On Tuesday, the first round of College Football Playoff rankings was released. The poll seemed to be motivating teams all across the country, just not the ones you might think.
Week 10 of college football was full of upsets and close calls.
With a victory of 40-29 against No. 3 Michigan State, while No. 9 Wake Forest's streak of unbeaten play to begin the season was ended at 8-0 after a 58:55 loss at North Carolina.
Other top-10 teams were fortunate to escape upset bids by rivals. Alabama won an LSU with nothing left to lose, 20-14. Cincinnati managed two goal-line stands late to beat Tulsa, 28-20. They remain undefeated.
Oregon beat Washington in the second half, overcoming a poor first half. This allowed it to keep its place in the CFP rankings. Other rated teams were not so fortunate. The Power Rankings saw the largest shuffle this season, with Minnesota, Kentucky, and Mississippi losing to unranked teams.
It's time to take a look at this week's Power Rankings, with the CFP rankings over and the next round just a few days away.
Georgia quarterback JT Dan Daniels has finally returned to action but not as the No. 1 Bulldogs' starter. Stetson Bennett, a former walk-on, started the fifth consecutive game and led Georgia to a 43-6 win over Missouri at home. Bennett completed 13 of 19 passes, gaining 255 yards and two touchdowns. Bennett improved to 9-2 in his first season as a starter, with a 6-0 record this season. Daniels, who had injured his lat muscle over a month prior, was able to play in the game for the first-time in five games. He completed 82 yards of passing with one touchdown and one interception, going 7-11 for 11. The Bulldogs managed to accumulate 505 yards of offensive offense, with 377 passing. Jermaine Burton was a sophomore receiver who has been limited by injuries this season. He had three catches for 76 yards and one touchdown.
Bennett stated that Missouri was the one who came into this match and had a plan to stop us running the ball. "They were trying to stop us running the ball. They had low safetyties and were popping backers. We have to be explosive to stop them from doing that. We score points if they don't. -- Mark Schlabach
play 2:24 No. Mizzou's offense is too strong for 1 UGA. The Bulldogs scored 34 points to win the 43-6 victory over Missouri.
The Alabama win over LSU, 20-14 on Saturday night, was not pretty. The offensive line was full of missed blocks and penalties. Quarterback Bryce Young was tackled four times. The running game could not get started as Brian Robinson Jr. ran for just 18 yards on 12 carries. The defense made too many big plays in the first half, bringing life to a weak rival. The Crimson Tide chose to let the Tigers win, despite being favored by four touchdowns. They let them hang around until the end and won the game with a Hail Mary. Alex Scarborough
Although the Bearcats don't rack up style points, they continue to win. Tulsa was defeated 28-20 by the Bearcats, who needed two goal-line stands to win Saturday's game. They remain unbeaten. Cincinnati took an early lead of 14-0 and seemed to have a comfortable lead into the third quarter. The Bearcats were unable to stop the run (297 yards), and had to make huge stops at the final with their backs to the goal line in order to win the game. Chris Low
The No. 4 team in the country has had its fair share of close calls this season. This season, the No. 4 team has seen its share of close calls. It could escape yet another close game, and it did it in a rainy Seattle night. Washington arrived on its own turf with the intention of supporting the bizarre verbal jousting between Oregon and head coach Jimmy Lake over the past week. Fortunately, the fuel Lake spoke of was exhausted by Saturday's end. Oregon was held to three points most of the second half and realized that its winning formula was to run the ball over and again (329 total yards rushing) and avoid any Pac-12 after-dark shenanigans that could have ruined its season. Although the final score of 26-16 is not something to be proud of, being among the top four teams in the rankings from the first week means that the Ducks can just keep winning. -- Paolo Uggetti
Quarterback C.J. Quarterback C.J. The Buckeyes couldn't get their running game moving until the end of the game. TreVeyon Henderson was held at 92 yards. The Buckeyes were forced to settle for four field goals, which proved to be the difference in the game. The brightest spot is the defense's continued improvement, which has made great strides since Oregon's loss. Nebraska only had 361 yards total offense and was 2-of-13 on third down. -- Andrea Adelson
After coming in at No. 8, the Sooners enjoyed a bye week. The Sooners were ranked 8 in the College Football Playoff rankings. This is a difficult decision for a Sooner team that has won 17 consecutive games. But they know that this season is the most important. OU was able spend part of its week watching Baylor give up 461 yards passing and 70 rushing yards first-time starter Chandler Morris. -- Dave Wilson
With hopes of reaching the College Football Playoff at season's end, the Spartans had a record of 8-0 going into their game against Purdue. The Spartans lost to the Boilermakers 40-29 after a hard-fought, emotional game against Michigan. Aidan O'Connell, Purdue's quarterback, threw for 536 yard. This was the fifth most passing yards in Big Ten history. Michigan State attempted to win the game late, but O'Connell's and Purdue's offense couldn't be stopped. Michigan State lost Kenneth Walker III, its running back, by 136 yards and one touchdown. This loss means that Michigan State must now pick up the pieces and try to win the conference. -- Tom VanHaaren
