What in the wide wide world of sports is going on here?! What a crazy week of college football we just had, huh? We almost saw the top four teams all take a stumble, and still saw seven of the top-25 teams fall this weekend. We saw some big home teams crush (Auburn, Miami, Wisconsin, Ohio State, LSU), and saw pretenders sent home (Michigan State, Iowa State, Notre Dame, Washington, TCU).
And this latest installment of the College Football Playoff Rankings should look very different from the previous two weeks. Here’s the DSN staffers’ consensus top-6. We’ll start with the two just missing the cut.
No. 6 | AUBURN
After dismantling the former No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs 40-17, The Tigers find themselves very much in the hunt, especially with the Iron Bowl looming against Alabama in two weeks. Auburn’s defensive front gave the Bulldogs fits all game. The ability to move the ball in bunches makes them a dangerous foe for any team, and when they run the ball over 200 yards in a game, they’re undefeated at 7-0.
No. 5 | WISCONSIN
Through no fault of their own, Wisconsin has slid under the radar all year, playing in the weaker half of the Big Ten, and it took until Week 11 of the season for them to face their first ranked opponent in No. 20 Iowa. The Badgers responded to Iowa making it 17-14 game by exploding for three touchdowns in the final 20+ minutes and rolled, 38-14.
Bucky has the No. 1 defense in the country, a freshman running back in Jonathon Taylor who averages seven yards per carry, and a date with Michigan this weekend that will further define whether they are a CFP contender or not.
No. 4 | OKLAHOMA
Baker Mayfield is the leader in the clubhouse when it comes to the Heisman Trophy. His opponents have all fell off in one way or another; Penn State’s Saquon Barkley has seemingly disappeared after returning the opening kickoff against Ohio State, Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph lost head-to-head in terms of stats and the final score, Stanford’s Bryce Love is getting no love outside of Palo Alto, and Notre Dame’s Josh Adams was nowhere to be found in South Beach.
The Oklahoma offense is a thing of beauty, while their defense… needs a lot of work (that’s putting it mildly). The Sooners have double-digit wins over Ohio State, Oklahoma State, and TCU, and as long as they don’t stumble in the final weeks (@ Kansas, vs. WVU) expect Boomer Sooner to be a mainstay in the top 4.
No. 3 | CLEMSON
The defending champs started the season as a runaway train, plowing through ranked opponents like Auburn, Louisville, and Virginia Tech. But quarterback Kelly Bryant suffered an ankle injury in the Tigers win over Wake Forest, and then a concussion during their lone loss to Syracuse the following week. Bryant’s quick return helped Clemson get back on track, but they’ve been in surprisingly close games since his return, including a one-score win over NC State, and a closer-than-final-score 31-14 this weekend over Florida State.
While the ACC as a whole has been down this year, Clemson looks to prove they are every bit the team they were last year, and an ACC Championship game against a suddenly-hot and undefeated Miami team is the perfect place to do just that. Speaking of…
No. 2 | MIAMI
The U is back and looking like their old selves. Miami absolutely obliterated Notre Dame on Saturday, hitting them high, low, left, and right, and adding a fourth consecutive game with at least four takeaways. The Hurricanes’ inept red-zone offense picked a helluva day to break out, scoring four touchdowns inside the red zone.
Their defense held Heisman-hopeful Josh Adams to just 40 yards on 16 carries. The often-exciting Brandon Wimbush was anything but, even being pulled in the first half for back-up quarterback Ian Book (though it did not last long). The questions of just who has Miami faced should not be as prominent as they have back-to-back convincing victories over then-No. 13 Virginia Tech, and then-No. 3 Notre Dame, albeit both at home.
Miami has the ultimate chance to shut up all the doubters when they face Clemson for the ACC Championship on December 2nd (assuming they stay undefeated and don’t stumble against Virginia and Pitt in the next two weeks)
No. 1 | ALABAMA
Look, it was a nice gift by the CFP committee to acknowledge Georgia’s two top-15 wins and give them the top spot over Alabama the last two weeks, but Auburn took care of that farce and restored the normal order of the past decade. Alabama is the top team and there’s no question about it… until Auburn has something to say about it in a couple weeks.
The Tide struggled in StarkVegas against Mississippi State’s defense, and need all 60 minutes of the football game to get the go-ahead touchdown and finally put the Bulldogs to sleep. Are they perfect? No. Far from it, in fact. But week in and week out, they consistently beat the team in front of them, and while Miss St. may have looked like the better team at times, ‘Bama still got it done in the end.
They have the second-best defense in college football, a head coach who is better than almost anyone at keeping his team focused, and their offense is dangerous enough to make any defense question themselves. This week’s upcoming game against Mercer is a joke for a team to have on their schedule in November, but the following week they travel to Auburn for what should be another classic Iron Bowl, with everything on the line.
DSN STAFF PREDICTIONS
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