Brett Deering/Getty Images
Welcome to November, where college football’s stretch run begins with a whopper of a Week 10 slate.
How good? All 25 teams ranked in the latest Associated Press Top 25 is in action, with seven matchups of ranked foes and another five playing on the road against league opponents. With so much potential for carnage, the poll that comes out on Sunday isn’t likely to look anything like the current one.
This weekend’s results will go a long way toward crafting the playoff picture and even more towards who wins various FBS conferences and divisions. Spots in the ACC, Pac-12 and SEC title games could all be sewn up on Saturday depending on who wins a few key clashes.
The action involving Top 25 teams got started on Friday, with No. 22 Memphis cruising to a 41-14 win at Memphis.
Here are the AP rankings heading into Saturday of Week 10 along with matchups for each team.
Associated Press Top 25
- Alabama (59 first-place votes), 8-0, 1,523 points, vs. No. 19 LSU
- Georgia (2), 8-0, 1,465 points, vs. South Carolina
- Ohio State, 7-1, 1,332 points, at Iowa
- Wisconsin, 8-0, 1,256 points, at Indiana
- Notre Dame, 7-1, 1,254 points, vs. Wake Forest
- Clemson, 7-1, 1,196 points, at No. 20 North Carolina State
- Penn State, 7-1, 1,189 points, at No. 24 Michigan State
- Oklahoma, 7-1, 1,147 points, at No. 11 Oklahoma State
- Miami (Florida), 7-0, 1,075 points, vs. No. 13 Virginia Tech
- TCU, 7-1, 942 points, vs. Texas
- Oklahoma State, 7-1, 936 points, vs. No. 8 Oklahoma
- Washington, 7-1, 874 points, vs. Oregon
- Virginia Tech, 7-1, 837 points, at No. 9 Miami (Florida)
- Iowa State, 6-2, 670 points, at West Virginia
- UCF, 7-0, 654 points, at SMU
- Auburn, 6-2, 576 points, at Texas A&M
- USC, 7-2, 562 points, vs. No. 23 Arizona
- Stanford, 6-2, 434 points, at No. 25 Washington State
- LSU, 6-2, 338 points, at No. 1 Alabama
- North Carolina State, 6-2, 333 points, vs. No. 6 Clemson
- Mississippi State, 6-2, 279 points, vs. Massachusetts
- Memphis, 7-1, 270 points, won Friday at Tulsa
- Arizona, 6-2, 204 points, at No. 17 USC
- Michigan State, 6-2, 136 points, vs. No. 7 Penn State
- Washington State, 7-2, 122 points, vs. No. 18 Stanford
John Bazemore/Associated Press
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
The ACC title game could be unofficially set by the end of Saturday, as the Atlantic and Coastal Division’s top two teams face each other. A win by No. 20 North Carolina State (6-2, 5-0) over No. 6 Clemson (7-1, 5-1) would give it a two-game lead in the loss column, the same edge No. 9 Miami (7-0, 5-0) could build over No. 13 Virginia Tech (7-1, 3-1).
Clemson, the defending national champions, saw junior quarterback Kelly Bryant throw for 207 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-10 win over Georgia Tech last week. Bryant was knocked out of the Tigers’ Oct. 13 loss at Syracuse with a concussion, and his return to health is a big boost for their hopes of returning to the playoffs.
“A healthy Kelly Bryant makes a big difference for Clemson’s offense,” Athlon Sports’ Steve Lassan wrote.
NC State is coming off a 35-14 loss at Notre Dame but has been quite impressive in ACC play, winning by an average of 10.5 points per game. Senior quarterback Ryan Finley had his first interception of the season last week but for the year is completing 66.3 percent of his passes.
Junior running back Nyheim Hines had a string of three straight 100-yard games was snapped due to an ankle injury but he should be a full go for Clemson’s visit to Raleigh.
The Virginia Tech/Miami game will effectively decide the Coastal Division, which VT claimed last season. The Hokies’ only league loss this season was at home to Clemson, but since then they have allowed 20 total points during a three-game win streak. Tech is No. 2 nationally in scoring defense, allowing 11.5 points per game.
Miami yields just 18.7 points per game, 17.6 in ACC games, with the last four coming by a combined 18 points. The Hurricanes have been masters of narrow victory, though their lack of dominance no doubt contributed to the College Football Playoff selection committee ranking them No. 10 in the first playoff standings, worst of the fourth power-conference unbeatens.
“There are half a dozen one-loss teams ranked higher than that,” Dave George of the Palm Beach Post wrote. “Where is the respect The answer is that it’s being withheld until Miami proves this no mirage.”
Miami clinches its first ACC championship bid with a win and a win by Georgia Tech at Virginia.
The Big 12 resurrected its title game for 2017, though without having divisions it will pair the teams that finish first and second during the regular season. In anticipation that Oklahoma and Oklahoma State could be those teams, the league moved up their annual clash—normally played on the final week of the regular season—to the first Saturday of November.
Thus, Bedlam is on top for Saturday, and it should be a doozy. No. 8 Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1) and No. 11 Oklahoma State (7-1, 4-1) are in a four-way tie for first with TCU and Iowa State, whom the Sooners and Cowboys, respectively, face on Nov. 11.
Oklahoma has historically dominated Bedlam, with an 86-18-7 edge in the series and 12 wins in the last 14 meetings. Senior quarterback Baker Mayfield is 2-0 against OSU, going 30 of 44 for 468 yards with five TD passes and a rushing score, while Cowboys senior Mason Rudolph had one of the worst games of his career in the 2016 meeting when he was 11 of 25 for 186 yards in a 38-20 loss.
Max Olson of The Athletic wrote that this year’s Bedlam could be Rudolph’s legacy game.
Being able to knock off No. 1 Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) could also do a lot for Ed Orgeron’s fledgling legacy at LSU.
“The Alabama game is very important to Louisiana, our fans, our alumni, our football team,” Orgeron said, per Alex Hickey of SEC Country. “Everywhere I go, this is the game they talk about. I’m not going to make it so huge to our players that they won’t be able to play. They’ll be ready to play.”
The series has been recently dominated by the Crimson Tide, winners of six straight including the 2012 BCS title game, but No. 19 LSU (6-2, 3-1) has been playing its best ball of the season since getting shocked at home by Troy on Sept. 30. The Tigers have won three straight, two on the road in SEC play, with a win over No. 16 Auburn in between.
A key Pac-12 battle wraps up the Week 10 schedule, with No. 23 Arizona (6-2, 4-1) and No. 17 USC (7-2, 5-1) kicking off at 10:45 p.m. ET. Staying up late for this one will be worth it since it will be the first chance for many to see fast-rising Arizona star Khalil Tate.
Tate, a sophomore quarterback, had one of the best months in college football history in October. He ran for 840 yards and eight TDs, including an FBS record (for a QB) 327 yards against Colorado, along with 743 passing yards and six scores. In that span the Wildcats have won four straight, averaging 48.8 points per game.
USC is 14-0 at the Los Angeles Coliseum since Clay Helton took over as coach midway through the 2015 season, but this fall that’s included comebacks to beat Texas and Utah. Turnovers have been a major issue for the Trojans, particularly for sophomore quarterback Clay Helton, who has thrown 10 interceptions and lost six fumbles.