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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State headline Joel Klatt’s top 10 rankings


A whirlwind Week 10 of the college football season provided a few blowout wins and a couple of stunning upsets, shaking up the most recent edition of Joel Klatt’s Top 10 list.

FOX Sports’ lead college football analyst will elaborate on his rankings in the next episode of “The Joel Klatt Show,” which features three episodes per week and offers unique takes and analysis of the biggest games and storylines throughout college football.

Here are Klatt’s updated rankings after Week 10.

1. Georgia (Previous ranking: 3)

Week 10 result: Defeated Tennessee, 27-13

Why they’re ranked here: Georgia left little doubt which team belongs in the No. 1 spot after a dominant performance against Tennessee. Stetson Bennett threw for 257 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another, while the Bulldogs defense held Tennessee’s high-octane offense without a touchdown until the final minutes. Kirby Smart’s team looks like the best team in college football.

Key stat: After holding the Volunteers to just one touchdown, the Bulldogs defense has held every opponent they’ve faced this season to two touchdowns or fewer. They are the only team in the nation to do so.

What’s next? The Bulldogs will travel to Starkville to battle Mississippi State in an SEC showdown (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET).

2. Michigan (Previous ranking: 4)

Week 10 result: Defeated Rutgers, 52-17

Why they’re ranked here: It didn’t look pretty for Michigan early, but J.J. McCarthy turned it on in the second half, leading the Wolverines to a 52-17 victory over Rutgers. Blake Corum continues to look like the best running back in the country, as he racked up 109 yards and two touchdowns. Perhaps most important for the Wolverines is that their defense continues to look better every week. It is looking like Big Ten fans could be in store for another classic Michigan-Ohio State matchup to close out regular season, with major College Football Playoff implications on the line.

Key stat: Michigan has won seven straight against Rutgers.

What’s next? The Wolverines will travel to Lincoln to take on Nebraska in Week 11 (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET).

3. Ohio State (Previous ranking: 2)

Week 10 result: Defeated Northwestern, 21-7

Why they’re ranked here: Although it wasn’t pretty, Ohio State took care of business on the road in a game that featured heavy rain and gusty winds. The Buckeyes didn’t look like a national title-caliber squad, but championship teams find a way to win, even if it is ugly at times. The Buckeyes didn’t do enough to rise to the top spot in the rankings, but they also don’t deserve to fall too far down the list.

Key stat: Ohio State has scored 20 or more points in 70 consecutive games, which breaks a tie with Oklahoma for the longest streak among FBS teams.

What’s next? The Buckeyes will play host to unranked Indiana in Week 11 (Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, FOX).

4. TCU (Previous ranking: 5)

Week 10 result: Defeated Texas Tech, 34-24

Why they’re ranked here: TCU’s magical season continues, and with every week that goes by, Sonny Dykes’ team looks more and more like a legitimate College Football Playoff contender. Although he didn’t light the world on fire from a statistical standpoint against Texas Tech, Max Duggan continues to show the college football universe why he is one of the top signal-callers in the nation.

Key stat: Dykes is just the second coach in TCU history to win his first nine games. Dykes joins Francis Schmidt, who led the 1929 Horned Frogs to a 9-0-1 record.

What’s next? The Horned Frogs (9-0) will take on in-state foe Texas in Week 11 (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET).

5. Tennessee (Previous ranking: 1)

Week 10 result: Lost to Georgia, 27-13

Why they’re ranked here: Despite the loss to Georgia, this is still a really good Tennessee team. Hendon Hooker didn’t have his best game Saturday, finishing with 195 yards passing and an interception. That put an end to his 20-game passing touchdown streak, which was the longest streak in program history. The Vols finish the regular season with three matchups against unranked opponents (Missouri, South Carolina and Vanderbilt). They should remain in the mix for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Key stat: The Vols finished with two fumble recoveries in their loss to Georgia, marking the seventh time this season they have forced multiple turnovers.

What’s next? The Volunteers will host Missouri in Week 11 (Saturday, 12 p.m. ET).

6. Oregon (Previous ranking: 8)

Week 10 result: Defeated Colorado, 49-10

Why they’re ranked here: Oregon has looked near-unstoppable since the Week 1 loss to Georgia. Bo Nix is playing the best football of his career, leading an offense that is averaging more than 43 points per game this season. If the Ducks can get by Washington next week, it will set up a must-see showdown with Utah on Nov. 19.

Key stat: Oregon has won four straight games by 15-plus points, which is the longest active streak in the nation.

What’s next? The Ducks will look to keep their hot streak alive as they play host to the Huskies in Week 11 (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, FOX).

7. LSU (Previous ranking: unranked)

Week 10 result: Defeated Alabama, 32-31

Why they’re ranked here: Who thought that after a 24-23 loss to Florida State in Week 1, Brian Kelly’s LSU team would be ranked in the top 10? That’s what happens you notch back-to-back top 10 victories over Ole Miss and Alabama. Jayden Daniels is quietly putting together one of the best seasons among SEC quarterbacks. He has totaled more than 2,300 yards and 19 touchdowns with only one interception this season. 

Key stat: LSU is the only team to hold Alabama without a first-half touchdown this season.

What’s next? The Tigers play host to Louisville in Week 11 (Saturday, 3:30p.m. ET).

8. Alabama (Previous ranking: 6)

Week 10 result: Lost to LSU, 32-31

Why they’re ranked here: Alabama has lost two games by a combined four points. Nick Saban’s team is still really good, but the Tide’s CFP hopes took a massive hit with this loss to LSU. When you have Bryce Young under center, you can win just about any game you play. Alabama will need Young at his best next weekend when they travel to Mississippi to take on Ole Miss in another much-anticipated SEC showdown.

Key stat: The Crimson Tide have lost twice before Thanksgiving (or the Iron Bowl) for the first time since back in 2010.

What’s next? Alabama will travel to Mississippi to battle the Ole Miss Rebels in Week 11 (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET).

9. UCLA (Previous ranking: 9)

Week 10 result: Defeated Arizona State, 50-38

Why they’re ranked here: The Bruins continue to play outstanding football, led by do-everything QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who was great again in the victory over Arizona State. Thompson-Robinson threw for 169 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 120 yards and two more scores on the ground. The Bruins averaged nearly 10 rushing yards per play Saturday, and that was without their leading rusher, Zach Charbonnet. If UCLA can get by Arizona and USC can take care of Colorado, Pac-12 fans probably will be treated to a top-10 showdown on Nov. 19 at the Rose Bowl. 

Key stat: The Bruins have scored 30 or more points in every game this season, which already matches the number of times they did so last season.

What’s next? UCLA will play host to Arizona in Week 11 (Saturday, 10:30 p.m., FOX).

10. Utah (Previous ranking: 10)

Week 10 result: Defeated Arizona, 45-20.

Why they’re ranked here: Utah went to the ground to grind down Arizona, with a season-high 306 rushing yards. Nine players carried the ball for the Utes, with five averaging more than 7 yards per carry. Add in an opportunistic defense (forcing four fumbles) and you have a recipe for success.  A Week 12 showdown at Oregon looms large.

Key stat: Caleb Williams has now thrown touchdown passes to 11 different players this season.

What’s next? The Utes play host to Stanford in Week 11 (Saturday, 10 p.m. ET).

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