Happy SEC creampuff week and rain, rain everywhere week.
Seriously, was there a game anywhere other than the West Coast that wasn’t played — at least for some part — in a downpour?
I’ll admit, I didn’t think one of the Pac-12 teams would blink before the league championship game. But also: Jayden Daniels is the next big-time quarterback out of the Pac-12.
Here’s the ballot I filed this week:
1. Clemson (11-0)
Last week: off
Next: at South Carolina
2. LSU (11-0)
Last week: beat Arkansas 56-20
Next: vs. Texas A&M
3. Ohio State (11-0)
Last week: beat Penn State 28-17
Next: at Michigan
4. Georgia (10-1)
Last week: beat Texas A&M 19-13
Next: at Georgia Tech
5. Utah (10-1)
Last week: won at Arizona 35-7
Next: vs. Colorado
My take: The Ohio State-Penn State would’ve been a rout if Ohio State had not shot itself in the foot with fumbles in three key situations.
Also, a peak into Heisman thoughts: It's going to be hard for anybody to find a reason to not vote for Joe Burrow. But ... man, Chase Young is so freaking good. And now thanks to the NCAA, he's got a two-game rest.
I thought Georgia would have an easier time of things against Texas A&M. It’s almost assured of having an easier time against Georgia Tech.
Utah, at least in my mind, is in a great position for a CFP berth — as long as LSU beats Georgia in the SEC championship. If Georgia wins, LSU will stay in the CFP and the Pac-12 and Big 12 will be left out in the cold.
6. Oklahoma (10-1)
Last week: beat TCU 28-24
Next: at Oklahoma State
7. Alabama (10-1)
Last week: beat Western Carolina 66-3
Next: at Auburn
8. Minnesota (10-1)
Last week: won at Northwestern 38-22
Next: vs. Wisconsin
9. Michigan (9-2)
Last week: won at Indiana 39-14
Next: vs. Ohio State
10. Notre Dame (9-2)
Last week: beat Boston College 40-7
Next: at Stanford
My take: Jalen Hurts had 28 carries and has carried that Oklahoma team, which is now without two of its best defensive players.
At least Western Carolina scored 3 points.
Minnesota, Michigan and Notre Dame all cruised — I jumped Notre Dame ahead of Florida because the Irish actually won a game in the rain.
(only kinda kidding)
11. Florida (9-2)
Last week: off
Next: vs. Florida State
12. Penn State (9-2)
Last week: lost at Ohio State 28-17
Next: vs. Rutgers
13. Baylor (10-1)
Last week: beat Texas 24-10
Next: at Kansas
14. Oregon (9-2)
Last week: lost at Arizona State 31-28
Next: vs. Oregon State
15. Cincinnati (10-1)
Last week: beat Temple 15-13
Next: at Memphis (Nov. 29)
My take: The day-after-Thanksgiving game to pay attention to around here is Virginia Tech-Virginia, but the Cincinnati-Memphis game should be really good.
Cincinnati has flirted with disaster for the past month — the difference in the win against Temple was a blocked PAT that was returned for two points — against mediocre and subpar teams, and now they’ll have to go play a fantastic Memphis offense.
Maybe I slid Oregon down too far, but its losses are to a three-loss Auburn team and a five-loss Arizona State team (that didn’t even move into my poll). Like I said, I thought they were above a slip-up of that magnitude — the Sun Devils had lost four straight.
The quietest game of the weekend, at least for me, was Baylor’s two-touchdown win against Texas. That’s a nice little bounce-back from a catastrophe the weekend before.
Also: Texas is 6-5 and was clearly the most-overrated team in the country three months ago.
16. Wisconsin (9-2)
Last week: beat Purdue 45-24
Next: at Minnesota
17. Memphis (10-1)
Last week: won at South Florida 49-10
Next: vs. Cincinnati (Nov. 29)
18. Boise State (10-1)
Last week: won at Utah State 56-21
Next: at Colorado State
19. Appalachian State (10-1)
Last week: beat Texas State 35-13
Next: at Troy (Nov. 29)
20. Iowa (8-3)
Last week: beat Illinois 19-10
Next: at Nebraska
My take: Strangely, only one of the bottom 10 teams in my poll lost — that was SMU.
So the rest of the G5 schools in this range, Memphis, Boise State and App State, were on cruise control.
Btw, it took me about 20 minutes to drive from Kernersville to BB&T Field yesterday and in that time, App State went from up 14-13 to 28-13. My main takeaway, though, is that Adam Witten is a really, really good announcer. Not that he needs my approval or I’m an expert on judging announcers — but I was impressed.
Iowa went back to playing stingy defense and, like Wake Forest, will likely wind up 9-3. Will be interesting to compare their resumes a week from now.
21. Auburn (8-3)
Last week: beat Samford 52-0
Next: vs. Alabama
22. Virginia Tech (8-3)
Last week: beat Pittsburgh 28-0
Next: at Virginia (Nov. 29)
23. Virginia (8-3)
Last week: beat Liberty 55-27
Next: vs. Virginia Tech (Nov. 29)
24. Oklahoma State (8-3)
Last week: won at West Virginia 20-13
Next: vs. Oklahoma
25. USC (8-4)
Last week: beat UCLA 52-35
My take: Virginia Tech is playing like a top 20, maybe 15 team. And I don’t know how well Bryce Perkins is going to hold up against this Hokies defense that’s been on a mission for the past 5-6 games.
At least Virginia took care of business and sent Liberty back to its Faux Paradise.
Oklahoma State’s game against Oklahoma is very enticing. Should finally put Chuba Hubbard on the biggest stage of the season.
As has been the case before, the 25th team was the toughest to pick. I landed on USC because the Trojans have won five of their last six, amid the chaos of a coach who seems doomed and starting three quarterbacks this season.
On the cusp (in no particular order):
Air Force (9-2)
Last week: won at New Mexico 44-22
Next: vs. Wyoming
Wake Forest (8-3)
Last week: beat Duke 39-27
Next: at Syracuse
Iowa State (7-4)
Last week: beat Kansas 41-31
Next: at Kansas State
19. SMU (9-2)
Last week: lost at Navy 35-28
Next: vs. Tulane