College Football Rankings: B/R's Top 25 After Week 10

Kerry Miller@@kerrancejamesCollege Basketball National AnalystNovember 8, 2020

College Football Rankings: B/R's Top 25 After Week 10

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    Matt Cashore/Associated Press

    Who knew so much could happen in a week where not a single unranked team upset a ranked team?

    The madness began on Friday night with AP No. 9 BYU laying the smackdown on No. 21 Boise State. No. 13 Indiana followed suit during the early-afternoon slate with a convincing win over No. 23 Michigan. Next, it was No. 8 Florida somewhat shockingly running away with a 16-point win over No. 5 Georgia.

    Week 10 saved the best for last, though, with No. 4 Notre Dame knocking off No. 1 Clemson in double overtime. It was sensationally dramatic, even though the refs repeatedly ruined the flow of the game with what felt like 85 replay reviews in the final hour.

    While Clemson entered the week at No. 1 in the AP poll, the Tigers had already slipped to No. 2 in our rankings after last week's close call against Boston College. With this loss, they slide even further to No. 4still in College Football Playoff range, but nowhere near the sure thing they were a few weeks ago.

    Panelists for this top 25 are B/R experts David Kenyon, Adam Kramer, Kerry Miller, Joel Reuter and Brad Shepard. Each panel member submitted a ballot, with a first-place vote counting for 25 points, followed by 24 points for second, 23 for third, etc.

           

    B/R Post-Week 10 Top 25

    1. Alabama (Last Week: 1)
    2. Ohio State (3)
    3. Notre Dame (4)
    4. Clemson (2) 
    5. Cincinnati (6)
    6. BYU (10)
    7. (tie) Florida (12)
    7. (tie) Texas A&M (8)
    9. Indiana (14)
    10. Oregon (9)
    11. Miami (11)
    12. Wisconsin (7)
    13. Coastal Carolina (13)
    14. Marshall (16)
    15. Oklahoma State (15)
    16. Georgia (5)
    17. Liberty (17)
    18. USC (18)
    19. SMU (21)
    20. Northwestern (20)
    21. Appalachian State (22)
    22. Army (19)
    23. Oklahoma (25)
    24. Louisiana (23)
    25. Texas (NR)

    Others receiving votes: Purdue, Iowa State, Auburn

Who's Hot: Indiana Hoosiers and Northwestern Wildcats

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    Indiana QB Michael Penix Jr.
    Indiana QB Michael Penix Jr.Doug McSchooler/Associated Press

    First things first, I'd like to point out that we already had Northwestern ranked at No. 20 after last weekend. The Wildcats fell just a few votes shy of cracking the Top 25 in both the AP and Coaches Polls, but they're about to be ranked in a big way after improving to 3-0 with a 21-13 win over Nebraska.

    For the second straight week, they had to rally from an early deficit. Against Iowa, Northwestern trailed 17-0 in the first quarter before pulling off a 21-20 victory. This week against the Cornhuskers, the Wildcats trailed 13-7 at halftime before another come-from-behind victory. Heck, even in the 43-3 win over Maryland, the Terrapins got on the board first before 43 unanswered points by Northwestern.

    Defense has been the name of the game for the Wildcats. In fact, they have yet to give up a single point in the second half thus far this season, and they have accumulated five second-half interceptions over the past two weeks. Twice against Nebraska, they ended long, should-have-been-scoring drives with red-zone interceptions.

    Granted, Maryland, Iowa and Nebraska doesn't exactly comprise a murderers' row. But aside from a home game against Wisconsin on Nov. 21, the schedule doesn't get any tougher for the Wildcats. Could they possibly go from 3-9 last year to the College Football Playoff?

    The Big Ten's more impressive 3-0 start, however, belongs to Indiana.

    The season-opening overtime win over Penn State was a shocker. This week's 38-21 victory over Michigan was a statement that this team means business.

    Two years ago, Kentucky snapped a 31-game losing streak against Florida, and that result was a clear, early sign that the Wildcats were headed for their best season in decades. The same could be said of the Hoosiers after snapping their 24-game losing streak against the Wolverines.

    I had major questions about the Indiana offense after its first two games, as the Hoosiers weren't even averaging 300 total yards per contest. But they absolutely smoked Michigan. Michael Penix Jr. threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns while the ground game added 118 yards and two more scores.

    Now the major question is: Can they do it on the road against Ohio State?

    That game is coming up in two weeks, followed two weeks later by a road game against Wisconsin. So the odds of an undefeated season here are still pretty slim. Still, Indiana should jump into the AP Top 10 for the first time since 1969.

    Regardless of how things play out over the next few weeks, locking up head coach Tom Allen on a seven-year, $27.3 million contract last December already looks like an amazing investment.

Who's Not: Clemson's Defense Against Notre Dame

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    Notre Dame QB Ian Book
    Notre Dame QB Ian BookMatt Cashore/Associated Press

    No. 1 Clemson was playing at significantly less than full strength on the road against No. 4 Notre Dame.

    The absence everyone has been talking about was quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who is still out after testing positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 28. But the guys the Tigers missed most were veteran DT Tyler Davis and LB James Skalski.

    The Clemson defense was plenty adequate for the first 95 percent of the game. Notre Dame's first five trips inside the Clemson 30 resulted in a grand total of 12 points (four field goals; one fumble). They did give up quite a few yards, including a 65-yard rushing touchdown on the second play of the game. But when they were backed against a wall, the Tigers responded.

