• Clemson went into Louisville and won big, giving life to the thought the Tigers are capable of repeating as national champions. But Alabama remains top-ranked for now.
By Bruce Feldman
September 17, 2017

Dabo Swinney’s defending national champs made a big statement on the road in the ACC and looked like a legit threat to repeat. There’s a new addition from the SEC that entered our Top 10 with a bang as Dan Mullen has done it again at Mississippi State, developing another play-making QB who is giving folks in the conference nightmares. Meanwhile the Oklahoma schools continue to pile up points. Another plus for the Big 12: Texas showed some life—a lot of life—in the Coliseum on the big stage.

1. Alabama: Nick Saban’s team is the safest pick in college football. CSU hung around for a bit, but the Tide keeps rolling. Next week they head to 3-0 Vandy.

2. Oklahoma: There was no hangover from last week’s big win at Ohio State. OU scored 49 unanswered points to notch a 56-14 home win over Tulane, giving the Sooners a nation-leading 13th straight victory.

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3. Clemson: The Tigers went into Louisville and hammered Lamar Jackson and the No. 14 Cardinals, 47-21. New QB Kelly Bryant accounted for three TDs and led the Tigers to 613 yards as this team is looking very strong again. 

4. Oklahoma State: No one has a more explosive offense than Mike Gundy. The Cowboys are averaging 54 ppg. They jumped all over Pitt on the road en route to a 59-21 romp and were even more impressive blasting the Panthers than Penn State was a week earlier. 

5. Penn State: In three games, the Nittany Lions have two shutouts, including Saturday’s 56-0 pasting of Ga. State. Next week things figure to get a lot more challenging as they visit Iowa in PSU’s first road trip of the season. 

6. USC: The rematch with Texas proved to be pretty dang entertaining too. The Trojans had their hands full with freshman QB Sam Ehlinger and sophomore stud Collin Johnson, but, once again, Sam Darnold led USC to a late rally.

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7. Michigan: Air Force gave the Wolverines fits before falling 29-13. Wilton Speight and this Michigan offense struggles in the red zone as a young crew of receivers develops. The defense and the special team have been fierce. They have to visit a much-improved Purdue team next week.

8. Mississippi State: Nick Fitzgerald was fantastic and the Bulldogs blew out LSU 37-7. MSU dominated the trenches and showed a potent ground attack as the 6-5, 230-pound junior QB flashed onto the Heisman radar.

9. Washington: The Huskies finished up what was a cushy non-conference slate, hammering Fresno State 48-16 as big-play man Dante Pettis had four touchdowns including an NCAA record-tying eighth punt return touchdown of his career. Things will get more difficult next week when they have to visit CU. 

10. Wisconsin: I considered putting Ohio State here after the Buckeyes thumped what was an Army program that came to Columbus on a five-game win streak but I’m going with the Badgers who hammered BYU, a team without its starting QB, 40-6 on the road as Alex Hornibrook threw four TDs. Thus far, no one has scored more than the 14 points FAU had against the Badgers in Week 2. 

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