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1) Alabama Crimson Tide (9-0) defeated LSU Tigers 24-10
A lot of talk about how deserving they are of the number one ranking (PCF ranked them #2 in the first poll). I have no such questions, they are clearly the best team in the country in my eyes. This was their toughest game of the season thus far. LSU came to play. The difference again was the Alabama defense, they gave up over 300 total yards but only 10 points. The offense was bad. I’ll give the Tiger’s defense some of the credit for that. Quarterback Jalen Hurts was not good, going 11/24 for 183 yards with a touchdown. The running game was non existent, gaining only 116 yards which is unheard of for a Crimson Tide running attack. They still managed 24 points. Even the best teams are prone to a bad performance. Beware next opponent.
2) Georgia Bulldogs (9-0) defeated South Carolina Gamecocks 24-10
The Bulldogs were very methodical in beating the Gamecocks. The defense had stretches where they struggled containing South Carolina’s passing game. This opponent simply could not capitalize, shooting themselves in the foot with two interceptions. They gave up 270 total yards, 4-12 on third down and 43 rushing yards. The offense put up very good numbers, 438 total yards but only 24 points. Quarterback Jake Fromm was efficient, going 16/22 for 196 yards with two touchdowns. Running backs Nick Chubb (102 yards) and Sony Michel (81 yards and a touchdown) controlled the game. They continue to win.
3) Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-1) defeated Wake Forest Demon Deacons 48-37
The Fighting Irish put on a show offensively but struggled defensively. The offense racked up over 700 total yards. Quarterback Brandon Wimbush was very good, going 15/30 for 280 yards with a touchdown and ran for 110 yards with two more touchdowns. Wide receiver Chase Claypool had a big game with nine catches for 180 yards and a touchdown. Wake Forest did score two late fourth quarter touchdowns to make the score more respectable. With that said, the defense gave up way too many yards (587). Most concerning should be the 239 rushing yards by the Demon Deacons they surrendered. They have to shore that up if they want to stay in the playoff hunt.
4) Clemson Tigers (8-1) defeated NC State Wolfpack 38-31
You earn points with me going on the road against a quality opponent and win, especially in conference. On a day when the defense was not it’s usual stingy self (gave up 491 total yards), the offense picked them up. Quarterback Kelly Bryant had 191 passing yards with a touchdown and 88 rushing yards with two more touchdowns. Running back Tavien Feaster gained 105 yards (15 yards per rush) with a touchdown. Wide receiver Deon Cain had nine catches for 84 yards and a touchdown. The defense gave up huge plays in the passing game in the which they could not generate their normal quarterback pressure. This left a vulnerable secondary open to get exposed. The mission is not done.
5) Oklahoma Sooners (8-1) defeated Oklahoma State Cowboys 62-52
The Sooners are all offense, this is who they are. The defense is just fundamentally bad, no other way to say it. When the offense gains almost 800 total yards and you still have to hang on to win tells the story. Quarterback Baker Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy front runner, was spectacular. He was 24/36 for 598 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. Running backs Rodney Anderson had 111 rushing yards with a touchdown and Trey Sermon added 81 yards with a touchdown and Trey Sermon also added 81 yards with a touchdown. Wide receiver Marquise Brown torched the Cowboy secondary with nine catches for 265 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Mark Andrews added three catches for 102 yards (34 yards per catch). The defense gave up 661 total yards. Can the offense continue to cover for the defense against better teams?
6) Miami Hurricanes (8-0) defeated Virginia Tech Hokies 28-10
This was the Hurricanes first test of the season and they passed. Surprisingly, it did not come down to the last possession. The offense was good, gaining 429 total yards. Quarterback Malik Rosier was not good passing, going 10/21 for 193 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. He was good with his legs, rushing for 84 yards and a touchdown. Running back Travis Homer gained 95 yards with a touchdown. The defense was good by forcing four turnovers, even though they gave up over 300 total yards. The Hokies could not turn that into points. Very impressive win, more big games ahead.
7) Wisconsin Badgers (9-0) defeated Indiana Hoosiers 45-17
Badger fans can get on me for being disrespectful for being ranked No. 7 having several one loss teams ahead of them all they want. (I can live with that). Simply, I believe those teams are better. Yes, they have a talented running back in Jonathan Taylor and a very sound defense but the weakness of this team lies in quarterback Alex Hornibrook. Just not sold on him coming up big when needed. The defense did it’s job again, giving up 266 total yards. The offense was led by their running back Taylor, who ran for 183 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Hornibrook was 13/20 for 158 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. They got another win.
8) TCU Horned Frogs (8-1) defeated Texas Longhorns 24-7
Not sure what to make of this team. They are solid defensively and can hold their own against just about anyone. It’s the offense that’s Jekyll and Hyde. Quarterback Kenny Hill has ability but is wildly inconsistent. For some reason, they refuse to feature talented running back Darius Anderson (averaging only 13 carries per game). With that said, the Horned Frogs handled the Longhorns. The defense gave up 263 total yards holding Texas to 4-18 on third down, 1-4 on fourth down and nine rushing yards. Throw in seven sacks for good measure. Quarterback Hill was so so, going 18/26 for 146 yards. Running back Anderson gained 99 yards with a touchdown.
9) Washington Huskies (8-1) defeated Oregon Ducks 38-3
Welcome back to my Top 10! Washington made easy work of a bad Oregon team. There are some concerns regarding their defense though. The Ducks had their back up quarterback playing and would lean heavily on the running game. Knowing this, the Huskies still gave up 247 rushing yards. The offense had 451 total yards. Quarterback Jake Browning seemed unfocused going 11/19 for 204 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Running backs Myles Gaskin (123 rushing yards and a touchdown) and Salvon Ahmed (84 yards and a touchdown) did the heavy lifting. Not sure how good they really are though. Tough games down the stretch could answer that question.
10) Auburn Tigers (7-2) defeated Texas A&M Aggies 42-27
Auburn sneaks back into my Top 10 by handling Texas A&M on the road. The defense gave up 343 total yards. Not a good sign with Georgia and Alabama looming on the horizon. The offense was well balanced in gaining almost 500 total yards. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham is starting to look like the rising star he was at Baylor going 20/27 for 268 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Kerryon Johnson ran for 145 yards and a touchdown. Wide receivers Darius Slayton (99 receiving yards and a touchdown) and Ryan Davis (80 receiving yards and a touchdown) had productive games. The Tigers can play spoiler, so they have plenty to play for.