College football was not short on excitement by any measure this past week. Several ranked teams had to fight to keep their records unblemished, while others weren't as fortunate and couldn't stay out of the loss column.
Some of the country's elite programs faced difficult tests, but those entering at or somewhat near the top of the rankings were able to get by.
|Ranking||Team||Points||Previous Ranking||B/R Ranking|
|23||Arizona State||229||NR (26)||21|
Source: Associated Press
The biggest showdown of the regular season to date lived up to the hype. In fortifying their status as the best team in the nation, Nick Saban's No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide beat previously sixth-ranked Texas A&M 49-42 in College Station on Saturday.
Even the best efforts by Aggies superstar quarterback Johnny Manziel (562 total yards, five touchdowns) couldn't stem the Tide, who are in commanding position to win a third consecutive national title.
Manziel's virtuoso performance, though, helped leave a hurtful impact on the Alabama record books:
Texas A&M gained the most yards (628) ever allowed by Alabama.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) September 15, 2013
Oregon's explosive up-tempo offense apparently hasn't missed a beat since former coach Chip Kelly left for the NFL, and it's largely thanks to the play of signal-caller Marcus Mariota.
The sophomore continued to put together a compelling Heisman Trophy campaign against Tennessee, throwing for 456 yards and four touchdowns, and running for another score in a 59-14 blowout.
An idle week saw Clemson retain its No. 3 ranking, while the Ohio State Buckeyes remained in fourth thanks to an offensive outburst against California.
Triggered by Kenny Guiton, who filled in at quarterback for an injured Braxton Miller, the Ohio State offense was unstoppable. Guiton accounted for 368 total yards and threw for four touchdowns in the 52-34 win.
The Stanford Cardinal led only 20-13 at halftime at Army, but they were able to pull away after the extended intermission to keep the momentum going.
Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville managed to achieve a similar second-half surge after holding a mere touchdown lead at Kentucky, with Senorise Perry's two touchdown runs helping the cause in a 27-13 victory.
In a near monumental collapse, the Michigan Wolverines suffered a huge letdown from last week's win against Notre Dame by almost losing at home to Akron. Thankfully, a defensive stand on the last drive allowed the Wolverines to escape, 28-24, despite three interceptions thrown by QB Devin Gardner.
Blake Bell took the reins of Oklahoma's offense for his first start and fully capitalized on the situation, accumulating 413 yards and four TDs through the air against Tulsa en route to a commanding win, 51-20.
A majority of the teams near the bottom of the Top 25 suffered their maiden defeats of the 2013 season, with the Irish being nearly among them.
It took a 21-point fourth quarter for Brian Kelly's bunch to avoid a second consecutive loss at Purdue, but winning the battle for the Shillelagh Trophy in West Lafayette is sweet for Notre Dame no matter how the deed is done.
Nebraska suffered a particularly crushing setback, as the visiting UCLA Bruins went off for 31 unanswered points in the second half of a 41-21 loss for the Cornhuskers.
Wisconsin also fell to Arizona State in Tempe, courtesy of a strange sequence of events to cap off the 32-30 thriller. The Badgers were in position for a game-winning field goal, but quarterback Joel Stave, apparently giving himself up, created confusion when he didn't actually go to the ground to center the ball for the kick.
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Thus, officials took too long to sort out the controversy as the clock ticked down and re-spotted the ball late, which allowed time to expire before a kick or spike was possible.
In this instance, defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory for Wisconsin.
TCU fell out of the Top 25 in losing 20-10 to Texas Tech, as Horned Frogs QB Trevone Boykin struggled in place of the injured Casey Pachall, who fractured his left non-throwing arm in Week 2.
To be rather frank, the impending slate of Week 4 games in college football shouldn't cause much change in the rankings.
Arizona State will get a chance to prove itself with a road trip to Stanford, while a clash between Michigan State and Notre Dame in South Bend should also provide substantial entertainment.
Unless North Carolina State pulls off the unthinkable against Clemson at home on Thursday, not many teams should be on upset alert. Then again, this is college football, and just about anything can happen.