Well it wasn’t the chaos of Alabama losing, but Texas A&M losing shakes up a lot in the college football world.
With Texas A&M out of the way, teams like Ohio State, Louisville, and even Auburn and Wisconsin are now licking their lips.Thanks to the loss, we now have some big changes in our Top 25, which will definitely include a few surprises in the Top 10!
1. Alabama — SEC, 9-0
LW: 1 — Result: W, 10-0 vs. LSU
Yeah, you already know. It wasn’t a pretty win over LSU, but freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts got the job done in the end.
2. Michigan — Big Ten, 9-0
LW: 2 — Result: W, 59-3 vs. Maryland
Maryland has played well enough this year to make me think, “Hey, maybe they can keep this within 30!”
Former Michigan coordinator D.J. Durkin looked overwhelmed, and Michigan looked damn-near perfect on offense and defense by jumping out to a 35-0 lead before halftime. Michigan is really starting to get some No. 1 consideration from me.
3. Washington — Pac-12, 9-0
LW: 3 — Result: W, 66-27 vs. Cal
There was a point in the first half where Cal looked like they had a real shot of taking down the Huskies. Cal scored consecutive touchdowns to make it a 21-20 game, but then they simply couldn’t keep up with Washington, who scored 38 unanswered points to pull away.
Maybe that will be enough for the Playoff committee to finally give Washington their due.
4. Clemson — ACC, 9-0
LW: 4 — Result: W, 54-0 vs. Syracuse
This biggest story out of this game was that star quarterback Deshaun Watson appeared to go out with a shoulder injury. It was later clarified that Watson would have been available to come back in if Clemson needed him, but they didn’t. Still, that injury will be something to keep an eye on next week against a decent Pitt team.
5. Ohio State — Big Ten, 8-1
LW: 6 — Result: W, 62-3 vs. Nebraska
Well… that was anticlimactic.
Ohio State just absolutely trounced Nebraska, taking a 31-3 halftime lead in Columbus. J.T. Barrett wasn’t perfect, but he more than got the job done, and the Buckeyes were able to take advantage of a very deflated Nebraska team after the Cornhuskers had to watch quarterback Tommy Armstrong get stretchered off the field.
6. Louisville — ACC, 8-1
LW: 7 — Result: W, 52-7 vs. Boston College
Don’t expect Bobby Petrino to be polite in any game going forward. Petrino knows that his team needs to help to get into the Playoff, and with Lamar Jackson at his disposal, you can expect Louisville to go for at least 50 in every game going forward.
7. Wisconsin — Big Ten, 7-2
LW: 8 — Result: W, 21-7 vs. Northwestern
Maybe not the most impressive win after looking at what the Top 6 teams in the power rankings did on Saturday, but this is a good win for the Badgers. Northwestern had been playing well recently, and this really looked like a trap game with an early start in Evanston. Instead, Wisconsin overcame a slow start to easily control this game and get the victory.
8. Auburn — SEC, 7-2
LW: 9 — Result: W, 23-16 vs. Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt is a lot better than you might think because of a decent defense, but this still wasn’t a good-looking win for Auburn. I’ll cut Auburn some slack because starting quarterback Sean White couldn’t go at the beginning of the game, and they keep their spot in the Top 10 because I still think they are better than the teams below them.
Auburn has some bigger problems now, as emerging star running back Kamryn Pettway may be out for a while with a hamstring injury. That is something we will have to keep an eye on as Auburn prepares for Georgia next week.
9. Penn State — Big Ten, 7-2
LW: 17 — Result: W, 41-14 vs. Iowa
I can’t believe I am doing this, but maybe Penn State is… good? It took some time this season for the Nittany Lions to get healthy, but now they are really getting there and they look great. The defense is finally starting to pick up, and running back Saquon Barkley is finally starting to break out like many expected him to this season.
10. Western Michigan — MAC, 9-0
LW: 11 — Result: W, 52-20 vs. Ball State
The Broncos getting ranked at No. 23 in the first College Football Playoff poll was completely disrespectful. Even I am iffy about ranking them this high, but they continue to get big, blowout wins in the MAC like they should while teams fall left-and-right around them. Head coach P.J. Fleck definitely has the boat rowing well in Kalamazoo.
11. West Virginia — Big 12, 7-1
LW: 15 — Result: W, 48-21 vs. Kansas
West Virginia took a 31-0 lead into halftime, which is what they should be doing against a team like Kansas. Obviously Kansas isn’t good, but his is exactly what the Mountaineers needed after suffering their first loss of the season last week at Oklahoma State.
12. LSU — SEC, 5-3
LW: 14 — Result: L, 0-10 vs. Alabama
The rare case of a team losing but still going up in the rankings. How man teams do we expect to pull off a tie with Alabama through three quarters? I get that their record isn’t pretty and I generally have some disdain for putting too much clout into “quality losses”, but this game wasn’t the best performance that LSU could have given us and they still outplayed Alabama for three quarters.
