Mississippi State brought us the first major change to the College Football Playoff rankings Saturday. If there’s going to be another one in Week 11, we’re going to need a similarly sized upset.
This week’s slate of games features few marquee matchups, with nearly every Top 25 team going head-to-head against an unranked foe. Baylor’s trip to Oklahoma represents the lone matchup between Top 25 opponents, and that will have almost no bearing on the national championship picture.
Top-ranked Alabama hosts Mississippi State, which will be a week removed from wiping Texas A&M out of the Top Four. Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, who accounted for four total touchdowns, led the Bulldogs. Texas A&M was completely unable to stop Fitzgerald on the ground, and the Aggies never led after falling behind two touchdowns in the first quarter.
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin spoke to reporters after the loss:
I think there were some busts. Their quarterback played extremely well today. He ran it, but he also was extremely accurate when he threw it. He made some plays into tight coverage. A lack of energy would have shown up in a worse score, I’ll put it that way. All the way down to the end, we’ve got guys that are trying to get the thing to overtime. It’s more of a lack of execution.
Texas A&M’s loss will almost certainly wipe away any controversy from Tuesday’s CFP standings. The Aggies had leapfrogged fifth-ranked Washington on the back of a strong schedule. The Huskies continued pounding on the Pac-12 on Saturday, putting up 66 points in a blowout win over Cal.
|Western Michigan vs. Kent State||Western Michigan|
|North Carolina vs. Duke||North Carolina|
|Utah vs. Arizona State||Utah|
|Boston College vs. Florida State||FSU|
|West Virginia vs. Texas||Texas|
|Baylor vs. Oklahoma||Oklahoma|
|Mississippi State vs. Alabama||Alabama|
|South Carolina vs. Florida||Florida|
|Penn State vs. Indiana||Penn State|
|Illinois vs. Wisconsin||Wisconsin|
|Auburn vs. Georgia||Auburn|
|Ohio State vs. Maryland||Ohio State|
|Pittsburgh vs. Clemson||Clemson|
|Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech||Virginia Tech|
|West Virginia vs. Louisville||Louisville|
|Boise State vs. Hawaii||Boise State|
|LSU vs. Arkansas||Arkansas|
|Ole Miss vs. Texas A&M||Texas A&M|
|USC vs Washington||USC|
|Minnesota vs. Nebraska||Nebraska|
|Michigan vs. Iowa||Michigan|
|Colorado vs. Arizona||Colorado|
|California vs. Washington State||Washington State|
The four undefeateds from Power Five conferences all flexed their muscles in their own way. Alabama thwarted Leonard Fournette and suffocated the LSU offense on its way to a 10-0 win over the Tigers. The two teams remained tied 0-0 going into the fourth quarter before Jalen Hurts finally got on the board.
“We have some pretty hateful guys that play defense around here who are pretty good competitors,” Alabama coach Nick Saban told reporters. “So when they get challenged a little bit, they usually respond. And I think they responded pretty well tonight.”
Clemson and Michigan combined to win their games against Syracuse and Maryland by 110 points. The Tigers will face a stiffer test when Pittsburgh visits, while the Wolverines will travel to play Iowa. Both are sitting as 20-point favorites at some sportsbooks, per Odds Shark.
Washington is perhaps the likeliest of the unbeatens to go down. The Huskies host a USC team that looks to be rounding into shape. The Trojans have reeled off five straight wins, their last three coming by at least 21 points. They’re a far cry from the team that started 1-3 and took a 46-point loss to Alabama on the season’s opening night.
“We will have our hands full in a very hostile territory. It ought to be a lot of fun,” USC coach Clay Helton said, per Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times. “We played our way into a really big game in November, and that’s what you want to do.”
Ohio State and Louisville, each angling for a final spot, are not facing much competition either. The Buckeyes play a Maryland team coming off a Michigan thrashing, while Louisville hosts struggling Wake Forest.
It should be a quiet week across the college football landscape—which, of course, means it almost certainly will be anything but quiet.