25. NO. 7 STANFORD (3-0) AT NO. 10 WASHINGTON (4-0), NO. 8 WISCONSIN (4-0) AT NO. 4 MICHIGAN (4-0) AND NO. 3 LOUISVILLE (4-0) AT NO. 5 CLEMSON (4-0). Some weekends seem barren, and some weeks they just keep throwing gems at you until you can’t even comprehend them all.
24. LSU CLEARS OUT. In bidding farewell to 12-year head coach Les Miles, Baton Rouge also held a moment of silence for ousted offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. There was no tragedy, but it’s just that briefly, people had nothing to talk about.
23. NOTRE DAME CLEARS OUT ONE. In dismissing defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder from a program that has gone 1-5 in its last six and allowed 206 points in the losses, Coach Brian Kelly fielded a question from a reporter who said he had been at the breakfast table studying Notre Dame’s melancholy red-zone defense stats, and second- and third-quarter defense stats, and Kelly answered only, “Well, it’s why we made a change.” A guy volunteers to ruin his breakfast like that, you might give him more than one sentence.
22. KENTUCKY AT NO. 1 ALABAMA. The Wildcats stand 2-36-1 against Alabama lifetime, so if you witnessed either the 6-0 win in 1922 or the 40-34 overtime win in 1997, it’s like you’ve seen aurora borealis over the continental United States. Yeah, that’s how it felt.
21. MY COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES OREDIGGERS. We took another defeat, this by 45-31 to Western State (Colo.) and its inhospitable 24-0 fourth quarter, so we’re going to Fort Lewis at sixth place in the RMAC, and we real fans are staying true.
20. SCORE OF THE WEEK: LSU 19, AUBURN 18. It did appear briefly on the board, then it left, as if it came by Snapchat.
19. FARGO. Having jettisoned Iowa from the top 25, North Dakota State had a much-deserved week off, and then all the new Philadelphia Eagles fans there gathered at TVs to watch the terrific Carson Wentz. Another few weeks of Eagles fandom, and they’ll start take pride in their lifetime agony.
18. EAST LANSING. Upon a jarring 30-6 home loss to Wisconsin, Michigan State Coach Mark Dantonio said, “People have been saying a lot of good things about us lately, and now we’ll take some shots.” Wrong. Anybody who wins at Urban Meyer’s Ohio State automatically has a two-year moratorium on shots.
17. … AND EAST LANSING AGAIN. Wisconsin’s players said they weren’t surprised at all by their extremely surprising romp at Michigan State, and while that’s believable, we’re still waiting for the one creative player who will say such an outcome was surprising because he thought his teammates were inept.
16. COACH OF THE WEEK: HUGH FREEZE. Coming off a 1-2 downer of a start, and eyeing a Georgia visit that looked like a doozy of a game, and with an NCAA investigation forming a cloud in the distance anyway, Ole Miss led 31-0 before some tailgaters in “The Grove” could finish chewing the last pork shoulder. That didn’t seem the easiest trick in the world.
15. THE ELIGIBILITY OF TREVOR KNIGHT. With Texas A&M at 4-0 after Knight’s 225 passing yards and 157 rushing yards against Arkansas, the graduate transfer from Oklahoma thanked the A&M staff for letting him make more memories because, he said, “A lot of people don’t understand: These are memories that you’re going to remember forever.” It’s important for a veteran to remind of what’s important so fans can augment their thoughts alongside wanting to annihilate their satanic opponents.
14. MADISON AND BOULDER. There are big football autumns in two of the best three American college towns (in one schlub’s ranking), and if they would like to keep winning and lure objective sportswriters to those towns more often, objective sportswriters would not mind.
13. THAT THING THAT HAPPENS TO ATHLETES LIKE CHRISTIAN McCAFFREY. The Stanford star romped all over fields last year to such degree that on Saturday, he rushed for 138 yards against UCLA, but with a long rush of 13, and fielded a question about being kept “quiet.” Either he has done something to people’s eyeballs that prevent them from noticing 138 yards, or Americans in general are just really fussy.