13. Oklahoma — Big 12, 7-2
LW: 13 — Result: W, 34-24 vs. Iowa State
This was a Thursday game, so I won’t penalize the Sooners too much for this, but… they should still be beating a 1-8 Iowa State team by more than 10 points. While Oklahoma did control the game more than the score indicates, they have had a series of very unimpressive wins recently. Their losses to Houston and Ohio State aren’t that bad, but their best win is 52-46 at TCU? Count me unconvinced on the Sooners.
14. Utah — Pac-12, 7-2
LW: 20 — Result: BYE
So… that seven-point loss to Washington is looking a little better now. Utah had a BYE this week and they will have a Thursday game this upcoming week at Arizona State.
15. North Carolina — ACC, 7-2
LW: 18 — Result: W, 48-20 vs. Georgia Tech
The Tar Heels completely dominated Georgia Tech on Saturday, largely thanks to picking apart the Yellow Jacket defense both in the air and on the ground. The Tar Heels still need Virginia Tech to lose one more game in-conference in order to make it to the ACC title game, but I think North Carolina has the potential to give Clemson more problems than the Hokies do.
16. Virginia Tech — ACC, 7-2
LW: 21 — Result: W, 24-21 vs. Duke
Speaking of Virginia Tech…
Games at Duke are always kind of uninspiring, so I’m not surprised that this was a close game. Still, I’m having trouble finding myself impressed with the Hokies at any point this season. I know they killed UNC, but the conditions in that game were awful thanks to Hurricane Matthew. Their remaining schedule isn’t much, but I guess I can be impressed if they win out the regular season.
17. Colorado — Pac-12, 7-2
LW: 22 — Result: W, 20-10 vs. UCLA
Colorado is starting to get a lot of hype, and they got a lofty No. 15 ranking in the College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday. They got the win here, but with UCLA without starting quarterback Josh Rosen, this game really left a lot to be desired.
18. Texas A&M — SEC, 7-2
LW: 5 — Result: L, 28-35 vs. Mississippi State
Texas A&M’s two most important players are Myles Garrett and Trevor Knight. Garrett is already hurt, and Knight got knocked out of this game, so you would obviously expect a lesser performance. However, Mississippi State has been borderline awful this season, and A&M should have been able to overcome those losses to still get a win.
19. Florida State — ACC, 6-3
LW: 19 — Result: W, 24-20 vs. N.C. State
They held off N.C. State and got the win, much like Clemson did against the Wolfpack earlier in the season. This wasn’t exactly an eye-popping win, but this is what the Seminoles needed to do in order to rebound from that loss to the aforementioned Clemson Tigers.
20. Washington State — Pac-12, 7-2
LW: 23 — Result: W, 69-7 vs. Arizona
Washington State is weird in that they are a team that has risen to the occasion in big games under Mike Leach, but then dropped a random “what the hell?” game right after. Think of it this way: the Cougars are 16-6 over the past two seasons, and two of those six loss came to FCS teams. Seriously.
Well, there was no such drama here, as Washington State absolutely put it on a now 2-7 Arizona team. Is Rich Rodriguez’s job in real trouble? You bet.
21. Oklahoma State — Big 12, 7-2
LW: 24 — Result: W, 43-37 vs. Kansas State
Kansas State had a shot to tie or win this game with a Hail Mary at the end, but the Cowboys were able to snuff it out to stay alive in the Big 12 title race. With Baylor losing big to TCU on Saturday, Oklahoma State now controls their own destiny in the Big 12. That won’t get them into the Playoff like they had hoped at the beginning of the season, but a New Year’s Six Bowl isn’t bad, either.
22. Arkansas — SEC, 6-3
LW: NR — Result: W, 31-10 vs. Florida
I thought Arkansas might be done after that loss to Auburn. Instead they got a BYE week to right the ship, and boy did they ever take advantage of an offensively-challenged Florida team. Arkansas has a chance to take advantage of another such team next week, as they get LSU in Fayetteville.
23. Florida — SEC, 6-2
LW: 10 — Result: L, 10-31 vs. Arkansas
This may be a really harsh drop, but Florida just looked absolutely awful against the Razorbacks. Just two weeks after losing 56-3 to Auburn, Arkansas was able to easily control this game on both sides of the ball, which isn’t a good look for Florida’s vaunted defense. The Gators are reportedly considering changes after another poor performance from quarterback Luke Del Rio, and they really need to figure out something quickly with LSU and Florida State still on the schedule.
24. Minnesota — Big Ten, 7-2
LW: NR — Result: W, 44-31 vs. Purdue
Minnesota is just sneakily sitting at 7-2, and with Nebraska and Wisconsin remaining on the schedule, the Golden Gophers actually control their own path to the Big Ten title game. Assuming that Minnesota gets through Nebraska and Northwestern first, the Big Ten could have its Championship Game participants both decided on the last day of the regular season. That’s pretty damn exciting.
25. Nebraska — Big Ten, 7-2
LW: 12 — Result: L, 3-62 vs. Ohio State
This is easily the first time that I’ve put “L, 3-62” in the rankings.
I really thought Nebraska had a shot to do something against Ohio State, but that definitely didn’t materialize. While quarterback Tommy Armstrong was able to return to the stadium after he was taken to the hospital, we have no idea how much time he could potentially miss, and that is really bad news for a Nebraska offense that was already mediocre.
DROPPED FROM THE RANKINGS: Baylor (16)