The dust is starting to settle a bit within the Top Ten. Teams are starting to establish themselves and their identities. The top four are solidly entrenched and would take some upsets to change that. Other teams are lurking just outside the Top Ten ready to make a move if a team falters. Here is this week’s Top Ten:
1) Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0) defeated #22 Texas A&M Aggies 45-23
The Crimson Tide built a huge lead by halftime and won easily. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was on fire, going 22-30 for 387 yards with four touchdowns. The rushing attack was quiet. I know Coach Saban wants more from that department. Other than giving up two big runs to quarterback Kellen Mond, the defense controlled the Aggies offense.
Next game- Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns
2) Georgia Bulldogs (4-0) defeated Missouri Tigers 43-29
The Bulldogs jumped out to a comfortable halftime lead and cruised to a road win. Quarterback Jake Fromm was efficient (13-23 for 260 yards) with 3 touchdowns & an interception. Running back Elijah Holyfield was a workhorse with 90 yards. The defense was solid, especially against quarterback Drew Lock and their passing attack.
Next game- Tennessee Volunteers
3) Clemson Tigers (4-0) defeated Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 49-21
The Tigers got off to a slow start but eventually pulled away. Once quarterback Trevor Lawrence entered the game, the offense took off. Running back Travis Etienne was terrific with 122 rushing yards and a touchdown. The defense had little trouble with the triple option, keeping it under wraps.
Next game- Syracuse Orange
4) Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0) defeated Tulane Green Wave 49-6
The Buckeyes destroyed the Green Wave in Coach Urban Meyer’s return from suspension. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins was great again, going 21-24 for 304 yards with five touchdowns. Wide receiver Paris Campbell had a big game with eight catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns. The defense smothered an overmatched Tulane offense with four sacks and 14 tackles for loss.
Next game- at #5 Penn State Nittany Lions
5) Penn State Nittany Lions (4-0) defeated Illinois Fighting Illini 63-24
The Nittany Lions were played even through three quarters but exploded in the fourth to put the game away. Quarterback Trace McSorley was average but was not needed. The rushing attack was the story. Running back Miles Sanders had 200 yards rushing with three touchdowns and Ricky Slade added 94 yards with two touchdowns. The defense struggled in the first half but regrouped in the second half to shut down Illinois.
Next game- #4 Ohio State Buckeyes
6) Oklahoma Sooners (4-0) defeated Army Black Knights 28-21 OT
The Sooners struggled all game against the Black Knights. Quarterback Kyler Murray finally looked human but did account for four more touchdowns. Running back Trey Sermon ran for 119 yards. The defense had trouble figuring out the triple option, giving up 339 yards. The good news is they won’t see another offense like this again.
Next game- Baylor Bears
7) Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-0) defeated Wake Forest Demon Deacons 56-27
The Fighting Irish went on the road and won rather easily. A switch at quarterback ignited the offense. Ian Book started and was awesome going 25-34 for 325 yards with 2 touchdowns and 3 rushing touchdowns. The defense was good against the pass but struggled against the run, giving up 259 yards. That needs to be better.
Next game- #9 Stanford Cardinal
8) LSU Tigers (4-0) defeated Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 38-21
The Tigers didn’t look good but got the victory. A clear letdown after last week’s big win. Quarterback Joe Burrow was ordinary. Running backs Clyde Edwards-Helaire had 136 yards with two touchdowns and Nick Brosette added three touchdowns. The defense contained the run but had trouble with the Bulldogs passing attack (330 yards).
Next game- Ole Miss Rebels
9) Stanford Cardinals (4-0) defeated #20 Oregon Ducks 38-31 OT
The Cardinal survived a tough road game against the Ducks and won a thriller. Quarterback KJ Costello was clutch, going 19-26 for 327 yards with three touchdowns. Running back Bryce Love’s presence kept the defense honest (89 yards and a touchdown). The defense struggled to contain Oregon’s offense but produced two turnovers that saved the game. One was a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown and another fumble recovery late that led to the game tying field goal.
Next game- at #7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
10) Auburn Tigers (3-1) defeated Arkansas Razorbacks 34-3
The Tigers looked very average but did enough to get the win. The entire offense looked lethargic, possibly still hungover from last week’s loss. Good thing the Razorbacks could not take advantage of that. The defense held their own against an anemic Arkansas offense.
Next game- Southern Miss Golden Eagles