• Georgia stays at the top: The most complete team in the country is 4-0 behind quarterback Stetson Bennett and tight end Brock Bowers.
• Minnesota remains underrated: The Golden Gophers rank 10th here but 21st in the AP poll.
Week 4 of college football provided the first true test for four College Football Playoff contenders: Michigan, Clemson, Oklahoma and USC. Three (barely) survived, while the Sooners suffered their first defeat at the hands of Kansas State.
Week 5 should be an absolute treat, with a season-high five ranked matchups taking place. Before we spend 12-plus hours on our couches, here is how our top 25 looks entering Week 5. Please note that this ranking is not the same as PFF’s power rankings.
1. Georgia Bulldogs (Record: 4-0, AP Ranking: 1st)
Week 5 Matchup: at Missouri Tigers
The Bulldogs are the most complete team in college football. Georgia’s defense ranks first and its offense ranks fifth in PFF’s power rankings, the only school in the country to place top five in both. Quarterback Stetson Bennett and tight end Brock Bowers look like legit Heisman candidates, as both grade out among the five best at their position in the Power Five.
Perhaps the best indicator of Georgia’s dominance is the fact that Oregon, who the Bulldogs clobbered 49-3, is still ranked in the top 15.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide (Record: 4-0, AP Ranking: 2nd)
Week 5 Matchup: at No. 20 Arkansas Razorbacks
Bryce Young finally started to look like the player who won the Heisman Trophy last season, earning a 93.8 grade in a 55-3 win over Vanderbilt. He sported just a 77.6 grade in his first three games, tied for 49th among FBS quarterbacks. However, he’s had to shoulder a heavy load of the Crimson Tide’s offense. Alabama’s receiving corps ranks 90th in the country in PFF grade, but that should improve with the imminent return of receivers Tyler Harrell and JoJo Earle.
3. Ohio State Buckeyes (Record: 4-0, AP Ranking: 3rd)
Week 5 Matchup: vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Ohio State proved it has the finest offense in college football by exploding for 52 points against a solid Wisconsin defense. More impressively, the Buckeyes did that without the best receiver in the country, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who’s recovering from a hamstring injury.
Once he returns, Ohio State could have one of college football’s best offenses in recent memory.
4. Clemson Tigers (Record: 4-0, AP Ranking: 5th)
Week 5 Matchup: vs. No. 10 N.C. State Wolfpack
Clemson needed double overtime to squeak by No. 21 Wake Forest, 51-45, on Saturday. The Tigers were without cornerbacks Sheridan Jones, Malcolm Greene and safety Andrew Mukuba. Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman took advantage of the beat-up Clemson secondary by throwing a school-record six touchdowns.
The good news for Clemson is that its offense was able to keep up, which didn’t happen often last year. Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei is finally starting to live up to his potential. Last season, the former five-star recruit had just a 64.4 passing grade, which ranked 62nd among Power Five quarterbacks. That’s up over 25 points to a 90.4 mark this year, fourth in the Power Five.
5. Michigan Wolverines (Record: 4-0, AP Ranking: 4th)
Week 5 Matchup: at Iowa Hawkeyes
The Wolverines had a scare of their own against Maryland, beating the Terrapins 34-27 at home. Sophomore quarterback J.J. McCarthy came crashing down to earth, with just a 49.0 grade on Saturday compared to a 92.5 grade in his first three games. Michigan was able to ride running back Blake Corum to victory, who put up a career-high 243 rushing yards on the day.
Outstanding vision from Blake Corum on this TD run. pic.twitter.com/lCydT6aog8
— Max Chadwick (@Chad_Maxwick) September 24, 2022
The Wolverines’ offense faces another tough test this weekend against Iowa, which currently fields the highest-graded defense in the country.
6. USC Trojans (Record: 4-0, AP Ranking: 6th)
Week 5 Matchup: vs. Arizona State Sun Devils
USC needed a game-winning touchdown with 1:13 left to escape an Oregon State upset, winning 17-14 on the road. A normally high-scoring Trojans offense looked pedestrian against the Beavers, with by far their lowest expected points per play output this season.
USC EPA/play by game | 2022
|Week||Opponent||EPA/Play||Power Five Rank|
The good news for USC is that its defense stepped up against what was the Pac-12’s highest-graded quarterback in Chance Nolan. He made a career-high four turnover-worthy plays against the Trojans en route to a 53.8 grade.
