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In what was a premier top-two showdown between perennial powers, the defending champs delivered. The Georgia Bulldogs propelled themselves to the top spot while other top teams faced challenges on the road. Find out what you need to know about the four playoff teams and who else can make a run at it in our weekly top 10.
Teams That Are In
1.) Georgia Bulldogs (9-0) defeated Tennessee Volunteers 27-13
Bulldogs Are Back: After the immaculate 49-3 win over Oregon to start to the season, the Bulldogs have never looked like the same indestructible fortress. Well, they finally got their form back as they slowed down the No. 1 offense in the country, holding them to only 289 yards. The offense played well and protected the lead in order to topple the top ranked Vols in dominant fashion.
Biggest Takeaway: The Bulldogs do a perfect job of mirroring the speed on the perimeter, while matching physicality in the trenches. Quarterback Stetson Bennett is thriving and reading the field well behind a versatile and sturdy offensive line. This was the last major roadblock before another trip to the SEC Championship Game.
Next Week: Away vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs
2.) Ohio State Buckeyes (9-0) defeated Northwestern Wildcats 21-7
Buckeyes Brave The Elements: In the postgame interview, head coach Ryan Day discussed how the weather effected the game plan but they just had to find a way to win. That’s about all they did in a game where C.J. Stroud had to ditch throwing and use his legs to help come away with the win. The Wildcats tried to shorten the game with field position and time of possession which ultimately caused the close score.
Biggest Takeaway: The biggest mystery with this team is trying to figure out what’s going on with the struggling run game. Stroud pulling the ball on read options may have unlocked his legs for the rest of the season, which could be another element to a dangerous offense. As long as they don’t have to play in any more 60-mph gusts for the rest of the season, the offense should get back to scoring points.
Next Week: Home vs. Indiana Hoosiers
3.) Michigan Wolverines (9-0) defeated Rutgers Scarlet Knights 52-17
Runaway In Piscataway: The Wolverines got off to a very slow start on the road, trailing 17-14 at the half. They followed it up by absolutely slamming on the accelerator, throttling the Scarlet Knights with a 38-0 second-half run. That run included a period of 28 points scored while Rutgers threw three interceptions on only five offensive plays. That’s one way to hand the game away.
Biggest Takeaway: Both running backs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards were elite again, topping 100 yards. It’s the same formula with this team as they lean heavily on the run game and play stout defense. Not every team will be as forgiving as Rutgers so they got fortunate this week.
Next Week: Home vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers
4.) TCU Horned Frogs (9-0) defeated Texas Tech Red Raiders 34-24
Horned Frogs Find A Way: After swallowing the tough pill that was their star wideout, Quentin Johnston, going down with another ankle injury, the Horned Frogs had some struggles. Not having Johnston on the outside made life difficult for quarterback Max Duggan through the air, going a lowly 12/23. The usually balanced offense became run centric, plowing their way to a fourth quarter comeback.
Biggest Takeaway: Johnston is such a difference maker for this team and if he’s out long term then it could be a killer. The defense needs to build off a well-rounded performance this week because Texas is going to come out swinging. Even though this team hasn’t been as strong the last two weeks, they’re undefeated for a reason. They’ll be ready to play.
Next Week: Away vs. Texas Longhorns
Teams That Are Out
5.) Tennessee Volunteers (8-1) defeated by Georgia Bulldogs 27-13
Rocky Toppled On The Road: The slow start ended up costing the Vols, as they allowed Georgia to get out to a 21-3 lead early in the second quarter. The offense looked out matched physically and the wide receivers couldn’t get separation consistently. When they did, quarterback Hendon Hooker was just unable to connect, which ultimately led to their demise.
Biggest Takeaway: The Vols may be down right now but certainly not out. Their second half defense was tremendous, shoring up the secondary and making tackles that they missed in the first half. They need some help but the committee will likely be lenient as the loss was on the road and kept respectable on the scoreboard, even if it always just felt out of reach.
Next Week: Home vs. Missouri Tigers
6.) Oregon Ducks (8-1) defeated Colorado Buffaloes 49-10
There Goes Bo…Nix: It was the Bo Nix show in Boulder as the Ducks quarterback threw two touchdowns, ran for two and even caught one. Oregon’s defense was just as impressive as they put the clamps on Colorado. Simply put, the struggling Buffaloes were no match for the high flying Ducks in this contest.
Biggest Takeaway: This team is well within firing range at this point. Even though the road is still going to be tough, they are in control of their own destiny. A Pac-12 title will trump Tennessee if that’s what it comes down to but there’s still a lot of football left.
Next Week: Home vs. Washington Huskies
7.) UCLA Bruins (8-1) defeated Arizona State Sun Devils 50-36
Bruins Win In A Shootout: The Bruins had to get the job done without their Star running back, Zach Charbonnet, but it wasn’t easy. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson had to do just as much through the air (169 yards) as he did on the ground (120). His four-touchdown effort was enough to propel the Bruins over the upset minded Sun Devils.
Biggest Takeaway: This is still one of the most potent offenses in the country, and they are in the same exact boat as Oregon. They owe the Ducks payback for the win, and as long as they win out, they may get that chance. Head coach Chip Kelly has this team rolling right now.
Next Week: Home vs. Arizona Wildcats
8.) LSU Tigers (7-2) defeated Alabama Crimson Tide 32-31 (OT)
Death Valley Causes Another Earthquake: The Tigers stunned the Crimson Tide at home in an instant classic. Head coach Brian Kelly’s decision to go for two in overtime and end the game there proved to be the right choice. Quarterback Jayden Daniels was great all evening and may have inserted himself into the Heisman talks with his elite performance.
Biggest Takeaway: The Tigers are possibly the hottest team in the country with back-to-back wins over Ole Miss and Alabama. They have an easy schedule the rest of the way with Arkansas, UAB and Texas A&M. There’s never been a two-loss playoff team but they certainly have the best resume of any previous team, especially if they win the conference championship.
Next Week: Away vs. Arkansas Razorbacks
9.) USC Trojans (8-1) defeated California Golden Bears 41-35
Trojans Hold Off Late Rally: It’s always something exciting with this team, whether it’s flashy plays in a blowout or drama with a bad team. This week, the Trojans played in yet another one-score game against a bad opponent, really raising questions about how good they actually are. As per usual, the offense showed out with 515 yards but the defense allowed over 400 yards in the air.
Biggest Takeaway: The defense is always the downfall of this team, constantly allowing late surges of points. The offense could be in the conversation for best in the country if the defense wasn’t a revolving door. Somehow, they’re sitting at 8-1 with the playoffs very much a possibility if they win out.
Next Week: Home vs. Colorado Buffaloes
10.) Ole Miss Rebels (8-1) on BYE
Next Week: Home vs. Alabama Crimson Tide