    Until they needed to the most, that is.

    They had pinned Notre Dame inside its own 10 with less than two minutes remaining in a 33-26 game. However, quarterback Ian Book led the Fighting Irish 91 yards for a game-tying touchdown.

    And then another game-tying touchdown in the first overtime.

    And then the game-winning touchdown in the second overtime.

    After playing quite well for most of the night, Clemson's defense suddenly morphed back into the hot mess that couldn't do anything to slow down Boston College in the first half of last week's tight win.

    In the end, Notre Dame racked up 47 points and 519 total yards. Sure, there were two overtimes, but it was the first time since October 2013 that Clemson allowed 46 or more points in a single game. Aside from last year's national championship loss to LSU, it was also the first time since 2013 that the Tigers allowed 40-plus points and 500-plus yards in a game.

    If they bounce back and win out, they'll still most likely make the College Football Playoff. But between the uncomfortable game against Syracuse, the need for an 18-point comeback against Boston College and now this loss to Notre Dame, things aren't exactly looking up for Clemson.

Fun Fact: You Could Have Gotten Nice Heisman Odds on Kyle Trask This Week

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    Florida QB Kyle Trask
    Florida QB Kyle TraskSam Craft/Associated Press

    Earlier this week, Action Network had Kyle Trask listed at 12-1 odds to win the Heisman, which wasn't particularly enticing at the time. Shop around, though, and you would have found that OddsShark (from BetOnline) had him at 33-1, while Vegas Insider (from FanDuel) had him at 50-1.

    But good luck finding him anywhere at longer than 5-1 this week after the way he just decimated Georgia's secondary in the pivotal SEC East battle.

    Trask completed 30 of 43 pass attempts for a career-high 474 yards and four touchdowns with one interception, which is a bit better than the 417 yards and four touchdowns that Mac Jones had against the Bulldogs' usually excellent defense three weeks ago.

    And on Saturday, Trask became the first player to pass for at least 420 yards against Georgia since Kentucky's Jared Lorenzen went for 528 yards back in 2000.

    His full-game total was remarkable, but what Trask did in the first half was just preposterous.

    All four of his touchdowns and 341 of his yards came prior to the intermission while the Gators opened up an insurmountable 38-21 lead. (They would ultimately win 44-28.) Since the start of 2002, there were only eight players who had at least 340 passing yards in an entire game against Georgia. Getting there in just one half was something else.

    Perhaps most noteworthy of all was how much he spread the rock around.

    Ten different receivers teamed up for those 474 yards. No one had multiple touchdowns. No one topped 100 yards. That's partially because sensational tight end Kyle Pitts left the game midway through the second quarter after a vicious hit that resulted in the ejection of Georgia's Lewis Cine. But it's significant that Trask didn't miss a beat after losing his favorite target.

    Trask has now thrown for at least four touchdowns in each of Florida's five games, and he is averaging 363.0 passing yards per contest. When Joe Burrow won the Heisman last year—so, excluding his numbers in the College Football Playoffhe was averaging 362.7 passing yards and 3.7 touchdowns per game.

    Now that Florida is in the driver's seat to reach the SEC championship, that seems like a relevant comparison to make. 

What to Watch for in Week 11: A Potentially Rocky Road for Top Teams

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    Alabama RB Najee Harris
    Alabama RB Najee HarrisRogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    Week 10 featured four head-to-head showdowns between ranked teams and a whole host of games in which a ranked team was heavily favored against an unranked foe.

    While Week 11 is devoid of anything on the level of Clemson-Notre Dame or Florida-Georgia, it does have a ridiculous amount of upset potential.

    Ten of the current AP Top 15 teams will have to play on the road; most of them against opponents who are plenty capable of winning.

    At the top of that list is No. 2 Alabama at LSU. It will be the first time since 2001 that LSU is unranked for this rivalry game, and it certainly doesn't feel like the Tigers should be much of a threat after their 48-11 loss to Auburn on Halloween. You never know, though. Given the respective offenses and defenses, this could be a shootout on par with last year's 46-41 classic.

    No. 3 Ohio State at Maryland probably shouldn't be much of a challenge for the Buckeyes, but they did need a late comeback, overtime and a failed two-point conversion to win in College Park two years ago. And Maryland—after an awful season-opening 43-3 loss to Northwestern—has been mighty impressive on offense the past two weeks.

    No. 4 Notre Dame has to play at Boston College, which almost upset Clemson last week. No. 5 Georgia plays at Missouri, which has home wins over LSU and Kentucky already this season. No. 7 Texas A&M plays at Tennessee, and the only previous meeting between these teams since the Aggies joined the SEC was a double-overtime classic in 2016. Granted, they were both ranked in the top 10 back then, but Tennessee was ranked No. 14 as recently as Week 6.

    And that's only half of the list.

    You've also got No. 10 Wisconsin at No. 23 Michigan, No. 11 Miami at Virginia Tech, No. 12 Oregon at Washington State, No. 13 Indiana at Michigan State and No. 15 Coastal Carolina at Troy. The only game in that quintet that doesn't at least have the faint whiff of an upset is the Pac-12 game. And even at that, who knows how Oregon will look in just its second game of the season?

    There have been some major upsets this season, but unless you want to count that time the Big 12 went 0-3 against the Sun Belt, we haven't had a classic "Shakeup Saturday" yet.

    Buckle up.