Notre Dame
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The defending College Football Playoff finalists still lead the way, but the Buckeyes and Fighting Irish are hot on their tails.

This Week’s Voters: Geoff Magliocchetti

(All times ET)

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

#1. Alabama (5-0)

Last Week: W 56-14 vs. Louisiana

Top Performer: WR Jaylen Waddle (3 receptions, 138 yards, 2 TD)


This Week: Saturday @ Arkansas (12:00 p.m., ESPN)

Nick Saban’s quest to find negatives, which is running out of on-field candidates, has found a new target, yelling at the fans for not showing up the latest blowout against the hapless Ragin’ Cajuns.

#2. Georgia (5-0)

Last Week: W 38-12 vs. Tennessee

Top Performer: LB D’Andre Walker (5 tackles, 1 sack)

This Week: Saturday vs. Vanderbilt (7:30 p.m., SEC Network)

The scoreboard wasn’t indicative of the incomplete effort Georgia posted against the Vols, but they have one more chance for a tune-up before a big matchup against LSU looms large.

#3. Ohio State (5-0)

Last Week: W 27-26 @ #8 Penn State

Top Performer: DE Chase Young (6 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 pass deflections)

This Week: Saturday vs. Indiana (4:00 p.m., Fox)

After their comeback win in Happy Valley, the Buckeyes are the Big Ten favorites, and they might boast the most impressive resume amongst the early College Football Playoff contenders, with wins over top-15 opponents, both away from home.

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

#4. Notre Dame (5-0)

Last Week: W 38-17 vs. #10 Stanford

Top Performer: QB Ian Book (24-for-33, 278 yards, 4 TD, 15 carries, 47 yards)

This Week: Saturday @ #25 Virginia Tech (8:00 p.m., ABC)

The Fighting Irish were supposed to stumble at some point in the early portion of their schedule, but their offense has reached a whole new level with Book taking over as quarterback, winning his first two starts by a combined 50 points.

#5. LSU (5-0)

Last Week: W 45-16 vs. Mississippi

Top Performer: QB Joe Burrow (18-for-25, 292 yards, 9 carries, 96 yards, 4 total TD)

This Week: Saturday @ Florida (3:30 p.m., CBS)

The common trope against the Tigers is that they always seem to be a quarterback away from championship contention, but the dual-threat Burrow could end up being the missing piece as they enter a crucial four-week stretch against Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State, and Alabama.

#6. Clemson (5-0)

Last Week: W 27-23 vs. Syracuse

Top Performer: RB Travis Etienne (27 carries, 203 yards, 3 TD)

This Week: Saturday @ Wake Forest (3:30 p.m., ESPN)

Losing Trevor Lawrence could’ve been a big blow to the Tigers, especially with Kelly Bryant’s impending transfer, but, as has been tradition in the Dabo Swinney era, guys have stepped up to keep a championship push alive.

(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

#7. Oklahoma (5-0)

Last Week: W 66-33 vs. Baylor

Top Performer: QB Kyler Murray (17-for-21, 432 yards, 10 carries, 45 yards, 7 total TD)

This Week: Saturday vs. #17 Texas (@ Dallas) (12:00 p.m., Fox)

With Murray posting magnificent numbers, it’s hard to imagine baseball being anywhere in his realm of discussion at this point, other than discussion of the ongoing MLB playoffs.

#8. Penn State (4-1)

Last Week: L 27-26 vs. #3 Ohio State

Top Performer: QB Trace McSorley (16-for-32, 286 yards, 2 TD, 25 carries, 175 yards)

This Week: Idle (Next game 10/13 vs. Michigan State)

The Nittany Lions now have two weeks to stew on a brutal loss, particularly on a single fourth-down play call that took the ball out of the hands of the versatile and explosive McSorley.

#9. Washington (4-1)

Last Week: W 35-7 vs. BYU

Top Performer: QB Jake Browning (23-for-25, 277 yards, 6 carries, 4 yards, 2 total TD)

This Week: Saturday @ UCLA (7:30 p.m., Fox)

With so many dangerous games taken care of, including a blowout visit from the ranked Cougars, the scariest game could very well be a visit to the desperate, winless Bruins.

#10. Stanford (4-1)

Last Week: L 38-17 @ #4 Notre Dame

Top Performer: CB Paulson Adebo (8 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 pass deflection)

This Week: Saturday vs. Utah (10:30 p.m., ESPN)

The Cardinal got their one clunker out of the way out of conference, but now have to reestablish their PAC-12 dominance against Utah in a weekend nightcap.

#11. Auburn (4-1)

Last Week: W 24-13 vs. Southern Mississippi

Top Performer: LB Deshaun Davis (10 tackles, 2 TFL)

This Week: Saturday @ Mississippi State (7:30 p.m., ESPN2)

After a long delay, the Tigers held on to top the Eagles, leaving them hoping their conference showdown against a reeling Bulldogs team will be much easier, getting them back on the right SEC track.

#12. UCF (4-0)

Last Week: W 45-14 vs. Pittsburgh

Top Performer: QB McKenzie Milton (18-for-34, 328 yards, 10 carries, 51 yards, 6 total TD)

This Week: Saturday vs. SMU (7:00 p.m., ESPNU)

Sure, it came against the struggling Panthers, but the Golden Knights very much impressed in their first and only showdown against a Power 5 conference opponent.

#13. Wisconsin (3-1)

Last Week: Idle

Top Performer: N/A

This Week: Saturday vs. Nebraska (7:30 p.m., BTN)

The Badgers rose thanks to some losses ahead of them, but took a big blow during their bye week, as tight end Zander Neuville will likely miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.

