The race for the College Football Playoff took a few unexpected turns this past weekend, with teams we thought could be contenders - USC, Georgia, and Virginia Tech - falling victim to the upset bug.
But as teams fall off, new ones step in to take their place. Who has renewed hope of making the playoff at the end of the year?
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
Last Week: 10
How bad does UCLA have to look before they fall off this list?
They've looked downright horrible and have lost quarterback Brett Hundley to injury for the foreseeable future, but the Bruins are somehow still 3-0. Jim Mora's squad mostly keeps this spot because it's either them, Georgia (who lost), or Ole Miss. I expect UCLA to turn it around, and they have a bye week before facing Arizona State in Tempe. That game is their last chance to get things right.
Last Week: NR
If we haven't learned that LSU will be in the national championship picture every year under Les Miles by now, then we never will. Their defense is as formidable as ever, and the running game is clearly good enough to carry their below-average passing attack.
8 ) Notre Dame
Last Week: NR
The Irish continue to win behind the arm of quarterback Everett Golson, and as a result have played their way into contention for the College Football Playoff. Their schedule doesn't get tough until October - where they face Stanford and Florida State - so expect the Irish to cruise until then.
Last Week: 7
The Tigers have taken care of business in their first two games against Arkansas (45-21) and San Jose State (59-13), and their convincing win over the Razorbacks is looking even better after Bret Bielema's squad beat Texas Tech. Auburn has a showdown with #20 Kansas State on Thursday night, and a win will catapult them up these rankings...and possibly into the top four if someone else stumbles.
Last Week: 6
Baylor hasn't played anyone remotely good yet, but they have absolutely ANNIHILATED their first three opponents. The Bears have accomplished everything you could've wanted them to so far and look like one of the best teams in the country, but they won't move any further up this list until they can prove it...and that won't happen until November, when they face Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in back-to-back games.
5) Texas A&M
Last Week: 8
The Aggies continued to ride the wave of Kenny Trill and their demolition of South Carolina with a blowout victory over Rice. They, like Baylor, have looked as impressive as you could want a team to look in the early part of the season, but they still need another notable win - or loss by a team ahead of them - to move into the Top 4.
Last Week: 4
The Sooners got the win they needed over Tennessee last weekend, but they didn't look all that impressive. Their offense was fine, but they really made noise on their pass rush, taking advantage of the Vol's entirely new offensive line.
Not every team is going to be as weak up front or as young as Tennessee, but Oklahoma has plenty of time to work out the kinks before the Red River Rivalry game on October 11 (when Texas and Oklahoma play each other, records and current form are pretty much meaningless).
Last Week: 3
Alabama beat up on lesser opponents while trying to figure out their quarterback situation, with Blake Sims emerging as the guy.
The Tide's schedule escalates quickly as they host a tough Florida team this week, and their performance this coming Saturday should give us a better sense of how good Nick Saban's squad really is.
2) Florida State
Last Week: 2
The Seminoles may have been suffering from a national title hangover in their first two games, struggling against Oklahoma State (though the Cowboys are now ranked #25 and look like a solid team) and not handling the Citadel as easily as they should have.
Now the Clemson Tigers come to town, and FSU has a chance to make a statement to the rest of the country that they haven't slipped from last year. Even without Jameis Winston in the first half, they should be able to take care of business.
Last Week: 1
Oregon is still sitting pretty in the top spot, as they kept the momentum rolling from their big victory over Michigan State with a 48-14 win over Wyoming. Now the Ducks ease into conference play with games against Washington State and Arizona before hitting the road to face UCLA, their next big test of the season.
Who do you think is a dark horse to make the College Football Playoff? What four teams would you pencil in? Leave a response in the comments!Back to the NCAA Newsfeed