Week 7 means we’re onto the business end of the college football season. It’s time to figure out who’s a contender, who’s a pretender and who truly belongs in the Top 10. The season continues its trend of some wacky, but all of a sudden it seems pretty darned chalky as we round the bend into Playoff rankings season in a little over two weeks.
1. Georgia (7–0)
Last game: beat Kentucky 30–13
Next game: at Florida (Oct. 30)
Dawgs on top yet again. You could have considered this game over once Georgia went up 14–0, but a nice Kentucky scoring drive did leave the opportunity for intrigue open into the third quarterback before UGA really put things away. Stetson Bennett played impressively again with breakout freshman star tight end Brock Bowers leading the way for the Georgia passing attack. But with the Dawgs, it’s about defense and there was little to no room for joy for the visiting Wildcats against Jordan Davis and his friends.
2. Cincinnati (6–0)
Last game: beat UCF 56–21
Next game: at Navy
Sure, Gus Malzahn thought he could hide from the likes of Jerome Ford, but the one-time Alabama transfer did his part to make the small Iron Bowl side-plot an unhappy one for Malzahn. With 189 yards on the ground including a 79-yarder, Cincinnati never let UCF off the mat in a game that was supposed to be the conference’s crown jewel. One team is the class of the league, and the other has a lot of work to do to get back to where they want to be.
3. Oklahoma (7–0)
Last game: beat TCU 52–31
Next game: at Kansas
After a week of manufactured quarterback controversy, Oklahoma did exactly what everyone knew they would and started Caleb Williams in place of Spencer Rattler. Williams gave OU’s offense a new dimension in the run game and used it to drop bombs over the top. The Sooners rekindled their explosive offense that eluded them most of the season before Williams sparked it last week against Texas. TCU hung tough, but it wasn’t enough in the end, and Lincoln Riley has still never lost against the Horned Frogs.
4. Alabama (6–1)
Last game: beat Mississippi State 49–9
Next game: vs. Tennessee
It’s never a great idea to be Alabama’s opponent after a loss. Magically, the mistakes get fixed and Bama comes out hungry. Mississippi State was simply on the receiving end of the wrath this time around. It had to be someone.
5. Ohio State (5–1)
Last game: beat Maryland 66–17 (Oct. 9)
Next game: at Indiana
6. Penn State (5–1)
Last game: lost at Iowa 23–20 (Oct. 9)
Next game: vs. Illinois
7. Michigan (6–0)
Last game: beat Nebraska 32–29 (Oct. 9)
Next game: vs. Northwestern
8. Michigan State (7–0)
Last game: beat Indiana 20–15
Next game: vs. Michigan (Oct. 30)
Don’t look now, but Mel Tucker’s got these Spartans buzzing. The Spartans seem to win every which way possible, but this time it was in large-part due to defense, which happens to be Tucker’s calling card. They have a bye week until a huge battle for Paul Bunyan.
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9. Oklahoma State (6–0)
Last game: beat Texas 32–24
Next game: at Iowa State
Steve Sarkisian has Texas looking up, but they folded in the second half against an Oklahoma State team that stormed back in the second half. Spencer Sanders may not be playing at the highest level at QB, but just enough defense and a punishing rushing attack was enough to pace the Pokes.
10. Oregon (5–1)
Last game: beat Cal 24–17 (Oct. 15)
Next game: at UCLA
The Ducks survived at home against a very up-for-it Cal team. It took everything they had, including a fourth down stop on the goal line, but Oregon Won The Day. Cal remains arguably the toughest out in the conference with four of its five losses coming in one score games.
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