1. Alabama, 8-0
    vs. Texas A&M, W 33-14
    Up next: BYE (@ #20 LSU, 11/5, 8:00pm, CBS)
    Alabama is sitting pretty in our rankings, and basically every other ranking in the country. With Jonathan Allen’s 30 yard scoop and run for a touchdown, Alabama was able to hold off the Aggies’ comeback attempt late in the third quarter, going ahead 26-14 and not looking back. The Crimson Tide are looking ahead at #20 LSU after their bye week as the final undefeated SEC team standing. As Ohio State fell this week, Alabama is undoubtedly the true favorite to repeat as national champions this January in Tampa.
  2. Michigan, 7-0
    vs. Illinois, W 41-8
    Up next: @ Michigan State, 10/29, 12:00pm, ESPN
    Jim Harbaugh and gang are sitting pretty at #2 in this week’s rankings after a convincing victory at home over the Fighting Illini and are now sitting at 7-0 for the first time since 2006. Michigan State will look to spoil the party, much like they did last year, next weekend as the two instate rivals battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy in East Lansing. The Wolverine defensive unit leads the nation, as they have only allowed 10.0 points per game to this point. The Spartans are coming off five losses in a row. Don’t be surprised to see an 11-0 Wolverines squad traveling to Columbus at the end of November looking to capture an undefeated season and their spot in the CFP.
  3. Washington, 7-0
    vs. Oregon State, W 41-17
    Up next: @ #17 Utah, 10/29, 3:30pm, FS1
    What can be said about Chris Petersen and company that hasn’t been already this fall? QB Jake Browning (1709 yards, 118-172, 26 TDs, 2 INT) has seen his Heisman odds continue to rise week after week, coming off a 24 point victory against Oregon State this week, where he threw for 291 yards and 3 TDs. U-Dub travels to take on #17 Utah this week in what should be a very exciting game from start to finish on Saturday afternoon, and are poised to hear their name called by the CFP selection committee in December.
  4. Clemson, 7-0
    BYE
    Up next: @ #13 Florida State, 10/29, 8:00pm, ABC
    The Tigers have looked very good again this year, with wins already against #5 Louisville and #16 Auburn. They have a big challenge ahead of them this weekend as they travel to Bobby Bowden Field to take on a hungry Seminole team. Look for more of the same from Heisman hopeful Deshaun Watson (164-258 passing for 1950 yards, 20 TDs, 8 INTs) as Clemson looks to hold onto the top stop in the ACC Atlantic. Dabo Swinney looks to bring his Tigers back to the national title game, where they were beaten by current #1 Alabama 45-40 in January.
  5. Louisville, 6-1
    vs. NC State, W 54-13
    Up next: @ Virginia, 10/29, 12:00pm, ABC
    After dismantling the Wolfpack this weekend with 355 passing yards and 3 TDs, Lamar Jackson, Louisville’s leading passer and rusher, is sitting on top of basically everyone’s Heisman list. Through 7 games, Jackson has thrown for 2161 yards, 18 TDs, and 4 INTs, while running for 908 yards and 16 TDs. Look for more of the same from the offense as they go into Virginia as 33 point favorites next week. The Cardinals may not have enough time left to prove their case over Clemson to the committee, unless they lost early enough in their schedule or one of the top 3 powers fall.
  6. Nebraska, 7-0
    vs. Purdue, W 27-14
    Up next: @ #12 Wisconsin, 10/29, 7:00pm, ESPN
    With the Ohio State Buckeyes losing this week, the Cornhuskers and Michigan are the last two unbeatens standing in the Big Ten. After taking care of Purdue this week, Nebraska will be put to the ultimate test, as they will travel to #12 Wisconsin and #7 Ohio State the next two weeks. The winner of Saturday’s battle in Camp Randall stadium will move one step closer to a Big Ten West championship and the ultimate goal, the College Football Playoffs.
  7. Ohio State, 6-1
    @ Penn State, L 24-21
    Up next: vs. Northwestern, 10/29, 3:30pm, ESPN
    The Buckeyes and Urban Meyer saw a 20-game road winning streak end in Happy Valley this weekend at the hands of the Nittany Lions, but are definitely not out of a playoff game just yet. Sitting at #7 in the NRCFR and looking ahead at home games against #6 Nebraska and #2 Michigan, Meyer and company are hoping that they can do enough to impress the CFP committee to earn a spot back in the top four over the next six weeks. Look for them to get back on their feet this weekend against Northwestern and hopefully carry that momentum into their matchup with the Huskers on Nov. 5.
