Does it feel different this time -- Clemson's latest challenge from the ACC? Maybe. Maybe not.
This time, it's Miami coming off a bye week headed to Clemson. The Tigers have shown few weaknesses. The Hurricanes have shown an ability to grow with a new offensive coordinator (Rhett Lashlee) and a new quarterback (D'Eriq King).
Judge for yourself on the excitability factor. Clemson opens as a 16-point favorite. That's a quick look at the biggest game of this week. Last week, nine teams in the Power Rankings lost, three in the top 10.
That highlights how tough a (mostly) conference-only schedule is going to be across the board.
The heavy hitters just keep coming. This week, Tennessee is at Georgia in the SEC on CBS Game of the Week. Florida is at Texas A&M and Virginia Tech is at North Carolina.
Oh, there's also Oklahoma and Texas battling in Dallas. Not so much a heavy hitter anymore. The Red River Rivalry has lost some juice as the rivals come into the game with three combined losses.
Editor's note: Teams from the five conferences not yet playing in the 2020 college football season will be eligible for the Power Rankings beginning Monday, Oct. 19.
|Travis Etienne is a national treasure. He should be in the NFL. He risked that professional career to chase another championship at Clemson. On Saturday, Etienne destroyed Virginia -- 19 touches, 187 total yards, touchdowns rushing and receiving. Seven Virginia players and one coach were out due to COVID-19. That is not meant as an excuse. It's public information during a very public 41-23 beating of the Cavaliers.||--||7-1|
|There were so many explosive plays by Alabama that Texas A&M needed a bomb shelter. We witnessed the emergence of the next generation of receiver at Bama. John Metchie III was born in Taiwan and moved Ghana before age 6. He attended high school in Canada and caught five passes Saturday for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Mac Jones tied a career-high with four touchdown passes. Nick Saban won his 20th game against a former assistant without a loss.||--||7-0|
|The original Stetson Bennett was a sharecropper who ran a little moonshine. Generations later, Stetson Bennett IV finds himself the unlikely quarterback starter at Georgia. The former walk-on threw for 240 yards, and Georgia's D did the rest in a smothering 27-6 win over Auburn. The only two SEC starting quarterbacks without an interception meet this week -- Bennett and Tennessee's Jarrett Guarantano.||5||5-2|
|The Gators held the ball for less than 24 minutes and ran only 53 plays. But 38 of those plays were involved in the six scoring drives that allowed Florida a 38-24 win over South Carolina. With four touchdown passes, Kyle Trask now has 10 on the season. Kyle Pitts has made it six touchdown catches on the season with two more against the Gamecocks. Will the defense do enough to make Florida a real contender?||--||6-1|
|The Canes are amping up for what might be the ACC game of the year at Clemson. Miami has split the last three meetings going back to 2004, but Clemson has dominated lately winning the last two, including the 2017 ACC Championship Game (38-3). Miami hasn't scored a touchdown against Clemson since 2010.||--||7-1|
|It hasn't been a great double bye for the Irish. Since last playing Sept. 19, Notre Dame has suffered a rash of COVID-19 positives. President John Jenkins contracted the coronavirus and was widely criticized for not wearing a mask at a White House event. Time to get back to football this week against Florida State.||1||8-0|
|The Cowboys are suddenly the Big 12's best team, mostly because they're the Big 12's only unbeaten team. A 47-7 walkover of Kansas makes OSU 3-0 for the fourth year in a row. The Pokes are doing it without starting quarterback Spencer Sanders and without a Heisman Trophy-caliber performance from Chuba Hubbard. Hubbard is No. 2 in Big 12 rushing but basically splitting time with No. 3 rusher L.T Brown.||7||5-2|
|The defense is rounding into shape after a 28-7 shut down of South Florida. The Cincy D intercepted five Bulls passes. Gerrid Doaks ran for 102 yards, and Tre Tucker returned a kickoff for a touchdown. With UCF losing, Cincinnati and SMU have emerged as the AAC's best chances for national headlines. They play in three weeks.||2||8-0|
|The nation's second-longest winning streak reached eight games with a routine 35-12 win over Missouri. Jeremy Pruitt has achieved an admirable balance. Through two games, the Vols have run 84 times and thrown 55 times. For a comparison, think of the early Alabama teams under Saban. Tennessee got even more physical with the debut of transfer offensive lineman Cade Mays.||14||2-5|
|The plucky Wildcats broke it open late against Texas Tech when Deuce Vaughn (19 touches, 194 total yards) caught a 70-yard touchdown pass with 1:45 left to keep K-State undefeated in the Big 12. After three games, K-State is +7 in turnover margin, tied with UCF for the national lead. The Wildcats are one of only five teams not to commit a turnover.||10||4-4|
