)

Just like we expected: Oklahoma State is the Big 12's only unbeaten team not even a month into the season. Well, not really, but the Cowboys showcased their offensive firepower Saturday in a 47-7 romp over Kansas. At halftime, Oklahoma's explosive running back/receiver tandem of Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace had already combined for more than 200 yards and three touchdowns. True freshman quarterback Shane Illingworth made his second consecutive start and threw three scoring passes. It will be intriguing to see what Mike Gundy does when signal-caller Spencer Sanders is completely healthy after injuring his ankle in the opener.

Up next: at Baylor (Oct. 17, TBA)


11. Oregon Ducks (0-0)

From a personnel standpoint, the team that Oregon puts on the field in 2020 isn't going to resemble the one that won the Pac-12 championship a year ago. Most of the Ducks' star players are gone, and not only on offense, where quarterback Justin Herbert is now in the NFL and offensive tackle Penei Sewell opted out. Three-fourths of the starting secondary also opted out, so ranking the Ducks any higher at this point would be a stretch. Still, Mario Cristobal has recruited extremely well. One of the keys will be running back CJ Verdell staying healthy.

Up next: Up next: vs. Stanford, (Nov. 7, TBA)


12. Wisconsin Badgers (0-0)

Prior to the pandemic, one of the more popular questions among Wisconsin fans was whether talented redshirt freshman Graham Mertz would overtake veteran Jack Coan at quarterback or at least share some of the snaps. But with the reduced practice time and the fact that Coan was more than solid for the Badgers a year ago with 2,727 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and only five interceptions, it's unlikely that Paul Chryst will make any changes unless the Badgers have trouble moving the ball.

Up next: vs. Illinois (Oct. 24, TBA)


13. USC Trojans (0-0)

Clay Helton brought in new defensive coordinator Todd Orlando to revitalize a Southern California defense that gave up 30 or more points in five of its last eight games a year ago. What that defense will look like in Orlando's system is still a mystery. The Trojans had one spring practice, which is about the extent of their time together as a full unit, other than a bunch of Zoom meetings. It would be a huge bonus to get defensive tackle Jay Tufele back after he originally opted out, but the Trojans are still waiting to hear on that front.

Up next: vs. Arizona State (Nov. 7, noon ET, Fox)


14. BYU Cougars (3-0)

The Cougars have scored 148 points in their first three games, and quarterback Zach Wilson is putting up Heisman-esque numbers. BYU recently added a 10th game against San Diego State for Dec. 12. The way the Cougars have played to this point, it's not unreasonable to think that they could go into that game unbeaten.

Up next: vs. UTSA (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

15. Tennessee Volunteers (2-0)

Tennessee won its eighth straight tilt on Saturday, the longest winning streak in the SEC, with a 35-12 beatdown of Missouri that saw the Vols play a much more complete and cleaner game (no turnovers and only three penalties) than they did in their season-opening win over South Carolina. Tennessee looked even stronger in the offensive line with the addition of Georgia transfer Cade Mays at right tackle. Jeremy Pruitt has created real momentum in a Tennessee program that could take it to another level on Saturday if the Vols can win at Georgia.

Up next: at Georgia (Saturday, TBA)


16. Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns (3-0)

Louisiana will have to wait a while longer before getting its chance to break Appalachian State's stranglehold in their series. The Ragin' Cajuns had an open date this weekend but were scheduled to face Appalachian State on Wednesday. That game was postponed due to positive coronavirus tests at Appalachian State. Louisiana lost to App State each of the past two seasons in the Sun Belt Conference championship game, and the Ragin' Cajuns have lost eight straight overall to the Mountaineers.

Up next: vs. Coastal Carolina (Oct. 17, TBA)


17. North Carolina Tar Heels (2-0)

Having been off for two straight weeks, North Carolina was a little rusty Saturday night and held on to win 26-22 at Boston College. It's still too early to get a feel for how good the Tar Heels are, especially with all the down time, but they're plenty talented. and next week's home game with Virginia Tech should provide a few more answers. The Hokies' visit to Chapel Hill will be the first of six straight games for the Tar Heels until a bye before Thanksgiving weekend, when Notre Dame comes to town.

Up next: vs. Virginia Tech (Saturday, noon ET, ABC)


18. Virginia Tech Hokies (2-0)

Virginia Tech has been short-handed each of the past two weeks with COVID-19 issues and other injuries, but the Hokies keep finding ways to win. They've leaned hard on their running game, rolling up 324 yards on the ground on Saturday in a 38-31 win over Duke after rushing for 314 yards a week ago against North Carolina State. Khalil Herbert, a graduate transfer from Kansas, did most of the damage against Duke with 208 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Herbert's 60-yard scoring run was the final blow for Virginia Tech, and he also had an 83-yard kickoff return to set up a third-quarter touchdown.

