Clemson 5-0 but not off to perfect start
1 Clemson may be undefeated, but the Tigers are far from perfect. As expected, Clemson cruised to a 5-0 start but not without concern for the defending national champs. The offense is a work in progress as QB Trevor Lawrence has struggled and turnovers are a concern. The defense bailed the Tigers out, stopping UNC’s two-point attempt to preserve a onepoint win.
2 Ohio State is one of the most complete teams in the nation. The Buckeyes haven’t missed a beat since Urban Meyer’s retirement, outscoring opponents 262-43. While Justin Fields has been impressive, accounting for 23 touchdowns, it’s the improvement on defense that has the Buckeyes thinking about another Big Ten title and a shot at the College Football Playoff semifinals.
3 Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts make early push for Heisman. It was your typical Saturday for Tagovailoa, who shattered several Alabama records after passing for six TDs and rushing for another during a 59-31 win over Mississippi. Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts passed for three scores and rushed for another during a 55-16 win over Texas Tech.
4 Wisconsin knows how to win ugly. Fresh off its 35-14 win over Michigan last week, Wisconsin found itself in a good old-fashioned football brawl with division foe Northwestern on Saturday. The Badgers leaned on their defense, which scored two touchdowns, while tailback Jonathan Taylor rushed for 119 yards and a score to seal the win.
5 Auburn could be the team no one in the SEC wants to face. The Tigers made quick work of Mississippi State on Saturday, jumping out to a big lead while amassing more than 578 yards of offense. Tigers true freshman QB Bo Nix had a career-best game, accounting for 391 yards. Auburn now faces games against SEC powers Florida, LSU, Georgia and Alabama.
6 Notre Dame gets defensive during a bounce-back win The Irish put last week’s loss to Georgia behind them with a dominant performance against Virginia. The Irish defense harassed Cavaliers QB Bryce Perkins into five turnovers and recorded eight sacks. It’s a good sign for Brian Kelly’s team, which could still make a run at a CFP semifinal bid.
7 The Pac-12 is good but not great. The Pac-12 had four teams ranked in this week’s Associated Press top-25 poll, with Oregon (13), Washington (15), Utah (17) and Arizona State (20) representing the best hope for a playoff spot. That said, ESPN’s playoff predictor gives the Ducks the best chance (7%) among the league contenders to qualify for a semifinal spot.
8 Fat, dumb and entitled is no way to go through life. Washington State coach Mike Leach didn’t mince words when he called some of his players “fat, dumb, happy and entitled” after the Cougars lost for the second consecutive week. Leach has developed a reputation for his thoughtful responses on a variety of topics, but this type of rant personally attacking players isn’t going to go over well.
9 College football can be a fickle sport. Virginia Tech was lauded after hiring Justin Fuente to replace legendary coach Frank Beamer, but following a 10-win season in 2016, the Hokies have struggled. Virginia Tech’s skid continued with a 45-10 loss to Duke Friday. Elsewhere, South Florida won 10 games during Charlie Strong’s first season, but the program is now mired in a nine-game skid against FBS foes.
10 Chris Ash becomes the first coaching hot-seat casualty. Rutgers fired Ash a day after the Scarlet Knights were blanked 52-0 by Michigan. It was Rutgers’ 14th consecutive conference loss and third straight loss this season. Ash finished with an 8-32 overall record at Rutgers and 3-26 mark in Big Ten play.