Clemson lost for the second time this season and it’s not even October. I’ll let that sink in after a Saturday that saw the Tigers get shaken up. A putrid offense looked aimless against NC State as the Wolfpack had just enough to win the game in overtime.
Texas A&M also bit the dust, getting physically dominated by Arkansas in a game where the Aggies seemed unable to muster much of anything on offense besides a long Isaiah Spiller touchdown. The Razorbacks were only a five-point underdog, so the win wasn’t that out of left field, but the way they did it is a particularly tough pill for the Aggies to swallow. Onto a Top 10 that, if what happened today is any precursor, won’t stay this way for long.
1. Georgia (4–0)
Last game: beat Vanderbilt 62–0
Next game: at home against Arkansas
The Dawgs beat Vanderbilt about as comprehensively as you will ever see for a conference game. They covered the 34.5-point spread by halftime and the most compelling thing about the second half was whether or not the Dores would finish with more total yards than UGA did points (they did—barely). The Clemson win looks flimsier than we thought as the Tigers lost, but Georgia continues to impress.
2. Alabama (4–0)
Last game: beat Southern Miss 63–14
Next game: at home against Ole Miss
If Alabama beats a Group of 5 opponent in the forest and nobody’s around to watch it, does it make a sound? Well this one did, as it is an impressive round number over unranked opponents and yet another reminder of just how sustained Bama’s dominance is.
The Tide rolled, certainly not feeling any malaise from the close win in Gainesville last weekend. The Lane Train cometh next week.
3. Oregon (4–0)
Last game: beat Arizona 41–19
Next game: at Stanford
The Ducks did what you’re supposed to do against perhaps the worst team in the Pac-12. They took care of business, and as a bright spot got all-world defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux back from injury as well.
4. Iowa (4–0)
Last game: beat Colorado State 24–14
Next game: at Maryland (Friday)
The Hawkeyes tussled with the Rams and for part of the first half looked like there was some mild upset danger on a wacky Saturday, but eventually they won out. The Hawkeyes didn’t get as much from their ground game as their running game, but quarterback Spencer Petras did just enough to pull them clear of CSU in a 14-point third quarter.
5. Penn State (4–0)
Last game: beat Villanova 38–17
Next game: against Indiana
Fourteen late points by the Wildcats make the score more respectable than it really was. The Nittany Lions were never truly in danger here. A career high 401 yards through the air from quarterback Sean Clifford is a good omen heading into next week’s game against Indiana.
6. Cincinnati (3–0)
Last game: beat Indiana 38–24, on Sept. 18
Next game: at Notre Dame
7. Oklahoma (4–0)
Last game: beat West Virginia 16–13
Next game: at Kansas State
Well, it wasn’t pretty but it was a win. Boo birds and chants for the backup quarterback rained down in Norman on preseason Heisman favorite Spencer Rattler, but he didn’t finish the game with that bad of a statline (26–36, 256 yards and 1 TD). What’s worse about Oklahoma’s offense is the staggering lack of a running game. They had to scratch and claw with defense to beat the Mountaineers at home. Just another night in the Big 12, right?
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8. Ohio State (3–1)
Last game: Beat Akron 59–7
Next game: at Rutgers
Ohio State beat the crap out of an in-state opponent. That’s the part you could assume, but a player basically walking out on his team during the game is not.
Ryan Day declined to comment after the game on the situation, but it’s clear that something was amiss for the Buckeyes despite the dominant win.
9. Notre Dame (4–0)
Last game: beat Wisconsin 41–13
Next game: against Cincinnati
What was a sleepy game through three quarters got way out of hand in the fourth quarter after a kick return and multiple pick-sixes by Marcus Freeman’s defense pushed the Irish to a blowout in the end. Quarterback Jack Coan got hurt and Notre Dame had its third-string QB in to finish the game, but head coach Brian Kelly was optimistic Coan will play next week against the Bearcats.
Kelly passed the legendary Knute Rockne to top the all-time Notre Dame wins list with the victory.
10. Arkansas (4–0)
Last game: beat Texas A&M 20–10
Next game: at Georgia
In what was arguably the best win of the day all things considered, the Hogs showed incredible proof of concept, stymying both of A&M’s offensive and defensive lines most of the day. Although quarterback KJ Jefferson missed much of the second half with an injury, he returned to ice the win as Sam Pittman gets a signature victory in charge.
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