This is a huge week of college football and there are some major conference match-ups. The SEC had some headlining performances this past weekend, with Alabama and Georgia both looking great. But things can change so quickly. There were some fantastic finishes, including Florida’s win at Kentucky and Penn State’s comeback at Iowa.
1. CLEMSON – The Tigers pushed the record to 4-0 with a win over Boston College. Clemson now turns it up for another huge clash at Virginia Tech. The Tigers have a mighty impressive hit list already with Auburn and Louisville.
2. ALABAMA – The Crimson Tide took care of tough Vanderbilt in Music City in epic fashion. 59-0, and had more than 30 more first downs than the Commodores. Ole Miss comes to town, and you know Bama wants a little payback for those back-to-back losses in 2014 and 2015.
3. SOUTHERN CAL – Call it 13 straight victories for the Trojans, who beat then-elbow unbeaten Cal 30-20 to make it 4-0 on the year. USC has beaten Western Michigan, Stanford, Texas and the Golden Bears. It could be tricky Friday night at Washington State.
4. OKLAHOMA – What looked like it might be a payback blowout of Baylor got way too uncomfortable for the Sooners against Baylor. Oklahoma, which has Saturday off, held on 49-41, but have to get that defense in order.
5. MICHIGAN – In what shaped up as an interesting Big Ten battle after Purdue wore out Mizzou, the Wolverines handled the improved Boilermakers 28-10. Michigan has this Saturday off and then hosts Sparty.
6. WASHINGTON – The Huskies got an impressive win over Colorado 37-10 in Boulder. Washington beat the Buffaloes, who have come miles under Mike McIntyre’s watch, for the PAC-12 title last year. Washington is at Oregon State this week.
7. PENN STATE – It was one of the all-time thrilling comeback victories for the Nittany Lions, as they scored when the clock struck zero to edge Iowa by two. Saquon Barkley had an incredible performance and is on the early Heisman short list.
8. GEORGIA – Four games into his second season, Kirby Smart has his alma mater playing with bite. Georgia put away Mississippi State 31-3 with one of the Bulldogs best performances of the 21st century. The Bulldogs figure to have a tough challenge in Knoxville with the Vols.
9. TCU – The Horned Frogs got another of those signature Gary Patterson wins, playing enough defense to take down high-scoring Oklahoma State 44-31. TCU has stamped itself as the Number One contender to Oklahoma in the Big XII.
10. WISCONSIN – The Badgers had Saturday off and should be primed for a big performance against Northwestern. It is a typical physical, big Badger squad. Their side of the Big Ten is wide open for a Wiscy trip to the conference title game.
11. OHIO STATE – It was easy for the Buckeyes, as they blew out UNLV. The schedule is cake the next few weeks. Urban Meyer’s crew was impressive against Rutgers on the road. Ohio State’s toughest challenges will be Penn State, Iowa, and Michigan.
12. VIRGINIA TECH – The Hokies steamrolled Old Dominion and get set now for a Titanic showdown with Clemson. Blacksburg will be rocking, and the Hokies have some history against Clemson. This would be huge for ole VPI.
13. SOUTH FLORIDA – Charley Strong’s Bulls put a beat down on Temple Friday night, and undefeated South Florida – at the 1/3rd poll, their expectations are rightfully high. This is an excellent fit of coach and program.
14. MIAMI – Mark Richt’s Hurricanes played their second game, due to the hurricane, and beat Toledo. Now comes a tough one at undefeated Duke. These two and the two Techs are the top horses on their side of the ACC.
15. LOUISVILLE – The Cardinals bounced back from the blowout loss to Clemson to put away Kent State. Lamar Jackson should pile up a bunch more stats against Murray State before things get interesting against N.C. State.
16. AUBURN – The Tigers took care of business against the Tigers of Missouri and are now 3-1 and 1-0 in the SEC. It’s a mega-showdown versus Mississippi State on the plains. The winner is Bama’s prime SEC West challenger. At least for a week.
17. OKLAHOMA STATE – It was a tough loss for the Cowboys in Stillwater as they got outgunned by TCU. It is a tough road back in the Big XII, but Mike Gundy’s high-powered attack could make a run still at the conference title game.
18. NOTRE DAME – It was a dominating performance ‘ for the Fighting Irish, who topped Michigan State 38-18 on the heels of a big win over Boston College. At 3-1, the Irish host Miami Ohio Saturday and then go to North Carolina.
19. WASHINGTON STATE – It was an impressive 45-7 win for Mike Leach and the Cougars against Nevada. Now comes what sets up as one of the biggest games ever played in Pullman, as Southern Cal comes to town Friday.
20. MISSISSIPPI STATE – The Maroons have an excellent quarterback in Nick Fitzgerald and a tough physical team. The schedule is in a brutal stretch. Next up is a trip to Auburn in a game vital to the SEC West pecking order.
21. UTAH – Kyle Whittingham has another excellent team, and the Running Utes appear to be one of the top t challengers to Southern Cal in the PAC-12 South. A 30-24 win over Arizona pushed Utah to 4-0.
22. SAN DIEGO STATE – What a hit list for the Aztecs, who have beaten Arizona State, Stanford, and Air Force. San Diego State will have its hands full this week with Northern Illinois, which has a win over Nebraska.
23. IOWA – As heartbreaking as the loss to Penn State was, this Iowa team looks to be the prime challenger to Wisconsin in the BIG 10 West. They should get well at Michigan State and then Illinois comes to town.
24. FLORIDA – Call it 31 straight for the Gators against Kentucky, and this one was amongst the most improbable of the stretch. Florida is close to being 0-3, but the Gators are 2-1, and 2-0 in the league. Vandy heads to the swamp Saturday after their epic beatdown from Bama.
25. LSU – Things got way too hairy for the Bayou Bengals, who got a late touchdown to put away Syracuse a week after getting hammered by Mississippi State. The Tigers host Troy this weekend and then head to Gainesville.
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