A new season begins this week. You know, the one where we all gather around the TV each Tuesday night and try to get smarter watching the College Football Playoff Rankings reveal.
No, the rankings -- especially this far out beginning Halloween night -- do not mean much. The CFP Selection Committee reserves the right to reshuffle the deck on Selection Sunday and frequently has done just that. (Go look at past results.)
So, take it all with a disclaimer: What you see reflected Tuesday may be further away than you think.
Still, we are entering the home stretch of the 2023 college football season, which enters Week 10. And at this time, non-football factors do need to be discussed.
In this week's College Football Power Rankings, Michigan dropped from No. 1 to No. 3 amid the uncertainty of the sign-stealing scandal. It will be up to the committee to make the final determination, but the integrity of the game is at stake, and the fact that other teams played (fairly, we assume) while Michigan enjoyed a bye makes a difference. No one is saying the Wolverines should be left out. That's what makes this scandal so distressing. If there was wrongdoing, it didn't have to occur. Michigan is that strong on the field.
Georgia vaults back up to No. 1 because of a convincing win over Florida that showed the world (again) Kirby Smart can coach himself some defense.
Don't know what this means, but No. 2 Ohio State is now 14-0 in its first game after every Taylor Swift album release. The latest is "1989 (Taylor's Version)." No other FBS team is undefeated after a Swiftie release. (Shout out to CBS Sports research for that one.)
Everything is starting to crystallize in this home stretch. The Big Ten and SEC are each seemingly going to have to have a playoff spot. The ACC's chances rest with Florida State. The Pac-12 needs Oregon to win out.
Meanwhile, the Big 12 became the first Power Five conference with no undefeated teams remaining thanks to Kansas' upset of Oklahoma. A five-way tie for the lead heading into November is not necessarily good playoff juice.
College Football Power Rankings
|Brock, who? Lost in the haze of a statement game against Florida ... since Kirby Smart arrived, the Bulldogs have allowed the fewest points per game nationally (16.2). Nine weeks in, Georgia looks fully capable of winning three in a row.
|Fully armed and ready, the Buckeyes won a Big Ten classic at Wisconsin by bowing up and wearing down the Badgers. Less than a month until Michigan. And, yes, Marvin Harrison Jr. can become the second wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy since 1991.
|Bye. Bad week for Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines. They didn't play allowing that reshuffling here at the top. But that's not the worst thing. Will Harbaugh make it until the end of the season?
|Nice win at Wake Forest, but are the Seminoles looking over their shoulders at Louisville? This is the most complete FSU team since Jimbo Fisher days. What ever happened to him?
|Are the Huskies slipping? Their last four wins have come by a combined 27 points. Stanford provided surprisingly stiff competition. Michael Penix Jr.'s 92-yard scoring pass to Ja'Lynn Polk was the second-longest pass play in program history.
|Ignore (a bit) what you see here -- Washington being ahead of Oregon - the Ducks may have established themselves as the dominant Pac-12 team by ending Utah's 18-game home winning streak. Huskies still get the nod because of head-to-head, but we can't wait for a Pac-12 Championship Game rematch.
|The longhorns now seem to be the Big 12's best playoff possibility after beating BYU. Texas was in capable hands with Maalik Murphy subbing for the injured Quinn Ewers.
|Bye. Is it possible for Bama to sneak up on the playoff field? A win over LSU sure will make us pay more attention. Over the past six games, Bama has one of the stingiest defenses in the country (297.6 yards per game).
|Suddenly, Oklahoma only has one win over a ranked team (Texas) to show the committee. No transitory property of poll ranking here. The Sooners drop below Texas despite the head-to-head result because the devastating nature of the Kansas loss.
|There is something about playing Vanderbilt that makes everything better. Since losing to Alabama, Ole Miss squeaked past LSU, Arkansas and Auburn before beating the Commodores by 26. The Rebels scored on five consecutive first-half possessions.
|That was way too uncomfortable against Indiana. Drew Allar emerged as a maturing weapon throwing three TD passes. A suddenly rough patch awaits for the Nittany Lions -- at Maryland, Michigan and Rutgers.
|Bye. We're about to find out if the Tigers are for real. They control their destiny in the SEC East headed to Georgia. Don't forget, during this 25-game winning streak, Mizzou has played Georgia the closest, losing 26-22 last year at home.
|And we thought Jeff Brohm was an offensive wizard. After blanking Duke, the Cardinals are second in the ACC in rushing D, scoring D and total D. The 23-0 win marked the Cards' first-ever shutout of a top 25 opponent.
|Where did that come from against Pittsburgh (58-7)? Defensive back Xavier Watts has established himself as a Bednarik Award frontrunner with two of Notre Dame's four interceptions against the Panthers. The Fighting Irish have forced 10 turnovers the last two games!
|Bye. There's going to be a story either way in Tuscaloosa. Bama stays in playoff contention with a win. LSU could impact the SEC's overall playoff chances with a win. In that case, can Georgia afford to lose and still contend?
|Somebody needs to be called on the carpet for that fake field goal at the end of the first half. It only made the difference in a 3-point loss to Arizona. "We should have won the game, but we left stuff out there," OSU quarterback DJ Uiagalelei said.
|Oregon did to Utah what the Utes usually do to opponents: beat them up. It's a reconsideration of goals now that Utah has lost twice. A third straight Pac-12 title seems unlikely.
|Just to reiterate following one of the biggest upsets of the season: Kansas beat Oklahoma with a backup quarterback (Jason Bean) against a team it hadn't beaten since 1997. Until last season, the Jayhawks hadn't had more than three wins since 2009. Lance Leipold has established KU in the new Big 12 and possibly eliminated the playoff chances of the current Big 12.
|The Falcons rode a key unsportsmanlike penalty against Colorado State to their 13th straight win. "Will the audience please refrain from throwing snowballs?" said the referee in the middle of AFA's 30-13 win. Falcons are 8-0 for the first time since mom jeans (OK, 1985).
|After what could have been a mental hangover following blowing a 13-point lead at Alabama, the Volunteers rebounded nicely. It was only a six-point win at Kentucky, but the game never seemed in danger as Joe Milton III always chipped in with a big play. Charles Campbell kicked four field goals.
|Is it me or has Chip Kelly completely reinvented himself? Scrape by on offense and unleash a scary defense. Ask Colorado's Shedeur Sanders, who was sacked seven times. The Bruins defense had 10 tackles for loss in a smothering win over the Buffaloes.
|We're starting to think North Carolina might be a basketball school after all. Just like 2022, it now takes UNC's explosive offense that has to outscore opponents each week. The Tar Heels couldn't on against Georgia Tech. This will be also discussed in the defensive meeting room: The immortal Haynes King threw four TD passes.
|Now the governor is involved in getting the Dukes into a bowl game writing letters to the NCAA. A Sun Belt showdown ended with JMU squeezing out a 30-27 win over Old Dominion. Look at the last three schools in this poll. It could be a delicious shootout for a major bowl.
|Three-way tie with SMU and UTSA in the AAC (all 4-0). Saturday said more about Rice, perhaps, than the Green Wave. The Owls outscored Tulane 21-3 in the second half after the Wave built a 20-point halftime lead.
|The Flames scored more points (42) than the number of letters in the name of Western Kentucky's stadium -- barely. Houchens Industries L.T. Smith Stadium. Liberty has won its first four road games for the first time since 1997.
Out: Duke, Florida