We head into the first week of November with some enormous games on the docket. At the top of the list are a pair of Southeastern Conference showdowns. Georgia hosts Tennessee and Alabama takes on LSU in Baton Rouge. There’s a great race in the PAC-12, where, ala the Big XII, the two top records square off in the conference title game.
1. Georgia – The Bulldogs raced ahead, then rebounded from a Florida rally to pull away and beat the Gators 42-20 in Jacksonville. Now the stage is set for a mega-showdown, as Georgia hosts Tennessee with the winner grabbing control of the SEC East.
2. Tennessee – College football’s most explosive offense was on point and the defense was dominant in a 44-6 crushing of Kentucky. The Volunteers are having an amazing season, seeking now to add Georgia to a hit list that includes Florida, LSU and Alabama.
3. Ohio State – Things got a little scary for the Buckeyes against Penn State in Happy Valley. But Ohio State with its big play offense pulled out a 44-31 victory over the Nittany Lions. Ohio State heads to Evanston Saturday for a nooner against Northwestern.
4. Clemson – The Tigers were off this past Saturday following a pulse-pounding 27-21 win over Syracuse. Clemson is a perfect 8-0 and headed for Notre Dame. The Tigers talented defensive line can set the tone. Clemson’s run game was strong versus the Orange.
5. Michigan – Jim Harbaugh’s team was able to separate in the second half for a 29-7 win over arch-rival Michigan State to make it 8-0. The Wolverines have a strong running game and the defense has been strong the last two weeks. It’s at Rutgers Saturday.
6. Alabama – The Crimson Tide were off this past week, as was LSU, preparing for the huge battle against the Fightin’ Tigers in Baton Rouge. Nick Saban’s team has everything in front of it. A win over LSU would be a huge step towards Atlanta.
7. TCU – The Horned Frogs survived an upset scare against West Virginia in Morgantown, where it’s tough to play. A 41-31 victory improves TCU to 8-0. It’s an old in-state Southwest Conference battle in Cowtown this week, as the Frogs host Texas Tech.
8. Oregon – The Ducks are 7-1, winners of seven straight since falling to Georgia in the season-opener. Oregon took care of Cal in Berkeley 42-24 to stay alone atop the PAC-12 North. Oregon ventures to struggling Colorado Saturday.
9. Southern Cal – The Trojans beat Arizona 45-37 in a nice bounce back after a tough loss to Utah and then the open date. Next up is Cal in the Coliseum. There are four excellent teams in the PAC-12 and the Trojans are right in the thick of it.
10. Ole Miss – Lane Kiffin was all smiles following a 31-28 win over Texas A&M in College Station, which pushed the Rebels record to 8-1. This is Ole Miss’s best start since going 10-0 in 1962. The Rebels are off this week and then host the Crimson Tide.
11. UCLA – The Bruins are 7-1 after a 38-13 win over Stanford this past Saturday night. UCLA has some juice offensively, led by QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Now it’s off to Arizona State, which is having a tough season, including an in-season coaching change.
12. LSU – Like the Crimson Tide, LSU was off this past Saturday to get ready for the showdown at Tiger Stadium. The Bayou Bengals have found their sea legs offensively and Brian Kelly knows it will take a lot of points to knock off Alabama.
13. Utah – Kyle Whittingham once again has one of the best teams in the PAC-12. The Utes pulled off a 21-17 win at Washington State on Thursday night. That’s now a couple of extra days to get ready for Arizona in Salt Lake City.
14. Illinois – The Fighting Illini are a robust 7-1 after a 26-9 win over Nebraska and head into November at the top of the Big Ten West. Now Michigan State heads to Champagne. The Spartans are struggling. Bret Bielema has the Illinois faithful excited.
15. Kansas State – What in the world happened to the then-ninth ranked Cowboys, as Kansas State pounded Oklahoma State 48-0? It was a great bounceback from the loss at TCU. The Wildcats host Texas Saturday, squarely in the thick of the Big XII race.