College Football rankings Week 5: Tennessee soars, Oklahoma and Arkansas plummet after Week 4

college football rankings

Week 4 of the 2022 college football rankings delivered plenty of surprises, especially for the top-25 rankings. Multiple top-10 teams went down on Saturday and programs that were seemingly on the rise all crashed down. Needless to say, it’s shaking up the college football rankings for Week 5.

The best teams in college football – Georgia Bulldogs, Alabama Crimson Tide and Ohio State Buckeyes – played as advertised. Elsewhere in the country, the Tennessee Volunteers made a top-10 statement and the Clemson Tigers silenced some criticism with an offensive explosion.

Things aren’t perfect for everyone. The Oklahoma Sooners experienced a crushing loss to the Kansas State Wildcats and the Arkansas Razorbacks prevented its own victory on the road against Texas A&M. Thanks to a series of surprising Week 4 outcomes, the landscape in college football changed dramatically once again.

Related: College Football standings

Let’s dive into our Week 5 college football rankings.

Dropped from Top-25 rankings: Michigan State Spartans (21), Texas Longhorns (22), Florida Gators (23), Pittsburgh Panthers (25)

25. Texas Tech Red Raiders (UR)

NCAA Football: Texas at Texas Tech
Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
  • Texas Tech Red Raiders record: 3-1
  • Week 5 opponent: @ Kansas State Wildcats

The Texas Longhorns entered Saturday with 18 victories in their last 22 matchups against Texas Tech. In what could be the final Battle for the Chancellor’s Spurs for some time, Texas Tech squashed any thought that Texas is back. Sophomore quarterback Donovan Smith came through late, overcoming a 31-17 deficit to put Texas Tech on the map.

Related: Week 4 CFB scores

24. Kansas State Wildcats (UR)

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Oklahoma
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  • Kansas State Wildcats record: 3-1
  • Next Opponent: vs Texas Tech Red Raiders

The Nebraska Cornhuskers are one of the worst teams in college football and Adrian Martinez is thriving in a new home. He put Kansas State on his back in Week 4, delivering a performance for the ages with 148 rushing yards, 234 passing yards and five touchdowns against a Brent Venables-coached defense. The Tulane loss stings, but beating the Sooners warrants a spot in the latest college football rankings.

23. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (13)

NCAA Football: Clemson at Wake Forest
Anderson Independent Mail-USA TODAY Sports
  • Wake Forest Demon Deacons record: 3-1
  • Week 5 opponent: @ Florida State Seminoles

Sam Hartman did everything in his power to win on Saturday. Throwing six touchdowns and accounting for 337 passing yards against one of the best defenses in college football should be more than enough for victory. Ultimately, it fell short on a day when the Demon Deacons’ defense allowed 559 total yards and 16 third-down conversions.

22. Kansas Jayhawks (UR)

Syndication: The Topeka Capital-Journal
Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Kansas Jayhawks record: 4-0
  • Week 5 opponent: vs Iowa State Cyclones

The Kansas Jayhawks leap into the Week 5 college football rankings. A football program with a combined 11-61 record since 2015 suddenly looks relevant in its second season under Lance Leipold. Jalon Daniels (five total touchdowns in Week 4) is quickly making a name for himself and will head into a matchup against Iowa State with 15 touchdowns in four games.

21. Minnesota Golden Gophers (UR)

NCAA Football: Colorado at Minnesota
Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports
  • Minnesota Golden Gophers record: 4-0
  • Week 5 opponent: vs Purdue Boilermakers

P.J. Fleck gets the Minnesota Golden Gophers back into the top 25 rankings. Holding a 2-2 record a year ago, Minnesota is certainly taking advantage of a lighter schedule out of the gate. However, Saturday’s road victory at Spartan Stadium hints at a football team that could be undefeated heading into its Oct. 22 draw against Penn State.

20. BYU Cougars (18)

NCAA Football: Brigham Young at Utah State
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
  • BYU Cougars record: 3-1
  • Next Opponent: vs Utah State Aggies

The Utah Utes won’t exactly enter the Old Wagon Wheel matchup filled with confidence. After getting bullied by Oregon a week ago, the Cougars came out flat in their return home against Wyoming. It’s now a quick turnaround for Thursday’s game and that has to be a bit concerning for the Cougars.

19. Baylor Bears (19)

NCAA Football: Texas State at Baylor
Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
  • Baylor Bears record: 3-1
  • Week 5 opponent: vs Oklahoma State Cowboys

The Baylor Bears took the first step towards establishing their power in the Big 12, taking down a previously undefeated Iowa State program. Sophomore quarterback Blake Shapen stood out on Saturday. If Dave Aranada’s program wants to really gain ground in the top 25 rankings, though, we’ll need to see something great on Oct. 1 against Oklahoma State.

