Week 10 of the college football season is in the books, which means it’s time to re-evaluate where the nation’s top teams stand with the regular season waning at a rapid rate.
And while there weren’t shakeups in the Top 5 this week, several eye-opening Top 10 losses (see: Nebraska, Texas A&M and Florida) stand to make things a bit muddier in the top half of the rankings as November wears on.
So without further adieu, here’s a look at where the Top 25 teams stand with two-and-a-half months down:
|Ranking||Team||Record||Week 10 Result|
|1||Alabama||9-0||Def. LSU 10-0|
|2||Michigan||9-0||Def. Maryland 59-3|
|3||Clemson||9-0||Def. Syracuse 54-0|
|4||Washington||9-0||Def. California 66-27|
|5||Louisville||8-1||Def. Boston College 52-7|
|6||Ohio State||8-1||Def. Nebraska 62-3|
|7||Wisconsin||7-2||Def. Northwestern 21-7|
|8||Auburn||7-2||Def. Vanderbilt 23-16|
|9||Oklahoma||7-2||Def. Iowa State 34-24|
|10||West Virginia||7-1||Def. Kansas 48-21|
|11||Nebraska||7-2||Lost to Ohio State 62-3|
|12||Texas A&M||7-2||Lost to Mississippi State 35-28|
|13||Florida||6-2||Lost to Arkansas 31-10|
|15||LSU||5-3||Lost to Alabama 10-0|
|16||Western Michigan||9-0||Def. Ball State 52-20|
|17||North Carolina||7-2||Def. Goergia Tech 48-20|
|18||Penn State||7-2||Def. Iowa 41-14|
|19||Baylor||6-2||Lost to TCU 62-22|
|20||Florida State||6-3||Def. N.C. State 24-20|
|21||Colorado||7-2||Def. UCLA 20-10|
|22||Virginia Tech||7-2||Def. Duke 24-21|
|23||Washington State||7-2||Def. Arizona 69-7|
|24||Oklahoma State||7-2||Def. Kansas State 43-37|
|25||Boise State||8-1||Def. San Jose State 45-31|
Source: Author’s Projections
No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
It wasn’t pretty, but the Alabama Crimson Tide escaped Death Valley unscathed, thanks to a 10-0 win over the LSU Tigers.
And for all of quarterback Jalen Hurts’ miscues—and there were several against LSU’s stingy defense—the freshman came up clutch when he needed to.
Although he passed for 107 yards on 19 attempts, Hurts led Alabama with 20 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown that proved to be the game-winning score.
“He stayed calm and he did what he had to do when it mattered the most,” tight end O.J. Howard said, according to USA Today‘s Dan Wolken. “It was a tough environment for anybody, especially a true freshman, and he did a great job.”
Alabama’s defense also deserves a heap of credit for stepping up and stopping LSU running back Leonard Fournette, as SEC Country noted on Twitter:
Leonard Fournette vs. Alabama
2015: 19 carries, 31 yards
2016: 17 carries, 35 yards
— SEC Country (@SECcountry) November 6, 2016
As if those raw numbers weren’t impressive enough, Pro Football Focus’ Gordon McGuinness noted Fournette averaged one yard before contact per carry on Saturday night.
After passing a tough test, Alabama should be in the clear for the remainder of the regular season.
The Crimson Tide will be at home for their final three games, hosting Mississippi State and Chattanooga before the Auburn Tigers make their way to Tuscaloosa for what promises to be a heated battle.
No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes
Consider Ohio State’s slump busted.
After the Buckeyes were bested by Penn State and failed to put Northwestern away in convincing fashion, they took out their frustration on the Nebraska Cornhuskers to the tune of a 62-3 victory on Saturday evening.
According to ESPN, Ohio State’s margin of victory was historic:
Final: Ohio State 62, Nebraska 3.
It's tied for the second-largest win in an AP top-10 matchup in college football history. pic.twitter.com/lHFzbHJeLo
— ESPN (@espn) November 6, 2016
Arguably more impressive was the way in which Ohio State squashed its ranked Big Ten competition.
While the Buckeyes offense sputtered against Penn State and Northwestern, it came alive in a big way Saturday night.
J.T. Barrett completed 26 of 38 passes for 290 yards and four touchdowns—two of which went to Curtis Samuel—and he rushed eight times for 39 yards on a night when the Buckeyes totaled 238 yards and two scores on the ground.
“The biggest takeaway from all of this is that Ohio State isn’t going anywhere,” CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli wrote. “It may not have looked great in October—where it scored an overtime win over Wisconsin, struggled to beat Northwestern at home last week, and lost to Penn State on the road a few weeks ago—but those problems all seem to be put in the past.”
The Buckeyes’ road to the College Football Playoff has already been riddled with speed bumps, but their ability to withstand turbulence and bounce back in such dominant fashion should put them in a prime spot entering the season’s home stretch.
No. 18 Penn State Nittany Lions
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images
Let’s talk about Saquon Barkley for a moment.
Penn State’s sophomore running back tallied 277 total yards a week ago against the Purdue Boilermakers, and he followed that performance up with 211 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday in a 41-14 romp of the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Not only that, but Barkley also nearly single-handedly outgained Iowa. The Hawkeyes mustered 234 yards of total offense against Penn State’s stout defensive front, with just 30 of those coming on the ground.
“Holding that team to 30 yards rushing?” head coach James Franklin said, according to PennLive.com’s Bob Flounders. “Big-time.”
As for Barkley, the sophomore sensation has now topped 200 yards from scrimmage on three separate occasions this season.
Quarterback Trace McSorley was also remarkably efficient in the win. The sophomore completed 11 of 18 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns, and he added 40 yards and a score on the ground as the Nittany Lions gashed Iowa’s defense with multiple looks.
“If you want to stop the run and you come at me, you give Trace an opportunity to beat you with his feet and if you try to stop us both, you give him a chance to beat you on the outside in the passing game,” Barkley said, per the Associated Press’ Travis Johnson.
With Barkley working his way into the Heisman Trophy conversation and McSorley looking increasingly comfortable in Franklin’s scheme, Penn State should not be taken lightly as the regular season winds down.