College football rankings: Michigan, Tennessee on the rise

By RJ Young
FOX Sports College Football Writer

ANN ARBOR, Michigan — With the Ohio State Buckeyes on a bye week, there was no question where the biggest and most important game north of the Mason-Dixon Line was played on Saturday.

At kickoff, Michigan Stadium was bathed in maize and swaddled by blustery wind and cold that is signature to Big Ten football, and the Wolverines put on a vintage performance.

After allowing Penn State to overcome a 13-0 deficit, and even trailing 17-16 in the third quarter, Jim Harbaugh tapped his tailbacks — Blake “The Great” Corum and Donovan “Do-Everything” Edwards — to push, punish and maul one of the best run defenses in the land.

Michigan blows out Penn State

RJ Young analyzes Michigan’s win and explains why Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards are unstoppable.

The firm of Corum and Edwards rushed for 339 yards and four TDs behind the reigning Joe Moore Award-winning offensive line. The Wolverines scored 25 unanswered points to stamp a performance good enough for me to toss out their soft non-conference schedule and call them what the Michigan faithful have called them all along — a championship-caliber football team.

1. Ohio State (6-0)


The Buckeyes return to action against an Iowa team that hasn’t looked competitive all month.

2. Georgia (7-0)

Defeated Vanderbilt, 55-0

UGA beat Vanderbilt like it stole something — putting up a 50-burger and surrendering not a single thing.

3. Michigan (7-0)

Defeated Penn State, 41-17

The Wolverines rushed for 396 yards against the No. 5 rushing defense in the country. A statement was made, and the defending league champs made certain the Buckeyes heard it.

4. Tennessee (6-0)

Defeated Alabama, 52-49

The Volunteers snapped their 15-year losing streak to the Tide, and Josh Heupel did what did no other Tennessee head coach had done — beat Nick Saban’s Alabama.

With the win, the Vols picked up the best win of the season, planted Hendon Hooker among those who will likely be invited to the Heisman ceremony and earned Heupel the kind of love and admiration that only come from a coach making good for a fan base starved for excellence.

Tennessee, Hendon Hooker deserve respect

Tennessee, Hendon Hooker deserve respect

RJ Young reacts to Tennessee’s upset of Alabama and breaks down the impressive performances of Hendon Hooker and Jalin Hyatt.

5. Clemson (7-0)

Defeated Florida State, 34-28

Will Shipley rushed for 121 yards as the Tigers held off a game FSU squad to stay unbeaten.

6. Alabama (6-1)

Lost to Tennessee, 52-49

The Tide fought back from an 18-point deficit to take a late seven-point lead. But the Vols made a kick after Alabama missed its opportunity — ballgame.

7. TCU (6-0)

Defeated Oklahoma State, 43-40, 2OT

The Horned Frogs are the last remaining undefeated team in the Big 12 heading into Week 8.

8. Mississippi (7-0)

Defeated Auburn, 48-34

The Rebels enjoyed three 100-yard rushers in their double-digit win against an Auburn program that is 0-3 in October and 1-4 in SEC play.

9. Oklahoma State (5-1)

Lost to TCU, 43-30, 2OT

The Cowboys let a double-digit lead slip away in Fort Worth for their first loss of the season.

10. Oregon (5-1)


The Ducks face undefeated UCLA in Eugene next week for what might be a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

11. UCLA (6-0)


The Bruins are looking to improve to 7-0 with a win against Oregon. The last time UCLA began the season 7-0 was 2005, and the Bruins finished that season 10-2.

12. USC (6-1)

Lost to Utah, 43-42

There is no shame in losing to the defending Pac-12 champs in Salt Lake City. But the Trojans might want to shore up that defense.

Cameron Rising’s 2-point conversion seals win

Cameron Rising's 2-point conversion seals win

Cameron Rising converted on the two-point conversation to help the Utah Utes beat the USC Trojans.

13. Penn State (5-1)

Lost to Michigan, 41-17

After seeing their run defense torn apart, the Nittany Lions will spend extra time this week preparing for Minnesota and one of the best tailbacks in the league in Mohamed Ibrahim.

14. Kentucky (5-2)

Defeated Mississippi State, 27-17

Chris Rodriguez ground out 197 yards and two touchdowns on the ground to carry the Wildcats.

15. Utah (5-2)

Defeated USC, 43-42

The Utes needed this one. Now they get a bye week as a reward.

16. Kansas State (5-1)


The Wildcats return to action against TCU in their bid to stay undefeated in conference play.

17. Syracuse (6-0)

Defeated NC State, 24-9

The Orangemen are 6-0 as they get their shot at true ACC supremacy with a top-25 matchup against Clemson in Death Valley next week.

18. Wake Forest (5-1)


19. Illinois (6-1)

Defeated Minnesota, 26-14

Chase Brown entered the conversation as one of the best tailbacks in the country with a vintage Big Ten running back performance — 41 carries for 180 yards.

Illinois controls Minnesota

Illinois controls Minnesota

RJ Young reacts to the Fighting Illini’s impressive win over the Gophers.

20. Texas (5-2)

Defeated Iowa State, 24-21

The Longhorns survived a rock fight against a Cyclones team that has lost its last four conference games by a combined 14 points.

twenty one. North Carolina (6-1)

Defeated Duke, 38-35

Drake Maye’s touchdown pass with 16 seconds left rescued the Heels in a wild finish.

twenty two. Kansas (5-2)

Lost to Oklahoma, 52-42

Jason Bean is solid, but the Jayhawks aren’t the same without Jalon Daniels on the field.

23. Mississippi State (5-2)

Lost to Kentucky, 27-17

Will Rogers was held to 203 yards and only one touchdown — along with an interception — in the loss.

twenty four. Cincinnati (5-1)


The Bearcats have quietly won five in a row since their opening-week loss to Arkansas. They look to defend their undefeated start to conference play with a win against Southern Methodist next week.

25. Oklahoma (4-3)

Defeated Kansas, 52-42

When the Sooners have Dillon Gabriel under center, they look like a top-25 team.

Oklahoma rebounds against No. 19 Kansas

Oklahoma rebounds against No. 19 Kansas

RJ Young breaks down Oklahoma’s victory, and the performance of Dillon Gabriel.

Read more:

RJ Young is a national college football writer and analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the podcast “The Number One College Football Show.” Follow him on Twitter at @RJ_Young and subscribe to “The RJ Young Show” on YouTube.

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