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College football rankings: Cincinnati ahead of Alabama, Oklahoma for No. 2 in CBS Sports 130

Written by on October 19, 2021

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While Georgia remains the unquestioned and unanimous top team in the college football rankings, the voters in the CBS Sports 130 have come up with an answer for one of the top debates in the sport: Who should fill out the rest of the top five? Suffice to say, CBS Sports has a unique pecking order at the top of our new rankings. 

While the Coaches Poll moved Oklahoma to No. 2 following Iowa’s loss to Purdue and the AP Top 25 chose Cincinnati, both sets of rankings had the other team at No. 3 with Alabama at No. 4 and Ohio State at No. 5. That’s not the case with our experts from CBS Sports and 247Sports. Like the AP voters, we have tabbed Cincinnati the next-best team behind Georgia; however, we also chose Alabama over Oklahoma for the No. 3 spot. 

The CBS Sports 130 has been bullish on Cincinnati ahead of the rest of the nation, but it’s now found a new level of confidence by having coach Luke Fickell’s group is win off-field perception battles over the likes of Alabama and Oklahoma. 

Iowa dropped eight spots after the loss, checking in at No. 10 just behind a Penn State team it outlasted the week prior, while Kentucky dropped six spots to No. 16 after also taking its first loss of the season. Much of the notable upward movement within the top of the rankings came outside the top 15 with teams like No. 18 Baylor, No. 22 Pittsburgh and No. 23 Auburn all moving up after impressive wins. No. 25 Utah was one of the biggest movers of the week after its huge Pac-12 South victory over Arizona State. You can find out more on the Utes’ jump along with other major rankings adjustments in the Mover’s Report below. 

College football experts from CBS Sports and 247Sports contribute ballots each week, which are averaged together for our rankings. You can see the top 25 below and 26-130 on our rankings page.

Biggest movers 

  • No. 36 Purdue (+26): The Boilermakers are 4-2, and prior to Saturday, lacked the quality win needed to get the attention of voters for upward movement. Beating Iowa on the road is not only a quality win but maybe one of the best we’ll see in college football all season. The rest of Purdue’s schedule is extremely challenging with the Boilermakers drawing both Ohio State and Michigan State from the Big Ten East, but the win against the Hawkeyes tips the postseason probabilities in coach Jeff Brohm’s favor in a major way. 
  • No. 25 Utah (+14): Unbeaten in conference play with a win against another division contender, Utah has moved into the center of the Pac-12 title race heading into Week 8. The Utes two losses came early in the season to BYU and San Diego State — teams that have gone on to have strong starts to the season — and now with Cameron Rising thriving as the team’s new starter at quarterback, Utah is surging in the rankings. 
  • No. 40 Air Force (+14): We’ve been tracking the Falcons’ candidacy for a while now, and Saturday’s win at Boise State adds another big move up to what has been a 29-spot jump over the last two weeks. Air Force will try to keep this momentum going with a huge Mountain West showdown this Saturday against undefeated San Diego State in primetime on CBS Sports Network. 
  • No. 38 Louisiana (+12): Like a lot of these teams moving up, Louisiana’s wins against conference opponents are not only improving the record but drawing attention from voters as the Ragin’ Cajuns sharpen their attention on winning a conference championship. While Appalachian State is not a division foe, it is one of the toughest opponents on Louisiana’s conference schedule. After the win, coach Billy Napier’s team is up 20 spots over the last two weeks. 
  • No. 31 BYU (-9): Two straight losses against Boise State and Baylor have previously unbeaten BYU tumbling, first down 11 spots last week and now nine more after falling short against the Bears in Waco, Texas. Three Pac-12 wins early in the season, including victories against Utah and Arizona State, solidify the profile of this 5-2 team, but it’s a team that’s trending down right now in our rankings.  
  • No. 32 Arkansas (-13): The Razorbacks peaked at No. 5 in the CBS Sports 130 and then the three straight losses to Georgia, Ole Miss and Auburn now have them outside of the top 30. The 27-spot fall started gradually because of the quality of opponent and the value of wins against Texas and Texas A&M, but the 4-3 record makes it’s tough to rank Arkansas ahead of teams with better winning percentages heading into Week 8. 
  • No. 48 Appalachian State (-13): There’s a chance to bounce back for Appalachian State against Coastal Carolina this week, but the performance in a loss at Louisiana had our voters making some swift adjustments not only to the Ragin’ Cajuns ranking but also for the Mountaineers. 
  • No. 33 Florida (-16): Like Arkansas, that 4-3 record is going to be tough to get over for some voters when many teams in that range between No. 20 and No. 30 have just one or two losses. Losing at LSU as a double-digit favorite was bound to get the Gators dropped in the rankings, no matter their position or record. Now the path back into a top-20 ranking likely requires winning out, which includes a victory against Georgia in Jacksonville, Florida, on Oct. 30. 

Check out the rest of the CBS Sports 130: Teams ranked 26-130


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