12. THE MARSHALL DEFENSE. That proud program just held Louisville under 60 (at 59). It’s not the greatest thing in the world, but nobody else had done it.
11. THE SERVICE ACADEMIES. Even with Army’s unexpected loss to Buffalo, the three Football Bowl Subdivision ones stand a combined 9-1, with Navy due at Air Force on Saturday. That will begin the chase for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, which Navy has won 10 of the last 13 seasons, and which, in the event of three 1-1 records, returns to the previous year’s winner, but should be decided by a 12-member committee meeting in some dreary boardroom near some major airport.
10. STANFORD MASTERS THE ANGELENOS. Since 2009, the Cardinal has gone 15-2 against Southern California and UCLA, beating each in Pacific-12 title games, raising its record against UCLA from 30-45-3 to 39-45-3 and generally reshaping all understood reality.
9. MIKE MCINTYRE, COACH. When you have stood on the sideline through 25 Colorado losses in 27 Pac-12 games through your first three seasons, and suddenly you’re 1-0 (and 3-1 overall) and teary after a win at Oregon (and an impressive fight in a loss at Michigan), any people who cannot feel happy for you are just people with whom nobody should want to hang out.
8. THE REDOUBTABLE JOSHUA DOBBS. Tennessee quarterback, first half vs. Florida: 7 for 20, 84 yards, one interception. Second half: 9 for 12, 235 yards, four touchdowns, one interception. The senior aerospace engineering major may have redefined his career right there, as well as reminding us that all this stuff we constantly try to explain might be inexplicable.
7. THAT PERSISTENT HOUSTON HUM. Here’s Houston’s schedule for October as we all seek a referendum on the value of the second tier (or “Group of Five): at home to Connecticut, at Navy, at home to Tulsa, at SMU and at home to Central Florida. Where the College Football Playoff selection committee would place a 9-0 Houston is one of the most fascinating subjects for all of bizarre enough to consider it fascinating.
6. NO. 7 STANFORD (3-0) AT NO. 10 WASHINGTON (4-0). Ahead of this first all-top-10 game at Husky Stadium since Tom Osborne brought in his last Nebraska team in 1997, Washington had to elude Arizona in overtime and Stanford had to elude UCLA with its only touchdown, on the Ryan Burns-directed 70-yard drive that ended with 24 seconds left. In anticipation, to both of them, a simple word: Thanks.
5. THE CHARISMATIC STEVEN MONTEZ. When you’re a redshirt freshman quarterback who supplants the Colorado starter, then throws 0 for 7 at Michigan, then rushes for 135 yards and passes for 333 in a 41-38 win at Oregon and flinches not at having frittered a 33-17 lead, whereupon you say, “I knew that the game wasn’t going to slip out of our hands, because this is not the same Colorado team, it’s just not,” any people who cannot feel happy for you are just inconsiderate.
4. NO. 8 WISCONSIN (4-0) AT NO. 4 MICHIGAN (4-0). Could the Badgers really sweep their adored Michigan-based brothers to the east?
3. 11-YEAR-OLD TENNESSEE FANS. People were concerned for them because in their entire lives they had never seen a win against Florida. Now, they have what’s called a “life lesson,” that if they keep sports long enough, they will know years and years and years of misery in search of brief moments that aren’t misery.
2. NO. 3 LOUISVILLE (4-0) AT NO. 5 CLEMSON (4-0). Louisville’s offense has gained 663 yards, 845 yards, 530 yards and 690 yards, and averages 450 yards more per game than California, which ranks No. 2 in the country. If Lamar Jackson’s offense comes out of a valley named for death with anything similar, that means we’ll have that college football rarity: a fresh titan.
1. LES MILES. When a guy gets fired at a big place like LSU, that’s news. When a guy spends 12 years at a pressurized program and wins a national title and gets to another title game and becomes one of the characters of a sport that, like most other sports, is running out of characters, that’s actually the more important impression.