September is in the rearview mirror, the regular season is one-third of the way over. Now it’s the heart of the season, as the calendar rolls to October. The Southeastern Conference had seven intra-conference games and some early positioning in the race for Atlanta has taken shape. Ole Miss won a shootout over LSU, and Kentucky dominated Florida. The Wildcats and Missouri join Georgia as the league’s lone undefeated teams. The PAC-12 is deep and talented, including Washington State, Oregon State and Utah, who aren’t listed below.
1. Texas – The Longhorns put together a terrific performance and stormed past Kansas 40-14 this past Saturday. Texas and Oklahoma meet at the fairgrounds this weekend. Both are undefeated in the final year of the Big XII version of the great rivalry.
2. Florida State – The Seminoles had this past Saturday off, giving them time to heal up from and revel in their terrific comeback win at Clemson. Their hit list is the most impressive thus far in college football. Virginia Tech heads to Doak Campbell Saturday.
3. Georgia – The two-time reigning national champions pulled out a 27-20 thriller at Auburn. Brock Bowers is the best player in the country. It will be a tremendous challenge Saturday night in a battle of SEC unbeatens, as Kentucky comes to Athens.
4. Ohio State – The Buckeyes were off this past week after the thrilling victory over Notre Dame and embarrassing, unnecessary postgame rant from Ryan Day. Now comes eight straight Big Ten games, starting with Maryland in the Horseshoe Saturday.
5. Michigan – The Wolverines overpowered Nebraska 45-7 to push the record to 5-0. The September slate was relatively light for Michigan, which has won the last two Big Ten titles. Now the Wolverines head to Minnesota to battle the Golden Gophers.
6. Southern Cal – The Trojans jumped out to a big lead over Colorado and held on for a 48-41 win. Caleb Williams threw for 403 and six touchdowns. USC has scored over 40 points in every game. Arizona heads to the Coliseum Saturday night.
7. Washington – The Huskies held off Arizona 31-24 to make it 5-0. Washington is off this week, and the stage is set for an enormous showdown with rival Oregon. The Ducks are also off.
8. Kentucky – The Wildcats pummeled Florida 33-14 this past weekend to improve to 5-0 and 2-0 in the SEC. Ray Davis was sensational with 280 yards and four total touchdowns. Now they visit Georgia, and the Cats can take a step towards Atlanta.
9. Oregon – The Ducks handled Stanford 42-6 and the record is a perfect 5-0. They are off this week, so Oregon can enjoy its start and focus on the October 14th showdown with Washington in Seattle. The Huskies are also off. Bo Nix is having an outstanding year.
10. Notre Dame – The Fighting Irish came back and beat Duke 21-14 in Durham this past Saturday. It was a great bounce back after the heartbreaker against Ohio State. Next up is another road trip, as Notre Dame heads to Louisville to battle the Cardinals.
11. Alabama – The Crimson Tide beat Mississippi State 40-17 for a 16th straight win in the series. Dallas Turner is a fantastic outside linebacker. It should be a good one in College Station Saturday, as Bama battles Texas A&M. Both have spotless 2-0 SEC records.
12. Missouri – The Tigers have a tough, experienced defense, an accurate quarterback, a weapon at kicker and lights out wide receivers. Mizzou is 5-0 and in the mix. The Tigers took down Vandy and now hosts LSU for an early kickoff at Faurot Field.