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SI's Top 10: Oregon Is The Class of the West Coast

The Ducks did what they needed to do as they hope to impress down the stretch. Plus, welcome the Demon Deacons into the Top 10!

It was a Saturday that felt big coming in, but the big boys mainly took care of business at the top. Most notably … Sparty had a party and the biggest win of the Mel Tucker era means that Michigan State is for real in the only matchup of top-10 teams coming into the day.

The Playoff rankings will drop in a few days and when they do, they’ll be taking up the unenviable task of trying to rank top teams this season. We know Georgia’s the Big Dog in the sport this year, but after that? You could throw any order of teams 2–10 and have it be plausible. The season has reached its business end, and with that comes the answers to the questions this season has posed about who’s good and who isn’t. For now, this attempt at a Top 10 is the only one that matters.

1. Georgia (8–0)

Last game: Beat Florida 34–7

Next game: vs. Missouri

A game that looked like it was headed into halftime as a tight game blew open quickly when Georgia pounced on Florida’s miscues.

The only intrigue in the second half was whether Florida could keep its 400+ game streak without being shutout alive. By the hair of their chinny-chin-chins, they did. But talent won the day for a Georgia team that seems to have a stranglehold on the top spot right now. What they’re doing this season is simply fear inducing as of Halloween Eve.

2. Alabama (7–1)

Last game: Bye

Next game: vs. LSU

3. Ohio State (7–1)

Last game: Beat Penn State 33–24

Next game: at Nebraska

After rolling for a few weeks basically unchallenged, the Buckeyes got a ferocious Penn State defense in the Horseshoe. They gave ‘em their money’s worth in this contest. Sean Clifford battled gamely thorough injuries, but his biggest mistake became the most crucial play of the night when a strip/sack/fumble got housed for a Big Man Touchdown.

From there, Ohio State wasn’t able to blow Penn State out, but did enough to beat a heavily-upset minded opponent.

4. Oklahoma (9–0)

Last game: Beat Texas Tech 52–21

Next game: at Baylor (Nov. 13)

The Matt Wells era ended in Lubbock this week, but it didn’t matter who was on the sideline for the Red Raiders. What didn’t look so good in the Kansas game for the Sooners got shored up during the last week of practice as OU rolled. But it’s not just on the ground that Caleb Williams played well, his 402 yards through the air was much more reminiscent of what Spencer Rattler was supposed to bring to this offense. But Williams has seized the job, and he doesn’t appear to be looking back. With production like he had today, it’s easy to see why the QB1 role is his as Oklahoma aims to secure yet another Big 12 title.

5. Michigan State (8–0)

Last game: Beat Michigan 37–33

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Next game: at Purdue

Mel Tucker’s Spartans notched a huge win, knocking Michigan from the ranks of the unbeatens and pulling off the biggest comeback anyone’s ever had against the Wolverines. The story starts and ends with Michigan State's Kenneth Walker III. His five touchdowns and 197 yards helped not only the Spartans battle back, but likely got him some Heisman steam in a season without a real standout player yet. MSU has a blueprint, and on Saturday they executed it perfectly to get one over big brother.

6. Cincinnati (8–0)

Last game: Beat Tulane 31–12

Next game: vs. Tulsa

There’s nothing wrong with a little New Orleans hangover—we’ve all been there. The Bearcats didn’t really pull away until the fourth quarter against a team they should have handled. But, this is the second team in this top 10 that Tulane has been squirrelly with after giving Oklahoma all they could handle early in the season. The question will be where the committee weighs them. Group of 5 teams typically have a higher bar to clear than others when it comes to how their dominance is measured. But if these Bearcats are treated like previous great G5 teams, they might not sniff the top 10 Tuesday.

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7. Oregon (7–1)

Last game: Beat Colorado 52–29

Next game: at Washington

The Ducks did what they were supposed to do and dispatched an overmatched Colorado team. They’re clearly the class of the West Coast, with the Pac-12 South cannibalizing itself week-in and week-out. Quarterback Anthony Brown’s career-high 307 yards through the air are a welcome showing as Oregon hopes to impress down the stretch.

8. Wake Forest (8–0)

Last game: Beat Duke 45–7

Next game: at UNC

Don’t look now, but the ACC’s only undefeated is still Wake Forest. With an electric and unique offense, they continue to roll, scoring for the first time 91 seconds into the game. Sam Hartman’s 402-yard passing day continues to help light up the scoreboard for a team you absolutely should be watching.

9. Notre Dame (7–1)

Last game: Beat UNC 44–34

Next game: vs. Navy

You may have forgotten about the Fighting Irish, but they have quietly put together a nice run of results. Speaking of runs, watch Kyren Williams romp through a bunch of Tar Heels.

Williams’s 108 yards apart from that big one paced the Irish all day in the physical brand of football they like to play.

10. Baylor (7–1)

Last game: Beat Texas 31–24

Next game: at TCU

The Bears ripped off 21 straight points in the third and fourth quarters to come from behind and beat Texas. Baylor’s defense understood the assignment: contain the electric Bijan Robinson. The Texas star running back had 43 yards on 17 carries, which other than the 69 he gained against Arkansas, is by far his lowest output on the ground. Texas had some splash plays through the air, but not enough. 

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