Up next: at North Carolina (Saturday, noon ET, ABC)


19. Michigan Wolverines (0-0)

It remains to be seen how productive Michigan will be this season in its defensive line after being up and down there a year ago. But veteran coordinator Don Brown is optimistic the Wolverines will have quality depth up front defensively -- especially with players such as sophomore tackle Christopher Hinton poised for a breakout season -- and that the interior of Michigan's defense will be improved in 2020. In Big Ten losses to Wisconsin and Ohio State last season, Michigan yielded a total of 623 rushing yards.

Up next: at Minnesota (Oct. 24, TBA)


20. Kansas State Wildcats (2-1)

There was no letdown for Kansas State coming off its big upset of Oklahoma. In fact, Chris Klieman's Wildcats just keep getting better, rallying in the fourth quarter on Saturday to beat Texas Tech 31-21 and go to 2-0 in Big 12 play for the first time in six years. Kansas State is doing all of the things it takes to win, reminiscent of Klieman's time at North Dakota State. And right there at the top is taking the ball away from opponents seven times this season and not turning it over at all. And when you start talking about dynamic true freshmen, running back Deuce Vaughn has been as good as anybody.

Up next: at TCU (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, Fox)


21. Mississippi State Bulldogs (1-1)

So maybe Mississippi State and Mike Leach's Air Raid offense aren't quite ready to shake up the SEC. A week removed from passing for an SEC-record 623 yards in a 44-34 win over defending national champion LSU, Mississippi State was on the wrong end of history Saturday night in a 21-14 loss to Arkansas. The Razorbacks, under first-year coach Sam Pittman, snapped a 20-game SEC losing streak by intercepting Bulldogs quarterback K.J. Costello three times, with one of those being returned for a score.

Up next: at Kentucky (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC

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2:27

Arkansas upsets No. 16 Mississippi State in first SEC win since 2017

Feleipe Franks tosses two touchdowns as Arkansas upsets Mississippi State 21-14, earning its first SEC win in three years.

22. LSU Tigers (1-1)

The Tigers were too talented to stay out of the power rankings for long, and getting back one of their elite players in cornerback and punt returner Derek Stingley Jr. sure helped. LSU raced past Vanderbilt on Saturday for a 41-7 victory, with quarterback Myles Brennan throwing for four touchdowns and completing passes to 11 different players. Moreover, he wasn't sacked a single time after being sacked seven times in the season-opening loss to Mississippi State.

Up next: vs. Missouri (Saturday, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN)

23. Auburn Tigers (1-1)

As much as the game has changed over the years, one constant remains: If you can't run the ball and can't stop the run, you're not going to win very many games -- and certainly not the big games. In losing 27-6 at Georgia on Saturday, Auburn finished with 39 rushing yards and gave up 202 rushing yards to the Dawgs. Moreover, the Tigers fell behind 24-0 midway through the second quarter, and that was pretty much the game.

Up next: vs. Arkansas (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, SEC Network)


24. Iowa State Cyclones (2-1)

After an ugly 31-14 home loss to Louisiana to open the season, Iowa State was an afterthought to most people around the college football world. But Matt Campbell and his Cyclones obviously didn't get the memo. They've come charging back with a win at TCU a week ago and their first home triumph over Oklahoma since 1960 on Saturday, a 37-30 decision that saw the Cyclones score a pair of touchdowns in the final 7:26 of the game. And just like that, Iowa State joined Oklahoma State and Kansas State as the only unbeaten teams in Big 12 play.

Up next: vs. Texas Tech (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ABC)


25. TCU Horned Frogs (1-1)

Just when you think that Gary Patterson and TCU might be teetering, the Horned Frogs come up with one of those performances that has defined Patterson's coaching career. And Patterson sure has made life miserable for Texas during TCU's time in the Big 12. Garret Wallow forced a fumble on the goal line, and the Horned Frogs held off the Longhorns for a 33-31 win Saturday in Austin. It was TCU's sixth victory over Texas in their past seven meetings. And it was a win the Horned Frogs had to have if they're going to be a factor in the Big 12 race, after opening the season with a 37-34 home loss to Iowa State.

Up next: vs. Kansas State (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, Fox)