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  • The winners of this weekend's only two ranked matchups both make their way into the top 10, but Alabama remains ahead of the pack.
By Bruce Feldman
September 24, 2017

Another week and we got a pretty big upset in the Top 10 as well as a strong statement from an SEC East team that looks like its the best team not named Alabama in the conference hammering last week’s Top 10 riser, Miss. State.

1. Alabama: Vandy is improved, but it was not ready for a heavyweight like Alabama, who smashed the Commodores, 59–0, rushing for almost 500 yards and limiting Derek Mason’s team to just 78 yards of offense with no play longer than 10 yards.

2. Clemson: Kelly Bryant had two picks and no touchdowns, but Clemson’s ground game mauled Boston College for 342 yards and five scores as the Tigers pulled away late. BC managed just 238 yards, and Brent Venables’s D has now held three of their four opponents to seven points or less.

3. Oklahoma: I’m keeping the Sooners in my top three because they have the most impressive road win of the season, Week 2’s thumping of Ohio State, but Oklahoma had its hands full this week against a Baylor team that had looked dreadful. Sophomore quarterback Zach Smith lit up the OU defense, going for four TD passes and 463 yards.The Sooners’ offense again was explosive, hitting five plays of 47 yards or longer. 

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4. Georgia: One week after Mississippi State was the toast of the SEC, the Bulldogs got blasted in Athens, as Nick Fitzgerald was held to just 130 yards of offense with two interceptions in a 31–3 UGA win. Georgia freshman Jake Fromm was the more efficient QB, finishing 9 of 12 for 201 yards, and that included a couple of drops. Couple that with a nice road win at Notre Dame, and Georgia’s résumé looks pretty nice so far.

5. Penn State: In Saquon We Trust. He was awesome at Iowa in a thrilling last-second win. Iowa City is a tough place to get a win on Saturday night, but James Franklin’s squad emerged showing a potent offense and an improving defense. And a ton of guts.

6. USC: Clancy Pendergast’s defense stepped up in a visit to his old stomping grounds, forcing six turnovers and giving Cal its first defeat, 30–20. The Trojans were without two key weapons for Sam Darnold in running back Ronald Jones and receiver Steven Mitchell. They’ll need to be sharper on offense when they visit Washington State on a Friday night stage.

7. TCU: After getting dominated at home last year, Gary Patterson’s team got revenge at Oklahoma State, mauling the Cowboys for 239 rushing yards. One of the big stars was Darius Anderson, who had career-highs with his 26 carries, 160 yards rushing and three touchdowns. TCU is now 6–5 under Patterson against teams ranked in the top six.

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8. Michigan: Jim Harbaugh’s team overcame the loss of starting quarterback Wilton Speight as well as all of Purdue coach Jeff Brohm’s gadget plays as the Wolverines rallied to dominate the second half at Ross-Ade Stadium. Backup QB John O’Korn displayed his big arm and some nice pocket presence, evading rushers to keep plays alive, and the Wolverines’ tight ends feasted while Don Brown’s nasty defense limited the Boilermakers to an 0-for-12 showing on third down. This defense, led by linebacker Devin Bush Jr. and a nasty line, is big-time.

9. Washington: The Huskies went to Boulder and whipped Colorado, 37–10. Myles Gaskin ran wild for 202 yards, and the Huskies picked off three passes. Look at their schedule, Washington has a pretty favorable next month or so: next up is Oregon State, followed by upstart Cal at home and then a struggling Arizona State team.

10. Wisconsin: The Badgers were off this weekend and host Northwestern next week. They are 3–0 with three blowout wins with no one having scored more than the 14 points Florida Atlantic got on them in Week 2. Freshman running back Jonathan Taylor and sophomore QB Alex Hornibrook lead what has been a very crisp offense. 

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