#14. West Virginia (4-0)

Last Week: W 42-34 @ Texas Tech

Top Performer: CB Keith Washington (7 tackles, 3 pass deflections, 1 INT, 1 TD)

This Week: Saturday vs. Kansas (12:00 p.m., ESPN2)

The most impactful game for the Mountaineers might not even be their showdown against the lowly Jayhawks, but the Red River Showdown that will determine who they could fight for the Big 12 title.

#15. Michigan (4-1)

Last Week: W 20-17 @ Northwestern

Top Performer: DL Chase Winovich (9 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack)

This Week: Saturday vs. Maryland (12:00 p.m., ABC)

Buried in the ugly opening weekend loss to Notre Dame, a defeat that becomes more understandable with each passing week, is a strong Wolverines team, evidenced by a comeback from down 17-0 on the road.

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

#16. Kentucky (5-0)

Last Week: W 24-10 vs. South Carolina

Top Performer: LB Josh Allen (8 tackles, 4 TFL, 3 sacks)

This Week: Saturday @ Texas A&M (7:00 p.m., ESPN)

No one’s talking about tip-off in Lexington just yet, as the Wildcats can earn their first 6-0 start since 1950, and perhaps send a bigger message to the rest of the SEC, with a win against the dangerous Aggies.

#17. Texas (4-1)

Last Week: W 19-14 @ Kansas State

Top Performer: DL Charles Omenihu (5 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 sacks)

This Week: Saturday vs. #7 Oklahoma (@ Dallas) (12:00 p.m., Fox)

It’s the most tired meme in college football, nay, all of college sports, but Texas can truly be “back” by stifling the mighty Sooners in the annual showdown at the Texas State Fair.

#18. Oregon (4-1)

Last Week: W 42-24 @ California

Top Performer: S Ugochukwu Amadi (7 tackles, 2 INT, 1 TD, 1 pass deflection)

This Week: Idle (Next game 10/13 vs. Washington)

With a week to prepare for a big showdown with the Huskies, the Ducks will use this bye week to analyze the mistakes that cost them not only an undefeated season, but possibly the College Football Playoff as well.

#19. Michigan State (3-1)

Last Week: W 31-20 vs. Central Michigan

Top Performer: CB Justin Layne (9 tackles, 1 INT, 1 pass deflection)

This Week: Saturday vs. Northwestern (12:00 p.m., FS1)

Lost in the chaos of the Ohio State-Penn State is the Spartans, who are still trying to recover from the Arizona State loss from Week 2, and they have one more chance to saddle up for back-to-back showdowns with Penn State and Michigan.

#20. Oklahoma State (4-1)

Last Week: W 48-28 @ Kansas

Top Performer: RB Justice Hill (31 carries, 189 yards, 1 TD)

This Week: Saturday vs. Iowa State (3:30 p.m., ESPN2)

The Cowboys are also reeling from a season-ending injury, as defensive lineman Darrion Daniels, who can redshirt after playing in only four games, who will miss the rest of the season with a finger injury.

#21. Miami (FL) (4-1)

Last Week: W 47-10 vs. North Carolina

Top Performer: DL Joe Jackson (5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass deflection, 1 INT, 1 TD)

This Week: Saturday vs. Florida State (3:30 p.m., ABC)

The Hurricanes have gotten back on track by taking care of business against lesser competition, but can truly generate some momentum by adding to the Seminoles’ humiliation this weekend.

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

#22. Colorado (4-0)

Last Week: W 38-16 vs. UCLA

Top Performer: QB Steven Montez (22-26, 237 yards, 11 carries, 81 yards, 3 total TD)

This Week: Saturday vs. Arizona State (4:00 p.m., PAC-12 Networks)

With everyone’s attention dedicated to Ducks and trees in the PAC-12, Colorado has quietly assembled an undefeated mark in the early going, the conference’s lone perfect team.

#23. Syracuse (4-1)

Last Week: L 27-23 @ #6 Clemson

Top Performer: K Andre Szmyt (3-3 FG, long 51, 2-2 XP)

This Week: Saturday @ Pittsburgh (12:20 p.m., ACC Network)

Brutal and heartbreaking as Saturday’s loss may be, the fact it’s so depressing, rather than expected, is a step in the right direction for the Orange.

#24. Cincinnati (5-0)

Last Week: W 49-7 @ Connecticut

Top Performer: QB Desmond Ridder (20-for-26, 270 yards, 8 carries, 47 yards, 3 total TD)

This Week: Saturday vs Tulane (12:00 p.m., ESPNU)

One of the few 5-win teams in the nation at this point, it seems mean to not let the Bearcats, allowing just 12 points per game, while scoring 38, into our Top 25 festivities.

#25. Virginia Tech (3-1)

Last Week: W 31-14 @ Duke

Top Performer: QB Ryan Willis (17-for-27, 332 yards, 3 TD)

This Week: Saturday vs. #4 Notre Dame (8:00 p.m., ABC)

A loss to Old Dominion should normally keep a Power 5 squad like the Hokies out of any Top 25 consideration for the rest of the season, but a strong recovery win in Durham, especially over the ranked Blue Devils with a backup quarterback, make them a rare exception.

Follow Geoff Magliocchetti on TWITTER

Please SUBSCRIBE to ESNY's Daily Newsletter, ESNY City Stream. Every piece of content included yet CUSTOMIZED to your New York Sports-team allegiance:

ESNY City Stream

NYY

NYM

NYG

NYJ

NYK

BKN

NYR

NYI

NJD

SJU