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1) Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0) defeated Texas A&M Aggies 27-19
This was their worst game of the season, Alabama looked sloppy at times. I’ll give some credit to the Aggies, they played well defensively. This will give coach Nick Saban plenty of coachable moments. The coaches and players demand perfection and this was far from it. Quarterback Jalen Hurts had his worst game of the season, going 13-22 for 123 yards and a touchdown. The lone bright spot on offense was running back Damien Harris who rushed for 124 yards (on a whopping 8.9 yards per carry) and a touchdown. The Crimson Tide also committed it’s first turnover of the season. The defense was average, they actually gave up over 300 yards of total offense. They stopped the run like clockwork but Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond made some big plays scrambling and running it just not enough to win the game. There will be some hard practices ahead after this effort.
2) Clemson Tigers (6-0) defeated Wake Forest Demon Deacons 28-14
Clemson won the game but it could prove costly. Quarterback Kelly Bryant left the game with an apparent lower leg/ankle injury. Before that, he was efficient (21-29) but everything was short passes. He was not effective running the ball (only 39 yards). They did manage 190 yards rushing but only four yards per carry. The Tigers defense had an off day for their standards giving up over 300 total yards. They still managed to control the line of scrimmage. Clemson got away with losing the turnover battle but they can’t play with fire. Some tweaking is in order. Where are the big plays downfield? We’ll have to keep an eye on Bryant’s injury.
3) Penn State Nittany Lions (6-0) defeated Northwestern Wildcats 31-7
This was not a great offensive effort but it was enough to beat an average Wildcat team. Quarterback Trace McSorley was efficient, going 25-34 for 245 yards with a touchdown. Running back Saquon Barkley was not his usual self but still managed 75 yards rushing with two touchdowns. The defense was stingy, giving up 265 total yards and seven points. The Nittany Lion’s defense also forced three turnovers. They continue to win and fly under the radar as far as national attention but that suits them just fine. They have some games coming up that could certainly change that narrative.
4) Washington Huskies (6-0) defeated California Golden Bears 38-7
The Huskies seemed to be sleepwalking through this game. Quarterback Jake Browning was average, going 27-40 for 215 yards with two touchdowns. Running back Myles Gaskin had 91 yards rushing but only 3.8 yards per carry. Wide receiver Hunter Bryant had a huge day with nine catches for 121 yards and a touchdown. The defense was outstanding, holding the Golden Bears to 93 total yards, 4-14 on third downs and had eight sacks. The offense is not showing the same explosiveness from last season. This could prove problematic against better teams. Meanwhile, the defense is trending in the right direction. Washington is in a good position to make it back to the playoffs but can not afford any slip ups.
5) Georgia Bulldogs (6-0) defeated Vanderbilt Commodores 45-14
The Bulldogs go on the road again and dominate another SEC opponent. Quarterback Jake Fromm was good in limited attempts, going 7/11 for 102 yards with two touchdowns. The running attack was gashing the Commodores defense to the tune of 423 yards. Running back Sony Michel led the way with 150 yards on 12 carries (an eye popping 12.5 yards per carry) and running mate Nick Chubb had 138 yards on 16 carries (8.6 yards per carry). When both backs are going like this, it’s hard to stop Georgia’s offense. The defense was equally good giving up 236 yards, 11 first downs and forcing them to go 6-15 on third downs. Looks like they are on a collision coarse with Alabama in the SEC Championship game.
6) Wisconsin Badgers (5-0) defeated Nebraska Cornhuskers 38-17
Wisconsin was methodical in beating Nebraska. Running back Jonathan Taylor was the offense, rushing for 249 yards on an amazing 10 yards per carry with two touchdowns. He’s having a special season and looks like the national freshman offensive player of the year. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook was his normal underwhelming self going 9-17 for 113 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The defense was not their usual self giving up 381 total yards. They’re not used to seeing guys rush for over 100 yards and getting picked apart through the air. The good news is they did a good job keeping them out of the end zone.
7) Texas Christian (TCU) Horned Frogs (5-0) defeated West Virginia Mountaineers 31-24
TCU grounded out a tough game against the high powered offense of West Virginia. Quarterback Kenny Hill did not have a good passing day, going 15-28 for 188 yards with a touchdown but he did run for a touchdown as well as catch a touchdown pass. So he made up for that. The running game was subpar and will need to be better. The Horned Frogs’ defense played it’s worst game of the season, giving up 508 total yards. They were spread out and shredded all game long. The only saving grace was forcing two critical turnovers they turned into 10 points. Was this a blip on the radar or a leak that could be a bigger issue?
8) Auburn Tigers (5-1) defeated Mississippi Rebels 44-23
Auburn looks to have steadied the ship after losing the opener to Clemson. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham was good again going 14-21 for 235 yards with two touchdowns. His deep balls are a thing of beauty to watch. All of this is set up by the running game. Running back Kerryon Johnson was awesome, rushing for 204 yards and three touchdowns. The Tigers defense was good news and bad news. The good news was they held the Rebels to 83 yards rushing. The bad news is they gave up 346 passing yards. The season will come down to the Iron Bowl against Alabama. Should be interesting.
9) Washington State Cougars (6-0) defeated Oregon Ducks 33-10
Washington State joins my Top 10 after blasting Oregon in Eugene. Quarterback Luke Falk had a good game, going 24-42 for 282 yards and three touchdowns. Remember that name, he’ll be playing on Sundays. They don’t utilize the running game as they should but they get away with it. The Cougars defense has been the story of this season. They held the Ducks under 300 yards of total offense, that’s unheard of a Mike Leach coached team. They also held Oregon to 2-17 on third downs and 0-3 on fourth downs. This is rare air for Washington State. How will they respond to lofty expectations? Pac 12 or bust!
10) Miami (FL) Hurricanes (4-0) defeated Florida State Seminoles 24-20
Miami is another new entry in my Top 10. They rallied in the last seconds to win this heated rivalry game and stop a seven game losing streak to Florida State. Quarterback Malik Rosier was a cool customer, going 19/44 for 254 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. He was at his best when it mattered most, throwing the game winning touchdown with six seconds left. The running game could not get going but still found a way to win. Wide receiver Braxton Berrios (8 catches for 90 yards with two touchdowns) and Ahmmon Richards (4 catches for 68 yards) were match up nightmares and made all the big catches for the Hurricanes. The defense had trouble with the Seminoles running attack but harassed the quarterback all day and forced two key turnovers. Is Miami back?