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Smeltz’s College Football Top 25: Week 9

Before we get into Smeltz’s top 25 for this week, here’s who dropped out from last week’s rankings.

  • Kentucky (No. 18)
  • Cincinnati (No. 19
  • Texas (No. 24)

There’s a slight change in the top seven in the top seven of this week’s poll, and the first significant shift happens at No. 10.

Let’s get into it. 

No. 1. Tennessee– Beating Kentucky 44-6 isn’t going to knock the Vols out of the top spot.

No. 2. Ohio State– The Buckeyes didn’t roll over Penn State the way some thought they might, but a win over a then-top 15 team on the road will keep Ohio State at 2.

No. 3. Georgia– I had Michigan at No. 3 and Georgia at No. 4, but after doing some soul-searching, I decided that, although both teams have unimpressive resumes to this point, Georgia should get the benefit of the doubt because of its status as the defending national champions. 

Really, it doesn’t matter. Both teams are golden if they don’t lose. 

No. 4. Michigan– See above 

No. 5. Clemson

No. 6. Alabama

No. 7. TCU

No. 8. Oregon

No. 9. USC

No. 10. Ole Miss

No. 11. North Carolina

No. 12. Kansas State

No. 13. UNC

No. 14. UCLA

No. 15. Utah

No. 16. Penn State– The AP and Coaches polls have Penn State at No. 16. I do, too.

No. 17. Illinois– One of the differences between my poll and those polls– other than I’m cooler than the people deciding– is that I don’t think Illinois is better than Penn State and, thus, shouldn’t be ranked higher. 

Illinois is a great story, and coach Bret Bielema should get National Coach of the Year consideration. But the Illini’s resume could be better.

It lost to Indiana. It beat an awful Iowa team 9-6. It beat a bad Virginia team on the road out of conference and a bad Nebraska team on the road in conference. Its 34-10 win over Wisconsin at Camp Randall was impressive, but only to an extent because the Badgers fired their head coach after the game. Beating Minnesota at home was somewhat impressive but also something that people should expect of a top-25 team, which Penn State proved the following week. 

Illinois is a good bet to finish 10-2, with should-be wins against Michigan State and Purdue at home and at Northwestern to end the regular season. Its game at Michigan Nov. 19 will be a measuring stick, and barring a surprise, Illinois will play Michigan or Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. 

No. 18. Oklahoma State

No. 19. NC State 

No. 20. Wake Forest

No. 21. Tulane 

No. 22. Liberty

No. 23. Syracuse 

No. 24. Oregon State

No. 25. Maryland– Is Maryland great? Nope. But looking at the last few teams of the actual top 25, are the Terps not worthy of that status at 6-2, with a seven-point loss at Michigan and a two-point loss to Purdue at home?

If Illinois is a top 15 team, Maryland is a top 25 team. 

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