ESPN 2023 College Football Power Rankings after Week 5

ByESPN staff ESPN logo
Monday, October 2, 2023

Week 5 didn't quite deliver the drama of Week 4, Notre Dame-Duke notwithstanding, but it tried.

Two top-10 teams -- the Georgia Bulldogs and USC Trojans -- avoided road upsets, while another, the Oregon Ducks, overcame a sluggish start to romp Stanford.

And while it was a bye week for some of the country's top college football teams (Florida State, Ohio State, North Carolina, Miami), it also was a bye week -- as in goodbye -- for a few unbeaten teams attempting to keep the top 25 within their grasp.

Kansas had hoped to climb but was drilled by Texas. Syracuse was seeking to get to 5-0 and earn a spot in the rankings but lost by 17 to Clemson. Duke's last-minute loss to Notre Dame kept the Blue Devils from perfection, but not from the top 25.

Meanwhile, Kentucky earned a place at the table in a blowout win against Florida, and Missouri continued its unbeaten start.

Here's how the Power Rankings play out after Week 5 results:

No. 1Georgia Bulldogs(5-0)

Kirby Smart said it wasn't always a matter of Auburn stopping Georgia as much as Georgia stopping itself during a closer-than-expected 27-20 win in Jordan-Hare Stadium. The running game wasn't consistent enough. There were too many turnovers. And the defense gave up too many long runs. But what the Bulldogs had when it mattered most was Brock Bowers. The All-American tight end came alive in the fourth quarter with six catches for 148 yards, including the game-winning TD in the fourth quarter. Smart put it best when he asked rhetorically, "Who can argue that there's a better football player in the country?" -- Alex Scarborough

Up next: vs. Kentucky (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)

No. 2 Michigan Wolverines(5-0)

The Wolverines were dominant in their 45-7 win over Nebraska to go 5-0 on the season. Michigan has now scored 30 or more points in each of its first five games for the first time since 1976. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy has been a big part of that offensive surge. He had 156 yards passing and two touchdowns on just 12 completions Saturday. Receiver Roman Wilson caught his seventh and eighth touchdown receptions on the year against the Huskers. The run game by committee: 249 yards and three touchdowns with no player rushing for more than 75 yards. The defense shut Nebraska down and was able to hold the Huskers to just one touchdown. -- Tom VanHaaren

Up next:at Minnesota (7:30 p.m. ET, NBC/Peacock)

No. 3Texas Longhorns(5-0)

The Longhorns are 5-0 for the first time since 2009, also the last time they won the Big 12. They did it in dominating fashion, rushing for 336 yards and passing for 325 with 33 first downs while holding Kansas to 0-of-8 on third downs. The 661 yards were the most in school history in a Big 12 game, with Jonathon Brooks carving up the KU defense for 217 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 10.8 yards per carry.Quinn Ewers was 25-of-31 for 325 yards and a touchdown to Georgia transferAdonai Mitchellwho had10 catches for 141 yards on the day. Ewers added 45 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The Jayhawks were without quarterback Jalon Daniels, and the Texas defense held Jason Bean to 9-of-21 passing for 136 yards. Heading into a showdown with Oklahoma, the Horns have won their five games by an average of 23 points. -- Dave Wilson

Up next:vs. Oklahoma (noon ET, ABC)

No. 4Florida State Seminoles(4-0)

Though the open date came early in the season for the Seminoles, it actually came at a good time considering the physical toll the first four games have taken -- most especially to quarterback Jordan Travis, who played the last two games with a sore left shoulder. While that will most definitely help Travis and others who are banged up, it also means they will play eight straight games. That starts Saturday against struggling Virginia Tech. The last time the Hokies came to Tallahassee, they beat former coach Willie Taggart to open the 2018 season. But much has changed for both programs over that span. -- Andrea Adelson

Up next:vs. Virginia Tech (3:30 p.m. ET)

No. 5Washington Huskies(5-0)

Ho-hum, another big night from Heisman candidate Michael Penix Jr. The quarterback completed 30-of-40 passes for 363 yards in a closer-than-expected 31-24 win against Arizona. Still, it was a comfortable win. Perhaps the most encouraging part for UW was the production it got on the ground as Dillon Johnson (2), Germie Bernard and Will Nixon all rushed for scores. The late-night win ensured the Huskies and Oregon will both be undefeated for their Oct. 14 tilt in Seattle. Perhaps a Pac-12 championship game preview? - Kyle Bonagura

Up next:vs. Oregon, Oct. 14

No. 6Ohio State Buckeyes(4-0)

