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College football rankings: Georgia to No. 2 as Penn State, Iowa surge in new CBS Sports 130

The first regular-season edition of the weekly CBS Sports 130 college football rankings feature some key moves

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CBS Sports graphic

After what will likely be one of the top victories of the season, Georgia has emerged as the new No. 2 team in college football, according to the updated CBS Sports 130, our comprehensive ranking of every FBS team. Alabama remains the No. 1 team in the nation, though the vote for the Crimson Tide was not unanimous as multiple programs received first-place votes.

Georgia moved up three spots after beating Clemson, which occupied the No. 2 spot in our preseason rankings and now checks in four spots down at No. 6. The top of the rankings are otherwise only marked by minor adjustments, like Ohio State and Oklahoma switching spots at No. 3 and No. 4 and Texas A&M moving up two spots to No. 5. 

But you don’t even have to leave the top 10 to start seeing some major movement. Cincinnati had some doubters prior to the first game of the year, but the Bearcats are up four spots to No. 7. Meanwhile, Penn State made one of the biggest moves within the top 25, rocketing up nine spots from No. 17 to No. 8. Iowa, another Big Ten team to notch an impressive win in Week 1, is up eight spots to No. 10 ahead of its much-anticipated showdown with Iowa State

In general, our CBS Sports 130 voters seemed to penalize losses more than other top 25 poll voters after Week 1. Clemson may only have been knocked to just outside the top five, but fellow ACC squads Miami and North Carolina were bounced from the top 25 entirely while both teams remained ranked in the AP Top 25 after Week 1 losses. The Tar Heels had one of the most dramatic drops in the entire country with our voters, and you can read more on that below in the Mover’s Report. 

Our voters even docked some winning teams, such as Iowa State, which gave up three spots after a 16-10 victory against Northern Iowa and Oregon falling from No. 9 to No. 16 after narrowly defeating Fresno State

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 26-130 on our rankings page.

Biggest movers 

  • No. 14 UCLA (+22): This falls in line with the general thinking of the nation after seeing the Bruins in two wins this season. UCLA deserves to be right there with rival USC as a Pac-12 South title contender, and based on what we’ve seen from the Pac-12 North, a contender for the conference title. 
  • No. 18 Virginia Tech (+21): Friday night was huge for coach Justin Fuente and a Hokies program desperate to reignite the fire and passion associated with a proud football program. That excitement from “Enter Sandman” and the way the Virginia Tech defense shut down quarterback Sam Howell has led to a huge in boost in confidence for what this team can accomplish in 2021. 
  • No. 23 Kentucky (+12): A new offensive approach with QB Will Levis at the helm has brought the famously ground-and-pound Wildcats into the aerial era. Count me as one to wait and see how it works against opponents not named Louisiana-Monroe, but my doubt is overwhelmed by the support shown here by other voters. 
  • No. 26 North Carolina (-18): Mack Brown and his staff have had huge wins on the recruiting trail and done a great job of promoting the program around college football. Expectations for a top-10 North Carolina were set and it fell well short of those expectations at Virginia Tech. Like 2015, this team can still rally back from a season-opening loss and contend for an ACC title, but the reputation and perception damage is going to last the rest of the season. 
  • No. 46 Louisiana (-21): Honestly, I’m a little bit surprised to see such a drop for Louisiana after a 20-point loss at Texas as an eight-point underdog. Maybe it’s an overreaction to the excitement of upset alerts signaled all offseason, but Louisiana also appeared a definitive tier (or two) behind a Longhorns team that we consider the No. 15 team in the country. 
  • No. 64 Washington (-44): The performance in a loss to Montana was so disappointing I can’t even criticize the overreaction. Washington is good enough to win at Michigan this week and totally reverse this massive drop in the rankings, but another performance like Saturday night and this middling status in our 130-team rankings will become less of a shocker.

Check out the rest of the CBS Sports 130: Teams ranked 26-130

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