Ranking 131 college football teams after Week 10: No debate over Georgia at No. 1

We tried, we thought, we hoped. But ultimately, like Thanos, Georgia is inevitable.

The Dawgs’ 27-13 victory over No. 1 Tennessee has never been closer to the final score, and it’s clear that Georgia is by far the best team in the country. So it’s back to No. 1 in Athleticism 131.

Georgia played with their food against Kent State and Missouri, but ultimately, in a big spot, no one compares to their depth and skill. The college football playoff committee should be allowed to keep spots 2-4 open just to argue a point.

Tennessee, even if defeated, still has a chance of winning the CFP. Georgia’s chances of winning the SEC likely increased when LSU beat Alabama in overtime, and if Tennessee goes 11-1 with just that loss, the Vols will have a case. (Remember, Tennessee blew the doors off LSU in Baton Rouge.)

But there’s only one case for the No. 1. Despite losing a record 15 NFL Drafts to last year’s team, Georgia could still come out and throw a pass from touchdown to Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, a former top-60 rookie who had a career touchdown entering Saturday. Tight end Brock Bowers might be the most talented player in the country. Quarterback Stetson Bennett threw for 226 yards in the first half and attempted just four passes in the second half as the Dawgs ticked the clock.

Georgia is No. 2 in 247Sports’ Team Talent rankings, and only Alabama and Ohio State are close to the Dawgs. Georgia probably won’t have to face Alabama this year after the Tide lost a second game, and Ohio State has rarely been tested. Kirby Smart made Georgia the Alabama Death Star that people always thought it could be.

Georgia may be inevitable, but nothing else in the sport is. After another crazy weekend, here is the week 11 edition of Athleticism 131.

1-10

Rank Crew Registration Previous

1

9-0

2

2

9-0

3

3

9-0

4

4

9-0

6

5

8-1

1

6

8-1

8

seven

7-2

17

8

8-1

9

9

8-1

ten

ten

8-1

11

I was surprised to see the CFP committee place Ohio State at #2 last week. The Buckeyes move up to No. 3 here this week, but reluctantly after a nasty 21-7 win at Northwestern. Yes, the weather was bad, but the Buckeyes struggled to run the ball at times and were far from dominant. The win over Notre Dame, however, looks better with time after the Fighting Irish outscored Clemson 35-14. Still, I kept Michigan ahead, moving it to No. 2. The Wolverines have started slowly the past few weeks, trailing at halftime at Rutgers on Saturday, but they were never in danger of losing. The weak non-conference schedule hurts, but closing with Illinois and Ohio State ultimately doesn’t matter. The Michigan State and Ohio winner will almost certainly enter the CFP and the loser will need help.

TCU moves up to No. 4 after another win, this time 34-24 over Texas Tech. People were worried about the No.7 spot in the CFP, but if you win your matches, you’ll be fine. The Horned Frogs (9-0) have trailed five straight games and won the last three by double digits. They also own a two-game lead over the rest of the Big 12 and have almost secured a spot in the Big 12 title game. If TCU wins, it’s game on. If he drops out of a game before that but still wins the Big 12, he’ll still have a chance. The trips to Texas and Baylor will be big tests.


LSU moved up to 7th after their overtime win over Alabama. (Stephen Lew / USA Today)

I had LSU much lower than the CFP committee last week, but the win over Alabama puts the Tigers well into the top 10. LSU now has wins over Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama. Those are pretty good wins, which is why the Tigers are ahead of USC and UCLA. (Oregon has the win over UCLA under its belt.) I didn’t include LSU on my list of possible playoff teams last week because no two-game losing streak made it, but the Tigers did. now an outside shot.

USC and UCLA are difficult to benchmark against each other. USC’s only loss was on the road at Utah and by a narrow margin. UCLA easily beat Utah, but also lost a lopsided game to Oregon, which USC won’t play in the regular season. It will end up playing out like Michigan-Ohio State, with a November 19 field set-up.