|With 45 seconds to go against Boston College, Trey Morrison stepped in front of a two-point pass to tie the game, taking it 99 yards for a defensive two-pointer. That sealed a 26-22 win. The Tar Heels have been off since Sept. 12. "We were concerned about the three weeks off and having a sloppy game. And that's exactly what happened," said coach Mack Brown.||7||6-2|
|1. All that talent and all that anger mixed for an unhealthy stew for Vanderbilt. This was more like it for LSU after the loss to Mississippi State. The Tigers jumped on Vandy early, never trailing in a 41-7 win. Myles Brennan was sacked seven times the previous week by the Bulldogs. He rebounded to throw four touchdown passes against the Commodores.||1||3-3|
|Zach Wilson and the Cougars are for real. In a 45-14 win over Louisiana Tech, Wilson completed his first 12 passes and accounted for five touchdowns. The 24 points allowed are the fewest in BYU's first three games since 1952. The shame of it is BYU is in a sort a football limbo. It isn't considered Power Five. The Cougars certainly aren't Group of Five. They don't have automatic New Year's Six entry. Sneaky good game this week against UTSA.||6||9-0|
|The knucklehead SMU student section almost stole the headlines. Almost. They got kicked out of Gerald Ford Stadium for not observing social distancing guidelines. They missed Chris Naggar hitting a 43-yard field goal with 9 seconds to play to beat Memphis, 30-27. ESPN reported Reggie Roberson Jr. was the first receiver in 25 yards to have at least 240 receiving yards with five catches or fewer (243 yards, two touchdowns).||7||7-2|
|1. That stunk. The Tigers were held without a touchdown in the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry for the first time since 2012. The 27-6 result at Georgia no doubt will stir talk of Gus Malzahn taking over play-calling duties. Georgia has won four in a row and seven of the last eight in the series.||6||5-2|
|A pair of undefeateds meet Saturday in an early Sun Belt showdown when Coastal Carolina comes to Lafayette, Louisiana. Meanwhile, the Iowa State win looks better by the day.||1||7-1|
|If you believe Iowa State has less talent than Oklahoma then the only conclusion was obvious Saturday night: Matt Campbell coached the pants off Lincoln Riley. The Cyclones returned a kickoff to set up the game-tying score in the fourth quarter. A tight end threw a pass to a tight end. Breece Hall continues to be the Big 12's leading rusher. It all added up to a 37-30 upset of the Sooners.||NR||6-2|
|That giant whoosh you heard after TCU's 33-31 win was the air going out of the Red River Rivalry. Since joining the Big 12, the Longhorns are now 2-7 against the Horned Frogs. To put the result in perspective: Texas has lost six times as a ranked team in Tom Herman's four seasons. The last time Alabama lost as a ranked team to an unranked team under Nick Saban was 2007, his first season.||15||5-2|
|There were three first-quarter turnovers. The Golden Hurricane were quickly down 16-0 midway through the first quarter, then they stormed back at UCF for their first win over a ranked team in a decade. There were 16 explosive plays by the Hurricane (runs or passes of at least 15 yards). UCF fell for the fourth straight time to Tulsa.||NR||5-1|
|A brutal loss to Tulsa likely takes the Knights out of College Football Playoff -- and maybe even New Year's Six -- consideration. What was so disturbing in a 34-26 loss was that the Knights had the game completely under control. The Hurricane came back to outscore the hosts 22-3 in the second half. The loss ended a 21-game home winning streak, second-longest in the country. Hey, an AAC title is still a possibility. That's not so bad, is it?||14||5-3|
|The Red River Rivalry might be fought at 20 paces with squirt guns. Which coach will have the most pressure on them as Oklahoma and Texas come in a combined 2-3 record? The Sooners blew another lead Saturday, this time at Iowa State. The Cyclones averaged 7.4 yards, and Spencer Rattler threw a crippling late interception.||10||6-2|
|Another day, another loss to Alabama. The Aggies have now been outscored by the Tide 140-75 in the Jimbo Fisher era. The last team to beat the Aggies eight straight times was Arkansas.||7||5-1|
|You live by the Air Raid, you die by the Air Raid. K.J. Costello threw for half has many yards (313) against Arkansas as he did against LSU. Costello now has six turnovers in two games. The Razorbacks won their first SEC game since 2017.||11||2-5|
|The Hokies were missing 21 players and two coaches due to injuries and COVID-19. It took a Kansas graduate transfer, Khalil Herbert, to survive Duke, 38-31. That was after being down 23 players and two coaches in the opener against NC State. Justin Fuente should be getting coach of the year consideration. Herbert rushed for 208 yards and two touchdowns. Throw in an 83-yard kickoff return, and Herbert went for 358 total yards.||NR||4-5|
|For years Texas stiff-armed any TCU interest in the Big 12. Why, the 'Horns argued, should we give TCU access to the best talent in the state? Nine years later, the Horned Frogs don't exactly clean up on the Texas recruiting trail. Texas does. Still, Gary Patterson has now beaten the 'Horns for the seventh time in nine games in the Big 12.||NR||3-4|
Dropped out: Boston College, Marshall, Memphis, Pittsburgh