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College Football Rankings: NCAAF Top 25 (After Week 9)

C.J. Stroud, Ohio State Buckeyes in 2022 Rose Bowl vs. Utah Utes

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 ninth weekend of the 2022 season was headlined by Ohio State's victory at Penn State, Kansas State's dominant win against Oklahoma State and Tennessee's blowout of Kentucky. It's a close call at the top of our rankings once again 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, Alabama at No. 6 and TCU at No. 7 in the post-Week 9 top 25 rankings. With the ninth 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 9)

1. Tennessee (8-0)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Kentucky

No lookahead in Knoxville: Tennessee easily dispatched Kentucky 44-6 to set up a huge showdown in Athens against Georgia next weekend. The Volunteers' high-powered offense averaged 6.5 yards per play, but the real storyline leaving Week 9 was the defense. This unit held the Wildcats to just 205 yards and only 98 of that came through the air.

2. Georgia (8-0)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Florida

Florida made things interesting in the third quarter, but Georgia simply had too much on both sides of the ball and pulled away late for a 42-20 win in Jacksonville. Cleaning up the turnovers (three) and finding a way to generate a big play or two are priorities going into next week’s game against Tennessee.

3. Ohio State (8-0)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Penn State

Penn State always gives Ohio State trouble, so it was no surprise coach Ryan Day’s team had to work hard in Happy Valley. Quarterback C.J. Stroud made plenty of plays, but the performance of defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau was the reason Ohio State knocked off the Nittany Lions 44-31. The sophomore recorded six tackles (three for a loss), two sacks and forced a fumble. Also, he intercepted two passes, with one returned for a touchdown.

4. Michigan (8-0)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Michigan State

The Paul Bunyan Trophy returned to Ann Arbor after Michigan’s 29-7 victory over Michigan State on Saturday night. The ground attack churned out 276 yards, while the defense limited the Spartans to only 63 yards in the second half.

5. Clemson (8-0)
Week 9 Result:
Off Week

The Tigers were off in Week 9 and return to action next Saturday at Notre Dame.

6. Alabama (7-1)
Week 9 Result:
Off Week

The Crimson Tide were off in Week 9 and return to action next Saturday at LSU.

7. TCU (8-0)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated West Virginia

Playing a motivated West Virginia team in Morgantown is no easy task, but TCU once again found a way to win. Quarterback Max Duggan torched the Mountaineers for 341 passing yards and three scores to help the offense average nine yards per snap.

8. Oregon (7-1)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated California

A week after an impressive win at home against UCLA, the Ducks had no letdown on the road at California. Quarterback Bo Nix threw for 412 yards and three touchdowns and added three more scores on the ground to lift Oregon to a 42-24 win over the Golden Bears.

9. USC (7-1)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Arizona

Injuries took a toll on both sides of the ball for coach Lincoln Riley, but the Trojans escaped Tucson with a 45-37 victory over Arizona. Quarterback Caleb Williams threw for 411 yards and five touchdowns to help USC avoid the upset.

10. UCLA (7-1)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Stanford

Running back Zach Charbonnet rushed for 198 yards and three touchdowns to lead UCLA to an easy 38-13 victory over Stanford. With Arizona State and Arizona up next, the Bruins should be 9-1 going into the Nov. 19 showdown against USC.

11. Utah (6-2)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Washington State

Quarterback Cameron Rising was sidelined due to injury, but the Utes found a way to win in a tough spot (at Washington State 21-17) on Thursday night. Running back Jaylon Glover powered a rushing attack that accounted for 169 yards, and Utah’s defense came up with a couple of timely stops and limited Washington State to just 264 yards.

12. LSU (6-2)
Week 9 Result:
Off Week

The Tigers were off in Week 9 and return to action next Saturday night versus Alabama.

13. Ole Miss (8-1)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Texas A&M

Another big-time performance from running back Quinshon Judkins (205 yards and a score) helped Ole Miss tally 390 yards on the ground and a 31-28 victory over Texas A&M. The Rebels held the Aggies scoreless over the second and third quarter, which allowed coach Lane Kiffin’s team to take control of the game.

14. Kansas State (6-2)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Oklahoma State

Total domination. That’s the best way to sum up K-State’s 48-0 win over Oklahoma State. In addition to strong play by the defense, backup quarterback Will Howard threw for 296 yards and four scores in relief of Adrian Martinez. Running back Deuce Vaughn gashed the Cowboys for 158 rushing yards.

15. Penn State (6-2)
Week 9 Result:
Lost to Ohio State

The Nittany Lions held a halftime lead over Ohio State (14-13) but simply didn’t have enough on either side of the ball to keep pace with the game on the line. Also, four turnovers were costly and too much to overcome. 

16. Illinois (7-1)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Nebraska

The Fighting Illini moved another step closer to a Big Ten West Division title with a 26-9 victory over Nebraska. As expected, running back Chase Brown (149 yards) had a huge performance against a porous Cornhuskers’ defense. Illinois’ defense limited Nebraska to 248 overall yards and did not allow a score in the second half.

17. Oklahoma State (6-2)
Week 9 Result:
Lost to Oklahoma State

Saturday’s 48-0 loss at Kansas State was the largest defeat in coach Mike Gundy’s tenure at Oklahoma State. Both sides of the ball are to blame for the poor performance. The offense managed only 217 yards, and the defense was shredded for 495 over 74 snaps.

18. North Carolina (7-1)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Pitt

Drake Maye was brilliant (34 of 44 for 388 yards and five touchdowns) in a 42-24 win over Pitt on Saturday night. The Tar Heels are close to sealing up the ACC Coastal Division title. 

19. Tulane (7-1)
Week 9 Result:
Off Week

The Green Wave were off in Week 9 and return to action next Saturday at Tulsa.

20. Wake Forest (6-2)
Week 9 Result:
Lost to Louisville

An all-around poor performance in a 48-21 loss at Louisville drops the Demon Deacons down the rankings this week. Eight turnovers in the second half were too much to overcome, and Wake Forest’s high-powered offense only averaged 4.5 yards per play.

21. Syracuse (6-2)
Week 9 Result:
Lost to Notre Dame

Notre Dame’s edge at the line of scrimmage and an injury to quarterback Garrett Shrader was too much for Syracuse to overcome in a 41-24 loss. The Orange have lost two in a row and tough matchups against Pitt (road), Florida State and Wake Forest (road) are on tap next.

22. NC State (6-2)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Virginia Tech

True freshman quarterback MJ Morris gave NC State’s a much-needed spark in a Thursday night 22-21 victory over Virginia Tech. Morris threw for 265 yards and three scores over 20 completions and guided the Wolfpack to three consecutive scoring drives in the second half to take the lead over the Hokies.

23. Oregon State (6-2)
Week 9 Result:
Off Week

The Beavers were off in Week 9 and return to action next Friday at Washington.

24. Washington (6-2)
Week 9 Result:
Off Week

The Huskies were off in Week 9 and return to action next Friday against Oregon State.

25. UCF (6-2)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Cincinnati

Despite losing quarterback John Rhys Plumlee to injury, the Knights rallied to beat Cincinnati 20-18. Backup Mikey Keene was steady (15 of 21 for 176 yards and 51 rushing yards), and UCF’s defense allowed only 333 yards to help score the upset.

The Next Tier: Maryland, Liberty, Arkansas, Notre Dame, Baylor, Texas, Florida State, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Cincinnati