For a third straight week, an unbeaten, top-six team lost in college football. This week’s victim was Oklahoma, which laid an egg on the road at Kansas State. The old porous OU defense of years past showed up in Manhattan, Kansas. The loss could cost the Sooners the Big 12 title and a College Football Playoff spots, and may significantly hurt QB Jalen Hurts’s chances at winning the Heisman Trophy.
You know what else happened Saturday? Rutgers, UConn and Kansas all won football games. That trio has combined to win 12 games in the previous two seasons. Also, Indiana became bowl eligible in its eighth game, LSU is our new No. 1 team and Ohio State gave us another reason to think the Buckeyes will waltz into the playoff.
Let’s get to our Top 10 and The Rundown!
TOP 10… Teams
Last week: 2
Last game: Beat Auburn 23–20
Next game: Nov. 9 at Alabama
There really isn’t much of an argument that can be had against LSU’s resume. It is the best in the nation. In the Tigers’ latest win, they showed they don’t just need their blitzing passing game to win.
2. Ohio State
Last week: 3
Last game: Beat Wisconsin 38–7
Next game: Nov. 9 vs. Maryland
The Buckeyes responded to their first second-half challenge of the season as you’d expect. They scored on four straight possessions to turn a 10–7 lead into a 38–7 win.
Last week: 1
Last game: Beat Arkansas 48–7
Next game: Nov. 9 vs. LSU
No Tua Tagovailoa, no problem for the Crimson Tide. Backup Mac Jones misfired on just four passes and threw three TDs to set up the unbeaten, top-two showdown against LSU.
Last week: 4
Last game: Beat Boston College 59–7
Next game: Saturday vs. Wofford
People, like us, keep dropping the Tigers in the rankings, but all they keep doing is winning.
5. Penn State
Last week: 6
Last game: Beat Michigan State 28–7
Next game: Nov. 9 at Minnesota
Who would have thought before the season that the Nittany Lions and Gophers would meet as undefeated teams with massive Big Ten title hopes on the line? But here they are.
Last week: 7
Last game: Beat Washington State 37–35
Next game: Saturday at USC
The Ducks put their playoff hopes on the line in sweaty fashion. QB Justin Herbert had to drive Oregon down the field for a game-winning field goal.
Last week: 8
Last game: Beat South Carolina 38–27 in Week 8
Next game: Saturday vs. Georgia
Neither the Gators nor the Bulldogs can stomach another loss if they hope to advance to the playoff. The Cocktail Party in Jacksonville is an elimination game.
Last week: NR
Last game: Beat Kentucky 21–0 in Week 8
Next game: Saturday vs. Florida
UGA got a rest before meeting the Gators in Jacksonville. Winner remains alive in the SEC and CFP race; loser is out.
Last week: 5
Last game: Lost at Kansas State 48–41
Next game: Nov. 9 vs. Iowa State
The Sooners took their first loss at Kansas State, and that means their hopes of a playoff appearance took a significant hit. They need to win out and hope some other things happen.
Last week: NR
Last game: Beat Oklahoma State 45–27 in Week 8
Next game: Thursday vs. West Virginia
The 7–0 Bears make their first appearance in our Top 10—and they do it on a bye week. Their next challenge is a Halloween Night affair against the Mountaineers.
Top 9… Numbers
The statistical categories in which Kentucky quarterback/receiver/returner Lynn Bowden leads the Wildcats. He’s got 598 rushing yards, 348 receiving yards and 253 return yards. UK whipped Missouri on Saturday behind Bowden’s 204-yard rushing night.
The average yards that Ohio State running back JK Dobbins posted against one of the best defenses in college football. Wisconsin entered allowing 58 yards a game. Dobbins finished with 163 yards on 20 carries.
Interceptions for Texas QB Sam Ehlinger in the loss at TCU. It’s the most picks thrown by a Longhorns quarterback in five years.
