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Post-Week Ten College Football Power Rankings

Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
1. Alabama Crimson Tide -- A 29-0 dismantling of third-ranked LSU on the road erased any doubt that they are the best team in the country. The offense continues to play well but the defense is playing even better with defensive end Quinnen Williams leading the charge.
2. Clemson Tigers -- Much like Alabama, Clemson impressed this past Saturday, pounding Louisville 77-16. Youngsters Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne have the offense rolling, but they'll need even more players to step up if they want a legitimate shot at overthrowing the Crimson Tide.
3. Michigan Wolverines -- Its time to give Michigan the credit they deserve; the Wolverines have dominated three straight ranked opponents, including a 42-7 victory over Penn State this weekend. The defense is at an elite-level, but Shea Patterson's growth at quarterback has been the major reason for their recent tear.
4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish -- Its never easy going on the road to face a sneaky Northwestern team, but ND did just that and came away with an important win. The only significant challenge awaiting them is a matchup with Syracuse, which will pit an explosive offense against Notre Dame's physical defensive front.
5. Georgia Bulldogs -- Georgia avoided an upset against Kentucky on Saturday to clinch the SEC East for the second consecutive year. This team hasn't been very consistent, but they seem to be trending up at the right time, particularly if Jake Fromm can establish some more consistency week to week.
6. Oklahoma Sooners -- Road games in the Big 12 can sometimes get really weird, but the Sooners avoided losing in Lubbock this Saturday, keeping them as the favorite in the conference. They'll have two winnable games before they go on the road against West Virginia, which very well could be a Big 12 Championship Game preview.
7. Washington State Cougars -- Mike Leach has worked some magic with this Washington State team. Despite entering the year having an unproven transfer at quarterback, significant losses at receiver and very little experience defensively, WSU is 8-1 with their lone loss coming by three to USC. They still lack a signature win, but the Cougars are playing undeniably superb football right now.
8. West Virginia Mountaineers -- Will Grier may have forced himself back into the Heisman conversation with a beautiful throw to eventually beat Texas (after the two-point conversion). He also pushed West Virginia back into the Big 12 Title and Playoff hunt, although the defense continues to struggle.
9. LSU Tigers -- This looked like the year LSU was finally going to push Alabama, but instead they walked away on Saturday with their second loss of the year. There is no denying LSU's resume, and the defense is still stocked with talent, but a New Year's Six Bowl is almost certainly the ceiling for this team now.
10. UCF Knights -- The Knights got quite a challenge from Temple in an interesting weekday duel, but they managed to stay flawless. However, they have been hurt by recent losses by Cincinnati and South Florida; if both had managed to stay undefeated longer it would've greatly helped any UCF Playoff hopes.
11. Ohio State Buckeyes -- I'm not ready to rule out Ohio State just yet, considering their astounding talent on both sides of the ball, but there is no denying the team is struggling. The defense in particular has been problematic, and will need reinforcements if the Buckeyes have any hopes of repeating as Big Ten Champ.
12. Kentucky Wildcats -- Kentucky knows they won't be playing for an SEC Title this season, but the schedule is still very favorable down the stretch. If the Wildcats can win out, they have a chance to play in their most important bowl game in some time.
13. Syracuse Orange -- I am tentatively buying into this Syracuse team. They have an explosive offense with veteran leadership everywhere, and their two losses were both close on the road. They still have an outside chance to compete for a New Year's Six Bowl.
14. Mississippi State Bulldogs -- Mississippi State is entering their meeting with Alabama playing great football, coming off a 45-3 dismantling of Louisiana Tech. Their defense continues to play well, but they need Nick Fitzgerald to make some plays if they stand any chance at toppling Alabama.
15. Boston College Eagles -- The Eagles could really throw a wrench into the Playoff situation if they can come up with a home upset of Clemson this Saturday. It obviously won't be easy, but a healthy A.J. Dillon and a stingy defense certainly give them a fighting chance.
16. Florida Gators -- Despite losing by three touchdowns to an okay Missouri team, I still like this Gators team. They still hold an ultra-important win over LSU, and the defense is unquestionably terrific. Now, can they figure out the QB situation? Its looking like Kyle Trask is set to take over, but I bet we continue seeing more of true freshman Emory Jones.
17. Texas Longhorns -- The Longhorns aren't at the level we thought they might be after beating Oklahoma, but their last two losses easily could've gone the other way. They need D-coordinator Todd Orlando to start living up to his luxurious salary and lead a defense that is giving up way too many big plays.
18. Utah State Aggies -- Fresno State may be the lone Mountain West team ranked in the Playoff rankings, but I think Utah State is the real favorite in the conference. They've won eight straight (their only loss on the year is to Michigan State) and the offense has been nearly unstoppable, eclipsing 40 points in seven of their nine games.
19. Michigan State Spartans -- The Spartans certainly won't be playing for a Big Ten Title, but they have recovered nicely from a deflating loss to rival Michigan, by beating Purdue and Maryland in consecutive weeks. The defense has been elite, but MSU has to figure out how to move the ball if they want to take down Ohio State at home this weekend.
20. Penn State Nittany Lions -- They're coming off a 35-point loss, but I still think PSU is a Top 20 team. Trace McSorley has been beat up for a big chunk of the season, and he hasn't had a ton of help on the offensive end. It'll be interesting to see whether the coaching staff turns to longtime backup Tommy Stevens this weekend to give McSorley a much needed break.
21. Fresno State Bulldogs -- If not for a close loss to Minnesota on the road, Fresno State would be undefeated and likely challenging UCF for Group of Five supremacy. Head coach Jeff Tedford has an absolute stud on his hands in QB Marcus McMaryion, who will have to play well this week against a strong Boise State defense.
22. NC State Wolfpack -- Personally, I don't understand NC State being ranked at 14 in the latest Playoff ranking. Granted, they are 6-2, but their best win is probably over Virginia and they were absolutely no competition to the best team in the conference, losing by 34 against Clemson. The good news is that their schedule is a breeze down the stretch, meaning that ten games is a distinct possibility.
23. Iowa State Cyclones -- Oklahoma-West Virginia looks like a near lock as the Big 12 Championship Game, but don't count out Iowa State just yet. The Cyclones are playing terrific at the moment, as Hakeem Butler may one of the most dominant receivers in the entire country and is making NFL scouts flock to Ames.
24. Washington Huskies -- After a depressing 12-10 loss on the road to California, Washington recovered by running past Stanford to improve to 7-3. They aren't going to overtake their in-state rivals in the division, but spoiling any Playoff hopes for Washington State would be just as sweet.
25. Buffalo Bulls -- UCF, Fresno and Utah State may be getting more love from the polls, but Buffalo is quietly 9-1 and could challenge for a NY6 Bowl as well. Senior wide out Anthony Johnson is almost sure to be a pretty high NFL Draft selection this spring, and head coach Lance Leipold will almost certainly be on the radar for a number of Power Five teams looking for replacements.

Others to Consider
Auburn Tigers
Army Black Knights
Iowa Hawkeyes
Utah Utes
UAB Blazers
Wisconsin Badgers

1 comment:

Mike McGowan said...

Good that you keep THE Ohio State out of the top 10. National media has them over-ranked.

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