Josh Furlongs AP Top 25: Clemson, Alabama separate from the pack as BYU remains national darling – KSL.com
SALT LAKE CITY — It should come as no surprise anymore that Clemson and Alabama remain the elite football programs in the country, and Saturday showed no reason to doubt either program’s offensive prowess and standing at the top of the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
It’s likely Ohio State will join them this week when it opens up play (but we’re ahead of ourselves a bit).
Clemson left no doubt who was the No. 1 team in the country with its 73-7 lopsided performance over a drastically overwhelmed Georgia Tech team. The Yellow Jackets have struggled this season, but they’re also no slouch, either. But against the offensive power of quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the cast surrounding him, it was game over before it started — even more so than the 27-point spread coming into the game.
And then there was Alabama, who faced Georgia in the primetime game of the week as the No. 2 and No. 3 teams, respectively, met for SEC supremacy. Skipping the Nick Saban COVID-19 drama, the Crimson Tide picked up steam in the second half to establish dominance over a solid Bulldogs team. Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett threw three interceptions, including one that was returned 42 yards by Malachi Moore, and Alabama rolled.
Alabama quarterback Mac Jones found a streaking Jaylen Waddle too connect on a 90-yard touchdown pass en route to a four touchdown and 417 yards passing night to claim a 41-24 victory. Alabama wasted no time replacing Tua, and the Crimson Tide remain a strong contender, again, for a return to the College Football Playoff.
In other news, BYU remains the darling of college football as the Cougars continue to win games and quarterback Zach Wilson puts up big numbers. The junior signal caller threw for 400 yards and four touchdowns on 25-of-35 passing in the Cougars’ fifth straight win of the season on Friday night.
The Cougars looked down and out as it faced its toughest competition of the season against a Houston team known for upsetting ranked opponents. Going into the second half, the red Cougars looked destined for the upset. But BYU’s defense tightened up, Houston made mistakes and the blue Cougars pounced at the right time.
A touchdown followed up by a surprise onside kick flipped the momentum and script on Houston, and it only got worse for Houston. The red Cougars managed a 13-yard punt to its 23-yard line that quickly resulted in a BYU touchdown three plays later and the go-ahead score. That was followed up by a fumble inside its 32-yard line, which set up another BYU score six plays later.
And for style points, BYU put it out of reach with another score in the closing minutes of the contest to ensure the upset bid was spent. Sure, BYU got some lucky bounces after some first-half adversity, but the team capitalized and showed up when it mattered most to claim another victory.
Rounding out some other big games: North Carolina laid an egg against a not-so-great Florida State team, making the Tar Heels’ stay in the top 5 a short stay. Auburn fell victim to South Carolina for another loss on the season. Notre Dame played with fire against a decent Louisville team in a 12-7 win, but it’s debatable how long the Irish stay near the top of the rankings.
Dropping Out: Louisiana (3-1) and Tennessee (2-2)
Checking In: NC State (4-1) and Virginia Tech (3-1)
In Consideration: Army (5-1), Coastal Carolina (4-0), Iowa (0-0), Kentucky (2-2), Marshall (4-0), Memphis (2-1), Oklahoma (2-2), UAB (4-1), West Virginia (3-1)
If you have a question about any of the teams I ranked (or missed), hit me up on Twitter (@JFurKSL) and I’ll do my best to explain my reasoning.