The top eight stays unmoved, but that will not remain the case after three top-ten matchups this week. This week sorts out several pretenders from the ranks of contenders.
Receiving consideration: Texas, Georgia, UNC, Western Michigan, North Dakota State, Wake Forest, Auburn, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, and LSU
25. Michigan State 2-1 [Lost to Wisconsin, Last Week #9]—This team won ugly over Furman, narrowly defeated a bad Notre Dame team, and got routed at home by Wisconsin. At this point, the Spartans eek in the top 25 out of respect for past accomplishments.
24. Boise State 3-0 [Defeated UNLV, Last Week NR]—Like Donnell Pumphrey, Jeremy McNichols is making a name for himself on a team that could go undefeated.
23. TCU 3-1 [Defeated SMU, Last Week NR]—At this point, the Horned Frogs are still very much a contender in the Big 12, but they need to beat Oklahoma to build momentum.
22. Arkansas 3-1 [Lost to TAMU, Last Week #20]—Going into College Station was a tough task, but this crew still has the ability to make noise in the SEC.
21. Oklahoma 1-2 [Bye, Last Week NR]—Yes, the Sooners have a losing record, but this is a talented team. A loss against TCU could send things on a downward spiral fast, though.
20. Arizona State 4-0 [Defeated Cal, Last Week #24]—The Sun Devils won a shootout over Cal and could make a run in the PAC 12.
19. San Diego State 3-0 [Bye, Last Week #19]—SDSU visits a South Alabama team that beat Mississippi State but has been atrocious since then.
18. Florida 3-1 [Lost to Tennessee, Last Week #15]—All streaks come to an end, but Florida’s collapse against UT has to sting. The rest of the schedule lines up well for them to stay in SEC East contention, though.
17. Utah 4-0 [Defeated USC, Last Week NR]—The Utes avoid Stanford and could make a run, but a game at Cal may be tougher than expected.
16. Nebraska 4-0 [Defeated Northwestern, Last Week #21]—I’m not sure how good the Cornhuskers are, but they aren’t helped by their three challenging games (Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Iowa) all occuring on the road.
15. Ole Miss 2-2 [Defeated Georgia, Last Week #23]—Is there a more inconsistent team in the country? The Rebs may not be out of playoff contention but they will certainly need a few favorable bounces.
14. Baylor 4-0 [Defeated Oklahoma State, Last Week #18]—The Big 12 is laughably bad, but we could find ourselves in a situation where there is an intense debate at the end of the season over whether the Bears deserve to be in the playoff should they stay undefeated. They are the conference’s only hope.
13. Florida State 3-1 [Defeated USF, Last Week #14]—It was not a close game against USF, but I would have liked to see more from the Seminoles following such an embarrassing defeat.
12. Miami 3-0 [Bye, Last Week #16]—The more I think on the Hurricanes, the more I like the idea of this team making a surprise run. Look for them to easily dispose of Georgia Tech this week.
11. Tennessee 4-0 [Defeated Florida, Last Week #12]—So far, I’ve been on the “Tennessee ain’t that good” bandwagon. Games at Georgia and against TAMU and Alabama may force me to get off.
10. Washington 4-0 [Defeated Arizona, Last Week #10]—Are the Huskies contenders or pretenders? We find out this week against Stanford.
9. Wisconsin 4-0 [Defeated Michigan State, Last Week #11]—Our first change in the rankings earned a bump with a route of Michigan State. If the Badgers get past Michigan, playoff buzz could begin though there would still be a merciless three game stretch ahead.
8. Texas A&M 4-0 [Defeated Arkansas, Last Week #8]—Trevor Knight has come up huge for the Aggies, which now are the last real threat to Alabama in the SEC West.
7. Stanford 3-0 [Defeated USC, Last Week #7]—After defeating the two LA teams, McCaffrey and the Cardinal could emerge as the clear favorite in the PAC 12 with a win at Washington on Friday.
6. Michigan 4-0 [Defeated Penn State, Last Week #6]—The Wolverines are rolling, but will they fall victim to a Badgers team that has already taken out two top ten opponents? Smart money says no, but watch out.
5. Clemson 4-0 [Defeated Georgia Tech, Last Week #5]—Dabo’s team has started slow, but all will be forgiven if they can beat Jackson and the Cardinals.
4. Houston 4-0 [Defeated Texas State, Last Week #4]—The Cougars dominated Texas State, but they have to be concerned about a series of games that may make them forgettable until they face off against Louisville in November.
3. Ohio State 3-0 [Bye, Last Week #3]—I’m not sure OSU needed a bye week ahead of Rutgers and Indiana, but circle the October 15 game at Wisconsin. That game looks a lot tougher than expected at the beginning of the season.
2. Louisville 4-0 [Defeated Marshall, Last Week #2]—One of the biggest matchups of the season will feature this week’s contest at Clemson. Who would have thought that the main question going into this game would be “Can the Tigers stop Lamar Jackson?” and not “Can the Cardinals stop Deshaun Watson?”
1. Alabama 4-0 [Defeated Kent State, Last Week: #1]—The Golden Flashes couldn’t do anything against the Tide who got banged up a bit. That should not slow down what I expect to be a major rout of Kentucky this week.