Saturday marked arguably the best day of college football all season, with four matchups of two ranked opponents, and it did not disappoint. One of the craziest plays in college football history ended one such game, between Michigan State and Michigan. Two others in the SEC ended in Alabama and LSU earning big conference wins. A fifth ranked matchup was played Thursday night between Stanford and UCLA, and although the score was one-sided, the game still produced an incredible catch by Francis Owusu. The weekend also saw Memphis upset Ole Miss, in a huge win for the Tigers’ program, as well as the American Athletic Conference.
There are now 14 undefeated teams left in college football, and it is possible for as many as seven to make it through the regular season undefeated, a scenario that is unlikely, but would make things very difficult for the College Football Playoff selection committee. There are seven games left (excluding still to be determined conference championship game matchups) between two teams who are currently undefeated, with the next two coming on November 7 when Clemson hosts Florida State and TCU travels to Oklahoma State, although these teams have to win their games in the interim to reach these November contests with a perfect record.
1. TCU (7-0, Last Week: 1st, AP Poll: 4th)
The Horned Frogs trailed Iowa State (2-4) after a quarter, 21-14, but games are 60 minutes, and over the last three quarters, TCU did not allow the Cyclones to score again, winning 45-21. TCU gained 621 yards of total offense in the game, with quarterback Trevone Boykin accounting for 510 of them, with 436 in the air and 74 on the ground, and five total touchdowns (four passing, one rushing). This week, TCU hosts West Virginia (3-3), who has lost three straight games and is winless in Big 12 play.
2. Ohio State (7-0, LW: 2nd, AP: 1st)
Ohio State’s critics will say that, while they are undefeated, they haven’t appeared to be dominant in many of their wins, even though they have yet to play a ranked opponent. Saturday against Penn State (5-2), the Buckeyes may have played their best game yet, dominating the Nittany Lions in a 38-10 triumph. Ezekiel Elliott ran for 153 yards and a touchdown, while quarterback J.T. Barrett ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Barrett came in to run the ball in the first half, before replacing starter Cardale Jones full-time at quarterback in the second half. Coach Urban Meyer has named Barrett the starter for this week’s game, as the Buckeyes travel to Rutgers (3-3).
3. Clemson (6-0, LW: 3rd, AP: 6th)
Just as running back Wayne Gallman registered his worst statistical outing of the year, rushing for just 48 yards against a strong Boston College defensive front, quarterback Deshaun Watson had his best statistical performance of the season by far, throwing for 420 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-17 win over the Eagles (3-4). The Tigers more than doubled their opponent in total yards for the second straight game, outgaining the Eagles 532-246. Saturday the Tigers travel to Coral Gables to face a sneaky good Miami (4-2) team.
4. Michigan State (7-0, LW: 4th, AP: 7th)
To say Michigan State snatched victory from the jaws of defeat Saturday against Michigan is an understatement. All the Wolverines had to do to win was successfully get a punt in the air, but punter Blake O’Neill bobbled the snap, and the ball was picked up by Jalen Watts-Jackson, who ran it into the end zone for a touchdown and a 27-23 Spartans win as time expired. In the ensuing celebration, as teammates dogpiled on to Watts-Jackson in the end zone, he broke his hip, and is out for the season, but he later said he would do it all again. While the win looks to be a fluke, the Spartans did play well enough to win, outgaining Michigan 386-230, and having the advantage in first downs, 20-10. This week, the Spartans host Indiana (3-4).
5. Baylor (6-0, LW: 5th, AP: 2nd)
The Bears gained 693 yards of total offense Saturday in 62-38 win over West Virginia (3-3). While the defense is still a question mark, as they allowed 38 points to the Mountaineers, the offense is not, led by quarterback Seth Russell. Russell accounted for 540 yards (380 passing, 160 rushing) and six touchdowns (five passing, one rushing) in the win. Iowa State (2-4), fresh off their loss to TCU, visits Baylor in Waco this week.
