College football Power Rankings after Week 7

TCU knocks off Oklahoma State on OT TD, celebration ensues (0:45)

TCU takes home the overtime win vs. Oklahoma State as Kendre Miller scores the touchdown. (0:45)

We're officially through the midway point of the college football season, and it's time to look back over the first seven weeks.

Yes, Alabama and Tennessee played in the game of the season, TCU outlasted Oklahoma State in a Big 12 classic and Utah upended Southern California late in Week 7, but with half the season behind us, what do we really know about these teams?

Ohio State, Georgia and now Tennessee combine to make a formidable top three, while teams like Michigan, TCU and Ole Miss are right on the cusp, waiting to solidify the fourth playoff position.

This week we're looking at what we've learned so far this season while also ranking a top 25 after a Saturday of wobbly game-winning kicks, double-overtime winners and a few lopsided score lines.

Here are this week's Power Rankings.

1. Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0)

The Buckeyes reached the midway point of the season with a predictably elite offense (48.8 points per game, 8.1 yards per play) and a notably improved defense, which has allowed just 49 fourth-quarter points and 27.2% of third downs to be converted. Even without Biletnikoff Award favorite Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who has barely played, Ohio State's wide receiving corps has overwhelmed opponents with Emeka Egbuka, Marvin Harrison Jr. and others. First-year defensive coordinator Jim Knowles has upgraded linebacker play, as Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers have combined for 10 tackles for loss. -- Adam Rittenberg

Saturday's result: BYE

Up next: vs. Iowa (Saturday, noon ET, Fox)

2. Georgia Bulldogs (7-0)

The Dawgs' only close call to this point, believe it or not, was against Missouri in a game in which they trailed by 10 points in the fourth quarter. They came back to win that contest 26-22, and with a 55-0 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday, they moved to 7-0 to begin their title defense season. Defensively, Georgia has been as stout as ever. But on offense, Georgia has been hit and miss in the passing game and is still looking for more explosive plays from its wide receivers. Injuries also have hampered the Dawgs, who have been without their best interior defensive lineman, Jalen Carter, for much of the first half of the season. -- Chris Low

Saturday's result: 55-0 win, vs. Vanderbilt

Up next: BYE

3. Tennessee Volunteers (6-0)

They couldn't keep the fans off the field in Knoxville after knocking off Alabama at home. That win and that 40-yard field goal by Chase McGrath had been a long time coming. Hendon Hooker played like a legitimate Heisman Trophy hopeful, throwing for 385 yards and five touchdowns. And wideout Jalin Hyatt played like a man possessed, racking up 207 receiving yards and five touchdowns. But most importantly, the team as a whole showed maturity. When Alabama came storming back in the second half, the Vols didn't fold. Hooker shook off his first interception of the season and did what it took to lead his team to victory. -- Alex Scarborough

Saturday's result: 52-49 win, vs. Alabama

Up next: vs. UT Martin (Saturday, noon ET, SEC Network/ESPN app)

4. Michigan Wolverines (7-0)

After a relatively stress-free 6-0 start, the Wolverines finally faced a supposed test against Penn State and passed it in dominating fashion. Michigan pummeled the Nittany Lions for 41 points and 418 rushing yards in a game that wasn't as close as the final score. The Wolverines again look fully capable of pushing Ohio State and contending for a CFP spot. Their line-of-scrimmage play might actually be better than it was in 2021, and a run game led by Heisman Trophy contender Blake Corum has been almost impossible to slow down. Michigan has played to its strengths and has limited the pressure on talented but young quarterback J.J. McCarthy. -- Rittenberg

Saturday's result: 41-17 win, vs. Penn State

Up next: BYE

5. Clemson Tigers (7-0)

A season that started with questions about DJ Uiagalelei and the Clemson offense has quickly turned into one that has proved coach Dabo Swinney right in his decision to stick with his quarterback. Uiagalelei has completely turned his game around -- improving in every metric, from accuracy to passing yards to efficiency. He also has the ability to keep defenses off balance with his legs. Meanwhile, reliable players have emerged around him -- from running back Will Shipley to freshman wide receiver Antonio Williams to tight end Jake Briningstool. Once again, Clemson hits the midseason mark as a legitimate playoff contender. -- Andrea Adelson

