October 1 Alabama defeated Samford 34–0, Fordham beat Upsala 47–0, Dartmouth beat St Lawrence 51–0, and Notre Dame beat Kansas 52–0. Pitt defeated Temple 28–6, California beat Washington State 27–3, and Minnesota beat Nebraska 16–7.
October 8 Minnesota defeated Purdue 7–0. Alabama beat North Carolina State 14–0. Dartmouth stayed unscored upon, winning at Princeton 22–0. Pittsburgh beat cross-town rival Duquesne 27–0. Fordham beat Waynesburg College 53–0. California played a double-header for the fans, with the reserves beating the California Agricultural school (lager UC-Davis) 48–0, and the varsity and reserves beating College of the Pacific 39–0. In Atlanta, Notre Dame beat Georgia Tech 14-6
October 15 Pittsburgh won at Wisconsin 26–6. California defeated UCLA 20–7. Dartmouth beat Brown 34–13, and Notre Dame beat Illinois 14–6. Minnesota edged Michigan, 7–6. Fordham was tied by Purdue 6-6, and in Birmingham, Alabama was shut out by Tennessee, 13–0. When the first round of balloting was finished, the defending champion Panthers were again #1, followed by Minnesota, California, Dartmouth and Notre Dame.
October 22 #1 Pittsburgh beat SMU 34–7. #2 Minnesota was idle. #3 California won at Seattle over Washington 14–7. #4 Dartmouth won at Harvard 13–7. #5 Notre Dame beat #13 Carnegie Tech 7–0. In San Francisco, #6 Santa Clara beat Arkansas 21–6 in San Francisco, while in Milwaukee, #7 TCU beat Marquette 21–0, and the two winners replaced Dartmouth and Notre Dame in the Top Five: 1.Pittsburgh 2.Minnesota 3.California 4.TCU 5. Santa Clara.
#1 Pittsburgh beat #9 Fordham, 24–13. #2 Minnesota fell to #12 Northwestern, 6–3. #3 California beat Oregon State 13–7. #4 TCU beat Baylor 39–7, and #5 Santa Clara won at Michigan State 7–6. #6 Dartmouth won at Yale 24-6 and #7 Notre Dame beat Army in Yankee Stadium, 19–7, and both returned to the Top Five: 1.Pittsburgh 2.TCU 3.California 4.Notre Dame 5.Dartmouth
November 5 In Pittsburgh, the #1 Panthers lost to #19 Carnegie Tech, 20–10. #2 TCU won at Tulsa 21–0. #3 California lost at #13, USC 13–7. In Baltimore, #4 Notre Dame beat Navy 15–0. #5 Dartmouth beat Dickinson College, 44–6. #6 Tennessee beat Chattanooga 45–0 to extend its record to 7-0-0. The Horned Frogs of TCU leaped into the top spot: 1.TCU 2.Notre Dame 3.Pittsburgh 4.Tennessee 5.Dartmouth
November 12 #1 TCU beat Texas 28–6. #2 Notre Dame beat #12 Minnesota 19–0. #3 Pittsburgh beat Nebraska 19–0. #4 Tennessee won at Vanderbilt 14–0. #5 Dartmouth lost at #20 Cornell 14–7. #7 Duke remained unbeaten (7-0-0), untied, and unscored upon with a 21–0 win at Syracuse. In the next poll, the Irish moved up to the top rung: 1.Notre Dame 2.TCU 3.Tennessee 4.Duke 5.Pittsburgh
November 19 #1 Notre Dame won at #16 Northwestern 9–7. #2 TCU won at Rice 29–7. #3 Tennessee was idle as it prepared for a holiday game. #4 Duke beat N.C. State, 7–0. #5 Pittsburgh beat Penn State 26–0. The rankings shuffled to 1.Notre Dame 2.TCU 3.Duke 4.Pittsburgh 5.Tennessee.
On Thanksgiving Day #5 Tennessee beat Kentucky 46–0, while #6 Oklahoma beat OK State. Two days later, November 26, #1 Notre Dame remained idle. #2 TCU beat SMU in Dallas, 20–7. #3 Duke and
#4 Pittsburgh met at Durham, with the hosts winning 7–0. With a record of 9-0-0, Duke had outscored its opponents 114–0, but stayed in third in the final rankings: 1.Notre Dame 2.TCU 3.Duke 4.Pittsburgh 5.Tennessee.
On December 3, #1 Notre Dame lost in Los Angeles to #7 USC, 13–0, and fell from grace to fifth place. #2 TCU received 55 first place votes and, as national champion, accepted a bid to the Sugar Bowl. #4 Tennessee beat Ole Miss 47–0 in Memphis, and moved up to second place. Though the SEC champion would be Sugar Bowl bound in later years, a #1 vs. #2 match was not to be had, as Tennessee instead took a bid for the Orange Bowl. #3 Duke stayed in third place, despite having never been scored upon in 1938, and accepted an invitation to the Rose Bowl. #5 Oklahoma, which beat Washington State 28–0, and moved up to fourth place. Both unbeaten and untied at 10-0-0, Tennessee and Oklahoma would meet in Miami, but the title had been awarded to 10-0-0 TCU.