Penn State running back Keyvone Lee
Penn State running back Keyvone Lee (24) is tackled by Indiana linebacker Cam Jones (4) in the first half of their NCAA college football game in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)


Mike Shara

If nothing else, this week in college football is noteworthy for an absence. It marks the first time in a decade that Clemson is not ranked in the AP top 25. 2021 will also mark the first season since 2014 that the Tigers will not be ranked #1 overall at some point during the course of the season. With their cushy ACC schedule, the rest of the season (they have this week off after a lackluster home win over Boston College Saturday pushed them out of the rankings), it also means that several other team planes would have to crash for them to even sniff this year’s College Football Playoff.

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This means there will be at least one spot in the Final Four this year for a team that has not been a recent contender. There are plenty of folks advocating for a bigger final tournament (8 teams instead of 4), making a lot of noise about the same teams qualifying for the big games every year. Except for Alabama (will they ever die?) this year’s college football postseason could end up having a very different look in December and January.  Yes, the top ten still includes Ohio State, Oklahoma and Oregon but it also includes two non-power conference schools that aren’t Notre Dame. As a big fan of sporting entropy, the possibilities for chaos in the coming months are very exciting.

This week will have the potential to create even more chaos among the top ten (and even more elbowing to get into the top four), with a few tough games for teams that dream of playing in the big boy bowl games. If Oklahoma wants to reclaim a playoff seed, they’ll have to win the annual Red River Rivalry game in Dallas against a #21 ranked Texas team that has won three straight. #2 Georgia has to travel to Auburn, where the #18 ranked Tigers are just a close loss to Penn State from being unbeaten in their first season under Head Coach Bryan Harsin. The game with the biggest National Championship implications this week comes from the Big Ten (when’s the last time we said that?) as #4 Penn State travels to Iowa City to battle the #3 Hawkeyes and experience the Kinnick Wave in the biggest game these two iconic college football programs have ever played against one another.

Below is a listing of all games featuring teams ranked in the Top 25 this week. New to the AP rankings this week are Kentucky (big home win vs. Florida last week), SMU and San Diego State, with Arizona State and Texas returning after a few weeks out in the unranked wilderness. Dropping from the Top 25 this week are Texas A&M, Fresno State, UCLA, Baylor and Clemson. All games listed below are EST.


#5 IowaArkansas State8 pmESPNU

Temple#5 Cincinnati7 pmESPN
Stanford#22 Arizona State10:30 pmESPN


#8 Arkansas#21 Texas12 noonABC
Maryland#7 Ohio State12 noonFOX
#11 Michigan StateRutgers12 noonBIG TEN
#13 Arkansas#17 Ole Miss12 noonESPN
Vanderbilt#20 Florida12 noonSEC
#2 Georgia#18 Auburn3:30 pmCBS
Boise State#10 BYU3:30 pmABC
#19 Wake ForestSyracuse3:30 pmESPN
#24 SMUNavy3:30 pmCBSSN
#4 Penn State#3 Iowa4 pmFOX
LSU#16 Kentucky7:30 pmSEC
#9 MichiganNebraska7:30 pmABC
#14 Notre DameVirginia Tech7:30 pmACC
#1 AlabamaTexas A&M8 pmCBS
New Mexico#25 San Diego State9 pmFS1

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