One-third of the way through the season, we got a Saturday in which the nation's best pass catcher, injured Jaxon Smith-Njigba, was nowhere to be found yet his quarterback, C.J. Stroud, still threw five touchdowns for Ohio State. It was a Saturday when one of the nation's best defenses slumped at Clemson but a quarterback with doubters, D.J. Uiagalelei, soared.
Speaking of soared, one Cam Little, the Arkansas kicker, is flying low to the ground this week. Little would have potentially won a bar bet with his crucial field goal attempt against Texas but couldn't win the game. Little boinked the potential game-winning kick off the top of the right goalpost. It gets more gut-wrenching: Little was the guy who put his arm around Mississippi State kicker Nolan McCord after he missed a game-tying field goal last year.
Nothing compares to the guts being wrenched at Missouri. Its All-America kicker, Harrison Mevis, missed a game-winning 26-yard field goal on the last play of the game. Then teammate Nathaniel Peat, a Stanford transfer, fumbled the ball through the end zone for what amounted to a walk-off touchback in overtime against Auburn. For at least another week, Tigers coach Bryan Harsin kept his job. The seat of Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz (13-14 in his third year), however, is getting warm.
While most of the nation was asleep, USC showed it had some guts. Trailing twice and playing awfully at Oregon State, the Trojans rallied for the game-winning drive with 73 seconds left at crazy Reser Stadium. Transfer Caleb Williams hit transfer Jordan Addison for the winner. This just in: The Trojans are for real.
The SEC East didn't become one big pass through for Georgia. Kentucky, Tennessee -- even Florida in a loss -- look up to the task of challenging the Bulldogs in the future. Meanwhile, the Big Ten West is a mess -- perhaps an absolutely wonderful one, depending how you look at it. Minnesota (4-0) is tied with Northwestern (1-3) and punchless Iowa (3-1) for the division lead, all at 1-0. A third of the way in, the Gophers are closer to the College Football Playoff than Oklahoma, which might be out of it after losing at home to Kansas State which had just lost at home to Tulane.
There are messes and there are messes. No team in the MAC has a winning record. The league's combined record against Power Five teams is 2-19. It could be worse: the Mountain West is 1-15. Take a look at the top of the Pac-12 standings. If the league title game were held today, it just might be first-place USC and UCLA (tied with three others for second but still 4-0). How would that be for goodbye on the way out the door to the Big Ten?
No matter what happens atop the conference, how does one turn around Colorado? The hapless Buffaloes are the only team to face four FBS opponents that currently have a winning record. It shows: They are 0-4. Oh, and Coastal Carolina stuck its head in the door. At 4-0, the Chanticleers are becoming New Year's Six bait.
|There will be public meeting this week on whether the Bulldogs deserve to stay at No. 1. Otherwise, for those of you fatigued by the first four games, the competition ramps up quickly.||--||12-0|
|Bryce Young played his best game since last year's SEC Championship. Game Four more touchdown passes. Depth showing at wide receiver. All of it has to be viewed through the lens of playing Vanderbilt.||--||10-2|
|Somewhere, Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leohnard is evaluating his life choices. C.J. Stroud threw five more touchdowns against the Badgers giving him one less (16) than every FBS team but one (Ohio State, 17 total).||--||11-1|
|It was hard to judge the Wolverines after the nonconference schedule. Blake Corum helped shape the discussion for us going forward. Corum took a career-high 30 carries for a career-high 243 yards against Maryland. Can't wait for this week's Iowa game. Corum has run for nine touchdowns. The Hawkeyes have allowed none.||--||12-0|
|The Trojans showed grit and determination, basically everything that's been missing since the Carroll era, in an inspirational win at Oregon State. Williams and the offense was somnambulant until the final minutes until Addison caught the winning TD. This may be a playoff team.||--||11-1|
|Will Levis threw four touchdown passes vs. stubborn Northern Illinois. Can we just skip to the Tennessee (Oct. 29) and Georgia (Nov. 19) games?||1||7-5|
|What you witnessed on CBS against Florida was the resurrection of a grand program. Neyland Stadium was sold out. Hendon Hooker balled out. Now, watch out.||7||10-2|
|D.J. is back! If he wasn't against Wake Forest, we wouldn't be sitting here talking about the Tigers being darn close to where they were before 2021. I'll say it: Clemson is the class of the ACC. Sound familiar?||2||10-2|
|In a game Arizona State could have used to make a statement after the loss of its coach, the Sun Devils were mute. The Utes rolled ASU by three touchdowns. The defense sacked Emory Jones five times.||--||9-3|
|Bye. At Baylor this week in a rematch of the Big 12 Championship Game. Let's see if the Cowboys can punch it in from the 2.||2||7-5|
|Dave Aranda was fired up against Iowa State. Ask the behinds of a couple of assistants he whacked.||--||6-6|
|All is forgiven, Jimbo. With a little help from the Razorbacks, the Aggies have turned their season around. Demani Richardson returned a fumble 82 yards for a score against Arkansas. TAMU's third straight win over a top 10 team ties Baylor for the national lead.||1||5-7|
|Jim Mora Jr. must be asking himself why he came back to coaching. UConn became nothing more than a tune-up for the Wolfpack's showdown this week with Clemson.||1||8-4|
|One of the nation's most consistent teams has scored at least 33 points in all four games. Sean Clifford is being overshadowed in the Big Ten East but is on track for his best season.||NR||10-2|
|What happened to the defense? The unit that allowed just 30 points in the first three games was pounded by Kansas State.||9||6-6|
|Kalen DeBoer is a national coach of the year candidate. Michael Penix Jr. has been magic. The defense sacked Stanford QB Tanner McKee eight times.||4||10-2|
|As Bo Nix goes, so goes the Ducks. In one of the best performances of his career: 33 of 44, 428 yards.||1||9-3|
|Nice bounce back from the Oregon loss in beating Wyoming. Running game (tied for 67th) needs to improve.||--||7-5|
|Rebels trailed for the first time all season against Tulsa, but it looks like Lane Kiffin has himself a QB (Jaxson Dart). All the nonconference goals have been accomplished with 30 new players and a raft of new coaches. Kentucky visits this week||--||8-4|
|Mohamid Ibrahim is second in Big Ten rushing. The Gophers are 4-0 for the first time since 2019 when they started 9-0. Row the boat.||NR||8-4|
|The Hogs are kicking themselves because, well, Little couldn't kick. That was the difference in the 11th loss to Texas A&M in the last 12 meetings. Arkansas has to gather itself quickly. Alabama coming to town.||6||6-6|
|Since 2012, the Wildcats own the most wins over Oklahoma with five. Chris Klieman assembled a great game plan against the high-flying Sooners. Adrian Martinez (148 yards rushing, four TDs) had the best game of his career.||NR||9-3|
|Only one Power Five team (Indiana) has thrown more passes than Texas Tech (202). There were plenty of tacos thrown Saturday in an overtime win against Texas.||NR||7-5|
|We are watching a turnaround before our eyes. The Seminoles' 4-0 start is their first since 2015. They are one of only two teams to have three wins over Power Five opponents. (Syracuse is the other.) Jordan Travis threw for a career-high mark against Boston College.||NR||9-3|
|How are they going to keep coach Lance Leipold? Extend him and give him a raise, for starters. The Jayhawks are 4-0 for the first time since 2009. The offense is tied with Ohio State for the most touchdowns nationally (27).||NR||6-6|
Out: Appalachian State, Miami, Florida, Texas, Wake Forest, Pittsburgh