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College Football 2023: B/R’s Top 25 Rankings After Week 9

College Football 2023: B/R’s Top 25 Rankings After Week 9

College Football 2023: B/R’s Top 25 Rankings After Week 9

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    Oregon Ducks head coach Dan Lanning.

    Oregon Ducks head coach Dan Lanning.Boyd Ivey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Week 9 of college football wasn’t a huge day for Top 25 matchups, but there were a few surprises.

    In the early slate, No. 4 Florida State cruised to a 41-16 victory over Wake Forest, and No. 10 Penn State got past Indiana 33-24 in a game that was close throughout. We did see an upset on the noon slate, as No. 6 Oklahoma fell on the road to Kansas 38-33.

    In the afternoon round of games, No. 1 Georgia had few problems with Florida, winning 43-20. No. 8 Oregon had the most impressive win of the afternoon, going on the road and beating No. 13 Utah 35-6. The victory puts the Ducks back in the driver’s seat to play for a Pac-12 title come December. No. 18 Louisville also beat No. 20 Duke 23-0.

    In the evening, there weren’t too many marquee matchups.

    UCLA handed Colorado its second consecutive loss, winning 28-16 at home. Although Ohio State was tied at 10-all with Wisconsin in Madison in the third quarter, the Buckeyes pulled away to win 24-10. Tennessee beat Kentucky on the road 33-27. We did have an upset though—No. 17 North Carolina lost a game for a second consecutive week, this time 46-42 to Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

    Here’s how Bleacher Report’s Joel Reuter, Brad Shepard, Adam Kramer and Morgan Moriarty saw the Top 25 shake out after this week:

    1. Michigan
    2. Georgia
    3. Ohio State 
    4. Washington 
    5. Florida State
    6. Oregon 
    7. Texas
    8. Alabama 
    9. Oklahoma 
    10. Penn State 
    11. Ole Miss 
    12. Louisville 
    13. Notre Dame 
    14. LSU 
    15. Missouri 
    16. Air Force 
    17. Utah 
    18. UCLA
    19. Oregon State
    20. Tennessee 
    21. Tulane 
    22. James Madison 
    23. Kansas 
    24. USC 
    25. Oklahoma State 

Who’s Hot: Louisville, Which Is a New Surprise Contender in the ACC

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    Louisville running back Jawhar Jordan

    Louisville running back Jawhar JordanJustin Casterline/Getty Images

    Head coach Jeff Brohm is having one heck of a great first season coaching at his alma mater this year. Louisville is 7-1 after a 23-0 victory over No. 20 Duke on Saturday.

    Louisville’s defense won the day. The unit shut out a Blue Devils offense that came into the day averaging 29.6 points per game. It also held Duke to just 2-of-12 on third down and 51 yards rushing.

    Cardinal running back Jawhar Jordan finished with 163 yards and two touchdowns. Louisville kicker Brock Travelstead was a perfect three-of-three on field goals, including a 47-yarder in the second quarter.

    It was an impressive victory over a solid Duke team, but more importantly, the win puts Louisville, which has just one loss to Pitt on the season, second in the ACC standings. It’s quite the accomplishment for the Cardinals, who were projected at ACC media days to finish eighth in the conference.

    If the season ended today, the Cardinals would play undefeated Florida State in the ACC Championship Game. Remember—the ACC did away with divisions this year, so the two teams with the highest conference winning percentage will play in Charlotte, North Carolina in December.

    But in order to have a chance to challenge the Noles, Louisville has two huge games coming up that it needs to win. Next week, Virginia Tech faces Louisville. The Hokies are 4-4 on the season and have won two straight over Wake Forest and Syracuse. Virginia Tech also beat Pitt earlier this season.

    Louisville then gets Virginia at home, and the Cavaliers have looked solid on the road in recent weeks. The Cavaliers pulled off a massive upset over previously undefeated North Carolina last week and lost in overtime 29-26 at Miami earlier on Saturday. Louisville’s final ACC opponent is Miami on the road.

    As you can see, there is still a ways to go before Louisville can start looking ahead to a possible ACC title-game berth. But if the Cardinals make it there, they could be one of the few teams in the conference that can legitimately challenge Florida State.

Who’s Not: Utah, Which Won’t Be Winning the Pac-12 This Year

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    Utah Utes quarterback Bryson Barnes

    Utah Utes quarterback Bryson BarnesBoyd Ivey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    If there was anything surprising that happened in Week 9, it was just how uncharacteristic this Utah team looked against Oregon. The Utes entered with playoff hopes, sitting at 6-1 with just one loss to Oregon State.

    But Oregon put to rest the Utes’ hopes of making the CFP for the first time ever, and it did so pretty much in the first half. The Ducks led 21-6 at halftime and scored another two touchdowns in the third quarter to win 35-6. Oregon’s victory snapped Utah’s 18-game home winning streak. Utah’s last home loss came in 2020, against USC on Nov. 21. It also marked Oregon’s first victory at Utah since 2016.

