The cream is rising to the top and Lovie Smith’s glorious white beard weighed down Wisconsin in the biggest upset of the season.
If you saw that one coming, spend wisely.
There’s bound to be more carnage for the dwindling number of top, undefeated teams in the country. It might make perfectly illogical sense for Ohio State to lose to Wisconsin now — that Badgers defense against Justin Fields is probably one of the most-intriguing matchups of next week.
There’s been no shortage of fantastic storylines in this college football season if you know where to look — and we’re bound to get more in the next month and a half.
Here’s the ballot I filed this week:
1. Clemson (7-0)
Last week: won at Louisville 45-10
Next: vs. Boston College
2. Alabama (7-0)
Last week: beat Tennessee 35-13
Next: vs. Arkansas
3. LSU (7-0)
Last week: won at Mississippi State 36-13
Next: vs. Auburn
4. Ohio State (7-0)
Last week: won at Northwestern 52-3 (Oct. 18)
Next: vs. Wisconsin
5. Oklahoma (7-0)
Last week: beat West Virginia 52-14
Next: at Kansas State
My take: Here’s my thing: If you want to rank LSU at No. 1 for who they’ve beaten or Ohio State at Nos. 1 or 2 for how they’ve won, that’s fine.
My theory is that Clemson and Alabama are the two best teams in the country, they’ve beaten everybody in front of them, and it’s not like they’re skating by every week. Until they lose, that’s my 1-2.
As I said, Wisconsin-Ohio State is a massive game and it’ll be really interesting to see how the Badgers bounce back. If they even do. This might wind up being another six-touchdown win for the Buckeyes.
Joe Burrow showed his ass, apparently — man, the downside of night games is it’s Sunday afternoon and I’m still trying to catch up on what happened in most Saturday games that started after 3.
And Jalen Hurts continues to impress. It’s not like beating West Virginia and putting up numbers against the Mountaineers is impressive, but what’s impressive is that coming off of an emotional win in a rivalry game, there’s no let-down. Just complete dominance.
6. Penn State (7-0)
Last week: beat Michigan 28-21
Next: at Michigan State
7. Notre Dame (5-1)
Last week: off
Next: at Michigan
8. Auburn (6-1)
Last week: won at Arkansas 51-10
Next: at LSU
9. Oregon (6-1)
Last week: won at Washington 35-31
Next: vs. Washington State
10. Georgia (6-1)
Last week: beat Kentucky 21-0
Next: off (vs. Florida on Nov. 2 in Jacksonville)
My take: Penn State keeps rolling, though Michigan put up more fight than I figured it would after going down 21-0.
Now Notre Dame can perhaps stick the final nail in Jim Harbaugh’s tenure — I don’t know how many more chances he needs to get to beat an elite-level team.
Auburn-LSU should be a good one, but Death Valley (Louisiana version) is, “whereopponentsdreamscometodie.” (put some spaces in there and Google it for some quality Coach O content).
Still waiting on Auburn or Oregon to lose so that the head-to-head vs. who’s better? conundrum can be resolved.
Georgia won a game with Jake Fromm passing for 35 yards? Yeah, still playing catch-up but whoa, I’m going to be trying to process that one for a while.
11. Utah (6-1)
Last week: beat Arizona State 21-3
Next: vs. California
12. Florida (7-1)
Last week: won at South Carolina 38-27
Next: off (vs. Georgia on Nov. 2 in Jacksonville)
13. Baylor (7-0)
Last week: won at Oklahoma State 45-27
Next: off (vs. West Virginia on Oct. 31)
14. Minnesota (7-0)
Last week: won at Rutgers 42-7
Next: vs. Maryland
15. Wisconsin (6-1)
Last week: lost at Illinois 24-23
Next: at Ohio State
My take: Utah leap-frogs Florida because that’s a good Arizona State team that it beat. And Florida looked awfully pedestrian for most of the game at South Carolina — so I guess the Gators actually followed their script.
Baylor and Minnesota take a jump and now it’s just a matter of how far each one can take their unbeaten starts.
Unofficially, Minnesota rose the most spots on a ballot for beating Rutgers — but that has more to do with Boise State, Michigan and Arizona State all losing (my 14, 15 and 16 last week).
This is the landing spot for Wisconsin, and I’m curious to see where other voters drop them. One loss doesn’t break a season, but hoo boy, losing to a dead-in-the-water Illinois team can certainly put a sour taste in the mount, let alone losing a two-touchdown lead.
16. Cincinnati (6-1)
Last week: beat Tulsa 24-13
Next: off (at East Carolina on Nov. 2)
17. Appalachian State (6-0)
Last week: beat UL Monroe 52-7
Next: at South Alabama
18. SMU (7-0)
Last week: beat Temple 45-21
Next: at Houston (Oct. 24)
19. Texas (5-2)
Last week: beat Kansas 50-48
Next: at TCU
20. Michigan (5-2)
Last week: lost at Penn State 28-21
Next: vs. Notre Dame
My take: Cincinnati is in front of App State because of its win over UCF, not because its loss was to Ohio State. I think that’s obvious, just making it published.
SMU had an easier time with Temple than I thought it would, and the Mustangs have one of the best combos of wide receivers in the country. Reggie Roberson Jr. (42 catches, 795 yards, six touchdowns) and James Proche (54-609-8) are pretty awesome.
I really, really don’t like picking Texas and Michigan this high. But their résumés are such that they haven’t lost to lesser teams.
It’ll be tough to keep saying that if Michigan loses, though. And Texas won’t have a cakewalk by any means at TCU.
21. Iowa (5-2)
Last week: beat Purdue 26-20
Next: at Northwestern
22. Iowa State (5-2)
Last week: won at Texas Tech 34-24
Next: vs. Oklahoma State
23. Wake Forest (6-1)
Last week: beat Florida State 22-20
Next: off (vs. N.C. State on Nov. 2)
24. Boise State (6-1)
Last week: lost at BYU 28-25
Next: off (at San Jose State on Nov. 2)
25. Virginia (5-2)
Last week: beat Duke 48-14
Next: at Louisville
My take: Hark, more than one ACC team on the ballot!
Wake Forest returns after (another) gritty win. Virginia returns after blowing the doors off of Duke and retaking control of the Coastal.
Pssh, you know I’m joking there. Nobody has control in the Coastal. That’s what makes it the Coastal. We’re all just along for the ride. Once you start to try to understand it, you’re in the sunken place.
Iowa State is playing better than Iowa lately, and I think the Cyclones are probably the second-best team in the Big 12, but again: head-to-head matchup. That Iowa win from Week 3 stands tall in the comparison of the two.
Boise State doesn’t drop out in part because I’m not much of a believer in Pittsburgh and Missouri took a comically bad loss. Memphis is really close (and so it Pitt, obviously, just not enough to be on the ballot).
On the cusp (in no particular order):
Last week: won at Syracuse 27-20 (Oct. 18)
Next: vs. Miami
Last week: beat Tulane 47-17
Next: at Tulsa
16. Arizona State (5-2)
Last week: lost at Utah 21-3
Next: at UCLA
23. Washington (5-3)
Last week: lost to Oregon 35-31
Next: off (vs. Utah on Nov. 2)
24. Temple (5-2)
Last week: lost at SMU 45-21
Next: vs. UCF