  8. Baylor, 6-0
    BYE
    Up next: @ Texas, 10/29, 3:30pm, ABC
    The Baylor Bears are probably the biggest question mark among the Top 10 teams, in my opinion. Their schedule, to this point, has not included a single top 25 team, which is why many people have been critical of their high AP rankings. But in the coming weeks, Baylor will take on Texas, TCU, #15 Oklahoma, Kansas State, and in the final game of the year, in what looks to be the Big XII “championship game”, the Bears will travel to #9 West Virginia. Baylor hopes to silence the critics and keep climbing to the top of the Big XII standings.
  9. West Virginia, 6-0
    vs. TCU, W 34-10
    Up next: @ Oklahoma State, 10/29, 12:00pm, FOX
    See argument against Baylor: Big XII team, no games against AP ranked teams to this point, games against Texas, #15 Oklahoma, and #8 Baylor still ahead. With loses to Ohio State and Texas A&M this week, the Mountaineers are looking to prove their case as long as they can keep that zero in the loss column. The road will not be easy, as the explosive offenses of Oklahoma (43.9 ppg) and Baylor (43.7 ppg) will be making trips to Stillwater. With extremely impressive defensive showings against Texas Tech and TCU in recent weeks, West Virginia seems up to the task.
  10. Texas A&M, 6-1
    @ Alabama, L 33-14
    Up next: vs. New Mexico State, 10/29, 7:30pm, ESPNU
    The Aggies ran into the brick wall that is the Alabama Crimson Tide this past weekend as they were looking to take over the top of the SEC West. Coach Sumlin is eager to prove that his team’s season will not be defined by this defeat and immediatley shifted his team’s focus to New Mexico State. A poor rushing defense and self-inflicted wounds led to Alabama running away with the game. I still believe that A&M is the second best team in the entire SEC and am excited to watch them bounce back and finish the regular season strong.
  11. Boise State, 7-0
    vs. BYU, W 28-27
    Up next: @ Wyoming, 10/29, 7:00pm, CBSSN
    In a nailbiting finish, Boise State was able to hold of BYU 28-27 after blocking a 2nd down field goal attempt and knocking down a hail Mary attempt into the endzone as time expired. Brett Rypien struggled early, throwing two pick-sixes to the BYU defense, but finished with 443 yards and 3 TDs. Jeremy McNichols had a fantastic game, running for 140 yards and a TD, and catching 109 yards and another TD. Boise State will be challenged again this weekend as they travel to Wyoming to take on the second best team in the Mountain West. Boise State, much like their MAC counterparts Western Michigan, seem to be waiting for an enlarged playoff format before they can earn a chance to play for a national title. A strong finish and MWC championship can still earn them a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl.
  12. Wisconsin, 5-2
    @ Iowa, W 17-9
    Up next: vs. #6 Nebraska, 10/29, 7:00pm, ESPN
    After suffering back-to-back losses to #2 Michigan and #7 Ohio State, the Badgers watched their stock fall out of the top 10 of the AP poll. They bounced back in Iowa last week with a 17-9 victory over the Hawkeyes. They will be put to the test once again this week as the Cornhuskers come to town, renewing a Big Ten rivalry that has been brewing over the past few years. Boasting the 4th best defense in the FBS, allowing only 14.3 points per game. The loss of leading tackler Jack Cichy to a torn pectoral muscle last week will hurt, as he is their second starting linebacker to go down with a season-ending injury. Wisconsin looks to finish strong in the Big Ten West, but with two losses, playoff hopes seem slim to none at this point.
  13. Florida State, 5-2
    BYE
    Up next: vs. #4 Clemson, 10/29, 8:00pm, ABC
    Florida State will have their hands full as the Clemson Tigers come to Tallahassee looking to remain undefeated. Deshaun Watson seems to be a matchup nightmare for the defense that ranks 54th in the FBS in rushing defense. Avoiding mental errors against Clemson’s high powered offense will be a major key for the Seminoles. Freshmen QB Deondre Francois will have to play to his full potential against a feroucious defensive unit. It won’t be easy, but a win for Florida State will keep them near the top of the ACC Atlantic.
