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College Football Rankings: NCAAF Top 25 (After Week 7)

Josh Heupel, Tennessee Volunteers Football

Weekly college football top 25 rankings are a big part of every season, and Athlon Sports will update its top 25 following the games each weekend. The seventh weekend of the 2022 season was headlined by Tennessee's win over Alabama, Michigan's blowout of Penn State, Utah's fourth-quarter rally to knock off USC, and TCU's overtime victory against Oklahoma State. It's a close call at the top of our rankings this week. And looking ahead to the rest of '22, there isn't much separation among the top six. Tennessee, Georgia, Ohio State and Michigan take the top four spots, with Clemson at No. 5 and Alabama at No. 6 in the post-Week 7 top 25 rankings. With the seventh week of the 2022 season officially in the books, here are the top 25 teams in college football:

College Football Top 25 Rankings (After Week 7)

1. Tennessee (6-0)
Week 7 Result:
Defeated Alabama

The Volunteers take the top spot in the rankings after ending a 15-year losing streak to Alabama in a 52-49 shootout on Rocky Top. Quarterback Hendon Hooker (385 passing yards and five touchdowns) and receiver Jalin Hyatt (six catches for 207 yards and five scores) were outstanding, and Tennessee’s defense came up with a clutch stop in the fourth quarter to get the ball back to the offense for the winning drive.

2. Georgia (7-0)
Week 7 Result:
Defeated Vanderbilt

As expected, the Bulldogs cruised to an easy 55-0 victory over Vanderbilt. The offense recorded 579 yards of offense thanks to an efficient day by quarterback Stetson Bennett (24 of 30 for 289 yards). Georgia’s defense allowed only 150 yards to the Commodores.

3. Ohio State (6-0)
Week 7 Result:
Off Week

The Buckeyes were off in Week 7 and return to action next Saturday at home against Iowa.

4. Michigan (7-0)
Week 7 Result:
Defeated Penn State

Statement made: The Wolverines dominated the line of scrimmage and scored a 41-17 dominant victory in Saturday’s showdown against Penn State. Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards each went over 100 yards to lead a rushing attack that accumulated 418 on the ground. Also, Michigan’s defense allowed just one offensive touchdown and limited the Nittany Lions to 268 yards.

5. Clemson (7-0)
Week 7 Result:
Defeated Florida State

Florida State led early, but Clemson wrestled control of Saturday night’s matchup with six straight scoring drives amid a dominant stretch in the second quarter and early into the third. After the Seminoles scored two touchdowns, the Tigers held them scoreless on six straight drives to score a 34-28 win in Tallahassee.

6. Alabama (6-1)
Week 7 Result:
Lost to Tennessee

Bryce Young was outstanding in his return from a shoulder injury (35 of 52 for 455 yards and two touchdowns), but Alabama once again made uncharacteristic mistakes and couldn’t slow Tennessee’s offense when it mattered. The 52-49 loss was the Crimson Tide’s first loss to the Volunteers since 2006.

7. TCU (6-0)
Week 7 Result:
Defeated Oklahoma State

The Horned Frogs trailed 24-7 in the second quarter but rallied for a 43-40 win in overtime against Oklahoma State. The victory kept TCU among the ranks of the unbeaten and in the driver’s seat to claim the top spot in the Big 12. The defense stepped up in the final 15 minutes, quarterback Max Duggan accounted for over 300 yards and three scores, and the ground game churned out 224 yards to help secure the win.

8. UCLA (6-0)
Week 7 Result:
Off Week

The Bruins were off in Week 7 and return to action next Saturday at Oregon.

9. Ole Miss (7-0)
Week 7 Result:
Defeated Auburn

Lane Kiffin’s ground game led the way in Saturday’s wild 48-34 win over Auburn. Quinshon Judkins punished the Tigers for 139 yards on 25 carries, while Zach Evans added 136 on 21 attempts. The Rebels have some work to do on defense after giving up 301 yards on the ground to Auburn.

10. Oregon (5-1)
Week 7 Result:
Off Week

The Ducks were off in Week 7 and return to action next Saturday against UCLA.

11. USC (6-1)
Week 7 Result:
Lost to Utah

Lincoln Riley suffered the first defeat of his tenure, as USC’s defense had no answer for the Utah connection of quarterback Cameron Rising and tight end Dalton Kincaid in a last-minute 43-42 loss. Injuries to receiver Jordan Addison and linebacker Eric Gentry are a concern.