USC’s offense should rebound, and if the defense can keep playing at that level, the Trojans will be tough to beat.
7. Tennessee Volunteers (Record: 4-0, AP Ranking: 8th)
Week 5 Matchup: Bye
Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker looks like a legitimate Heisman contender. He has the third-highest grade among Power Five quarterbacks this season (91.6). Keep in mind, half of his games have come against top-25 opponents in Pittsburgh and Florida.
Hooker and Tennessee have off this week before facing LSU next week.
8. Penn State Nittany Lions (Record: 4-0, AP Ranking: 11th)
Week 5 Matchup: vs. Northwestern Wildcats
A trio of newcomers has excelled for the Nittany Lions this season.
After posting the third-lowest rushing grade among Power Five schools last season, the Nittany Lions are in the top 20 this season thanks to a pair of true freshmen. Both Kaytron Allen and Nicholas Singleton boast grades that rank among the top 15 for Power Five running backs. Singleton, a former five-star recruit, averages 5.9 yards after contact per attempt this season, the most in the country.
A transfer is also the main reason why the Nittany Lions have the third-highest pass-rushing grade in the Power Five. Chop Robinson comes in from Maryland and has a 92.4 grade as a pass-rusher, which is the highest in the country among all defenders. His 91.6 overall grade is also the third-highest among FBS defenders this season.
9. Kentucky Wildcats (Record: 4-0, AP Ranking: 7th)
Week 5 Matchup: at #14 Ole Miss Rebels
Kentucky endured a slight scare against Northern Illinois this past week, winning 31-23. Will Levis hasn’t quite lived up to the first-round hype he received preseason. After a 90.6 grade last year, he has just a 67.4 grade so far this season. Buoying the Wildcats’ offense has been its receivers. Kentucky’s 78.2 receiving grade ranks sixth-best in the Power Five.
Those receivers will take on a massive test this weekend. Ole Miss’ secondary has a 91.8 coverage grade this year, tied for the best in the country.
10. Minnesota Golden Gophers (Record: 4-0, AP Ranking: 21st)
Week 5 Matchup: vs. Purdue Boilermakers
This may seem way too high compared to the AP ranking, but PFF has been bullish on Minnesota since the start of the season.
The Golden Gophers began the year ranked 19th in PFF’s power rankings despite being unranked in the AP poll. They’re now eighth in our rankings after a 34-7 drubbing of Michigan State in East Lansing.
Tanner Morgan is the ultimate Heisman dark horse. Despite being the highest-graded quarterback in the country (95.3), he’s tied for 38th in Heisman odds at 100-to-1 (DraftKings).
Tanner Morgan is having a Kenny Pickett-esque breakout this season.
He has a 95.3 @PFF grade so far this season, best among all players in the country.
If he keeps this up, the sixth-year senior could become Minnesota’s first Heisman winner since 1941.pic.twitter.com/o1DjfycZth
— Max Chadwick (@Chad_Maxwick) September 25, 2022
Minnesota is currently the team to beat in the Big Ten West and the most underrated team in college football.
11. Ole Miss Rebels (Record: 4-0, AP Ranking: 14th)
12. N.C. State Wolfpack (Record: 4-0, AP Ranking: 10th)
13. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Record: 4-0, AP Ranking: 9th)
14. Utah Utes (Record: 3-1, AP Ranking: 12th)
15. Oregon Ducks (Record: 3-1, AP Ranking: 13th)
16. Baylor Bears (Record: 3-1, AP Ranking: 16th)
17. Florida State Seminoles (Record: 4-0, AP Ranking: 23rd)
18. Washington Huskies (Record: 3-1, AP Ranking: 15th)
19. Texas A&M Aggies (Record: 3-1, AP Ranking: 17th)
20. Oklahoma Sooners (Record: 3-1, AP Ranking: 18th)
21. Arkansas Razorbacks (Record: 3-1, AP Ranking: 20th)
22. BYU Cougars (Record: 3-1, AP Ranking: 19th)
23. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Record: 3-1, AP Ranking: 22nd)
24. Pittsburgh Panthers (Record: 3-1, AP Ranking: 24th)
25. Kansas Jayhawks (Record: 4-0, AP Ranking: NR)