Georgia earns third place in the SI top 10 by default as much as anything else. The Bulldogs were good before they went to Tuscaloosa, and half good once they got there. In today’s arid landscape – where we don’t rank anyone who hasn’t played yet – that’s enough.North Carolina spat a giant furball against Florida State and Notre Dame was unimpressive enough against Louisville that it seemed fair to begin a nationwide search for the fourth best team. Why not BYU? The Cougars passed their biggest test of the season yet on Friday night, roaring back to beat Houston.The second half of the Top 10 is also indistinguishable. Two SEC teams to one loss, two undefeated Group of Five teams. And, wow, look what the cat entailed: the only unbeaten Big 12 team, Oklahoma State, that hasn’t played since Oct. 3.
In short, the arrival of the Big Ten this week is perfectly timed. There are many high rankings available.
1. Clemson (5–0)
Last game: Defeat Georgia Tech, 73–7
Next game: Syracuse Saturday
The Tigers’ offense fell 52 points to Georgia Tech in the first half, the most in a half in school history against an ACC opponent – and this despite two turnovers. Trevor Lawrence had five touchdown passes before the intermission, although he threw his first interception since October 19, 2019. The most ridiculous statistic of that ridiculous Clemson offense: 17 Tigers caught passes, including two sons of Dabo Swinney. We wonder again if someone in the ACC can even stress Clemson slightly. (Notre Dame or bust on November 7?)
2. Alabama (4–0)
Last match: Beat Georgia, 41–24
Next game: in Tennessee on Saturday
Lagging behind the Bulldogs at halftime, the Crimson Tide opened a threshing box in the third and fourth quarters. Huge plays from their unrivaled wide receivers on some nice deep balls from Mac Jones; Najee Harris’ usual overall effectiveness; and some big saves from a defense that had been beaten on the pitch and in the press. Maybe it would have been closer if Nick Saban had had to stay home, but “Bama still looked like the better team once they tightened up defensively and after Stetson Bennett IV. Aside from Joe Burrow’s supernova, the SEC continues to run through Tuscaloosa.
3. Georgia (3–1)
Dernier match: Lost to Alabama, 41–24
Next game: Kentucky on October 31
The Bulldogs’ vaunted defense was shattered by Alabama’s passing play, giving up 417 yards and four touchdowns in the air. That’s the most passing yards Georgia has allowed since 2000, when Hal Mumme coached Kentucky and Jared Lorenzen threw him every time. The other glaring problem for Georgia: Stetson Bennett IV isn’t good enough to win a shootout. The old walk-on has been successful so far, but it was denounced by Alabama – completing just 18 of 40 passes for 269 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Maybe it’s time for Kirby Smart to turn to USC JT Daniels transfer.
4. BYU (5–0)
Last game: beat Houston on Friday, 43-26
Next game: Texas State Saturday
BYU had it easy in its first four games, then Houston put the Cougars to work for this one. Trailing 26–14 at the end of the third quarter, BYU exploded for 29 unanswered points to win by leaving. It was yet another showcase performance for quarterback Zach Wilson (25 for 35 for 400 yards and four touchdowns, plus 40 rushing yards), and a defense that struggled to stop Houston for much of the night. is up to make big plays in the last quarter. . The Cougars will be heavily favored in their next two games (Texas State and Western Kentucky) before facing Boise State on November 6. If the Cougars come out on top, they will likely be the most contested team in college football playoffs.
5. Notre Dame (4–0)
Last game: beat Louisville, 12-7
Next game: in Pittsburgh on Saturday
The Fighting Irish struggled unexpectedly against the 1–4 Cardinals. Louisville entered the game with 34.3 points per game, but didn’t give up a touchdown until the end of the third quarter. Notre Dame failed to complete the records in the red zone and her passing play produced just 106 yards. There was no play of 20 meters or more in the air. This is the second game in a row the Irish have lagged behind in the second half, albeit briefly. After four straight hours at home, it is now time for Notre Dame to hit the road again.
6. Texas A&M (3–1)
Final game: beat Mississippi State, 28-14
Next game: Arkansas October 31
The Aggies have always been outscored this season, thanks to an unbalanced loss to Alabama. But it was a second impressive performance in a row – explosive offensive against Florida last week and defensive against the Bulldogs this week. A week after losing wide receiver Caleb Chapman for the season, A&M showed some depth of play at this position with a 51-yard touchdown reception by freshman Chase Lane. But the offensive anchor continues to be running back Isaiah Spiller, who played his third 100-yard game of the season against the Bulldogs.
7. Florida (2–1)
Dernier match: Lost to Texas A&M le 10 octobre
Next game: Missouri October 31
The only place the Gators have not suffered from embarrassment this week was on the pitch, as their game was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak. This followed Coach Dan Mullen’s absurd stance that he wanted to “Pack The Swamp” with 90,000 fans after last Saturday’s loss to Texas A&M. The week ended with Mullen publicly acknowledging that he too had the virus. Florida is such a mess from a numbers standpoint that their game scheduled for next week has already been pushed back to Halloween.
8. Cincinnati (3–0)
Last game: beat USC 28–7 on October 3
Next match: at SMU on Saturday
The Bearcats’ own COVID-19 outbreak has forced their match against Tulsa to be postponed, meaning they’ll be 21 days between matches when they visit undefeated SMU on Saturday (assuming the match stays on the schedule). It’s a big deal for the American Athletic Conference. Cincinnati’s offense has been pedestrianized so far this season, with quarterback Desmond Ridder not being as dynamic as he had been the previous two seasons. But Luke Fickell’s side remain the best defensive unit in the AAC, and that probably makes them the team to beat in the league.
9. State of Oklahoma (3–0)
Final game: beat Kansas 47-7 on October 3
Next game: Iowa State Saturday
The Cowboys game against Baylor was postponed by the Bears’ COVID-19 issues, so they’re on the same schedule as Cincinnati – three weeks between games. Next up is the one that will weigh heavily in the Big 12 race, with the Cyclones also undefeated in conference. The Oklahoma state defense leads the conference with the fewest runs allowed per game (9.0) and fewest yards allowed per game (4.05).
10. Marshall (4–0)
Dernier match: Beat Louisiana Tech, 35-17
Next game: Florida Atlantic Saturday
It’s time to show some love to Thundering Herd, who have yet to appear in a game this season. Marshall has a top-10 defense nationally, and first-year quarterback Ben Wells continues to impress – he was 19 of 24 for 227 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score on Saturday against Tech . The herd should be heavily favored in each of its final regular season games.