College football rankings 2023: Projected Week 9 AP Top 25 after Ohio State rolls Penn State, UNC upset

  • Ohio State and Alabama answered the call, manhandling Penn State and Tennessee
  • UNC was stunned by one of the ACC's worst teams
  • Florida State, Texas and Oklahoma all survived upset scares

Oct 21, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18)
Oct 21, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) / Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch / USA
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Projected AP Top 25 college football rankings after Week 8: No. 10-9

10. Penn State Nittany Lions

The one thing I was certain about regarding Penn State coming into their marquee matchup against Ohio State was that the defense was one of the best in college football. Even though the Nittany Lions lost 20-12, a final score that looks better thanks to a garbage-time touchdown, that belief still holds true. 

On the other hand, though, the Penn State offense might have more questions than answers coming out of the loss. 

Drew Allar and the Nittany Lions attack had not been tested truly this season. So when they came up against a fierce OSU defense, they could get absolutely nothing going for them. They converted just one third down in the entirety of the action and the eye test was failed miserably. It’s not a death sentence for Penn State’s CFP hopes, but it certainly doesn’t help – and it might be that if the offense doesn’t make strides moving forward. 

9. Alabama Crimson Tide

For as many times as people have already tried to write Nick Saban’s team off this season, including in the first half on Saturday while hosting rival Tennessee, the Alabama Crimson Tide are still very much in the mix. 

After falling behind 13-0 early against the Vols, Jalen Milroe and the Alabama offense found their groove in a massive way. They flashed it to answer midway through the second quarter, but the defense let up another TD drive for Tennessee. But Milroe found Isaiah Bond for a deep shot in the first minute of the second half and things were off and running for the Tide from there. 

It’s not wrong to remain dubious of Alabama’s upside offensively. But the defense is still supremely talented, as evidenced by shutting out Tennessee in the second half, and the offense has been able to find big plays consistently. Point being, don’t call the Tide dead until you’re absolutely certain, or they’ll just prove you wrong.