  14. Florida, 5-1
    BYE
    Up next: vs. Georgia, 10/29, 3:30pm, CBS
    The Gators sit at 5-1 after beating a Mizzou team that has struggled to find their way in the SEC this year. Looking ahead to the Georgia game this weekend in Jacksonville, Florida looks to win their fourth in a row against the Bulldogs. Florida has a favorable schedule until the middle of November when they will have to travel to #20 LSU and #13 Florida State in back to back weeks. Florida is led by their defense, which has only given up double digits twice through 6 games.
  15. Oklahoma, 5-2
    @ Texas Tech, W 66-59
    Up next: vs. Kansas, 10/29, 7:00pm, FS1
    The good: Baker Mayfield threw for 545 yards and 7 TDs on 27-36 passing, while Joe Mixon ran the ball 31 times for 263 yards and 2 TDs as the Sooners scored 66 points on the Red Raiders defense.
    The bad: The Sooners’ defensive unit gave up 59 points, 854 total yards, including 734 and 5 TDs through the air. Although they sit at 5-2 and in the middle of the NRCFR this week, they are giving up 36.7 points and 217.7 yards per game. With remaining games against #8 Baylor and #9 West Virginia, Oklahoma will have to find some way to hang around in the top 25.
  16. Auburn, 5-2
    vs. Arkansas, W 56-3
    Up next: @ Ole Miss, 10/29, 7:15pm, SECN
    The Auburn Tigers sit at 5-2 after dismantling Arkansas 56-3 at home on Saturday. Sophomore RB Kamryn Pettway was the star of the day, running the ball 27 times for 192 yards and 2 touchdowns. Freshmen WR Eli Stove added a 78 yard run for a score in the absence of starting RB Kerryon Johnson, who missed the game with an ankle injury. Johnson looks to return Saturday against Ole Miss and will be looking to build upon a 543 yard and 7 TD rushing attack from this week. Auburn will be looking for a quick start against Ole Miss and to keep pace with the leaders of the SEC West.
  17. Utah, 7-1
    @ UCLA, W 52-45
    Up next: vs. #3 Washington, 10/29, 3:30pm, FSI
    With their win over the UCLA Bruins, the Utes moved to 7-1 on the year and stayed one game ahead of #22 Colorado atop of the Pac-12 South. In his second game back after retiring from football due to chronic pain from a lifetime of playing the game, senior RB Joe Williams returned in style, rushing for a school record and an FBS season best 332 yards, along with 4 TDs. Injuries to backs Troy McCormick, Zack Moss, Armand Shyne, and Jordan Howard left coach Kyle Whittingham with no choice but to pick up the phone and give Williams a call, and it paid off immediately. In a matchup this week in Salt Lake City against #3 Washington, Utah gets their first look at a Huskies team that they hope to meet again in the Pac-12 title game this winter.
  18. Tennessee, 5-2
    BYE
    Up next: @ South Carolina, 10/29, 7:15pm, ESPN2
    The Volunteers find themselves in the back half of the top 20 this week, less than a month removed from sitting at 5-0 and ranked in the AP top 10. Back-to-back loses to #10 Texas A&M and #1 Alabama seem to have ended the Volunteers hopes of playing in Tampa for a national championship in January. Now sitting at 3rd in the SEC East at 2-2 in conference play, they look to bounce back on their trip to South Carolina to play a Gamecocks team that has only won one out of their last four contests this year. A refreshed squad will come out hungry this weekend as they hope to stay in the fight for a berth in the SEC championship game.
  19. Western Michigan, 8-0
    vs. Eastern Michigan, W 45-31
    Up next: BYE (@ Ball State, 11/1, 8:00pm, ESPN2)
    The Broncos of Western Michigan have won 8 games in a row and looked good doing it, scoring 44.4 points per game (6th in the FBS). Their next 3 games are against teams in the bottom of the MAC, before ending the year at home against Toledo (6-1, 3-0). If they continue to win, finishing the year at 12-0, and grab the conference championship game at Ford Field in December, I see the Broncos playing on New Year’s, perhaps in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl in Arlington, TX. They are definitely making their case for a playoff system with an automatic bid for at least one Power 5 conference school.
