College football rankings: UCF eyes the top 10, Boston College surges in CBS Sports 76


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Ranking every single team in college football used to be so much easier. Sure, it’s an aggressive task asking a voting panel to rank every team each week, but at least in previous seasons we were able to set our number at 130 or 129 (whatever it may be for that season) and carry it through the year. 

So now that the Big Ten has announced it will play football in fall 2020, getting started on Oct. 24, the CBS Sports 76 will grow to the CBS Sports 90 next month — assuming other conferences don’t get into the fray as well and increase the number.

Our panel removed the Big Ten, Pac-12, MAC, Mountain West and some independent teams from our preseason rankings, and each league or team will remain off our ballots until the Monday before they start play. That means the CBS Sports rankings can expect a big shake up in the top third when Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and the rest of the Big Ten join the fold o Oct 19. 

For now, the shake ups have been minimal, though we greatly anticipate the opportunity to react to SEC action after the league starts its 2020 season this coming Saturday.

One notable move up after Week 3 came from UCF, which has now entered the top 10 debate with teams like North Carolina, Miami and Texas A&M following a four-touchdown win at Georgia Tech. The New Year’s Six race is off and running, but we know the Knights have their eyes set on bigger goals like a College Football Playoff appearance and comparisons with teams like Georgia and Florida. With more results like Saturday’s win in Atlanta, UCF can build momentum throughout the college football community — and maybe even among members of the CFP Selection Committee — as the program aims for a shot against one of the best teams in the nation on New Year’s Day.

College football experts from CBS Sports and 247Sports contribute ballots each week, which are averaged together for our rankings.

Check out the rest of the CBS Sports 76: Teams ranked 26-76

Biggest movers 

  • No. 33 Boston College (+19): The first win of the Jeff Hafley era was a notable one as BC went into Durham, North Carolina, and came out with a dominant win against Duke. The Eagles took control of the game early and never let Chase Brice get into a rhythm. Our voters noticed. 
  • No. 41 NC State (+14): Speaking of season debuts that got attention, the Wolfpack emerged victorious in a thrilling shootout against Wake Forest. After fielding one of the least productive offenses in ACC play a year ago, NC State had it rolling with the one-two running back punch of Bam Knight and Ricky Person. 
  • No. 11 Miami (+6): No one had a better weekend than the Hurricanes, who saw their offense take the next step forward with an impressive passing attack in its high-profile road win against Louisville. There are tough tests ahead in the coming month — like a date against Clemson on Oct. 10 — but the immediate challenge is meeting expectations, and that means taking care of business against rival Florida State
  • No. 27 Marshall (+4): Now 2-0 on the season, the Thundering Herd almost crashed the top 25 of our 76-team FBS rankings after beating Appalachian State. It wasn’t quite the shootout that we saw against Eastern Kentucky, but the way the Marshall defense stood tall against App State and established the ground game with Brendan Knox certified the Herd as Conference USA title contenders. 
  • No. 14 Oklahoma State (-3): Dropping in the rankings with a win doesn’t happen often, but a narrow victory over Tulsa had our voters adjusting our rating for the Cowboys after seeing them for the first time. Oklahoma State still gets credit as one of the better teams in the Big 12, but sniffing the top 10 was a little aggressive for how that team looked on Saturday. 
  • No. 29 Appalachian State (-7): A tough loss for the Mountaineers is followed by a predictable drop in the rankings. App State was never able to establish its run game and couldn’t find any kind of consistency passing the ball, either. The good news is that the Sun Belt has gotten enough positive attention this year that there are quality wins left on the schedule. 





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