18. Arkansas Razorbacks (11)

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Texas A&M
Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports
  • Arkansas Razorbacks record: 3-1
  • Next Opponent: vs Alabama Crimson Tide

The little things matter on the road. Not being able to accomplish the fundamentals, protecting the football inside the red zone and making easy kicks, cost Arkansas. It’s going to be the missed field goal and a fumble at the Aggies’ 3-yard line returned for a touchdown that will haunt the Razorbacks. What could have been a double-digit win is instead a crushing defeat. Unfortunately, the freefall down the college football rankings will likely continue with a loss against Alabama likely.

17. NC State Wolfpack (17)

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at North Carolina State
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
  • NC State Wolfpack record: 4-0
  • Week 5 opponent: @ Clemson Tigers

We’ll consider Week 4 the tune-up game for NC State. The Wolfpack beat up on UConn in a dominant victory on Saturday, all led by an offense that looked smooth as silk. It’s a needed jolt in the arm for Devin Leary and Co. and there’s an added boost considering how the Clemson defense looked against Wake Forest. With all that said, it would be stunning if NC State came out of Death Valley with a win.

16. Washington Huskies (20)

NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
  • Washington Huskies record: 4-0
  • Next Opponent: @ UCLA Bruins

Coming off a statement victory, the Washington Huskies dictated the tone for Saturday’s win over Stanford. Michael Penix Jr. wasn’t at his best, but it didn’t prove costly because running back Wayne Taulapapa controlled things on the ground. You don’t always need glamorous wins to remain undefeated, but let’s see how Washington fares on short rest against UCLA on Friday.

15. Texas A&M Aggies (24)

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Texas A&M
Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports
  • Texas A&M Aggies schedule: 3-1
  • Next Opponent: @ Mississippi State Bulldogs

Texas A&M isn’t playing sound football right now. Nine penalties, a 33% third-down conversion rate and plenty of other issues nearly cost the Aggies on Saturday. Yet, once again, Jimbo Fisher’s program left Kyle Field with a victory after a few things went their way. The Aggies now have three consecutive wins against top-10 opponents, they just need to stop playing down to unranked teams.

14. Utah Utes (12)

NCAA Football: Southern Utah at Utah
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
  • Utah Utes record: 3-1
  • Next Opponent: vs Oregon State Beavers

It’s always nice when you can play a program that just fired its head coach, even if it means the assistant coaches are no longer leaking information. The Utah Utes are in the easy portion of their schedule, all serving as chances for the offense to become more consistent and eliminate the mental mistakes before an Oct. 15 showdown with USC. Just don’t expect a ton of upward movement for Utah in the college football rankings for the time being.

13. Penn State Nittany Lions (16)

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Penn State
Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
  • Penn State Nittany Lions record: 4-0
  • Week 5 opponent: vs Northwestern Wildcats

Sean Clifford remains the thing that gives everyone the most hesitation with the Penn State Nittany Lions. In big games, it’s hard to trust that he offers the talent and consistency to compete with the best quarterbacks in college football. Week 4 proved he can beat up inferior competition and we expect the same in Week 5. If he does it against Michigan (Oct. 15), this is a top-10 team.

12. Oklahoma Sooners (5)

Syndication: The Oklahoman
  • Oklahoma Sooners record: 3-1
  • Next Opponent: @ TCU Horned Frogs

This is not a Brent Venables defense. It’s clearly going to take some time, possibly two years, before the Oklahoma Sooners coach can bring in his caliber of high-effort and fundamentally sound defenders. Until then, the Sooners don’t belong in the CFB Playoff discussions and Dillon Gabriel won’t be able to do enough to overcome it.

11. Ole Miss Rebels (15)

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Georgia Tech
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
  • Ole Miss Rebels record: 4-0
  • Next Opponent: vs Kentucky Wildcats

The Mississippi Rebels are simply taking care of whoever lands on their schedule. There isn’t an impressive victory right now – zero games against a top 25 opponent – but the Rebels are handling their business. A top-10 spot in the college football rankings is up for grabs in Week 5 with the Kentucky vs Ole Miss battle.

10. Oregon Ducks (14)

NCAA Football: Oregon at Washington State
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
  • Oregon Ducks record: 3-1
  • NEXT Opponent: vs Stanford Cardinal

The Oregon Ducks look like a different team than the one we saw in Week 1 against Georgia. Bo Nix – 10-1 TD-INT and 927 passing yards – is playing some of the best football in his career over the last three games. The schedule in October (Stanford, Arizona, UCLA, Cal) sets the Ducks up for an incredible run into a tough November slate.