6. LSU (6-0, LW: 7th, AP: 5th)
Florida (6-1) didn’t escape Death Valley with a perfect record, as the Tigers defeated the Gators, 35-28. The winning touchdown came with 10:40 remaining, when kicker Trent Domingue scored on fake field goal, receiving a pitch from holder Brad Kragthorpe and running it in from 16 yards out. You know running back Leonard Fournette is having a good year when a 180 yard rushing performance against the Gators is over 20 yards below his season average per game (200.3), as Fournette has now run for 1,202 yards and 14 touchdowns in LSU’s first six games. Game number seven is this week, as the Tigers host Western Kentucky (6-1) in non-conference action.
7. Alabama (6-1, LW: 6th, AP: 8th)
The Crimson Tide took advantage of four Texas A&M turnovers and used a career-high 236 rushing yards by Derrick Henry to defeat the Aggies (5-1), 41-23. Henry has now run for 907 yards on the season, good for 128.7 per game, and 12 touchdowns. Alabama isn’t dropping a spot here because of their win over Texas A&M, but because LSU beat a better team (Florida) and is still undefeated, and because Alabama’s loss to Ole Miss became slightly worse of a defeat with the Rebels’ loss to Memphis. The Tide host rival Tennessee (3-3) in Tuscaloosa on Saturday.
8. Utah (6-0, LW: 8th, AP: 3rd)
Many saw Utah’s game with Arizona State (4-3) as a potential upset, and the Utes trailed the Sun Devils 18-14 after the third quarter, but Utah responded with 20 unanswered points in the fourth to win 34-18. Devontae Booker ran for 118 yards and two touchdowns, and now totals 783 yards and eight touchdowns on the year, while quarterback Travis Wilson, who is very quietly having a solid year with 980 yards and seven touchdowns, threw for 297 yards and two scores in the victory. Another game some of the experts see as a possible upset alert game for the Utes is Saturday, when they visit USC (3-3) at the Coliseum.
9. Florida State (6-0, LW: 11th, AP: 9th)
The Seminoles beat Louisville, 41-21, on Saturday, on the strength of excellent outings by both Everett Golson and Dalvin Cook, and jump into the top 10 in these rankings for the first time this season, after staying almost exclusively inside it the last two seasons. Golson threw for 372 yards and three touchdowns against the Cardinals, and for the season has thrown for 11 touchdowns and no interceptions, which is especially remarkable considering he led the nation in turnovers last season while at Notre Dame. Cook has now rushed for 955 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season, including 163 yards and two scoring runs against Louisville, and might be considered the best back in the country if it wasn’t for Leonard Fournette. This week, the Seminoles travel to Georgia Tech (2-5), who is really struggling after many (including me) saw them in the preseason as a 10+ win team.
10. Notre Dame (6-1, LW: 14th, AP: 11th)
Despite a 31-24 deficit entering the final quarter, Notre Dame was able to put away rival USC, 41-31, after scoring 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. The Trojans outgained the Irish, 590-476, C.J. Prosise aided Notre Dame in the win, rushing for 143 yards and two touchdowns. Ironically enough, from midway in the second quarter to early in the fourth, it was USC on a scoring streak, as 21 straight put the Trojans up 31-24 after they had trailed 24-10. After a bye this week the Irish have a game that didn’t look very relevant before the season but is now between two ranked teams, as they travel to Temple (6-0).
11. Stanford (5-1, LW: 16th, AP: 10th)
12. Iowa (7-0, LW: 18th, AP: 12th)
13. Florida (6-1, LW: 10th, AP: 13th)
14. Texas A&M (5-1, LW: 9th, AP: tie for 15th)
15. Oklahoma State (6-0, LW: 17th, AP: 14th)
16. Michigan (5-2, LW: 12th, AP: tie for 15th)
17. Oklahoma (5-1, LW: 19th, AP: 17th)
18. Memphis (6-0, LW: 22nd, AP: 18th)
19. Toledo (6-0, LW: 20th, AP: 19th)
20. Temple (6-0, LW: 21st, AP: 22nd)
21. Ole Miss (5-2, LW: 13th, AP: 24th)
22. Houston (6-0, LW: 23rd, AP: 21st)
23. Duke (5-1, LW: unranked, AP: 23rd)
24. Pittsburgh (5-1, LW: unranked, AP: 25th)
25. California (5-1, LW: 25th, AP: 20th)
Fell from rankings: UCLA (4-2, LW: 15th, AP: unranked), Northwestern (5-2, LW: 24th, AP: unranked)