The open week came at a good time for Ohio State, which should simmer down from an emotional win at Notre Dame and heal up for Big Ten play. Coach Ryan Day's postgame passion, while understandable to a degree, might not have helped if the Buckeyes had another game immediately ahead. Day and his team got a chance to recharge before hosting a Maryland team coach Mike Locksley pegged as the best in his tenure. Buckeyes star wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. also got extra time to rest his ankle after hobbling off the field against the Irish. Quarterback Kyle McCord now has a reference point of how to perform under adversity. The next step for McCord and the Buckeyes is greater efficiency and across-the-board dominance, beginning against Maryland. -- Adam Rittenberg

Up next:vs. Maryland (noon ET, Fox)

No. 7Penn State Nittany Lions(5-0)

They're not always as easy as Penn State made it look amid the "White Out" against Iowa last week. The Nittany Lions weren't at their sharpest but still found a way to win on the road in Evanston on Saturday, ensuring a third straight 5-0 start. Despite allowing just 59 total yards in the first half, Penn State found itself in a 10-10 game at halftime, in large part to fumbling the opening kickoff -- its first turnover of the season -- that helped set up a Northwestern touchdown. Drew Allar gutted through (18-for-33 passing for 189 yards and a touchdown), but his 1-yard TD run put Penn State up for good in the third quarter to support a defense that surrendered 175 total yards (45 rushing yards). A bye week for the Nittany Lions followed by a home game with Massachusetts will set the stage for what should be a monster game against Ohio State in Columbus on Oct. 14. -- Blake Baumgartner

Up next:vs. UMass, Oct. 14 (3:30 p.m. ET)

No. 8Oregon Ducks(5-0)

This one started much more slowly, but for the second straight week the Ducks won with the same final score: 42-6. At Stanford, Oregon trailed 3-0 at the end of the first quarter -- then 6-0 -- before restoring order with 42 unanswered points (last week, the Ducks led 42-0 against Colorado). The Ducks head into a bye week with one of the biggest games in the season waiting on Oct. 14: a trip to Washington in what will be a battle of top-10 teams.Bo Nix's Heisman campaign keeps humming along: He tossed four touchdowns against Stanford without a pick. -- Bonagura

Up next:at Washington, Oct. 14

No. 9USC Trojans(5-0)

For one half of football, USC looked like it was well on its way to an Oregon-like dominant win over Deion Sanders' Colorado Buffaloes. Caleb Williams was firing on all cylinders, the defense was pressuring Shedeur Sanders in the backfield and everything was coming up USC. Then, the second half began, and USC's defense began to crack once again, allowing Colorado to score 24 points and eventually gain 564 total yards of offense. Colorado ended up coming short, but only losing by one score after being down 34-7 at one point. As Lincoln Riley said postgame, a win is a win, but it's striking that despite Williams throwing for over 400 yards and six touchdowns, the Trojans still had to sweat and fight for their undefeated record to stay alive. --Paolo Uggetti

Up next:vs. Arizona (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

No. 10Alabama Crimson Tide (4-1)

A 2-0 start in SEC play is just what the doctor ordered for Alabama after that loss at home to Texas in Week 2 and the closer-than-expected win at USF the following week. Going on the road to Mississippi State and holding the Bulldogs to 261 total yards -- while forcing three turnovers -- showed once again what this Crimson Tide defense is capable of. And whileJalen Milroedidn't exactly light it up throwing the football, he didn't turn the ball over and ran for 69 yards and two touchdowns, which is certainly a step in the right direction. Next up is a trickier test, though, going to Texas A&M where Alabama lost two years ago. -- Scarborough

Up next:at Texas A&M (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

No. 11Notre Dame Fighting Irish(5-1)

As heartbreaking as last week's last-second loss to Ohio State was, Notre Dame came back to deliver the same type of heartbreak to Duke. Sam Hartman delivered a drive for the ages, leading the Irish 95 yards in 2:04 -- including a clutch conversion on fourth-and-16 in which he ran for the first down. Following a spike, Audric Estime scored on a 30-yard touchdown run with 31 seconds left to pull out the victory. Notre Dame was outplayed on offense for vast stretches, and had a tough time making plays on the perimeter with several receivers out. Tight end Mitchell Evans came up big, with a career-high 134 yards. Notre Dame has now won 30 straight regular-season games against ACC opponents, passing 1992 to 1995 Florida State for the longest streak all-time. -- Adelson

Up next:at Louisville (7:30 p.m. ABC)

No. 12Washington State Cougars (4-0)

The Cougars' stock went up on their bye week as Oregon State bounced back from its loss to WSU with a comfortable win against then-No. 10 Utah. Based solely on performance -- not on preconceived notions about brand coming into the season -- there is a strong case WSU is a top-10 team. QBCam Wardhas been among the country's best players, and an interesting test at UCLA awaits next week. -- Bonagura

Up next: at UCLA (3 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network)