Joe Burrow’s number of TD passes through eight games. That’s the most touchdown passes by an SEC quarterback since Tim Couch in 1997.
Offensive snaps Wisconsin had with a lead this season. And then the Badgers played at Ohio State.
Number of top-10 teams that LSU’s beaten within its first eight games, becoming the first SEC team in the AP poll era to do that. It should be noted that one of those teams is Texas, which took its third loss Saturday.
Consecutive games in which Ohio State DE Chase Young has a sack. He had four—four!—against Wisconsin on Saturday.
The length of a field goal that 2–7 Tulsa missed to win the game against Memphis, which is now 7–1. Jacob Rainey pulled the kick. He was two for five on field goals in the game.
The number of points by which Michigan beat No. 8 Notre Dame. The Wolverines crushed the Irish, 45–14.
Top 8… Most Underrated and Overrated Teams in Preseason
1. Nebraska (overrated)
The Huskers lost at home to Indiana—yes, that Indiana—to fall to 4–4 on the season. This was a team that many picked to win the Big Ten West.
2. Baylor (underrated)
Matt Rhule’s Bears didn’t receive a single vote in the preseason AP poll. The Bears are 7–0 ahead of a Halloween Night showdown against West Virginia on Thursday.
3. SMU (underrated)
The Mustangs were picked to finish fourth in the American Athletic Conference Western division. They now lead that division at 8–0.
4. Texas (overrated)
Remember that epic game in Austin between two top-10 programs LSU and Texas? Seems like eons ago. The Longhorns dropped a third game Saturday, this time to TCU.
5. Syracuse (overrated)
The Orange are 0–4 in the ACC and 3–5 overall. They began preseason ranked No. 22.
6. Minnesota (underrated)
The Gophers weren’t ranked in the preseason and were picked to sixth in the seven-team Big Ten West. At 8–0, they lead the division by two games.
7. Michigan State (overrated)
Sparty was 18 in the preseason poll, and they’re now 4–4. Their offense has scored a combined 17 points in these last three consecutive losses.
8. Appalachian State (underrated)
At 7–0, the Mountaineers are marching toward a Sun Belt title. They were nowhere to be found in the preseason polls.
Top 7… Things That Made Us Go ‘Whaaaaa’
1. How Kansas won
The Jayhawks got a potential game-winning field goal blocked, but during the return, a Texas Tech player lateraled the ball. It was recovered by KU and Les Miles’ team got another crack at the game-winner. They won, 37–34.
2. Big Kat’s flop
Auburn defensive lineman Big Kat Bryant took a spill in the loss to LSU. He looked to the sideline, must have gotten a signal and faked an injury by tumbling to the turf.
3. The best kind of blocked punt
Purdue’s poor punter in the pouring rain had his punt blocked by the turf monster.
4. A different kind of flea flicker
It wasn’t a happy day for the Sooners in their loss at Kansas State, but they did give us an unusual, exciting trick play. OU faked a receiver screen and then the wideout flipped the ball to QB Jalen Hurts, who in turn tossed it downfield for a big gain.
5. Punt disaster
With eight seconds left in the game, all Gardner-Webb had to do was boot a punt out of bounds to win a game against Campbell. The FCS’ Runnin’ Bulldogs instead got said punt blocked, and Campbell returned it for a touchdown as time expired to tie the game. The Camels eventually won in triple overtime!
6. Silent treatment
TCU QB Max Duggan accounted for more than 325 yards of offense and three touchdowns in the upset of Texas, but the Horned Frogs did not let the true freshman speak after his rousing outing. That’s a real shame.
7. Plane broken
Miami pulled off the upset on the road at Pitt, and it didn’t come without at least one laughable moment.
Top 6… Worst Saturdays
1. ACC Coastal
The division’s two leaders, Virginia and Pitt, were beaten. Virginia Tech, 2–2 in the conference, actually now controls its own destiny to winning what is likely the weakest division in the sport.
The Sooners were gouged at Kansas State in a loss that might just keep them out of the playoffs.