Saturday's result: 34-28 win, at Florida State

Up next: vs. Syracuse (Saturday, noon ET, ABC/ESPN app)

6. Ole Miss Rebels (7-0)

It was touch and go there for a while as the Rebs' defense struggled to tackle Auburn's ball carriers. The Tigers ran for more than 300 yards. But Lane Kiffin's offense could do that one better, rushing for a whopping 448 yards in a 48-34 win at home. It continued a trend we've seen all season as Ole Miss leans on its running game. Quinshon Judkins, Zach Evans and Jaxson Dart all ran for more than 100 yards against Auburn. -- Scarborough

Saturday's result: 48-34 win, vs. Auburn

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

7. TCU Horned Frogs (6-0)

The Horned Frogs didn't make it look easy, but after trailing 30-16 heading into the fourth quarter, the defense shut Oklahoma State down and TCU pulled out a 43-40 double-overtime victory to move to a surprising 6-0 start and a likely spot in the AP top 10. After being picked seventh in the Big 12 preseason media poll, the Frogs and new coach Sonny Dykes are in the driver's seat, with Max Duggan and Quentin Johnson leading a prolific offense. Right now, life is good in Fort Worth, but six games still remain in the country's most unpredictable league. -- Dave Wilson

Saturday's result: 43-40 win (2OT), vs. Oklahoma State

Up next: vs. Kansas State (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, TBD)

Rodriguez leads the charge in UK's win vs. Miss. State

Chris Rodriguez Jr. tallies 197 rushing yards and two TDs as the No. 22 Wildcats slow down No. 16 Mississippi State and escape with a 27-17 win.

8. UCLA Bruins (6-0)

Through six games, there's no denying that Chip Kelly has his best team since arriving in Westwood. The improvement across the board has been even better than advertised, spearheaded by a fifth-year leap from quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who has entered the fringes of the Heisman race with plenty of confidence. Transfer additions such as wide receiver Jake Bobo (Duke) and cornerback Azizi Hearn (Wyoming) have given new looks to their respective units. The continuity that running back Zach Charbonnet is giving the Bruins has allowed them to reap the rewards of a long process that has UCLA looking the part of a Pac-12 contender and one of the better teams in the country, full stop. -- Paolo Uggetti

Saturday's result: BYE

Up next: at Oregon (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, TBD)

9. Alabama Crimson Tide (6-1)

The winning streak versus Tennessee is over at 15 games. Bryce Young did everything he could in coming back from a shoulder injury. He eluded pressure time and time again, throwing for 455 yards and two touchdowns. But it wasn't enough. Not when his receivers dropped passes and his line couldn't protect. And definitely not in the face of 17 penalties. Alabama was doomed by sloppy play as much as Chase McGrath's 40-yard game-winning field goal. -- Scarborough

Saturday's result: 52-49 loss, at Tennessee

Up next: vs. Mississippi State (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app)

10. USC Trojans (6-1)

The Trojans' first half has been a case of two sides of the ball. On offense, they've been even better than advertised, with Caleb Williams and Jordan Addison playing at or close to superstar level every Saturday. Defense has been another story altogether. Though the unit has forced 16 turnovers so far, it also has been inconsistent in stopping the run and big plays. Saturday's loss to Utah spelled out the nightmare script for the Trojans: a defeat in a shootout, the kind of game Southern California was supposed to win. In Year 1 of the Lincoln Riley era so far, there's been much to praise, but the Trojans' status as immediate contender remains in question. -- Uggetti

Saturday's result: 43-42 loss, at Utah

Up next: BYE

11. Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-1)

The Cowboys looked like an early candidate to lead the Big 12 at the midway mark with a win at Baylor on Oct. 1. But a double-overtime loss at TCU in a game in which the Cowboys were mostly in control is one they'll regret later in the season. Spencer Sanders completed just 44% of his passes on Saturday, and as he goes, so go the Pokes. With Texas coming to town next week, Oklahoma State will have to get back on track and be ready for a probable shootout. The Cowboys still have an inside track to the Big 12 title game, but they'll have to fend off the league's other upper-tier teams, including at Kansas State on Oct. 29. -- Wilson

