1) Alabama Crimson Tide (beat No. 13 LSU Tigers 38-17 at home)
This was probably the most complete game that Alabama has really played all year. They completely took advantage of an LSU team that was weaker defensively than it had been in recent years. AJ McCarron had 3 touchdowns and 180 yards on 14-20 passing while TJ Yeldon carried the ball 25 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns himself. The balanced attack kept the Tiger's defense out of rhythm, and the Crimson Tide were able to just keep up a steady pace and wear down LSU. Defensively, Mettenberger was able to make some completions to keep his team in the game, but the Alabama defense didn't let anything get going on the ground. LSU as a whole only rushed for 43 yards, 140 below their average on the season. Alabama's defense was also able to force several key turnovers, especially on LSU's first series when they came away with a goal line strip and recovery. That really set the tone as Alabama began to really assert their dominance after that and had ran away with the game by the early fourth quarter. Alabama has a couple of weeks before their annual visit to Auburn who could be the last roadblock for the Crimson Tide.
2) Florida State Seminoles (beat Wake Forest Demon Deacons 59-3 in Winston-Salem)
3) Ohio State Buckeyes (idle this week; next game November 16 @ Illinois)
4) Stanford Cardinal (beat No. 3 Oregon Ducks 26-20 at home)
This game wasn't really as close as the score may make it seem. It wasn't until the last ten minutes of the fourth quarter that Oregon was able to get on the board. Stanford's defense was absolutely stifling, limiting Heisman hopeful Marcus Mariota to 250 yards and negative 16 yards on the ground. He had pressure in his face all night and even when he completed a pass, it didn't look pretty. Stanford also did a great job of keeping Byron Marshall and De'Anthony Thomas in check, holding them to 76 yards on 17 carries. Offensively, Stanford completely dictated the pace of this game. Kevin Hogan only threw the ball 13 times and that was only when absolutely necessary. For the most part, the Cardinal just relied on the running backs who continuously gained large chunks of yards behind a bruising offensive line. Tyler Gaffney was the workhouse, carrying the ball 45 times for a total of 157 yards. Although the average might not be that impressive, Gaffney did what he had to do to pick up first downs and continue to soak up a lot of the clock to keep the ball out of Mariota's hands. Stanford had the ball for over 42 minutes of the game, and absolutely incredible accomplishment that will definitely serve them well in their eventual BCS Bowl game.
5) Baylor Bears (beat No. 10 Oklahoma Sooners 41-12 at home)
In the span of seven minutes of the second quarter, Baylor buried Oklahoma under three consecutive touchdowns to go up 24-5 and never looked back. Baylor never looked too crisp in this game, but it is hard to deny the end result. Bryce Petty only needed to complete 50% of his passes to garner three touchdowns and 200 yards. Lache Seastrunk had an uncharacteristically bad game, but Shock Linwood picked up the slack and ran for 182 yards on 23 carries. As I had mentioned last week, what is really separating Baylor this year from the past is that they are playing exceptional defense to compliment their high powered offense. Oklahoma managed just under 240 yards of total offense and was never able to get into a rhythm. Blake Bell had a couple of crucial turnovers and the running backs had no lanes to make anything happen. With Texas turning their season around, Baylor has to stay the course until they play the Longhorns in the last game of the season.
6) Oregon Ducks (lost to No. 5 Stanford Cardinal 20-26 in Palo Alto)
I knew I should have stuck with my preseason prediction. Oregon just doesn't have what it takes to win a big game against a physical team. The 2010 Championship game against Auburn and the last two meeting with Stanford have justified that speculation. Mariota struggled throughout the night and the running backs didn't have time to set up their reads and have those explosive plays you're used to seeing Oregon have. Defensively, the Ducks just got manhandled. They knew that the run was going to come on almost every play and yet they still couldn't make a stop. Oregon isn't used to having the ball for too long, but having less than 18 minutes is disastrous. It didn't give them nearly the amount of chances to score that they are so used to having. Looks like another Fiesta Bowl for Oregon.
7) Auburn Tigers (beat Tennessee Volunteers 55-23 in Knoxville)
Gus Malzahn has to be elated by the play of his junior quarterback, Nick Marshall. After struggling the last few years to find a successor to Cam Newton, Malzahn has found Marshall who has come on strong this year. In this most recent game, Marshall ran the ball 14 times for 214 yards and 2 touchdowns. He only passed the ball 7 times, completing 3 for 35 yards. Tre Mason, a runner who must be considered for first team All-SEC honors, tacked on another 117 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries. On the year, Mason has 1038 yards and 16 touchdowns on 181 carries, good for almost six yards a pop. The defense has also really come together for the Tigers this year. After the unit struggled mightily last year, they are now allowing just over 20 points per game and are in the top 25 in scoring defense. Please Auburn, please beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl.
8) Clemson Tigers (idle this week; next game 11/14 against Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at home)
9) Missouri Tigers (beat Kentucky Wildcats 48-17 in Lexington)
Welcome to the Dorial Green-Beckham show. Green-Beckham is a sophomore who was the number one recruit in the country coming out of high school according to Rivals. Due to the offensive system, he really hasn't had the chance to showcase what he is made of (only 28 receptions for 395 yards, five touchdowns in 2012). In this game, he caught seven passes for a hundred yards and four touchdowns, singlehandedly winning this game for the Tigers. New quarterback Maty Mauk has been fantastic since taking over for the injured James Franklin. He may not have the mobility that Franklin possesses, but he is a more accurate thrower and is taking advantage is some serious talent. Missouri is surprisingly good on defense too. They aren't flat out dominant like some other teams in the SEC, but they swarm to the ball when the opponent rushes and are effective at creating turnovers. Missouri actually has sent a great amount of players to the NFL, especially on defense and it continues to show with how head coach Gary Pinkel develops solid but average recruits. Get ready for when Texas A&M comes for a visit on November 30.
10) Texas A&M Aggies (beat Mississippi State Bulldogs 51-41 at home)
If the Aggies defense was even a fraction better, Johnny Football might be looking down the barrel of another Heisman. Manziel continues to do what he wants with defenses, but his own has cost him two games. While Manziel did throw three interceptions, he more than made up for it with five touchdowns and almost five hundred yards of total offense. In a game where the running game could not get going, Manziel found Travis Labhart and Malcome Kennedy each for two touchdowns. Mike Evans didn't have a score in this game, but turned five receptions into 116 yards, including a beautiful 75 yard catch and run. Although Manziel's picks did contribute to Mississippi State keeping this game relatively close, the A&M defense still gave up 537 yards split fairly evenly between multiple running backs and two different quarterbacks. This could be a rough last couple of weeks for the A&M Manziels with trips to LSU and Mizzou in consecutive weeks after their bye.