It was a banner schedule but turned out to be a dud of a college football Saturday … just a lot of blowouts. Well, the two weeks before, when there were zero top 25 vs. top 25 match-ups, we wound up with a bunch of great ones. For those teams riding high into the final week of October, the winds blow harder.
1. ALABAMA – Nick Saban’s machine just keeps on rolling. The Crimson Tide smoked Tennessee 45-7 and they take this week off to get ready for LSU. At Bama, Saban is now 16-1 against Florida and the Volunteers.
2. PENN STATE – Saquon Barkley set the tone, running wild, and Penn State had its best performance of the season, blowing out Michigan. Now comes the big one. Penn State visits Ohio State with major ramifications.
3. GEORGIA – The Bulldogs needed the open date to try and get healthy on the defensive front. Old nemesis Florida awaits in Jacksonville. The Georgia people are starving for a win over Florida. Since winning 20-19 at Notre Dame, the Dogs have won five straight by at least 25.
4. TCU – As bad as Kansas has been the last few years, the Jayhawks have a history of giving TCU fits. Well, the Horned Frogs smashed Kansas 43-0 and turn their attention to 5-2 Iowa State in Ames.
5. MIAMI – After winning a pair of last-second thrillers over Florida State and Tech, the Hurricanes jumped out early and then held on against Syracuse. It’s off to North Carolina, and the Tar Heels aren’t good this year. Then come the visits from Virginia Tech and the Irish.
6. WISCONSIN – The Badgers just keep plugging along. If there is one team that has a manageable schedule to make a run at an undefeated season, it’s Wisconsin. A trip to Illinois should be another win. This is the likely foe for the Buckeyes, Spartans or Nittany Lions in Indy.
7. NOTRE DAME – The Fighting Irish posted one of the most impressive victories of any team this season, squashing Southern Cal 49-14 in South Bend. It was 28-0 at the half. N.C. State, which is tough and coming off an open date makes its first visit to Notre Dame Saturday.
8. CLEMSON – The Tigers had an open date to stew on their upset loss at Syracuse. It also afforded the Tigers extra time to get ready for Tech’s high-powered triple-option attack. This starts another tough stretch of games for Clemson.
9. OKLAHOMA STATE – The Pokes survived an upset scare at Texas, holding on to win 13-10 in overtime. The win was the Cowboys fifth straight in Austin, a record for any school. The offense needs to get clicking again at West Virginia.
10. OKLAHOMA – Boomer Sooner won a thriller over Kansas State and now sits at 6-1. Texas Tech comes for a visit Saturday. That loss to Iowa State is starting to not look as bad, as the Cyclones are putting together a fine year.
11. OHIO STATE – The Buckeyes rolled through their traditional October Big Ten lineup of Rutgers, Maryland, and Nebraska to get back right after losing to Oklahoma. The stakes are huge this week with Penn State coming to the horseshoe.
12. CENTRAL FLORIDA – Scott Frost was running the scout team to simulate Navy’s triple-option attack. Frost was a tremendous quarterback for Nebraska’s 1997 national champs and is the leader in the clubhouse for Big Red’s next coach. But he has a great team in Orlando.
13. SOUTH FLORIDA – Charley Strong’s team got their toughest test of the season, holding off Tulane 34-28. USF has another tough one Saturday, as Houston comes calling.
14. MICHIGAN STATE – Mark Dantonio has done a great job in East Lansing. The Spartans survived an upset scare from Indiana, and head to Northwestern at 6-1. The loss is to Notre Dame. The rest of the Big Ten schedule is chock full of monster showdowns.
15. VIRGINIA TECH – How about what ole VPI did to North Carolina. The Hokies had a record-setting day and just bludgeoned the Tar Heels 59-7. Next up is a visit from Duke and then back to back road games at Miami and the flats.
16. WASHINGTON STATE – The Cougars are now 7-1 on the heels of a 28-0 win over Colorado. It was a great bounce- back from the loss to Cal. Improved Arizona awaits in Tuscon. Mike Leach has the chance to deliver one of the best seasons in WSU history.
17. WASHINGTON – The knock on the defending PAC-12 champions has been a “soft” schedule. After a disappointing 13-7 loss at Arizona State, marred by poor kicking, Washington had the week off. Now a gauntlet begins with Josh Rosen and UCLA.
18. NORTH CAROLINA STATE – Is this the surprise team of the year in college football? After losing in the season opener to tough South Carolina, the Wolfpack have ripped off six successive wins. Now it’s on to South Bend for Notre Dame.
19. AUBURN – You know the Tiger faithful are stewing over the one that got away in Baton Rouge. Auburn smoked what has turned into a poor Arkansas team. At 6-2, Auburn is off this week and then heads to Texas A&M.
20. SOUTHERN CAL – The consensus pick to win the PAC-12, the men of Troy went to South Bend still dreaming of a run to the playoff. Well, Notre Dame clobbered USC in epic fashion, 49-14. This is a hard psychological bounce-back as the beatdown in South Bend exposed a lot of flaws.
21. TECH – TaQuon Marshall may be the best quarterback Paul Johnson has had on the flats. His 70-yard touchdown dash put away Wake Forest and moved the Yellow Jackets to 4-2 with a pair of one-point losses to the Vols and Miami. They go to Clemson, which had an open date, Saturday.
22. MISSISSIPPI STATE – Dan Mullen has another strong team in Starkville. The Maroons played their second best game of the season, pulling away from Kentucky to improve to 5-2 on the year. Next up is a trip to A&M. That’s a big one for bowl positioning and SEC West pecking order.
23. IOWA STATE – Where did the Cyclones come from? They weren’t very good last year but now find themselves 5-2 with wins over Oklahoma and Texas Tech. Here comes TCU this week, and a lot of schools will be pulling for the Cyclones.
24. LSU – So the Bayou Bengals lose to Troy and it looks like the season may be a disaster. But back they come with three straight victories over Florida, Auburn, and Ole Miss. This is the open date, and then Bama in Tuscaloosa.
25. MEMPHIS – With wins over Navy and then five days later, the Thursday night comeback thriller over Houston, the Tigers continue to make their mark. They are the best team in the state of Tennessee. Memphis’s loss is to UCF.
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