3. Notre Dame
So much for the CFP committee mulling over what to do with an 11–1 Irish team. Michigan blew the doors off them 45–14 at the Big House.
Any time you lose to Rutgers, you have one of the worst Saturdays. Hugh Freeze’s club is 5–3 after the 44–34 loss to the Scarlet Knights.
5. Mississippi State
The Bulldogs got run over at Texas A&M and have now dropped three straight games for the first time since 2005.
With 18 seconds left and trailing North Carolina by three points, the Blue Devils threw a halfback pass on first-and-goal from the 2-yard line. It was intercepted. Game over.
Top 5… Heisman Trophy Contenders
1. Joe Burrow, LSU QB
The Tigers’ senior had another efficient and explosive day. He’s the clear frontrunner for the most prestigious individual award in college football. He was 32-for-42 for 321 yards.
2. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama QB
A Tagovailoa did play for the Tide on Saturday, but it was Taulia, his freshman little brother who saw time in the spanking of Arkansas. Tua watched from the sideline in a walking boot after ankle surgery to mend a sprain. After the game, Nick Saban said his recovery is going “really, really well” and he should play against LSU.
3. Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma QB
Hurts accounted for nearly 500 yards of offense and he scored four touchdowns, but the Sooners’ loss at Kansas State is a blow to his Heisman campaign. Remember, the trophy has become one given to not just the best player but the best player on one of the best teams.
4. Chase Young, Ohio State DE
Welcome to the Heisman mix, Chase Young. He had four sacks against Wisconsin and leads the nation in that statistical category. He was nearly unblockable, even for one of the better offensive fronts in football.
5. Justin Fields, Ohio State QB
Fields had a very average day against a solid defense, completing 12 of 22 passes for 167 yards and two TDs. The Buckeyes’ record and ranking is helping him more than anything.
Top 4… Challengers for the Group of Five’s NY6 Bowl
Sonny Dykes’s team is the highest ranked Group of Five squad and that shouldn’t change. The Mustangs face a big one next weekend, hosting division mate and one-loss Memphis.
Cincy’s only loss is at Ohio State, and we all know that the Buckeyes may be the best team in the country. Eventually, the Bearcats might have to beat SMU in the AAC title game, and they get Memphis in the regular season finale, too.
3. Appalachian State
The Mountaineers have the big win at North Carolina, but here’s the issue: They’ve got to play at South Carolina still. They can win there, but that game is a much tougher matchup than any other Group of Five squad has left on its schedule.
4. Boise State
Included on the Broncos’ resume is a nice victory at Florida State, but how much will that ugly loss at BYU cost them? They’ll need help to get the New Year’s 6 spot.
Top 3… Already Bowling
This will be the Hoosiers’ third bowl game in 12 years, so there is reason to celebrate in Bloomington. In a pressure year for Tom Allen, he’s delivered.
Ken Niumatalolo’s group went 3–10 last season. The Midshipmen beat Tulane 41–38 to punch their ticket to the postseason on a field goal as time expired.
3. Georgia State
The Panthers were 2–10 last season so this is a monumental improvement.
Top 2… Skids Out West
The Bears opened the season 4–0 and riding high as the only undefeated team in the Pac-12. They’ve now lost four straight games and got smashed by Utah on Saturday.
Sure, the Wildcats opened the season with a loss at Hawaii, but they turned it around to win four straight. They’ve dropped three consecutive games, allowing 133 points in those affairs.
Top 1… Quotes
1. PJ Fleck on ESPN’s College GameDay
The Nov. 9 weekend includes two matchups of unbeaten Power 5 programs, all of which are on a bye next week. Alabama and LSU play in Tuscaloosa, and Minnesota hosts Penn State. Gophers coach P.J. Fleck used his postgame news conference Saturday to plead with the show to originate from Minneapolis and not Tuscaloosa. “All due respect to Alabama and LSU, you can go to them any year!”