College Football America Top 30: Rivalry Week Was Everything

Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines

The Storyline

Rivalry weekend was everything it’s supposed to be with upsets, near upsets, and shootouts everywhere you looked.

But nothing was bigger than the Michigan Wolverines’ takedown of Ohio State at the Big House (which our College Football America editor Matthew Postins attended, by the way. Check out his photo gallery from the game).

“The Game” was the game for sure, and after starting 0-6 against Ohio State since taking the Michigan job in 2015, head coach Jim Harbaugh finally got the breakthrough win that has his Wolverines on the doorstep of the College Football Playoff. The Wolverines are now just one win away from the playoff, and they’ll get their shot in Indianapolis next Saturday night when they take on Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Elsewhere, there was almost a major upset on The Plains Saturday night when the Alabama Crimson Tide paid a visit to the Auburn Tigers. The Tide were trailing 10-0 entering the fourth quarter before rallying with less than a minute to play to tie the game and send it to overtime. The two teams were knotted at 20-all after two overtimes, when the game switched to college football’s new version of a soccer shootout. Starting with the third overtime, teams must go for two — a brilliant adjustment to the rules that has already created some incredible finishes this season. Alabama finally prevailed in the fourth overtime after stopping Auburn and then scoring on their own opportunity to escape with a 24-22 result.

Finally, Oklahoma State pulled off a late rally of its home after falling behind 33-24 against archrival Oklahoma. In what could have been the final Bedlam game played at Stillwater if the series is discontinued when Oklahoma moves to the SEC, the Cowboys got what could be a program-defining win if they can beat Baylor in the Big 12 Championship Game next weekend. They are on the cusp of the playoff, and depending on this week’s rankings and next week’s result in the conference title game, they just might sneak in at the finish line.

The College Football America Top 30

No. 1 Georgia has been on cruise control since winning a close game, 10-3, over Clemson in the season opener. The closest game since then was 30-13 thrashing of Kentucky in a midseason tilt, and Saturday’s 45-0 shutout of Georgia Tech was another yawner. They appear to be far and away the nation’s best team, but a date with No. 2 Alabama in the SEC Championship Game next Saturday could be their stiffest test so far. It’s not a great Alabama team, but you would think Nick Saban will have his team ready to compete in Atlanta.

Michigan takes over the No. 3 spot from Ohio State, the team they beat Saturday, while the Buckeyes slip to No. 8. Cincinnati holds steady at No. 4, and they are likely just one win away from becoming the first Group of 5 team to crack the playoff field. They’ll get their shot at home next Saturday against Houston — an 11-1 team that they can’t overlook. Notre Dame hangs onto the No. 5 position for another week, but an early-season loss to Cincinnati means the Fighting Irish will need some upsets in the conference title games to get a shot at cracking the playoff field.

Oklahoma State jumps to No. 6 with the win over Oklahoma, followed closely by Ole Miss, which is up a spot to No. 7. Oklahoma settles in at No. 9 behind Ohio State, and Iowa is still clinging to the No. 10 position heading into the Big Ten Championship Game.

The College Football America Top 30

1. Georgia (12-0)

2. Alabama (11-1)

3. Michigan (11-1)

4. Cincinnati (12-0)

5. Notre Dame (11-1)

6. Oklahoma State (11-1)

7. Ole Miss (10-2)

8. Ohio State (10-2)

9. Oklahoma (10-2)

10. Iowa (10-2)

11. Oregon (10-2)

12. Baylor (10-2)

13. Michigan State (10-2)

14. Pittsburgh (10-2)

15. Clemson (9-3)

16. Utah (9-3)

17. Wake Forest (10-2)

18. Arkansas (8-4)

19. Texas A&M (8-4)

20. Kentucky (9-3)

21. NC State (9-3)

22. BYU (10-2)

23. Minnesota (8-4)

24. Wisconsin (8-4)

25. Mississippi St. (7-5)

26. Purdue (8-4)

27. Penn State (7-5)

28. UCLA (8-4)

29. San Diego St. (11-1)

30. Houston (11-1)

Published by Kendall Webb

Kendall Webb is a sports writer and photographer based in Middle Tennessee. He is a graduate of Kilgore College (A.A., 1992), the University of Texas at Austin (B.J., 1995) and Middle Tennessee State University (B.S., 2000), and is currently a master's candidate (A.L.M.) in Harvard University's extension studies program with a major in journalism.

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