In the 34-6 win, Navy was held to just 184 yards total by the Irish. Navy only had 166 yards rushing, while Notre Dame had 430 yards total, 269 of which were from Jack Coan through air. Kyren Williams ran two touchdowns and helped Notre Dame move to 8-1 with Cincinnati's lone loss. Kevin Austin Jr., a receiver, had 139 receiving yards with a touchdown and was the star of what turned out to be a crushing victory for the Irish. -- Tom VanHaaren
Michigan rebounded from its loss to Michigan State by winning 29-7 at home against Indiana to get its season back on track. Michigan's defense held Indiana to just 195 yards total offense and one touchdown. Blake Corum, the Michigan running back, was injured in the leg and was forced to leave the game. Hassan Haskins assumed the responsibilities and ran 162 yards on 25 carries. This is a career-high and Hassan Haskins had one touchdown. While Indiana was suffering from injuries throughout the game, this win was crucial for Michigan. Ohio State and Penn State will be battling in the coming weeks. -- Tom VanHaaren
The offensive touchdowns were not scored and the starting quarterbacks completed only half of their passes. Although there were elements of an all defense battle in Texas A&M’s victory over Auburn, the superior team was not in doubt. The Aggies averaged 6.4 yards a play to Auburn's 3.2. Devon Achane and Isaiah Spiller combined rushed 31 times for 210 yard. A&M outscored Auburn 17-0 at halftime to cruise to a win of 20-3. The only reason the score was so close was the fact that five field goals were missed by the Aggies. Zach Calzada, the quarterback, appeared to have suffered a very serious shoulder injury in the third period but he returned to play the rest of the game. -- Bill Connelly
Oklahoma State has been winning in defense this year, but the Cowboys created a defensive marvel in Morgantown on Saturday. In a 24-3 win, they sacked eight West Virginia quarterbacks and allowed only 2.3 yards per play. WVU did not reach 100 yards in total until the fourth quarter. OSU then quickly intercepted a pass. The Cowboys' quarterback Spencer Sanders passed two touchdowns to TayMartin and made 21 of 31 overall. That was enough offense for the Pokes. This team embraces winning ugly. It was all kinds of ugly in West Virginia. -- Bill Connelly
play 1:51 No. 11 Oklahoma State beats West Virginia 24-3. The Cowboys defeated the Mountaineers to improve their record to 8-1. This is their best record in nine games since 2015.
After debuting at No. 9 at 8-0. However, a loss to North Carolina this week hampered those efforts as the Demon Deacons lost 58-55 against the Tar Heels. The game was back-and-forth, with Wake leading by 24 points at halftime and multiple lead changes. Sam Hartman, the Quarterback, had 398 yards with five touchdowns and 78 yards on the ground. The North Carolina ground game had 336 yards and six touchdowns. Ty Chandler had four of them. Wake Forest still has Clemson, NC State and Boston College to complete the season despite the loss. -- Tom VanHaaren
Although they had a 24-0 lead at halftime, it wasn't easy. Lane Kiffin's Rebels held Liberty off and won 27-14. Quarterback Matt Corral was playing with an injured ankle. He also did not have regulars on the receiving and offensive lines. However, he completed 20 passes for 324 yards and one touchdown. The Rebels had an advantage early on thanks to two Jerrion Ealy touchdown runs, one from 70 yards away. Three interceptions prevented the game from getting too close. Malik Willis and Liberty's offense did eventually find some traction. Hugh Freeze, former head coach of the Rebels, was defeated by Hugh and his Flames. -- Bill Connelly
It's possible that Texas' highest-ranked team will be in San Antonio by the end of the season. UTSA put on another impressive performance, defeating UTEP 44-23 to cement its claim for a top-25 ranking after being snubbed in Tuesday's College Football Playoff rankings. Sincere McCormick ran 21 times for 169 yards, with a touchdown of 75 yards on the second play. Kyle Bonagura
Houston was flirting with disaster a week after being placed in the top 10. He gave up two kickoff returns of 100 yards for a touchdown to USF. The Cougars offense is still humming along. It defeated the Bulls behind Clayton Tune (21 of 26 for 385 yards, three TDs), and two 100-yard rushers (Ta'Zhawn hailed with a 97 yard TD run and finished with 130 yards on 10 carries. Alton McCaskill added 125 yards on 22). Nathaniel Dell caught eight passes to gain 164 yards and a TD. While defense is an issue, 647 yards of total yardage will suffice most days. Dave Wilson
On Tuesday, the playoff committee gave the Cougars a nice boost that placed them in the top 15. They responded on Saturday accordingly. They won the game against 1-6 Idaho State and were not afraid to win it. They took a 35-0 lead after just one quarter. BYU had nearly 1,000 yards of total offense by the end of the game. The defense also forced 10 punts, two turnovers, and allowed Idaho State only one third-down opportunity. A few teams had lost before them so a win like this will continue to propel the Cougars up in the rankings. -- Paolo Uggetti