Saturday's result: 43-40 loss (2OT), at TCU

Up next: vs. Texas (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN app)

12. Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-1)

As expected, the Demon Deacons have thrived with their passing offense this season behind veteran quarterback Sam Hartman, who ranks second in the ACC in total offense at 301.2 yards per game. It is that passing game that nearly led to a victory over Clemson. Meanwhile, the defense under new coordinator Brad Lambert has improved, especially against the run. Though the loss to Clemson might ultimately decide the Atlantic Division crown, it has been clear through the first half of the season that Wake Forest does not plan on taking a step back from its record-setting 2021 campaign. -- Adelson

Saturday's result: BYE

Up next: vs. Boston College (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network/ESPN app)

13. Oregon Ducks (5-1)

The opening-week hiccup against Georgia aside, the Ducks have mostly surpassed expectations in coach Dan Lanning's first season. Quarterback Bo Nix has guided one of the most electric offenses in college football (40-plus points in five straight games), the defense has been adequate and the Ducks are right there among the Pac-12 title favorites. The most positive development has been how quickly coordinator Kenny Dillingham has been able to inject new life into the offense, which had grown stale during Mario Cristobal's tenure as head coach. -- Kyle Bonagura

Saturday's result: BYE

Up next: vs. UCLA (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, TBD)

14. Utah Utes (5-2)

What a wild, roller-coaster first half it has been for the Utes this season. After coming into the year as Pac-12 favorites, they dropped games to Florida and UCLA in disappointing fashion. Yet after both of those contests, they've been stellar at bouncing back, with a thrilling comeback win over visiting USC as the latest example. Utah still has a path to repeating its conference title, and though the defense has left a lot to be desired, the Utes clearly have the talent at quarterback in Cameron Rising to keep the momentum going into the second half. -- Uggetti

Saturday's result: 43-42 win, vs. USC

Up next: BYE

15. Kansas State Wildcats (5-1)

The Wildcats had a bye this week, and they are 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the Big 12, with that one surprising loss coming at home to Tulane. Adrian Martinez has been a steadying influence for the Wildcats at quarterback, but K-State's past three wins have come by a total of 17 points. The gut check starts next week with a night game in Fort Worth against 6-0 TCU, followed by games at home against Oklahoma State and Texas and on the road versus Baylor. -- Wilson

Saturday's result: BYE

Up next: at TCU (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, TBD)

16. Syracuse Orange (6-0)

For the third time post-World War II, Syracuse is 6-0 (1959 and 1987). Its offense has demonstrated the ability to churn out yards on the ground by the handful -- averaging 188.5 yards. Sophomore running back Sean Tucker is averaging 5 yards per carry. Defensive coordinator Tony White has guided a unit that should remain in the top 10 nationally in total defense (271.6 yards per game) and scoring defense (14.0 points per game). -- Blake Baumgartner

Saturday's result: 24-9 win, vs. NC State

Up next: at Clemson (Saturday, noon ET, ABC/ESPN app)

17. Penn State Nittany Lions (5-1)

The Nittany Lions' 5-0 start might have been deceiving, as they were very fortunate to defeat Purdue and overcame five turnovers to beat a terrible Northwestern team in the rain. Michigan magnified all of Penn State's warts in Saturday's game, especially along the offensive and defensive lines. Coach James Franklin's post-bye week struggles continued, as his team easily could have lost by more than 24 points. Personnel decisions could be coming after Penn State allowed more rushing yards (418) to Michigan than it had all season (399) and got very little out of its own run game (other than a 62-yard Sean Clifford breakaway). -- Rittenberg

Saturday's result: 41-17 loss, at Michigan

Up next: vs. Minnesota (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN app)

18. Kentucky Wildcats (5-2)

The Wildcats were in a must-win situation against visiting Mississippi State after consecutive losses and got it done with a 27-17 win. Keeping quarterback Will Levis healthy the rest of the way will be key, but Kentucky also has to find a way to protect the quarterback better, period. Levis has taken way too many hits, and he also has turned the ball over more than anybody in blue would like to see. The defense has played well enough to keep Kentucky in every game, but the Cats will look back at both of their losses to this point and kick themselves over some of their mistakes. -- Low