  20. LSU, 5-2
    vs. Ole Miss, W 38-21
    Up next: BYE (vs. #1 Alabama, 11/5, 8:00pm, CBS)
    Entering the bye week, interim coach Ed Orgeron will have to pull out every trick he has up his sleeve as he prepares his team to take on his old boss Lane Kiffin and #1 Alabama on Nov. 5. The Tigers are 3-0, with wins over Missouri, Southern Miss, and Ole Miss since the firing of Les Miles on Sept. 25. A win against the Crimson Tide would shock the nation and move LSU to the top of the SEC West. Junior RB and Heisman hopeful Leonard Fournette will look to keep his great season alive, after scoring 3 TDs last week for 59, 76, and 78 yards apiece. Mark your calendars, this one looks to be a classic as the Tigers look for their first win in the matchup since a 9-6 overtime victory in 2011.
  21. Navy, 5-1
    vs. Memphis, W 42-28
    Up next: @ USF, 10/28, 7:00pm, ESPN2
    The Midshipmen look to stay atop the AAC as they travel to Tampa Friday night to take on USF. Senior QB, and Florida native, Will Worth will try to build upon a career-high rushing effort, as he tallied 201 yards and 3 TDs at home against Memphis this week, also adding two more through the air. Navy is averaging just shy of 300 rushing yards per game, 4th in the FBS this year. They look poised to top their #18 finish in the AP poll from last season, the program’s best since 1963 when they finished #2 after losing to #1 Texas in the Cotton Bowl.
  22. Colorado, 6-2
    @ Stanford, W 10-5
    Up next: BYE (vs. UCLA, 11/3, 9:00pm, FS1)
    After defeating the Stanford Cardinal, Colorado’s coach Mike MacIntyre fulfilled his promise to his team with an almost $800 order at In-N-Out Burger of 165 Double-Doubles and 165 orders of fries (@CoachChev6). They hope this will fuel them through the Pac-12 championship game, which will be held at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, as they control their own destiny in the Pac-12 South. Wins in their next four games (UCLA, @ Arizona, Washington State, and #17 Utah) would guarantee the Buffs a spot in the game. Colorado will have to improve upon an ugly victory in Stanford, a game in which they managed only 10 points and gave up a safety late in the 4th quarter. If all goes according to plan, Colorado will likely face #3 Washington in Santa Clara.
  23. Penn State, 5-2
    vs. Ohio State, W 24-21
    Up next: @ Purdue, 10/29, 12:00pm, ABC
    With Grant Haley’s return for a touchdown off of a blocked Ohio State field goal attempt with 4:27 to play in the game, the Nittany Lions earned their first spot in the AP poll since 2011 and a spot in the first ever Necessary Roughness top 25 rankings. Thanks to this impressive victory over the Buckeyes, Penn State is very much in the mix to finish first in the Big Ten East and earn their spot into the conference title game if they can win their next five games (@Purdue, Iowa, @Indiana, @Rutgers, Michigan State).
  24. Houston, 6-2
    @ SMU, L 38-16
    Up next: vs. UCF, 10/29, 12:00pm
    A Houston Cougar team that reached as high as #6 in the AP poll this year has fallen off just as quick as they rose to the top. After getting upset at Navy 46-40, they came back to hold of Tulsa 38-31 last weekend. But they couldn’t keep it rolling against the Mustangs of SMU, who handed them their second defeat of the year 38-16 this weekend. The Nov. 17 matchup against Louisville which only weeks ago looked to be one of the games of the year now may seem to some as simply a tune up for the Cardinals as they look to head into a New Year’s Six bowl game.
  25. UNC, 6-2
    @ Virginia, W 35-14
    Up next: BYE (vs. GT, 11/5, TBD)
    The Tar Heels head into a bye week fresh off a conference win against the Virginia Cavaliers, and are sitting in 1st place in the ACC Coastal division. With victories already this year against #13 Florida State and Miami, UNC is looking to finish strong against Georgia Tech, Duke, the Citadel, and NC State, with hopes of meeting either #4 Clemson or #5 Louisville in the ACC Championship game. QB Mitch Trubisky threw for 310 yards (24-31) and 3 TDs in the win.

Outside looking in: Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State, Washington State, San Diego State

Photo courtesy of: https://sportspolitico.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/college-football-playoff.png

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