The Panthers won the battle against Kenny Pickett after some Pitt-like actions at Duke. Pickett, a senior, passed for 413 yards with three touchdowns and became the first Pitt quarterback to ever record consecutive 3,000-yard passing seasons. Pickett tied Alex Van Pelt’s team record of more than 300 passing yards with his 14th game. Pitt took control with a 23-point second half and ran for 220 yards and three touchdowns against an inept Duke defense. For the first time since 1905, the Panthers have scored at least 50 points four times in the same year. They are still at the top of the ACC's Coastal Division going into the most crucial stretch of the season. -- Adam Rittenberg
TCU's emotional team was a major threat to the Bears, who were playing their first game in 21 year without Gary Patterson. Baylor's defense was destroyed by Chandler Morris, a first-time starter who had 531 yards total offense and despite having only one scholarship running back. Gerry Bohanon's two interceptions, which means he has thrown five picks in his last three games after throwing none in the previous six. TCU has now beaten Baylor in six of seven. -- Dave Wilson
Devin Leary, the Wolfpack's quarterback, has been a key player in their 7-2 start. Leary was the first NC State quarterback to throw for 300 yards and four touchdown passes against Florida State since Russell Wilson in 2009. For the majority of the season, the NC State defense held the No. 2 ACC offense to just 38 yards. 2 rushing offense was held to 38 yards on the ground. Clemson and Florida State have not beaten NC State since 2002. This is also the Wolfpack's 11th consecutive winning season. -- Andrea Adelson
Although it wasn't spectacular, it was a win for Iowa in the conference. The game had all the hallmarks of a Hawkeyes win this season, with Alex Padilla as the backup quarterback and leading three scoring drives. Iowa led Northwestern by 14-3 at halftime. Northwestern was outscored 9-3 in the final quarters. Evanston took a 17-12 victory thanks to a strong defense and only enough points early. Despite the win, Iowa remains on the outside looking-in in the Big Ten's West Division despite a few crucial conference losses. -- Shea Carlson
The Chanticleers beat Georgia Southern comfortably, 28-8, even without Grayson McCall as their star quarterback. McCall was out for indefinite time with an injury to his upper body. Bryce Carpenter was McCall's replacement. He threw for only 85 yards but the team didn't have much to pass the ball. Braydon Bennett (78 yard), Shermari Jones (96) and Carpenter (44 yard) were all effective in rushing the ball. The Chanticleers held Georgia Southern to just 233 yards in total offense and forced four turnovers. Kyle Bonagura
As the Big Ten West Division title becomes more visible, the Badgers' 1-3 record continues to fade. To easily defeat Rutgers by halftime, Wisconsin used a familiar formula: a defensive suffocating and a run-driven offensive. Three takeaways for the Badgers in the first half included a Caesar Williams touchdown interception return. Braelon Allen, a freshman running back, ran another 100 yards. Graham Mertz, quarterback had his best game this season with 240 passing yards and three touchdowns. Wisconsin's win streak was extended to five thanks to a leg injury sustained by Chez Mellusi's running back. -- Adam Rittenberg
Play 1:33 Mertz's three touchdown passes lead Wisconsin to a huge win Graham Mertz throws three touchdown passes that lead Wisconsin to a dominant victory over Rutgers.
Auburn's Bo Nix was unable to continue his stellar performances and suffered a terrible afternoon at Texas A&M. Nix was unable to complete 20 of 41 passes, which resulted in 153 yards. He was also intercepted and sacked four more times. A fumble was returned for the only touchdown. Tank Bigsby ran for only 69 yards, but the Tigers managed just one more drive within the Aggies' 40 after an early field goal drive. After halftime, they were outscored 17 to 0. Auburn was eliminated from the SEC West race with this pathetic performance. -- Bill Connelly
Although the final score of 52-7 shows that Utah beat Stanford, it could have been worse. Halftime saw Utah leading 38-0 in one of the most dominating halves of college football. The Utes ran 336 yards and outgained Cardinal 440-28 during the first half. This was the first time in three years that a Power 5 team was outgained by more than 400 yards in a single half. Tavion Thomas and Micah Bernard finished the game with more than 100 yards of rushing. Kyle Bonagura
After a slow start by Maryland's offense, the Nittany Lions won their third consecutive loss. They pulled away in the second period. Penn State used the familiar formula of Sean Clifford's passing and Jahan Dotson’s receiving to win. They also had an impressive red zone defense. Clifford had 363 yards passing and three touchdowns. Dotson was found 11 times for 242 yards, and three touchdowns. Although neither team was quick to the ball, Penn State converted 10 out of 18 third-down opportunities. With less than three minutes remaining, the Lions defense was also on top. Cornerback Ji'Ayir Brown's 87-yard interception return secured the victory for Penn State. -- Adam Rittenberg