Alabama sent a message to the rest of the SEC Saturday night time by treating Georgia’s then-second-ranked protection like a sparring companion. Clemson has principally laughed at its four ACC opponents, defeating them by a median of 32.2 factors per sport.
The 2 conventional powers already appear like locks for the School Soccer Playoff — they usually could not even be one of the best crew within the nation. It positive isn’t a two-horse race between these two regardless of their dominance by the season’s first six weeks.
Ohio State, probably the most proficient crew within the nation on paper, has but to step on the sector. That adjustments Saturday when Nebraska involves Columbus, probably punishment from the Massive Ten schedule-makers for publicly criticizing the league’s preliminary determination to cancel the autumn season.
Sure, the Buckeyes haven’t performed a sport but. So there’s some thriller to what they are going to be. In the meantime, Alabama and its seemingly unstoppable offense seems to be like it’s two touchdowns higher than the remainder of the SEC. Clemson and Heisman Trophy front-runner Trevor Lawrence is perhaps three scores higher than anybody else within the ACC, and that features one-year convention member Notre Dame.
However don’t overlook how a lot Ohio State returns, that projected first-round picks Shaun Wade and Austin Wyatt opted into the season after initially declaring for the NFL draft. Don’t overlook the Buckeyes probably beat Clemson within the School Soccer Playoff if Justin Fields isn’t taking part in on one wholesome ankle and a questionable concentrating on name doesn’t result in Wade’s ejection. Don’t overlook how succesful Ryan Day seemed in his first yr as a head coach, and the way a lot room there ought to be for him to develop after his offense averaged 46.9 factors and 529.9 yards per sport.
Ohio State was my decide to start out the season at No. 1. After a couple of weeks, I moved the Buckeyes down as a result of they’d but to play a sport.
However it will be untimely to anoint Clemson and Alabama at this level. Alabama’s protection seems to be pedestrian, permitting 28.8 factors per sport. Clemson’s offense misplaced prime receivers Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross, and 4 beginning offensive linemen. The Buckeyes do have holes to fill, dropping defensive stars Jeff Okudah and Chase Younger, and beginning operating again J.Ok. Dobbins.
However Wade (cornerback) and Davis (offensive guard) coming again was big — they’re Related Press preseason first-team All-People — and receiver Chris Olave has star potential on the surface. Zach Harrison could observe in an extended line of elite defensive linemen at Ohio State. Fields was sensational in his first full yr because the starter, producing 51 touchdowns, and there’s no purpose to consider he’ll take a step again.
This crew is loaded. It’s deeper, extra skilled and extra proficient throughout the board than Alabama and Clemson. Beginning Saturday, the opposite nationwide title favourite will get its likelihood to show it.
Fast! Look over there!
The SEC ought to gladly welcome the Massive Ten and Pac-12’s return if it means much less consideration on its mediocre groups. As a result of proper now, after Alabama, the powerhouse convention has loads of points. Defenses have been abysmal. There isn’t any clear No. 2 after the Crimson Tide. Until Georgia can win out, and that features an unlikely victory over Alabama within the SEC Championship sport, it’s exhausting to ascertain the league sending a second crew to the playoff. On Saturday, heavy favorites Tennessee and Auburn misplaced. LSU and Florida don’t appear like severe contenders because of porous defenses. Everybody however Nick Saban’s crew already has not less than one defeat, and solely three others — Florida, Texas A&M and Georgia — have one loss.
Don’t do it. Don’t hype up Clemson-Notre Dame on Nov. 7 in South Bend. It doesn’t matter that the Irish are ranked third within the nation or that they’re undefeated. Belief your eyes. This isn’t a title contender. This isn’t a crew able to taking part in with the Tigers. It barely beat one-win Louisville at dwelling after scuffling with Florida State. Notre Dame will probably enter the showdown undefeated — its subsequent two opponents are Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech — however that shouldn’t matter. Don’t consider in Notre Dame. It has completed nothing to counsel it belongs among the many nation’s elite, not to mention No. 1 Clemson.
1. Clemson (5-0) (Final week: 1)
The Tigers can spot anybody within the ACC three touchdowns and they might nonetheless win. The gulf is that broad between Clemson and the remainder of the convention.
2. Alabama (4-0) (2)
As Jerry Jeudy tweeted, Alabama is turning into Vast Receiver U. After producing two first-round picks final yr — Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III — the Crimson Tide have one of the best trio within the nation this season in Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith and John Metchie III.
3. Ohio State (0-0) (3)
It’s sport week in Columbus and with it, come sky-high expectations. Something lower than a title is a disappointment.
4. Georgia (2-1) (4)
The Bulldogs protection doesn’t get a go for permitting 564 yards and 41 factors, however in some unspecified time in the future Kirby Good has to check out USC switch J.T. Daniels. Quarterback Stetson Bennett, the previous walk-on, has a restricted ceiling, as his efficiency towards Alabama confirmed.
5. Penn State (0-0) (5)
The Nittany Lions offense has the potential to be elite. Not solely does quarterback Sean Clifford return, however he has his prime 4 operating backs, tight finish Pat Freiermuth and receiver Jahan Dotson.
6. Notre Dame (3-0) (6)
Overlook the Clemson sport on Nov. 7. Notre Dame must be significantly better simply to beat 3-3 Pittsburgh on Saturday than it was in narrowly escaping one-win Louisville.
7. Florida (2-1) (7)
That is the actual problem of this weird season. After a irritating loss, Florida could have three full weeks to agonize over it whereas hoping to keep away from rust, because of consecutive weeks of COVID-19 postponements.
8. Cincinnati (3-0) (9)
Odds are lengthy that the AAC can get into the playoff. However the Cincinnati-SMU winner Saturday will not less than be a part of the dialog.
9. Oklahoma State (3-0) (10)
One of many nation’s greatest operating backs (Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard) towards one of many higher run defenses (Iowa State) will probably be one of many prime storylines in Saturday’s showdown in Stillwater.
10. Texas A&M (3-1) (NR)
The on-the-rise Aggies are nearly as good as anybody within the non-Alabama section of the SEC, backing up their huge win over Florida with a commanding highway victory at Mississippi State.
Dropped out: North Carolina (3-1)
Heisman Watch (in alphabetical order)
RB Travis Etienne, Clemson
He in all probability gained’t win the award — his teammate, Trevor Lawrence, is the heavy favourite — however there’s little question Etienne is among the premier gamers within the nation, practically as helpful as a receiver out of the backfield as he’s a runner.
QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
It’s lastly go-time for Fields. He doesn’t have a lot time to impress, simply eight video games to depart an impression on the voters. Search for Ohio State to run it up usually.
QB Mac Jones, Alabama
An afterthought in early September, Jones is trying like a legit contender, with 4 straight 400-yard passing video games and a through-the-roof 78.3 completion share.
QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Lawrence lastly threw an interception, snapping a streak of 366 passes and not using a decide, however he greater than made up for it with a career-best 404 yards by the air and 5 landing passes.
QB Kyle Trask, Florida
Although no recognized fault of his personal, Trask’s Heisman hopes took successful with Florida’s back-to-back COVID-19 postponements. Three weeks and not using a sport makes more durable the already difficult spot Trask is in to win the game’s most prestigious honor.