Saturday's result: 27-17 win, vs. Mississippi State

Up next: BYE

19. Texas Longhorns (5-2)

They needed two turnovers and a late Iowa State drop, but after losing seven of their past eight one-score finishes, the Longhorns won one, 24-21, against the Cyclones. Texas' Quinn Ewers and Xavier Worthy connected for a fourth-and-goal touchdown with 4:43 left, and Jaylan Ford then recovered a Hunter Dekkers fumble -- on a defensive play that was almost targeting and after Dekkers' knee was almost down -- with 2:06 left. Ewers threw three touchdown passes, but the Longhorns couldn't distance themselves from an Iowa State team that has lost four Big 12 games by a combined 15 points. Texas, on the other hand, is 3-1 in conference and 5-2 overall, matching last year's win total in five fewer games. -- Bill Connelly

Saturday's result: 24-21 win, vs. Iowa State

Up next: at Oklahoma State (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN app)

20. Illinois Fighting Illini (6-1)

Chase Brown can run a little bit, and Bret Bielema can coach a little bit. While Brown, a junior, led the FBS in rushing entering Saturday's game with Minnesota, Bielema's vast Big Ten experience has shone through as Illinois has found itself ranked for the first time since 2011. Defensive coordinator Ryan Walters' unit has been both stout and opportunistic. It has led the entire country in scoring defense (8.0 PPG) through six weeks and has snared 12 interceptions. -- Baumgartner

Saturday's result: 26-14 win, vs. Minnesota

Up next: BYE

21. Cincinnati Bearcats (5-1)

Senior quarterback Ben Bryant's transfer from Eastern Michigan has helped spark the Cincinnati offense to increase its total yards average (413.1 in 2021 to 435.5 in 2022) through six games. With Bryant's help, the Bearcats' offense is throwing for more yards (241.2 in 2021 as compared to 278.7 in 2022). Defensively, Luke Fickell's team has proved to be quite stingy with its 23 sacks, which is tied with Liberty and one behind Southern California for the lead in the FBS. -- Baumgartner

Saturday's result: BYE

Up next: at SMU (Saturday, noon ET, TBD)

22. Purdue Boilermakers (5-2)

The Boilermakers could easily be undefeated, but they have built nicely on 2021's nine-win season. Quarterback Aidan O'Connell and wide receiver Charlie Jones have been very productive, and Purdue has found different ways to prevail, from grinding it out at Minnesota to winning a shootout on Saturday against Nebraska as Devin Mockobee rushed for 178 yards and a touchdown. The Boilers still make too many errors in all three phases, but they have put themselves in position to challenge for the Big Ten West Division. -- Rittenberg

Saturday's result: 43-37 win, vs. Nebraska

Up next: at Wisconsin (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app)

23. Mississippi State Bulldogs (5-2)

The Bulldogs have been one of the more difficult teams to figure out in the SEC and across all of college football. About the time they look poised to separate themselves as an upper-tier team this season in the SEC, they lose a game in which they simply can't score. Will Rogers has been one of the more productive quarterbacks in the league, and yet the Bulldogs were held to 17 points in a loss to Kentucky and 16 points in falling to LSU. -- Low

Saturday's result: 27-17 loss, at Kentucky

Up next: at Alabama (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app)

24. NC State Wolfpack (5-2)

Life without junior quarterback Devin Leary (torn pectoral) the rest of the way will be an adjustment for a team that has walked a bit of a tightrope this season. Jack Chambers has been given the keys to an offense that needs to find a new gear after the Wolfpack have dropped two of their past three games. NC State's defense has picked up some of the slack, courtesy of 11 interceptions. The defense has secured multiple interceptions five times this year. -- Baumgartner

Saturday's result: 24-9 loss, at Syracuse

Up next: BYE

25. North Carolina Tar Heels (6-1)

At 6-1 overall and 3-0 in ACC play, the Tar Heels have the inside track to the conference title game. The road to this point, however, has been a bit windy. Four wins -- all away -- were by one score, including the past two: 27-24 at Miami and 38-35 at Duke. Signal-caller Drake Maye has been one of the breakout stars in the country, with 1,903 yards passing and 21 scoring passes to just three interceptions. -- Bonagura

Saturday's result: 38-35 win, at Duke

Up next: BYE