The systems are starting to normalize as we wrap up the first month of the college football season. Conference play has commenced across the country, and we are starting to gain a more complete understanding of the contenders and pretenders that will compete for the four College Football Playoff spots, New Year’s Six bowl berths, and conference championships.
At the very top of the Pigskin Rating System, the first and second teams in the ranking flipped spots yet again, with USC’s victory over Arizona State allowing the Trojans to leapfrog Ole Miss. The two would currently be joined by Baylor and Alabama were the CFP selection committee to make its decisions today based on the PRS readings, with defending champion Ohio State falling below the cut line as the first team out.
Conspicuous in their absences are a pair of preseason top-10 outfits that were expected to be among those in contention. Oregon suffered the worst blowout in Autzen Stadium history, losing 62-20 to Utah on a night where the Ducks turned over the ball three times and committed 10 penalties. Mark Helfrich’s crew dropped 21 spots in the PRS hierarchy and is now mired in 56th position. Likewise, Auburn was expected to challenge for the SEC West spoils, but instead looks like a pretender after failing to reach the endzone against Mississippi State. The Tigers are 10 spots behind Oregon in 66th.
Here are some other notable snippets about this week’s rankings:
- Using the old methodology prior to introducing average margin of victory, the top four teams would change slightly. USC and Alabama would still be in the mix, but instead of Baylor and Ole Miss they would instead be joined by Georgia and LSU. No matter how you parse it out, though, one constant is that the SEC once again looks like the strongest conference in the country.
- A few surprises have popped up toward the top of this week’s PRS rankings. NC State leapt up to sixth after moving to 4-0 on the season with a 63-13 blowout of South Alabama. West Virginia’s demolition of Maryland moved the Mountaineers to eighth in the rankings. Michigan’s mauling of BYU in the Big House continued the Harbaugh-led resurgence in Ann Arbor, with the Wolverines vaulting to 13th in this week’s rankings. And the biggest mover was undoubtedly Utah, which moved 37 places into a top-20 position after its historic beatdown of Oregon in Eugene.
- Kansas continues to be the laughingstock of the major conferences, once again checking in at 114th out of 127 teams. The Jayhawks are the only Power Five team ranked outside of the top 100 this week, with Virginia barely clinging to 100th after being humiliated at home by Boise State on Friday night.
- Speaking of Boise State, the Broncos became the first Group of Five school to feature in the top 30 after moving to 3-1 on the season in Charlottesville. Bryan Harsin’s team is now 29th in the PRS rankings, with statement wins over Pac-12 and ACC opponents and the sole loss coming against a hot-and-cold BYU squad. Next in line is AAC newcomer Houston, which held still at 3-0 during a bye week.
You can scroll through the full rankings below, including the breakdown of each category calculated in the Pigskin Rating System. To brush up on the methodology used in the rankings, click here.