Alabama showed just how far ahead of the pack they run after demolishing Vanderbilt, a team many considered on the rise. Many of the other contenders endured closer-than-expected calls.
Miami-Duke and USC-Washington State will make for very entertaining Friday night contests. On Saturday, Mississippi State-Auburn, Georgia-Tennessee, Clemson-Virginia Tech, and Oklahoma State-Texas Tech will make for a great day of football.
Receiving Consideration: West Virginia (3-1), Minnesota (3-0), Wake Forest (4-0), Memphis (3-0), LSU (3-1), Iowa (3-1), Kentucky (3-1), Tennessee (3-1), NC State (3-1), and Duke (4-0).
25. UCF 2-0 [Last Week NR, Defeated Maryland 38-10]—I thought Scott Frost was a fantastic hire for UCF, and we may be seeing that come to fruition.
24. Mississippi State 3-1 [Last Week: #13, Lost to Georgia 31-3]—Talk about a quick rise and fall. The Bulldogs shocked the SEC with a dominant win over LSU only to get humiliated against the Dawgs a week later.
23. Texas Tech 3-0 [Last Week NR, Defeated Houston 27-24]—Has Kliff Kingsbury finally gotten things figured out at TTU? Two nice wins against Arizona State and Houston give the Red Raiders momentum heading into a big contest against Oklahoma State.
22. Utah 4-0 [Last Week NR, Defeated Arizona 30-24]—Utah has a BYE week followed by a should-be win against Stanford. Circle the October 14th matchup against USC.
21. Notre Dame 3-1 [Last Week NR, Defeated Michigan State 38-18]—A nice win against the Spartans combined with the loss to Georgia looking better and better moves the Fighting Irish back into the top 25.
20. San Diego State 4-0 [Last Week: #25, Defeated Air Force 28-24]—This game should not have been this close, but the Aztecs remain undefeated.
19. South Florida 4-0 [Last Week: #21, Defeated Temple 43-7]—Quinton Flowers is an incredibly inefficient passer, but this looks like the best team in the American.
18. Oklahoma State 3-1 [Last Week #12: Lost to TCU 44-31] —Well, it’s as predictable as the sun rising and setting. The Cowboys looked poised to really jump into the playoff discussion before losing a game they were expected to win.
17. Louisville 3-1 [Last Week: #19, Defeated Kent State 42-3]— After an easy contest against the Golden Flashes, Lamar Jackson and co. should coast against Murray State. The October 5 matchup against NC State should prove interesting, though.
16. Washington State 4-0 [Last Week: #20, Defeated Nevada 45-7]— Luke Falk may have taken advantage of the struggles of others to advance his Heisman bid with another monster performance. A huge game against USC lies ahead.
15. Miami 2-0 [Last Week: #17, Defeated Toledo 52-30]—Toledo is a MAC team, but they are a pretty good MAC team. Beating them and shaking off the rust is a good sign for the Hurricanes.
14. Auburn 3-1 [Last Week: #16, Defeated Missouri 51-14]—Look, Mizzou is a terrible football team right now, but Auburn did show glimpses of what was expected of them in the preseason. We should learn a good bit about the Tigers with contests against Mississippi State and LSU coming up.
13. Virginia Tech 4-0 [Last Week: #15, Defeated Old Dominion 38-0]—The Hokies did what they were supposed to do against Old Dominion. Now, they get Clemson at home for a chance to really launch their team into the stratosphere.
12. Florida 2-1 [Last Week: #14, Defeated Kentucky 28-27] The Gators field a terrible offense, and they almost lost. Looking at it another way, however, they went into Lexington to play a good Kentucky team and emerged victorious after taking the Wildcats’ best shot.
11. TCU 4-0 [Last Week: #23, Defeated Oklahoma State 44-31]—Gary Patterson’s team makes a big jump after emerging as Oklahoma’s toughest competition in the Big 12. A well-timed bye comes this week ahead of West Virginia and Kansas State.
10. Wisconsin 3-0 [Last Week: #10, BYE]—The Badgers took a week off ahead of what should be an unchallenging contest against Northwestern.
9. Ohio State 2-1 [Last Week: #9, Defeated UNLC 54-21]—Well, UNLV lost to Howard earlier this year so a rout was expected. OSU delivered and was able to give backups some needed reps. The Buckeyes have four weeks (Rutgers, Maryland, Nebraska, and BYE) before Penn State to tune up and get ready to vie for a playoff berth.
8. Penn State 4-0 [Last Week: #5, Defeated Iowa 21-19]— Penn State almost lost that football game. While others looked bad, the Nittany Lions could have really damaged their playoff hopes with an L. Any playoff march will include games like that, and James Franklin’s squad still controls its own destiny. That said, I’ve knocked them down this week.
7. Michigan 4-0 [Last Week: #6, Defeated Purdue 28-10]—Jeff Brohm and the Purdue Boilermakers were seen as really rising until they ran into the buzz-saw that is Michigan.
6. Georgia 4-0 [Last Week: #8, Defeated Mississippi State 31-3]—Kirby Smart is doing exactly what he was hired to. In a short amount of time, he has elevated the program ahead of where Richt had it, and it looks like this is one of the more complete teams in the country.
5. USC 4-0 [Last Week: #4, Defeated Cal 30-20]—USC quite simply has not looked all that impressive this season. A win over Cal is nice, but they just haven’t looked all that good doing it. They will need to play better against Washington State.
4. Oklahoma 4-0 [Last Week: #3, Defeated Baylor 49-41]—That was ugly. Against a woeful Baylor team that looked like the hapless Bears from yesteryear, the Sooners struggled to defeat the winless squad. Still, the win over OSU is the best W for any contending team.
3. Washington 4-0 [Last Week: #7, Defeated Colorado 37-10]—Washington makes a sizeable jump following a rout of a very solid Colorado team. The Huskies’ schedule is relatively easy which leaves little margin for error, but this was the statement game they needed.
2. Clemson 4-0 [Last Week: #2, Defeated Boston College 34-7]—It was a little sloppy for the Tigers, and QB Kelly Bryant took a step back. However, this defense is so dominant that mistakes can be overcome against any team remaining on the schedule.
1. Alabama 4-0 [Last Week: #1, Defeated Vanderbilt 59-0]—Well, Alabama did not let that last long. Just when Vanderbilt emerged from a major win for its program, the Tide humiliated the Commodores and reminded them just how far they are from the top.