Another week has passed and it sure is looking like the Deshaun Watson-less Tigers are primed to make a run at a national title game return. The big twist came on Friday night when Washington State surprised a USC team that had looked very up and down against a solid early-season schedule. The other lesson we’ve been reminded of is sometimes those early-season wins that look so impressive actually aren’t once we get more context into how good some of these teams actually are.
1.Alabama: Nick Saban’s team, now 5–0, has faced two SEC opponents the past two weeks and won by a combined score of 125–3. It gets 4–1 Texas A&M next up.
2.Clemson: The Tigers went to Lane Stadium and thumped No. 12 Virginia Tech 31–17, giving them their third top-15 win with their 14–6 early-season W over Auburn looking better and better.
3.Oklahoma: Baker Mayfield and Co. were off this weekend and still look like the class of the Big 12 with the nation’s No. 1 offense. Pesky Iowa State visits Norman next week.
4. Georgia: This team is on a roll. The Dawgs embarrassed Tennessee in Knoxville, 41–0; UT’s worst loss in the history of Neyland Stadium. Their win in South Bend over Notre Dame is looking pretty good too. Mel Tucker’s defense is legit.
5. Penn State: Saquon Barkley did everything for the Penn State offense, including throw a TD pass against Indiana, but things are about to get rougher. The Nittany Lions have an October that includes a game with Michigan followed by a visit to Ohio State.
6. TCU: After a strong road win at Oklahoma State, TCU was off this weekend but the Horned Frogs will have their hands full this weekend when they get a top-25 visit from WVU.
7. Michigan: Coming off a road win at Purdue, Michigan was off this week but is getting ready for a meeting with rival Michigan State. The Wolverines defense, despite having only one starter back, is ferocious. The offense, though, is still a question mark.
8. Washington State: Taking down Sam Darnold and USC on national TV was a strong statement by a team that notched its biggest win in years. Luke Falk thew himself back into the Heisman picture while DL Hercules Mata’afa (10 TFLs) is the most underrated defensive player on the West Coast.
9. Washington: A soft schedule hasn’t really tested U-Dub much. It blasted Oregon State on the road, 42–7, blowing the game open with a 21-point third quarter. Things likely won’t get much rougher till it gets into November.
10. Wisconsin: Like the Huskies, the Badgers had a very light September. They defeated Northwestern, 33–24, in a contest that was pretty tight. Next up is a visit to Nebraska.