No. 13Oklahoma Sooners(5-0)

Oklahoma-Iowa State was two different games, and OU won them both. In the first half, the Sooners used a 19-0 burst to take a 40-20 lead into the break. In the second half, their defense ruled. After gaining 270 yards in the first half, the Cyclones gained just 82 thereafter. Add it all up, and you get a 50-20 shellacking that comfortably moved OU to 5-0. Dillon Gabriel completed passes to 10 players and finished with 366 yards and three touchdowns, and while the defense got knocked around a bit early, it finished with nine tackles for loss and a pair of interceptions. Next up is the big one: a trip to Dallas to face Texas. -- BillConnelly

Up next:at Texas (noon ET, ABC)

No. 14Oregon State Beavers(4-1)

Silas Bolden's 153 total yards -- highlighted by a 45-yard touchdown run to bust the game open early in the fourth quarter -- carried the offensive load for Oregon State. It's defense made life miserable for two-time defending Pac-12 champ Utah, with a red zone interception from linebacker Easton Mascarenas-Arnold in the third, stealing away any momentum the Utes tried to seize. The Beavers held the Utes to 198 total yards, and Trent Bray's defense permitted only 2-of-13 conversions on third down in grabbing a huge victory -- a successful response to last week's loss to Washington State.DJ Uiagaleleiwas sharp in the second half, connecting with Bolden for a 27-yard score, and overcoming a late interception. Running back Damien Martinez (16 carries for 65 yards and a touchdown) provided Oregon State some sustenance for a ground game that churned out 131 yards on 36 carries. -- Baumgartner

Up next:at Cal (10 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network)

No. 15Miami Hurricanes (4-0)

The Hurricanes got a break this week on the bye after a 41-7 win over Temple. Miami has had an outstanding start to the season with quarterback Tyler Van Dyke in full control of the offense. He has 1,042 yards, 11 touchdowns and one interception, but the team hasn't gotten to the meat of its schedule yet. Still remaining are Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Clemson, NC State, Florida State and Louisville. It's going to be tough down the stretch for Miami, but the way the team has played so far, there's a shot at finishing on a high note after going 5-7 in 2022. -- VanHaaren

Up next:vs. Georgia Tech (8 p.m. ET, ACC Network)

No. 16Ole Miss Rebels(4-1)

A week after going belly-up on offense against Alabama, Ole Miss set an SEC record with 711 yards of total offense Saturday in a wild (and gutsy) 55-49 win at home over LSU. The Rebels were limited to just 10 points a week ago in a 24-10 loss to the Crimson Tide, the lowest scoring output against an SEC opponent since Lane Kiffin arrived in Oxford in 2020. But against the Tigers, the Rebels were explosive in both the passing game (389 yards) and running game (317 yards) and made a game-saving defensive play at the end on a pass breakup in the end zone. Ole Miss running back Quinshon Judkins had his best game of the season with 177 rushing yards, a huge key in the game. The Rebels' balance on offense kept LSU's defense off balance. The win keeps Ole Miss right in the middle of an SEC Western Division race that is only going to get more interesting in the next few weeks. -- ChrisLow

Up next:vs. Arkansas (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

No. 17North Carolina Tar Heels(4-0)

The Tar Heels had an open date after opening 4-0, and have to guard against the dreaded 'look ahead' game against Syracuse next week. The Orange just dropped their first game of the season to Clemson, but still have one of the most productive dual-threat quarterbacks in the ACC in Garrett Shrader and an aggressive defense that repeatedly got after Cade Klubnik on Saturday. What would North Carolina be looking ahead to? Miami on Oct. 14 in what *could* be a matchup of two undefeated teams. -- Adelson

Up next:vs. Syracuse (3:30 p.m. ET)

No. 18Utah Utes(4-1)

A week after stifling UCLA, Utah received a dose of that medicine for Oregon State on Friday in Corvallis, Oregon. With quarterbackCameron Risingstill sidelined, the duo of Nate Johnson and Bryson Barnes struggled mightily as Utah's offense managed just 198 total yards. Johnson was relieved one series into the third quarter and eventually returned after Barnes didn't prove much more effective. The two combined for 13-of-31 passing for 141 yards. With the offense in need of a jolt, Rising's return can't come soon enough if the Utes are to conclude their time in the Pac-12 with a third straight conference title. The Utes had gone five straight quarters without scoring before tight endThomas Yassmin's touchdown reception in the fourth quarter ended the Beavers' shutout bid. A bye week followed by a home game with California could allow Rising to get up to speed before USC and Oregon come calling midway through October. -- Baumgartner

Up next:vs. Cal, Oct. 14

No. 19Duke Blue Devils(4-1)