12. Oklahoma State (5-1)
Week 7 Result:
Lost to TCU

The Cowboys seemed poised to leave Fort Worth with a victory after opening a 24-7 lead. However, that lead evaporated, and coach Mike Gundy’s team dropped its first game of the year with an eventual overtime 43-30 loss to TCU. Oklahoma State’s defense allowed just one score on the Horned Frogs’ first five drives, but TCU scored on five of its last seven to rally for the win.

13. Penn State (5-1)
Week 7 Result:
Lost to Michigan

An inability to stop the run (418 rushing yards allowed) or hold up in the trenches on offense doomed Penn State in a 41-17 loss at Michigan.

14. Wake Forest (5-1)
Week 7 Result:
Off Week

The Demon Deacons were off in Week 7 and return to action next Saturday against Boston College.

15. Utah (5-2)
Week 7 Result:
Defeated USC

Clutch quarterback play from Cameron Rising (475 total yards and five scores) and a couple of timely stops on defense lifted Utah to a 43-42 win over USC. The victory over the Trojans keeps the Utes’ hopes of a trip to the Pac-12 title game alive.

16. Syracuse (6-0)
Week 7 Result:
Defeated NC State

A dominant defensive effort led the way for Syracuse in Saturday’s 24-9 win against NC State. Quarterback Garrett Shrader chipped in nearly 300 yards of total offense, and running back Sean Tucker ran for 96 yards on 13 carries against one of the ACC’s top defenses. Syracuse is 6-0 for the first time since 1987.

17. Kansas State (5-1)
Week 7 Result:
Off Week

The Wildcats were off in Week 7 and return to action next Saturday at TCU.

18. Texas (5-2)
Week 7 Result:
Defeated Iowa State

Perhaps Texas had a post-Oklahoma hangover, and it wasn’t necessarily pretty, but coach Steve Sarkisian will take a 24-21 win over Iowa State. After a touchdown clutch catch by Xavier Worthy on fourth down with under five minutes left, a fumble recovery on the Cyclones' ensuing drive secured the victory for the Longhorns.

19. Illinois (6-1)
Week 7 Result:
Defeated Minnesota

Bret Bielema has Illinois bowl eligible in just his second year. However, this team has bigger goals in mind after Saturday’s 26-14 win against Minnesota: A Big Ten West Division title. Running back Chase Brown ran for 180 yards, and the defense limited the Golden Gophers to just 180 overall yards.

20. Kentucky (5-2)
Week 7 Result:
Defeated Mississippi State

The return of Will Levis (230 passing yards), and a standout effort by the defense (225 yards) helped Kentucky win 27-17 over Mississippi State.

21. Mississippi State (5-2)
Week 7 Result:
Lost to Kentucky

The red-hot Mississippi State offense was cooled off by Kentucky in a 27-17 loss in Lexington. Quarterback Will Rogers threw for only 203 yards, and the ground game managed only 22 yards over 10 carries. The Bulldogs also converted just three of 11 third-down attempts.

22. NC State (5-2)
Week 7 Result:
Lost to Syracuse

Saturday provided bad news in a couple of different ways for NC State. Quarterback Devin Leary was ruled out for the rest of the year due to an injury suffered against Florida State in Week 6. Also, the Wolfpack offense was stagnant in a 24-9 loss to Syracuse.

23. Cincinnati (5-1)
Week 7 Result:
Off Week

The Bearcats were off in Week 7 and return to action next Saturday at SMU.

24. Purdue (5-2)
Week 7 Result:
Defeated Nebraska

The Boilermakers join the top 25 following Saturday’s 43-37 win over Nebraska. Quarterback Aidan O’Connell threw for 391 yards and four touchdowns to help the offense record 608 total yards. Purdue’s two losses came against Penn State and Syracuse – both ranked in our top 25 – and came by four points or less.

25. Tulane (6-1)
Week 7 Result:
Defeated USF

Quarterback Michael Pratt threw for 329 yards and two touchdowns to propel Tulane to a 45-31 victory over USF. Not only did the win help the Green Wave reach bowl eligibility, coach Willie Fritz’s squad also joins the top 25 for the first time this season. With UCF, SMU and Cincinnati on tap in November, Tulane will have a good shot at playing its way into the conference title game.

The Next Tier: North Carolina, LSU, Oregon State, Kansas, Maryland, UCF