College Football Power Rankings: LSU takes over at No. 1, Alabama hangs close

We have a new No. 1. That's just the beginning of the shakeup at the halfway point of the 2019 college football season. Seven weeks down, seven to go, and LSU has emerged as the clear No. 1 team in the nation.

LSU has won at Texas. It broke open a close game late Saturday against a top-10 Florida. It is the highest-scoring team in the country. Defense? Eh, it's good enough.

The Tigers have changed their coaches, their offense and their reputation. It looks like LSU -- along with Alabama and maybe Florida -- would be comfortable playing in the Big 12.

That's meant to be a compliment.

Georgia tumbled out of the No. 2 spot after the nation's second-most shocking upset of the season. (Take a bow, Georgia State, because the Tennessee win still resonates.) This is not a good development for the Dawgs or the SEC. Georgia basically now has to win out to reach the College Football Playoff. That doesn't look likely. The South Carolina loss also makes it less likely -- but not impossible -- for the SEC to have two teams in the playoff.

With half the season completed, the top of the power rankings would leave both the ACC and Pac-12 out of the four-team bracket. No need to @ me. There is plenty of football left to play.

Biggest Movers
6 Baylor
7 Georgia
Rk
Teams
 
Chg
Rcrd
1 LSU What team has accomplished more this season? The win over Florida was the Tigers' second over a top-10 team. At the halfway point, LSU is No. 1 and Joe Burrow just might be the game's best player. 315-0
2 Alabama Nick Saban says all the praise makes it "difficult for our players." Count your blessings, coach. The opposite of not beating Texas A&M and Tua Tagovailoa becoming the school's career passing touchdown leader and getting 311 yards in punt/kickoff returns is losing. There's more rat poison to come, Nick. 111-2
3 Ohio State Bye. What a second half it should be for the Big Ten's best team. Either way. Still to come: Wisconsin (Oct. 26), Penn State (Nov. 23) and Michigan (Nov. 30). With four undefeated teams, the Big Ten looks like the nation's best conference at the halfway point. --13-1
4 Oklahoma CeeDee Lamb (10 catches, 171 yards, three touchdowns) should be an All-American. Alex Grinch is a defensive savior. The Sooners are definitely a playoff team at the halfway point. 512-2
5 Wisconsin The Badgers are the first team to have four shutouts in their first six games since 1967. After beating Michigan State, they have allowed 29 points all season. That's less than 43 teams allowed in Week 7. 210-4
6 Clemson Everything's good now that the Tigers beat a shadow of what used to be Florida State. Dabo Swinney pulled every club out of his golf bag to show his team was focused. It's still not one of the top four. 214-1
7 Florida It's hard to penalize the Gators for that effort at LSU. Florida matched LSU score for score until late. Can't agonize too much. The SEC East is at stake this week at ... South Carolina. 211-2
8 Auburn Bye. Gus Malzahn spent part of his week congratulating new Kansas offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon, a former senior offensive consultant at Kansas. At Arkansas next. 29-4
9 Georgia You saw the signs. Something wasn't clicking with the Georgia offense. The lack of an experienced receiver finally showed as Jake Fromm threw three picks against South Carolina. Dawgs need to win out and hope. As things stand, does anyone think Georgia can win out? 712-2
10 Notre Dame Initial thought: The Georgia loss damages the Irish's chances of getting into the playoff. What looked like a "good" loss isn't so much anymore. Still, ND stays on course with a three-point win at home over USC. 111-2
11 Penn State OK, we believe in the defense. Dragged down into a slugfest with Iowa, the Nittany Lions scored with 5 minutes left to beat their first ranked team. By this point, Penn State is beyond a dark horse factor in the Big Ten East. 111-2
12 Oregon Best story on the West Coast might be the Ducks. They are the Pac-12's best chance for the playoff. Mario Cristobal has built a powerhouse that beat Colorado by 42 on Friday. 112-2
13 Utah The Utes dealt Oregon State its worst home loss since 1991, 52-7. Zack Moss returned from injury to run for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Moss' 91-yarder was the longest touchdown run ever against the Beavers. 211-3
14 Boise State Hank Bachmeier got knocked out of the Hawaii game. No problem. Freshman Chase Cord came in and threw for 175 yards and three touchdowns. The Broncos remain the Group of Five favorite for the guaranteed New Year's Six berth. --12-2
15 Michigan One minute you're up 28-0, the next you're clinging to a 28-25 lead. Michigan finished the job against pesky Illinois, 42-25. "We rose to the challenge, but yeah, it got interesting for a while there," Jim Harbaugh said. 29-4
16 Arizona State Freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels scored the game-winner on a scramble with 34 seconds left to beat Washington State. That's his third late-game rescue of the Sun Devils. Can you imagine Herm Edwards winning a Pac-12 title? It's a realistic dream. 28-5
17 Texas In the running for best two-loss team in the country. That and a quarter will get you a bag of chips. Despite losing by a touchdown in Red River, the Horns were held to a season-low in yards (310). Need to regroup to force an OU rematch in Big 12 Championship Game. 78-5
18 Baylor The Bears survives a two-overtime thriller against Texas Tech. Forget about Oklahoma-Texas. What about Oklahoma-Baylor on Nov. 16? Charlie Brewer drove the Bears 97 yards to tie it on the final play of regulation against the Red Raiders. 611-3
19 SMU Bye. A magic season continues with one of the biggest AAC games of the season. Temple comes to Highland Park this week. 110-3
20 Cincinnati Houston's remaining players at least didn't give up. The Cougars did turn it over five times in a 38-23 Bearcats' win. Luke Fickell's name will come up big time during the silly season. He has turned around the Bearcats. 111-3
21 Minnesota No Adrian Martinez, no problem for the Golden Gophers. Nebraska wasn't a problem either in a 34-7 win. Row the boat? How about P.J. Fleck for Big Ten coach of the year? You hear that, Ryan Day? 211-2
22 Wake Forest 1. Wake ran 102 plays, gained 688 yards, scored 59 and lost to Louisville. The Clawfense averaged snapping the ball every 16.4 seconds. Trying doing that 102 times fast. 68-5
23 Missouri The Tigers have rebounded nicely from the inexplicable opening loss to Wyoming. Missouri handled Ole Miss on Saturday to move to 5-1. Considering what happened to Georgia, is Mizzou an SEC East factor? NR6-6
24 Appalachian State If it seems like it was five days ago, well, it was. The Mountaineers beat Louisiana-Lafayette 17-7 on Wednesday in a rematch of the Sun Belt Championship Game. The 5-0 start is App State's best ever in FBS. NR13-1
25 San Diego State The Aztecs moved within a game of becoming bowl eligible for the 10th straight season in overcoming Wyoming 26-22. The only loss is to Mountain West Mountain Division leader Utah State. NR10-3
CBS Sports Senior Writer

Dennis Dodd has covered college football for CBS Sports since it was CBS SportsLine in 1998. He is one of only seven media members to attend all 16 BCS title games and has chronicled conference realignment... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories