A College Football Playoff spots seems out of the question for Iowa after Saturday’s loss to North Dakota State, which would be in this space if it was not an FBS-only Power Rankings. Hey, there’s still the Big Ten West for the Hawkeyes.
Iowa’s loss marred an otherwise outstanding Saturday for the Big Ten. The league went 9-2 in nonconference games. Eight of its 14 teams are undefeated. Four of those teams appear in this week’s top 10. There are six overall in the Power Rankings.
It looks like you can pencil in Ohio State for a College Football Playoff berth after three weeks. Nebraska finally won a big game. Wisconsin is overachieving. Michigan State won at Notre Dame. Michigan continues to be remade by You Know Who.
The season moves on but a key truth emerged on Saturday: North Dakota State can play … with just about anyone.
|This is the state of the game today: Ole Miss and Bama have combined for 184 points in their last nine quarters. That’s almost three touchdowns per period. This time, the Tide survived a game that featured a combined 1,019 yards, 15 penalties, three turnovers and another giant challenge from the Rebels. Sure, Alabama’s vulnerable. Just keep saying that as it chases a 16th consecutive win this week against Kent State.||—||3-0|
|The best least-experienced team in the country earned up a spot in the national championship conversation with a systematic dismantling of Oklahoma. The Buckeyes are not going away soon. OSU’s two-deep featured 17 freshmen.||—||3-0|
|The biggest game in Cardinals history gives way to the biggest hopes in Cardinals history. Louisville looks like a team that can definitely win it all after embarrassing Florida State. What better endorsement do you need than Michael Vick who tweeted that Lamar Jackson is “5x better than I was?”||3||3-0|
|Greg Ward Jr.’s sore shoulder looked, well, sore against Cincinnati. But the Houston quarterback remains the Cougars’ best option to get to the playoff. With the Bearcats defense closing in, Ward accounted for 399 yards in total offense (rushing / passing).||1||3-0|
|It turned out to be the bye week from hell for Notre Dame. The rested Spartans rushed out to a 36-7 lead then survived 36-28 to break a three-game losing streak against the Irish. Fifth-year senior quarterback Tyler O’Connor already has a scrapbook of memories. In the last two seasons, he has been a part of road wins at Ohio State and Notre Dame.||2||2-0|
|The mercy rule applied against outmanned South Carolina State. The Bulldogs said “no mas” as the teams agreed to 12-minute quarters in the second half. The Tigers needed the breather with a short week before going to unbeaten Georgia Tech on Thursday.||2||3-0|
|The Cardinal have now won seven of the last nine against USC. That’s the best run of success for Stanford in the 11-year history of the rivalry. USC is 1-2 for the first time since 2001. Christian McCaffrey now has a staggering 970 all-purpose yards against the Trojans in the last three meetings.||1||2-0|
|Freshman Alex Hornibrook replaced starter Bart Houston at quarterback to help avoid an upset by Georgia State. If the Badgers thought Saturday was tough, try the next five weeks — Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa and Nebraska.||1||3-0|
|The education of Jacob Eason continues. The freshman quarterback threw a fourth-down touchdown pass to win at Missouri with 91 seconds left. Georgia has its quarterback and a defense that, on Saturday, forced five turnovers.||2||3-0|
|Tom Brady addressed the Wolverines before the Colorado game. The Buffs then sped out to 21-7 lead, and it only felt the like the entire country was rooting for CU. Michigan rallied behind Jabrill Peppers, who returned a punt 54 yards and a kickoff 55 yards. Charles Woodson would be jealous.||2||3-0|
|Who knew the Hogs were 9-1 in their last 10? Arkansas locked down its fourth 3-0 start in six years by routing Texas State. Now comes the hard part in a loaded SEC West. Arkansas plays its annual rivalry game against also-unbeaten Texas A&M at Jerry World. Something has to give.||8||3-0|
|The Hot Seat Bowl goes to Kevin Sumlin. Let the Gus Malzahn job speculation begin after the Aggies played a compete game in a 13-point win at Auburn.||10||3-0|
|We shouldn’t have to tell you what this week is about. Florida’s winning streak against its SEC East rival streak reaches 12 on Saturday, or Tennessee goes to 4-0 for the first time since 2003.||2||3-0|
|It’s not written anywhere but let’s just assume that any team that gives up 63 points and loses by 43 can’t play for the national championship. The Noles have a lot of work to do to repair its ego, image and prospects.||9||2-1|
|Leonard Fournette helped and hurt against Mississippi State — 147 yards and two fumbles. The maturation of Danny Etling continued in a three-point win over Mississippi State. “I continue to get more and more comfortable with the first-team guys,” Etling said. Heading into Week 4, that’s progress.||3||2-1|
|Upset alert takes a dive in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Richt Resurgence continues with a 35-point win at Appalachian State. Stat of the week: The Canes have won by more points (140 total) than 119 teams have scored.||5||3-0|
|The Huskers finally won a big one. Mike Riley just won an old one. Down went Oregon, which had beaten Riley seven straight times while he was coaching Oregon State. There’s no reason the Huskers shouldn’t be 7-0 when they go to Wisconsin on Oct. 29.||9||3-0|
|If it wasn’t for Purdue backups, what would the SEC do at quarterback? It looks like Boilermakers’ transfer Austin Appleby will start against the Vols because of Luke Del Rio’s knee injury. Can the Gators continue their streak?||6||3-0|
|How much anguish can Texas stand? Last year, the Horns lost in Austin after a missed extra point. This time a native Texan, Davis Webb, threw the winning touchdown pass for Cal with 3:41 left. The Big 12’s playoff chances have shrunk to near zero.||9||2-1|
|Yes, the Hawkeyes were warned. No, they still couldn’t stop North Dakota State. Worse, the Hawkeyes paid $500,000 (guaranteed money) for the right to be punked by the Bison.||7||2-1|
|Yes, that was your basic 45-19 run by Alabama after the Rebels took a 24-3 lead. The reason is clear. Only Kentucky is worse in SEC total defense. No time to get well for Ole Miss with Georgia next.||5||1-2|
|It’s OK for the Aztecs to start dreaming about a New Year’s Six bowl and for Donnel Pumphrey dream about a trip to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony. SDSU won at Northern Illinois with Pumphrey running for 220 yards and scoring three times. The nation’s leading rusher is averaging almost 200 yards per game.||4||3-0|
|Yes, it looked clunky in a 38-10 over Rice. But the Bears are the only 3-0 team in the Big 12. Seth Russell –11-0 as a starter — threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns.||3||3-0|
|We’d love to rank the Huskies higher, but the body of work is unimpressive. They’ve beaten Rutgers, Idaho and Portland State. The season “opens” this week at Arizona.||1||3-0|
|“Sack Lake City” had 10 sacks against San Jose State and now has 15 for the season. Only eight teams have allowed fewer touchdowns (four). Kyle Whittingham is building a quiet powerhouse in Salt Lake City. Utah is 15-3 in its last 18 games with USC coming to town Thursday night. Not a good time, Trojans. Not a good time.||1||3-0|
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / College Football Power Rankings: The Big Ten might just be the best in the land