Well, so much for the resurgent Buckeyes. Ohio State got drilled in Iowa and Penn State went down at Michigan State. It’s starting to look like it’s no stretch to think we could have a two-loss team make the playoff, but for now it seems like there’s a decent shot we may get two teams from the SEC. Notre Dame is also in good position, although it's about to get another big test next week.
1. Alabama: Nick Saban’s team got a two-touchdown win over a big rival, but LSU looked just as physical as the Tide did Saturday night in Tuscaloosa. The Tigers, despite starting two true freshmen on their O-line, outgained and out-rushed Bama, but they misfired on too many big play opportunities when they had them. LSU, 6–3, becomes Bama’s best win this season. It will get another pretty good test next week on the road at Mississippi State.
2. Georgia: The Dawgs moved to 9–0 beating South Carolina by the same score Bama defeated LSU. UGA’s most impressive win is by one on the road in South Bend. Its trip next week to Auburn is its biggest hurdle before the SEC title game.
3. Notre Dame: Even with Josh Adams very limited, ND put up 715 yards, its most of this season. If they keep winning—and they have a big one next week against Miami—the Irish will be in the playoff. Their resume is that strong. They have three blowout wins over good teams (Michigan State, USC and NC State) and their lone loss is by one to a terrific UGA team.
4. Oklahoma: The Sooners' best two wins both were on the road against teams with veteran QBs. First at Ohio State and then this weekend against Oklahoma State in Bedlam. Next week won’t be much easier with TCU coming to Norman.
5. Miami: The undefeated 'Canes notched their best win of the season, thumping a strong Virginia Tech team, 28–10. Miami outgained Virginia Tech 429–299 and forced four turnovers. This sets up a huge game next week when No. 3 Notre Dame comes to town.
6. TCU: Texas was overmatched by the Horned Frogs, who cruised to a 24–7 win. The victory over UT was TCU’s fourth consecutive against the Horns—the first time for it in this series since a run of four straight victories from 1935–38. TCU has not allowed a touchdown in 13 of its last 16 quarters. The Horned Frogs now get a crack at Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma in Norman. If they can knock off the Sooners, it’d be a helluva double for Gary Patterson’s team, beating both OU and Oklahoma State at their place this season.
7. Clemson: The Tigers got all they could handle from NC State, but they got a nice win on the road to go along with another strong road victory at Va. Tech and a win over Auburn. Their loss was to a mediocre Syracuse team that has a losing record.
8. Wisconsin: The Badgers moved to 9–0 for the first time in 13 years, whipping Indiana on the road behind freshman star Jonathan Taylor’s 183 rushing yards. The salty Wisconsin defense held the Hoosiers to a season-low 55 plays, 26 below their average. The downside for UW is that of its six Big Ten wins, five of them have come against teams with losing records; 6–3 Northwestern is its best win, along with a 17-point win over Lane Kiffin’s FAU team.
9. Washington: Dante Pettis returned yet another kick for a touchdown and Oregon could do little without QB Justin Herbert against U-Dub in Seattle. Like the Badgers, the Huskies schedule is very suspect. They are 5–1 in Pac-12 play, with none of those wins coming against teams with a winning record and a loss to a 5–4 Arizona State team.
10. UCF: Let’s chill with all the talk about where Scott Frost may coach next. He’s got a pretty explosive team right now in Orlando. The Knights are 8–0 and just won at a pretty good SMU team (6–3). Their best win is over 8–1 Memphis and they’ve also won at Navy and blew out a decent FIU team.