Published 9:30 AM EDT Oct 8, 2018
The race is on for No. 2. That’s because there’s no doubt about No. 1: Alabama has a stranglehold on the top spot in USA TODAY Sports’ college football re-rank. But there’s plenty of debate over which team deserves to slot in behind the Crimson Tide.
Ohio State stays at No. 2 after fending off Indiana. The Buckeyes were sloppy at times, though that was almost expected in the wake of last weekend’s emotional, come-from-behind win at Penn State.
Third-ranked Clemson has a case for No. 2 after flexing its muscles in a lopsided win against Wake Forest. The Tigers are back on track after a September that featured close calls against Texas A&M and Syracuse.
No. 4 Notre Dame has five wins against Power Five competition: Michigan, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Stanford and Virginia Tech. The Irish have responded to quarterback Ian Book’s promotion into the starting lineup.
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No. 5 Georgia has won each of its first six games by at least two touchdowns, which slightly overshadows how the Bulldogs have fought through periods of inconsistency in recent conference wins against Missouri, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
There’s even No. 6 Central Florida, owners of the nation’s longest active winning streak. The Knights only have one data point against a Power Five opponent, but it’s a good one: UCF has a 31-point win against a Pittsburgh team fresh off an overtime win against Syracuse.
New to the top 25: No. 23 Mississippi State, No. 24 Appalachian State, No. 25 San Diego State.
Out of the top 25: No. 40 Syracuse, No. 42 Oklahoma State, No. 43 Boise State.