Losing to Notre Dame 21-14 at home after holding a lead late in the fourth quarter was enough of a gut punch. But the worst news happened on the Blue Devils' final offensive play of the game, when quarterback Riley Leonard had his leg rolled up on after he was sacked. Coach Mike Elko did not have much of an update after the game, but Leonard left the field on crutches without putting any weight on his right leg. If there is any good news at all, Duke has an open date this week before prepping for NC State. But that is little consolation after a double dose of heartbreak Saturday night. -- Adelson

Up next:vs. NC State, Oct. 14

No. 20Tennessee Volunteers(4-1)

Even though there's some to clean up from Tennessee's 41-20 win over South Carolina at home, the Vols won convincingly where you have to win -- the line of scrimmage. Their push in the defensive front never allowed South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler to get comfortable in the pocket, and the Vols twice stopped the Gamecocks on fourth-and-short. They also scored a defensive touchdown onKamal Hadden's 28-yard interception return just before the half. Quarterback Joe Milton III still needs to be more consistent on intermediate passes, but getting starting center Cooper Mays back in the offensive line played a key role in the Vols cranking up their running game to the tune of 238 yards. Tennessee receiver Bru McCoy was carted off the field in the first half with an ankle injury. The Vols had a few other players get injured in the game and will have an open date to get healthy before Texas A&M comes to Knoxville. -- Low

Up next:vs. Texas A&M, Oct. 14

No. 21Kentucky Wildcats (5-0)

Ray Davis and Kentucky didn't let Florida breathe much in rolling for an easy victory within the friendly confines of Kroger Field in Lexington, prepping for next week's trip to Athens in fine fashion. Davis' 150 total yards (141 rushing) and two touchdowns (one rushing) during a 16-point first quarter was only the beginning. The Vanderbilt transfer ran for a career-high 280 yards (tied for third all-time in Kentucky history) and three scores against a Gators' defense that came into Saturday second in the SEC in rushing defense (82.3 YPG). The Wildcats, who pace the conference in rush defense (77.5 YPG), held Florida in check there (69 yards on 29 attempts) on the way to improving to 2-0 in SEC play with their stiffest test -- two-time defending national champion Georgia -- next on the schedule. -- Baumgartner

Up next:at Georgia (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)

No. 22Fresno State Bulldogs(5-0)

The Bulldogs' win against Nevada was never in doubt, but they'll likely leave frustrated by the inability to sustain touchdown drives against the winless Wolf Pack. Fresno State's first two touchdowns came on plays of 65 and 72 yards, but outside of the big plays the offense wasn't operating at the standard that has been set under coach Jeff Tedford. Next week's trip to Wyoming (4-1) might be Fresno State's toughest road trip left on the schedule. -- Bonagura

Up next:at Wyoming (8 p.m. ET)

No. 23Louisville Cardinals(5-0)

Louisville moved to 5-0 for the first time in 10 years with a 13-10, survive-and-advance win over NC State on Friday night. After blowing out Boston College in a 56-28 track meet a week ago, the Cardinals won this one with defense. They forced three turnovers, made eight tackles for loss and held a stuttering Wolfpack offense to just 3.6 yards per play. It was necessary because the UL offense also committed three turnovers; Jack Plummer threw two picks and took four sacks, and this one wasn't safe until Brock Travelstead nailed a 53-yarder and Quincy Riley picked off Brennan Armstrong with 1:33 left. But ugly wins still count as wins. --Connelly

Up next:vs. Notre Dame (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

No. 24Missouri Tigers (5-0)

Missouri leaned on a familiar formula to move to 5-0 for the first time since 2013. The Tigers took down Vanderbilt 38-21 in Nashville with a heavy dose of Cook-to-Burden. Brady Cook threw for 395 yards and four touchdowns; 140 of those yards and two of the scores went to star sophomore Luther Burden III. Mizzou used a mid-game 21-0 run to take control, and when Vandy found a late offensive rhythm, the Tigers matched the Commodores score for score. Burden is on pace for nearly 1,700 receiving yards for the season, and Cook has set an SEC record for most consecutive passes without an interception. -- Connelly

Up next:vs. LSU (noon ET, ESPN)

No. 25Texas A&M Aggies(4-1)

Texas A&M: The Aggies' talented defense is putting all the pieces together in SEC play, holding Arkansas to 174 total yards -- including 42 rushing yards on 1.1 yards per carry -- and for the second straight week including last week's 27-10 domination of Auburn, racked up exactly seven sacks 15 tackles for loss. Playing without starting quarterback Conner Weigman, who is out for the year with a foot injury, Max Johnson threw for 210 yards with two touchdowns, but lost two fumbles and threw an interception. But the Aggies got a defensive touchdown and an 81-yard punt return for a score from Ainias Smith. -- Wilson

Up next: vs. Alabama (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

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