Ohio State coach Ryan Day has been boasting about the Buckeye’s toughness throughout this season, and that identity was crucial to grinding out a 20-12 win over Penn State in one of the biggest games on the Week 8 schedule. Our CBS Sports and 247Sports college football rankings voters took note of Ohio State’s defensive excellence, and now rankings profile that features two wins against teams in our top 15 has moved the Buckeyes ahead of Washington for the No. 3 spot in the CBS Sports 133.
Michigan kept its hold on the No. 1 spot it took from Georgia two weeks ago with the Bulldogs remaining at No. 2 after an off week. Much of the top 10 remained the same with Penn State’s drop from No. 7 to No 10 allowing for some shake up that included Alabama jumping up two spots to No. 9.
North Carolina fell eight spots to No. 18 after its stunning loss to Virginia, but there were far more notable moves down than big surges up throughout the top 30 in the rankings. Duke and Tennessee, for example, fell after road losses to higher-ranked conference foes but remained inside the top 25, allowing for teams like LSU, Missouri and Air Force to strengthen their position inside the top 20 after Week 8 wins. Utah, interestingly enough, only moved up three spots to No. 13 after beating USC on the road as an underdog; our voters’ big takeaway from that game — at least in terms of rankings movement — was to move the Trojans down.
For more on the most notable week-to-week adjustments throughout the CBS Sports 133, check out the Mover’s Report below the top 25 table.
College football experts from CBS Sports and 247Sports contribute ballots each week, which are averaged together for our rankings. You can see the top 25 below and 26-133 on our rankings page.
- No. 58 Minnesota (+23): There are currently 22 FBS teams with a 4-3 record after Week 8, and sometimes breaking ties between these teams with imperfect rankings profiles can be difficult. The Golden Gophers got a boost in that tie-breaking process this week as its fourth win of the season came in thrilling fashion at Iowa, which entered the game with only one loss.
- No. 48 UNLV (+18): Barry Odom’s Runnin’ Rebels have emerged as one of the biggest threats to Air Force in the Mountain West thanks to a 3-0 start in conference play and 6-1 overall record that has UNLV breaking into the top 50 after a narrow home win against Colorado State. Up next are the games that will truly determine UNLV’s conference title contender status with Fresno State, Wyoming and Air Force on the schedule in the next four weeks.
- No. 30 Liberty (+10): A midweek scare from Middle Tennessee nearly put a halt to what was an impressive unbeaten start in Year 1 of the Jamey Chadwell era. But a 42-35 Flames win to improve to 7-0 was good enough to jump ahead of some other top 40 teams with losses on the resume.
- No. 18 North Carolina (-8): The absence of a loss prior to Saturday allowed for a high floor when it comes to where the Tar Heels would fall after a 31-27 loss to Virginia, but that’s consolation for the disappointment that North Carolina feels after letting an unbeaten start get blemished by a conference rival that had just one win going into the game.
- No. 26 USC (-8): Two straight losses have knocked USC out of the College Football Playoff picture and produced a combined 16-spot drop from the top 10 to outside the top 25 in the CBS Sports 133. The Trojans’ efforts to turn the season around after this midseason slide has become one of the biggest stories in the Pac-12, but our voters have firmly concluded this is not a team to be taken seriously as a contender.
- No. 35 Clemson (-8): Holding a 10-point lead going into the fourth quarter, Clemson had several chances to put Miami away and begin the season’s second half with a win that would keep the Tigers on track for yet another 10-win season. Instead, a blown lead and failures in execution in the overtime periods has Clemson 4-3 and needing a spark to ensure there are enough wins left on the schedule to even be in a bowl game.
- No. 38 Washington State (-9): This is a case where the voters have to balance success from early in the season with the state of a team in the present. Wins against Oregon State and Wisconsin are quality victories by our rankings, but three straight losses have left the Cougars at 4-3 as the group has not looked as competitive as it did in September. Injuries have a played a big role in the midseason losing streak, but recent form also plays a role in Washington State dropping despite having those quality wins on the resume.
- No. 55 TCU (-9): The Horned Frogs enter a much-needed break after an early season campaign that featured rollercoaster results. Devastation from the high-profile home loss to Colorado in the opener was slightly calmed by a three-game winning streak, but after losing three of the next four games — including a 41-3 rout at the hands of Kansas State on Saturday — TCU finds itself as a middling team needing a 2-2 finish for bowl eligibility. That’s a big change in postseason destination for the reigning national runner-up, but getting there would be accomplishment considering a final stretch that still has Texas and Oklahoma on the calendar in November.
Check out the rest of the CBS Sports 133: Teams ranked 26-133