There were some close calls for outstanding teams this past Saturday, most notably with Clemson and its quarterback situation, holding off Syracuse. We now hit October, the heart and soul of the season. There are big conference match-ups across America. This is the time of year where the true contenders can sustain excellence.
1. Alabama – The Crimson Tide disposed of the Ragin’ Cajuns and now might have an easier game against Arkansas. The Razorbacks are not good and if Bama wants to, the Tide could put up some monster numbers.
2. LSU – The Bengal Tigers steamrolled Ole Miss 45-16 in Baton Rouge and sit at 5-0 with a tough test to Florida. LSU has a nasty defense and the offense came together against the Rebels. Coach O has some mojo working right now.
3. Ohio State – It was quite a comeback for the Buckeyes in Happy Valley. Down 26-14 in the fourth quarter, Ohio State posted a pair of touchdowns. Indiana heads to the Horseshoe this week trying to pull off a big upset. The schedule sets up nice for OSU the next month.
4. Georgia – The Bulldogs started and finished strong in a 38-12 win over struggling Tennessee. Georgia hasn’t clicked on all cylinders the past two weeks but has still posted impressive victory margins. Vanderbilt heads to Athens Saturday night.
5. Clemson – The Tigers have had a tumultuous week. Clemson escaped another upset scare, edging Syracuse (which takes two timeouts back to New York) to make it 5-0. The Tigers go to Wake Forest Saturday with all eyes on the quarterback position.
6. Notre Dame – The Fighting Irish started the season with a win over Michigan and ended the month with a 38-17 stopping of Stanford. Notre Dame is dreaming playoff. Who knows what to expect out of Virginia Tech this week in Blacksburg.
7. Oklahoma – Kyler Murray sat for a series then went 17-21 for 432 yards and accounted for six touchdowns in a 66-33 runaway from Baylor. It’s time for the Red River Shootout, and the table is set with OU 5-0 and Texas now 4-1.
8. West Virginia – The Mountaineers won a shootout 42-34 over Texas Tech to make it 5-0 on the season. This is one of the best offenses in the country. They should put up at least 50 points against Kansas on Saturday.
9. Auburn – The Tigers managed a 24-13 win over Southern Miss and now turn the attention back to SEC play at tough Mississippi State, which has lost its last two games. This will be a good battle of two excellent defensive lines.
10. Washington – Chris Petersen’s squad finally got it all clicking in a 35-7 win over BYU in Seattle. The Huskies go to UCLA for what should be a tune-up, as the Bruins are really struggling in Chip Kelly’s first season.
11. Central Florida – The Golden Knights are at it again, this time with a new coach. A 17 point second quarter sparked a 45-14 rout of Pittsburgh. SMU comes to Orlando this weekend, as UCF tries to keep it rolling.
12. Kentucky – The Wildcats September featured wins over Florida, Mississippi State and South Carolina. Benny Snell is a bona fide All-American candidate at tailback. Kentucky heads to 13. Texas A&M Saturday with big SEC implications.
13. Penn State – The Nittany Lions had a 26-14 fourth quarter lead get away in a one point loss to Urban Meyer and Ohio State. They are off this week and then host Michigan State. The Big Ten East title chances for PSU took a big blow.
14. Stanford – It was a tough trip for the Cardinal. After the improbable, one-in-a-thousand like comeback win at Oregon, Stanford had to go to South Bend. It was all Notre Dame. Stanford will have its hands full Saturday against Utah.
15. Oregon – The Ducks had an all-time heartbreaker against Stanford, but came back for an impressive 42-24 win at Cal. The offense was clicking. Oregon is off Saturday, then it’s the big one with Washington coming to Eugene.
16. Michigan – The Wolverines survived an upset scare at Northwestern, pulling it out 20-17 in Evanston. Jim Harbaugh’s Maze and Blue hosts Maryland this week. Remember, the only loss is at Notre Dame, not a Big Ten blemish.
17. Florida – The Gators have been very good since losing to Kentucky for the first time since 1986. Now at 4-1, and 2-1 in the SEC, Florida hosts undefeated LSU in an SEC mega-showdown. Dan Mullen winning in Starkville was big for the Gators.
18. Texas – The trip to struggling Kansas State set up as a trap, and it was, but Texas survived with a 19-14 win over the Wildcats. Now comes Oklahoma and the annual Classic in Dallas. A win there would be enormous for the program.
19. Missouri – The Tigers had an early open date and figure to be firing sharply in a tough road environment against South Carolina. Drew Lock is an excellent quarterback, and the Gamecocks are coming off a 24-10 loss at Kentucky.
20. California – The Golden Bears went down for the first time this season, falling to high-powered Oregon 42-24. Cal should get right these next two weeks, as it goes to Arizona and then hosts UCLA.
21. Washington State – The Cougars posted a fourth quarter touchdown and beat tough Utah 28-24 in Pullman to improve to 4-1. Washington State heads to Oregon State, trying to avoid the upset. Then the schedule gets turned up.
22. Wisconsin – The Badgers, after a season-saving win at Iowa, had this past Saturday off. Struggling Nebraska visits Camp Randall, as Scott Frost eyes his first win for the Cornhuskers, who fell to 0-4 with a 42-28 loss to Purdue.
23. Colorado – Somewhat quietly, Mike McIntyre’s Buffaloes have emerged as the lone remaining unbeaten team in the PAC-12 South. Colorado got a 38-16 Friday night win over UCLA. Herm Edwards’ Sun Devils head into Boulder this week.
24. Miami – The Hurricanes cashed in on big plays in a blowout of North Carolina last Thursday. Even though the Seminoles are down, the emotions will be running high with Florida State heading down south.
25. Syracuse – The Orange nearly pulled off the upset for a second straight season over Clemson, but fell in Death Valley 27-23. For some reason, Syracuse didn’t take defensive timeouts on the Tigers game-winning drive. The Orange goes to Pitt Saturday.