11-25

Alabama falls out of the top 10. With so many close finishes, it’s not hard to see a scenario with Alabama still undefeated or having four losses. Ultimately, this Bama team just isn’t that good compared to previous seasons, with major weaknesses at receiver and defense. Clemson not only lost, but some of their wins (Syracuse, Wake Forest) were devalued, while another (Florida State) looked better. North Carolina is 8-1 but barely held off against Virginia 31-28. Texas also barely held off against Kansas State 34-27 and put together a big home game against TCU next week. NC State beat Wake Forest 30-21 and is 3-1 since Devin Leary suffered a season-ending injury.

Liberty enters the top 25 after a 21-19 win at Arkansas. The Flames, however, are ineligible for the Group of 5 New Year’s Six bid as an independent team. Illinois lost 23-15 to Michigan State after going 1-for-6 on fourth down and blowing on a punt. Florida State beat Miami 45-3, two years after Miami won that game 52-10, a sign of where these programs are headed. The Seminoles are eligible for bowling for the first time since 2019.

UCF had the largest gap between the CFP rankings (No. 25) and Athleticism 131 (#46) last week. That Louisville loss that had weighed on the Knights no longer does because of the Cardinals’ turnaround. Wins over SMU and Cincinnati at home and now Memphis on the road give the Knights a boost into the top 25. Next up is a big game at Tulane.

26-50

Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Wake Forest and Syracuse drop out of the top 25 after losses. Baylor (beat Oklahoma) and Notre Dame (beat Clemson) are close to the top 25. Coastal Carolina beat Appalachian State for its first real quality win of the season and the Chants finally break into the top 30.

Notre Dame and Louisville are difficult to classify. The Irish have wins against Clemson and Notre Carolina but losses against Marshall and Stanford. Louisville has wins over UCF and Wake Forest and a loss to Boston College. Ultimately, both have been on an uptrend since the start of the season, which carries some weight.

Kansas finally bounced back with a win over Oklahoma State. The Cowboys were without their starting QB, but so was Kansas.

Maryland beat Michigan State, who beat Wisconsin, who beat Maryland on Saturday, so feel free to order these three teams as you wish. Duke is bowl-eligible in Mike Elko’s first season as head coach after beating Boston College 38-31, and the Blue Devils enter the top 50.

51-75

BYU ended a four-game losing streak with a 31-28 victory at Boise State, ending the Broncos’ four-game winning streak. SMU defeated Houston 77-63 in the highest scoring FBS game in regulation modern college football history. Texas A&M has lost five straight, most recently a 41-24 home loss to Florida while the Aggies battled a flu virus. North Texas is bowl-eligible and is 10-1 in its last 11 American Conference games, including a 52-14 win over FIU on Saturday.

76-100

Miami would fall even further after a 45-3 loss to Florida State if nearly every team below the Hurricanes didn’t lose as well. Memphis lost a close one to UCF and only moved up a spot due to losses to Middle Tennessee (to Louisiana Tech) and Miami. Fresno State has won four straight after a 55-13 win over Hawaii.

UConn is 5-5 after beating UMass and has the most single-season wins since 2015. Rice earned a well-deserved 37-30 win over UTEP. Ohio is bowl-eligible at 6-3 and tied for the top of the MAC East division after beating Buffalo 45-24. Virginia Tech blew an 11-point fourth quarter lead and lost to Georgia Tech. The Hokies have lost six straight games for the first time since 1987.

101-131

Bowling Green is 4-1 in the MAC and 5-2 since a seven-overtime loss to Eastern Kentucky. The regular season finale against Ohio could be for the MAC East title. Temple’s 54-28 win over USF was one of the weekend’s brightest scores and drops the Bulls near bottom. USF then fired coach Jeff Scott. UMass remains at No. 131 after losing to UConn.

(Top photo: Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

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