College football rankings: SEC, ACC surging with bevy of teams in top 25 of new CBS Sports 129

All year we’ve looked forward the changing of the calendar from October to November and the arrival of Week 10, annually one of the most significant in the college football season. It’s here that we traditionally get matchups that will forever twist and turn championship races, including the pursuit of a spot in the College Football Playoff. 

It’s here in Week 10 that we traditionally get Alabama vs. LSU, this year again in primetime on CBS as the series returns to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This year’s LSU team, ranked No. 4 in the latest edition of the CBS Sports 129, our comprehensive ranking of all 129 FBS teams, gives the Tigers their best chance to beat the Tide in years. The winner of that game has the edge in the SEC West, and it follows another division title tilt as Georgia’s visit to Kentucky (3:30 p.m ET on CBS) will determine the leader in the SEC East. 

In total, the SEC holds one-third of the top-15 spots in this week’s balloting of the CBS Sports 129 with Florida checking in at No. 14 behind the division title contenders. Mississippi State rounds out the SEC’s representation in the top 25 of the rankings after a 12-spot jump to No. 21 following its win against Texas A&M. 

Syracuse had the biggest move of the week, vaulting from outside the top 50 to No. 23. The Group of Five also has some of its most prolific representation at the top that we’ve seen all year. UCF has been a mainstay in our rankings, but Houston, Fresno State and Utah State all cracked the top 20 after big wins in Week 9. 

College football experts from CBS Sports and 247Sports contribute ballots each week, which are averaged together for our rankings. You can see the top-25 below, and 26-129 on our rankings page.

Biggest movers 

  • Syracuse (+29): You look up, and Dino Babers has the Orange bowl eligible and nationally ranked for the first time in more than a decade. Check your watch. Is this Year 3 for Babers at Syracuse? You’re darn right it is. This is not a one-year wonder, this is his system that grows programs from upset darling to ACC power in real time. 
  • Boston College (+21): We’ve been volatile with Boston College all year. After a high-scoring 3-0 start, we had the Eagles locked in as a top-30 team, then losses to Purdue and NC State sent them tumbling in the rankings. After a wire-to-wire dominant win against Miami, our voters responded with a 21-spot jump back in to the low 20s. 
  • Utah State (+14): This time of year always provides a chance to scan the landscape and make sure we haven’t missed out on highlighting the sport’s best, regardless of conference. Utah State’s only loss this season was a 38-31 defeat at Michigan State in the season opener, and since then the Aggies have six of their last seven by putting at least 40 points on the scoreboard. 
  • Virginia (+13): As the wins continue to pile up, the reality of a Clemson-Virginia showdown in the ACC Championship Game is looking more likely. Beating North Carolina did not single-handedly spark this jump in the rankings, instead its more of a credit to the body of work Bronco Mendenhall and the Wahoos have put together in 2018.  
  • Mississippi State (+12): The Nick Fitzgerald get-right game was much-needed after several woeful offensive performances against SEC opponents this season. Whether the Bulldogs can replicate that success against, say, Alabama is more doubtful, but the win corrected a troubling trend for the star quarterback in 2018. 
  • Washington (-9): As Washington prepares for one of two games that will decide the Pac-12 North, hosting Stanford on Saturday, Chris Petersen must decide if Jake Browning is the quarterback that can lead the Huskies to a championship. 
  • Texas (-10): There was probably some stock inflation on Texas in our rankings thanks to that Oklahoma win, getting a boost as the Sooners have continued to look impressive. The Longhorns are top-15, maybe top-10 good, and will have to beat West Virginia and probably Oklahoma again to prove otherwise. 

Check out the rest of the CBS Sports 129: Teams ranked 26-129

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