Survival Mode Activated – College Football Top 10 (Week 4)

The full blown arrival of conference play in week four means that every game is that much more important. Some conferences, such as the Big 12, have already began the decimation process and took out their top dog, Oklahoma. Other schools like USC and Michigan found a way to survive against their unranked conference matchup, inching one step close to their goals.

Then you have Tennessee, a team that has been spring boarded into the top 10 after a crucial win over rival Florida. Huge conference matchups like that are just beginning and there’s many more to come down the road. Join us and see what other changes have been made to our Week Four top 10.

1.) Georgia Bulldogs (4-0) defeated Kent State Golden Flashes 39-22

After such domination over the first few weeks of the season, the Bulldogs just didn’t look focused on Saturday. They turned the ball over three times in the first 20 minutes of the game, allowing the Golden Flashes to stay within two possessions until the fourth quarter. The stat line heavily favored the Bulldogs but being careless with the ball can cost you, as seen from this performance.

No sense in dropping them from the top spot because their best football is still better than anyone else at this point. This performance certainly helped other teams gain confidence that the gap may not be as large as expected.

Next Week: Away vs. Missouri Tigers

2.) Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0) defeated Vanderbilt Commodores 55-3

This was the typical Crimson Tide dismantling of the Commodores. Quarterback Bryce Young had all day to throw, chucking the ball for 385 yards and four touchdowns (TDs). Even though the opposition wasn’t competitive, it was surely a nice sighting for Young to see his receivers getting some ridiculous separation to make uncontested grabs.

The defense was out of this world, smothering the Commodores for only 129 yards of offense. One thing to debate, even though Bama has handled business, is the strength of their wins. Now that Texas has struggled with UTSA and lost this week to Texas Tech, their strength of schedule in games played so far is abysmal.

With the Arkansas Razorbacks losing to Texas A&M, now that game won’t be a top 10 showdown. If Bama wins convincingly, that will likely turn Arkansas into an unranked team. For now, they remain at #2, but their gap over #3 is razor thin.

Next Week: Away vs. #20 Arkansas Razorbacks

3.) Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0) defeated Wisconsin Badgers 52-21

Another hot start by the Buckeyes under the lights, this time rocking the blackout uniforms. After they jumped out to a 28-0 lead in only 17 minutes of game time, the writing was on the wall for the Badgers. They aren’t a team that scores in bunches and can keep up with the potent firepower of the Buckeyes.

The defense checked off a crucial box by standing strong against Wisconsin’s powerful offensive line and the ultra talented running back, Braelon Allen. That was possibly the biggest question mark heading into this season after getting exposed by Oregon and Michigan on the ground in 2021.

The only concern for them right now is cornerback depth. Against the Badgers, the Buckeyes only had three corners on scholarship available. That isn’t a huge issue against the run heavy Wisconsin but it will be against a team like #11 Penn State.

Next Week: Home vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

4.) Michigan Wolverines (4-0) defeated Maryland Terrapins 34-27

Wolverine running back Blake Corum has firmly placed himself in not just the Doak Walker watch list but the Heisman conversation as well. While quarterback J.J. McCarthy was struggling to fully get going in his first Big Ten start, Corum was the bell cow. His 243 yards on Saturday topped his season total of 235.

It’s safe to say that in their first test of the season, they passed but with plenty of hiccups. Maryland isn’t a slouch and went toe-to-toe with the Wolverines all day. A win is a win but slow starts against the better conference foes may not be so easy to come back from.

Next Week: Away vs. Iowa Hawkeyes

5.) Clemson Tigers (4-0) defeated #22 Wake Forest Demon Deacons 51-45 (2OT)

The Tigers played motivated football all afternoon, clawing their way back after falling behind three times. Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei had one of his career best performances, throwing for five TDs and 371 yards. The key was not turning the ball over, which has cost this team in the past.

The defense did let Demon Deacon quarterback, Sam Hartman, one up Uiagalelei on his way to six TD tosses. Regardless, it’s a team game and the offense picked up the usually stout defense to get a crucial conference road win. Next week is a revenge game for the Tigers as they try to avenge an overtime loss from a year ago, showing that they are capable of defeating two ranked squads in a row.

Next Week: Home vs. AP #10 North Carolina State Wolfpack

6.) USC Trojans (4-0) defeated Oregon State Beavers 17-14

A few experts predicted that this game would be very close, and boy were they right. The losing record since 2000 in Corvallis was definitely no fluke, as the Beavers gave the Trojans everything they could handle for all 60 minutes. In what was an atrocious 16-36 throwing night for quarterback Caleb Williams, he broke through the Beaver dam at just the right time.

Trailing 14-10 with under five minutes to play, he led an 11-play, 84-yard drive to take back the lead. Williams zipped the ball into a tight window to wideout Jordan Addison for the 21-yard clinching score. If he was half a second late on that ball, USC is heading back to L.A. with the loss.

Next Week: Home vs. Arizona State Sun Devils

7.) Tennessee Volunteers (4-0) defeated Florida Gators 38-33

What an incredible climb for the Volunteers to start the season. The offense that came into the game ranked as the third best in the country, continued its dominance. A 576-yard performance, even with multiple turnovers, was really impressive.

Quarterback Hendon Hooker should now be apart of the Heisman talks after his great start. Saturday was just a case in point performance with his 349 yards in the air and 112 on the ground. The road ahead is still a massive challenge for the Volunteers with Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky yet to come, but still an admirable start for this team.

Next Week: BYE

8.) Oklahoma State Cowboys – IDLE

Next Week: Away vs. #16 Baylor Bears

9.) Kentucky Wildcats (4-0) defeated Northern Illinois Huskies 31-23

Head coach Mark Stoops’ postgame interview really told the whole story on why it was a close game. “I wish we would have played a little cleaner in certain situations. It got a little sloppy the last eight minutes,” said Stoops.

The Wildcats were up 31-14 with just over eight minutes to go in the fourth. They allowed a field goal and a TD and still left time for the Huskies to try an onside kick. Obviously they underperformed on Saturday but this team is extremely resilient and will be a tough out for anyone in the SEC.

Next Week: Away vs. #14 Ole Miss Rebels

10.) Washington Huskies (4-0) defeated Stanford Cardinal 40-22

For a program that was anemic on the offensive side of the ball last season, they’ve pulled a complete 180 degree shift. The past two games, the Huskies have came out swinging, accounting for halftime leads of 29-8 against Michigan State and 30-7 against the Cardinal. That 45-20 win in week one against Kent State looks even better now that they played Georgia closer, as mentioned earlier.

Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is leading the country in passing yards and carrying a 12:1 TD-INT ratio. The road ahead for this squad may be tough as Oregon has bounced back from the week one loss, and divisional foes Oregon State and Washington State look to be tough as well. This team plays with a ton of attitude and confidence and it’ll be on display next weekend early as they get the PAC-12 after dark spot on Friday night.

Next Week: Away vs. UCLA Bruins

Derek Worley

Sports Analyst

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