No. 10: Oregon State Beavers (8-2, +2). No trap game slip-ups in Corvallis for veteran junior QB DJ Uiagalelei and Sophomore RB Damien Martinez, as the Beavers led wire-to-wire in a 62-17 win over Stanford. Martinez had a remarkable day, rushing for 4 TDs and 146 yards. Oregon State has no time to celebrate as they have back-to-back season-defining games on the horizon: v. No. 5 Washington and No. 6 Oregon. The Beavers will need to channel their performance against Stanford this upcoming season if they hope to play foil to Washington’s historic season.
No. 9: Louisville Cardinals (9-1, +2). After nearly blowing a 21-point lead over a 2-win Virginia squad, the Cardinals are now a win away from clinching their first-ever trip to the ACC Championship Game. Senior QB Jack Plummer had a serviceable night, throwing for 243 yards, a TD, and an INT. The second half was a tale of two quarters, the third was all UVA, 21 unanswered points, and the fourth was all Birds, outscoring the Cavaliers 17-3 to clinch the win. Louisville looks to break double digits for the first time in a decade on the road against Miami.
No. 8: Texas Longhorns (9-1, -1). Star QB Quinn Ewers is finally back for the Longhorns, and not a moment too soon as Texas scrapes out another one-possession win on the road against TCU 29-26. It was not an impressive second half for Texas, getting outscored 20-3 in the fourth quarter. Ewers came back with 317 yards in the air, a TD, and an INT. Texas goes on the road to Iowa State this weekend for their final road game of the year.
No. 7: Alabama Crimson Tide (9-1, +1). The Tide keeps rolling with their 8th consecutive win, 49-21 over Kentucky. Joe Milroe was electric with 234 throwing yards, 3 passing TDs, and 3 rushing TDs. This win clinches the SEC West and solidifies a heavyweight matchup against Georgia for the SEC Championship. Alabama faces FCS opponent, UT-Chattanooga, on the weekend as a sort of victory lap.
For as long as Alabama has the same record as Texas, Alabama will never jump the Longhorns because the CFP strongly emphasizes head-to-head results and Texas’ week 3 win in Tuscaloosa guarantees them a small edge in the rankings. However, in the past three to four weeks, Alabama has played like the perennial, game-winning machine we expect from them, and simply better than Texas.
No. 6: Oregon Ducks (9-1, NC). The Duck’s late-night matchup against USC in Eugene was circled on every Pac-12 fan’s calendars to start the season, but a run of bad results from reigning Heisman winner Caleb Williams, and more importantly the Trojan Defense, relegated this game to mostly an afterthought. Bo Nix became the Heisman favorite after a dazzling 412-yard, 4-passing TD performance. Junior WR Troy Franklin only had two receptions, but made the most of them, notching 147 yards and a TD while Junior WR Tez Johnson had 126 yards and 2 TDs. The Ducks offense appears as good as any in College Football, trailing the LSU Tigers by a hair in scoring. The Ducks hold their CFP destiny in their own hands. If HC Dan Lanning and his star-studded offense can win out and exorcise their demons against probable Pac-12 Championship Game matchup Washington, Oregon will certainly reach the highly coveted Playoffs again.