    Oregon quarterback Bo Nix finished 24-of-31 passing with 248 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite target of the day, receiver Troy Franklin, had 99 yards on eight catches and a touchdown.

    Utah quarterback Bryson Barnes finished with 138 yards passing and two interceptions and no touchdowns. The Ducks defense also successfully kept Utah out of the end zone for the first time all season.

    Oregon still has to play USC and Oregon State in the regular season, but this win over Utah puts the Ducks in great shape for a Pac-12 title. For Utah, missing out on an opportunity to win the conference three times in a row is certainly a disappointment, even if this team finishes with nine or 10 wins on the year. Upsetting a team like Washington on Nov. 11 might be one way to ease that sting this season for the Utes.

Fun Fact: Kansas Just Beat Oklahoma for the 1st Time in 26 Years!

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    Kansas Jayhawks fans rush the field after defeating the Oklahoma Sooners

    Kansas Jayhawks fans rush the field after defeating the Oklahoma SoonersJay Biggerstaff/Getty Images

    Rock Chalk Jayhawk. Despite entering this game as a 7-point home underdog, Kansas upset the undefeated Sooners 38-33. There was even a lightning delay midway through the second quarter that lasted about an hour.

    The Sooners went to the locker room with a 21-17 lead at halftime. In a back-and-forth second half, Kansas had two clutch touchdown drives in the fourth quarter. Daniel Hishaw Jr. scored a one-yard touchdown to take a 32-27 lead, with the Jayhawks’ two-point conversion attempt failing. QB Dillon Gabriel responded with a rushing touchdown to make it 33-32 Sooners. Despite an interception from Jayhawk quarterback Jason Bean with 2:29 left, Kansas forced an OU punt on its next drive.

    Bean found his receiver Lawrence Arnold for a 37-yard pass down to Oklahoma’s 9-yard line. Jayhawk running back Devin Neal ran it in for a touchdown on first down that gave Kansas the five-point lead that held until the end.

    This win for Kansas is significant for a few reasons. For starters, it handed Oklahoma its first loss of the season. Sure, one loss doesn’t knock Oklahoma out of the playoff or Big 12 title hunt, but Oklahoma can’t afford to lose again if it wants a shot at the final four.

    This also gives Kansas a win over Oklahoma for the first time since 1997—snapping an 18-game losing streak to the Sooners. It was also the Jayhawks’ first Top 10 win in Lawrence since 1984, and the first overall since 2008.

    The Jayhawks are also now bowl eligible for a second consecutive season, and it’s the first time for Kansas to do that since 2007 and 2008.

    It’s a remarkable turnaround for this Kansas program under head coach Lance Leipold, who is just in his third season in Lawrence. Following a 2-10 mark in 2021, Kansas finished 6-6 in the regular season last year, losing to Arkansas 55-53 in overtime in the Liberty Bowl.

    Kansas finished below .500 for 13 consecutive regular seasons before 2022. The Jayhawks have remaining games against Iowa State, Texas Tech, Kansas State and Cincinnati, so a seven- or eight-win finish could certainly be on the table for Kansas. The future under Liepold looks quite bright.

Looking Ahead: LSU-Bama for SEC West, Washington, Oregon State Face Road Tests

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    Alabama's Nick Saban, LSU's Brian Kelly

    Alabama’s Nick Saban, LSU’s Brian KellyJonathan Bachman/Getty Images

    Week 10 isn’t the most exciting slate of games featuring a lot of Top 25 matchups, but there are plenty to keep an eye on. In the SEC, all the attention will be on Tuscaloosa, as No. 15 LSU takes on No. 9 Alabama. The winner of this one has an inside track to make it to Atlanta to play Georgia for an SEC title. Last year, LSU upset the Tide 32-31 in overtime.

    There are some Pac-12 title contenders who will have to go on the road next week, however. No. 5 Washington plays USC away from home. As bad as USC’s defense is, the Trojans can obviously put up points, so this one might be a shootout. In next week’s addition of #Pac12AfterDark, No. 11 Oregon State travels to play Deion Sanders’ Colorado Buffaloes.

    Elsewhere around the country, No. 16 Missouri plays top-ranked Georgia in Athens. The Bulldogs haven’t slowed down all season, but the Tigers are 7-1 on the season. Oklahoma will look to avoid losing two straight, going on the road to face in-state rival Oklahoma State. No. 3 Ohio State goes on the road to face a much improved Rutgers squad, but the Scarlet Knights have lost nine straight to the Buckeyes. No. 4 Florida State also goes on the road to face Pitt, which just lost 58-7 to Notre Dame.

    We’ll see if the lackluster week produces any upsets with so many contenders going on the road.

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