9. Kentucky Wildcats (8)

NCAA Football: Youngstown State at Kentucky
Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
  • Kentucky Wildcats record: 4-0
  • Week 5 opponent: @ Ole Miss Rebels.

The Kentucky Wildcats aren’t moving up the college football rankings after fighting to defeat a one-win Northern Illinois program. Will Levis played well on Saturday, better than we saw from him early in September, but this game was tied at halftime. Kentucky is undefeated right now, but it won’t stay that way if there is an effort like this at Ole Miss.

8. Oklahoma State Cowboys (7)

Syndication: The Oklahoman
  • Oklahoma State Cowboys record: 3-0
  • Next Opponent: @ Baylor Bears

The Oklahoma State Cowboys dipping in the rankings is entirely the result of a Week 4 bye. If that’s the cost of having two weeks to prepare for Baylor, Mike Gundy will happily take the trade-off. The Bears aren’t exactly looking great right now and that bodes well for the Cowboys to go into McLane Stadium and come out with a win.

7. USC Trojans (6)

NCAA Football: Southern California at Oregon State
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
  • USC Trojans record: 4-0
  • Next Game: vs Arizona State Sun Devils

After being the subject of scrutiny early in the season, the USC Trojans’ defenses responded with a phenomenal effort against Oregon State. It proved to be necessary on a night when Caleb Williams and Lincoln Riley couldn’t get anything going until that final drive. The Williams-Jordan Addison connection keeps USC’s perfect season alive, another instance of the rewards that come from the transfer portal

6. Tennessee Volunteers (9)

NCAA Football: Florida at Tennessee
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
  • Tennessee Volunteers record: 4-0
  • Week 5 opponent: BYE

The Tennessee Volunteers look like one of the best teams in college football. Hendon Hooker firmly joined the Heisman Trophy race in Week 4, taking down their hated rival after years of coming up short. There are certainly some things the Vols need to clean up defensively, but this team should have more than enough to win in Week 6 at LSU.

5. Clemson Tigers (11)

College Football Rankings, Clemson Tigers
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
  • Clemson Tigers record: 4-0
  • Week 5 opponent: vs NC State Wolfpack

The Clemson Tigers soar up the Week 5 college football rankings after proving themselves on Saturday. DJ Uiagalelei delivered the performance we’ve been waiting for, racking up 371 passing yards, 52 rushing yards and five touchdowns against a quality defense. Getting this win on the road was monumental to firmly get into the mix for the College Football Playoff.

Related: Clemson Tigers schedule

4. Michigan Wolverines (4)

NCAA Football: Maryland at Michigan
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
  • Michigan Wolverines record: 4-0
  • Week 5 opponent: @ Iowa Hawkeyes

Blake Corum is the true Heisman candidate on the Michigan Wolverines offense. On a day when his program got into serious trouble, Corum’s 243 rushing yards included a 47-yard touchdown run in the closing minutes to sink a dagger into Maryland. He’ll be crucial in Week 5 against Iowa.

3. Alabama Crimson Tide (3)

NCAA Football: UL Monroe at Alabama
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
  • Alabama Crimson Tide record: 4-0
  • Week 5 opponent: @ Arkansas Razorbacks

The Alabama Crimson Tide still aren’t playing their best football right now, Nick Saban knows it. Bryce Young looked like a future NFL star in Week 4, fixing some mistakes made the previous week. However, Saban will be able to identify some defensive mistakes and the lack of consistency from Alabama’s receiving corps as things that must be ironed out before an excellent matchup against Arkansas.

Related: Alabama Crimson Tide schedule

2. Ohio State Buckeyes (2)

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch
Doral Chenoweth/The Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Ohio State Buckeyes record: 4-0
  • Week 5 opponent: vs Rutgers Scarlet Knights

The Ohio State Buckeyes are right where they want to be, scoring with ease and gaining more confidence in their defense. One of the best teams in college football looks the part, even against the Wisconsin Badgers. It would be stunning if the Buckeyes weren’t 7-0 when we get the Oct. 29 duel against Penn State.

Related: Week 5 college football schedule

1. Georgia Bulldogs (1)

Syndication: Online Athens
  • Georgie Bulldogs record: 4-0
  • Week 5 Opponent: @ Missouri Tigers

Not exactly the performance we expected from the Georgia Bulldogs, but it’s not knocking them down from the No. 1 spot in the college football rankings. Brock Bowers proved once again why he is one of the best weapons in college football and the Bulldogs can feel great about averaging 42.25 points per game heading into October.

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