Houston was knocking on the door of getting into the AP Top 25. The Cougars do it this week, as they bested a previously undefeated team in the South Florida Bulls, 57-36. Given the nature of the AAC during the College Football Playoff era, this is largely seen as the sixth-best conference. At any given time, the AAC will have a few teams ranked. Houston, in essence, takes South Florida’s spot and cracks the top-25 this week.
The Hawkeyes had only one loss heading into its game versus Penn State. Iowa looked to be atop the Big Ten West but could hang with a superior football program in Penn State on the road, falling 30-24 in State College. Quarterback Nate Stanley had two costly interceptions. Looking ahead at Iowa’s final four games, they have to potentially tough ones coming up in at Purdue and home versus Big Ten West leader Northwestern.
After beating North Carolina by 10 points 31-21, Virginia looks to be the front-runner for the ACC Coastal division title. It didn’t take too long, but it is clear that Bronco Mendenhall is the right fit in Charlottesville for the Cavaliers. The Hoos are 6-2 on the year and should be favorites in the remaining for games. Of course, Virginia has to beat archrival Virginia Tech to get to Charlotte to have the right to lose to Clemson in the ACC title. The last time Virginia beat the Hokies, Matt Schaub was the Cavaliers quarterback. Let that sink in. Regardless, the Hoos are ranked.
While Clemson is the best team in the ACC by a wide margin, the team that has given Dabo Swinney’s team the most trouble in recent years has been Dino Baber’s Syracuse Orange. After holding on to beat No. 22 North Carolina State at home in a shootout 44-41, the Orange improve to 6-2 on the year. Syracuse is bowl eligible and probably one of the three best teams in an awful ACC. This is good enough for them to crack the Top 25, especially after besting a future NFL quarterback in NC State’s Ryan Finley.
In case you weren’t paying attention, Utah has won four-straight Pac-12 games after dropping both consecutively to the Washington schools. The Utes beat the tar out of UCLA at the Rose Bowl Friday night, 41-10. Having a win over Stanford has Utah firmly in the top-25. If the Utes beat Rocky Mountain rival, Colorado, they should win the Pac-12 South comfortably. They are now 3-0 in divisional play with just the Buffaloes and Arizona State left in conference play, plus an in-state rivalry game at season’s end versus independent BYU.