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College Football Rankings: NCAAF Top 25 (After Week 9)

Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State Spartans

Weekly college football top 25 rankings are a big part of every season, and Athlon Sports will update its top 25 following the games each weekend. The ninth weekend of the 2021 season was headlined by Michigan State's win over Michigan, Georgia's blowout of Florida, Baylor's victory against Texas and Ohio State's close call versus Penn State. Georgia, Cincinnati, Alabama and Michigan State take the top four spots, with Oklahoma at No. 5 and Oregon at No. 6 in the post-Week 9 top 25 rankings. With the ninth week of the 2021 season officially in the books, here are the top 25 teams in college football:

College Football Top 25 Rankings (After Week 9)

1. Georgia (8-0)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Florida

Another dominant effort by Georgia’s defense leads to an easy 34-7 win over Florida in Jacksonville. The Bulldogs victory, combined with Kentucky’s loss at Mississippi State, clinched the SEC East title for the fourth time in five seasons for coach Kirby Smart's squad.

2. Cincinnati (8-0)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Tulane

The Bearcats were a little sluggish in the first half, but coach Luke Fickell’s team used a strong second-half effort from the defense, along with three touchdown passes from quarterback Desmond Ridder, to pull away for a 31-12 win over Tulane.

3. Alabama (8-0)
Week 9 Result:
Off Week

The Crimson Tide were off on Saturday and return to action next week at home against LSU.

4. Michigan State (8-0)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Michigan

The Spartans take bragging rights in the state of Michigan and scored a big win in the race for the Big Ten East with a 37-33 victory over the Wolverines. Running back Kenneth Walker’s big day (197 yards and five touchdowns) and a couple of timely stops on defense loomed large in the victory.

5. Oklahoma (9-0)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Texas Tech

Quarterback Caleb Williams (402 passing yards and six touchdowns) was excellent once again in 52-21 win over Texas Tech. The Sooners are off next Saturday, setting up a key three-game stretch – at Baylor, Iowa State and at Oklahoma State – to close out the regular season.

6. Oregon (7-1)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Colorado

Quarterback Anthony Brown threw for 307 yards and three scores to lift Oregon to an easy 52-29 victory over Colorado.

7. Ohio State (7-1)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Penn State

Both sides of the ball come up big in 33-24 win over Penn State in a must-have game for Ohio State’s playoff hopes. The defense scored a touchdown, registered four sacks and forced three turnovers, while the offense averaged 6.9 yards a snap behind 305 passing yards from quarterback C.J. Stroud. 

8. Michigan (7-1)
Week 9 Result:
Lost to Michigan State

The Wolverines appeared to be in control at halftime, but turnovers and a leaky run defense allowed Michigan State to rally for a huge victory in East Lansing. Michigan still has games remaining against Penn State and Ohio State but will need help to win the Big Ten East Division.

9. Notre Dame (7-1)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated North Carolina

The Fighting Irish gave up 564 yards to North Carolina, but the defense made just enough timely stops, and the offense scored 44 points behind a strong performance from running back Kyren Williams (199 yards and a touchdown).

10. Wake Forest (8-0)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Duke

Quarterback Sam Hartman threw for 402 yards and accounted for five overall scores to lead Wake Forest to a 45-7 win over Duke. The Demon Deacons are 8-0 for the first time in program history.

11. Texas A&M (6-2)
Week 9 Result:
Off Week

The Aggies were off on Saturday and return to action against Auburn next week.

12. Oklahoma State (7-1)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Kansas

The Cowboys rebounded from last week’s loss at Iowa State with a 55-3 blowout of Kansas.

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13. Baylor (7-1)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Texas

Baylor’s impressive second-year turnaround under coach Dave Aranda continued with a 31-24 win over Texas on Saturday. The defense limited Longhorns’ standout running back Bijan Robinson to just 43 yards on 17 carries, while the Bears scored on three consecutive second-half possessions to take control of the game.

14. Auburn (6-2)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Ole Miss

Saturday night’s 31-20 victory over Ole Miss was a complete team effort for the Tigers. The offense had good balance (276 through the air and 207 on the ground), while the defense limited the Rebels to 5.7 yards per play and made four key stops in the second half.

15. Ole Miss (6-2)
Week 9 Result:
Lost to Auburn

Injuries are taking a toll on the Ole Miss offense, but coach Lane Kiffin’s team still has a chance to get to 10 wins with three of its next four games at home.

16. Iowa (6-2)
Week 9 Result:
Lost to Wisconsin

Turnovers and a lackluster offense (2.8 yards per play) were too much to overcome in Iowa’s 27-7 loss at Wisconsin.

17. Kentucky (6-2)
Week 9 Result:
Lost to Mississippi State

The Wildcats couldn’t get anything going on offense (4.5 per play) and lost four turnovers to drop to 0-5 in Starkville under coach Mark Stoops.

18. BYU (7-2)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Virginia

Huge performances from running back Tyler Allgeier (266 yards and five touchdowns) and quarterback Jaren Hall (391 total yards and four scores) guided BYU to a wild 66-49 win over Virginia.

19. Penn State (5-3)
Week 9 Result:
Lost to Ohio State

Sean Clifford’s 361 passing yards helped the Nittany Lions give Ohio State all it could handle, but the offense was too one-dimensional and lost the turnover battle (three to one). 

20. Houston (7-1)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated SMU

The Cougars took a big step forward in the quest to get to the AAC Championship Game with a 44-37 win over SMU. A 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Marcus Jones with less than 20 seconds gave Houston the win, but the defense also deserves credit for getting a couple of key stops against a high-powered offense.

21. Coastal Carolina (7-1)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated Troy

The Chanticleers needed a late fake punt to put away Troy, but the win helps coach Jamey Chadwell’s team keep pace with Appalachian State in the Sun Belt East Division.

22. Fresno State (7-2)
Week 9 Result:
Defeated San Diego State

The Bulldogs jump back into the top 25 after taking control of the Mountain West’s West Division in an impressive 30-20 victory at San Diego State.

23. Pitt (6-2)
Week 9 Result:
Lost to Miami

Kenny Pickett’s 519 passing yards and three touchdowns wasn’t enough to beat Miami.

24. UTSA (8-0)
Week 9 Result:
Off Week

The Roadrunners were off on Saturday and return to action against UTEP next week.

25. SMU (7-1)
Week 9 Result:
Lost to Houston

Houston’s kickoff return for a touchdown with less than 20 seconds left ends SMU’s undefeated season and is a massive setback in the race to get to the AAC Championship Game.