Cagle’s Corner: Ohio State leaps to No. 1

Tyler Cagle | Sports Writer

The rankings have shifted greatly the second time around.

Utah was blown out by a bumbling USC team.

Baylor lost Seth Russell for the season, opening the door for true freshman Jarrett Stidham.Ohio State finally looked dominant with J.T. Barrett under center again.

Those storylines, and more, all affect the top four teams in my second rankings of the season:

4. LSU

LSU rounds out the top four for the second week in a row in the rankings. Running back Leonard Fournette ran through the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, running for 150 yards and a score.

Fournette is running away from every team LSU plays this year and is also running away in Heisman ballots.

LSU quarterback Brandon Harris also had a terrific game, throwing three touchdowns and 286 yards.

With the Tigers also playing top 10 defense, all facets of the game are clicking for Les Miles’ squad.

With a bye week and a trip to Tuscaloosa to face 7 Alabama looming, the Tigers will have a great opportunity to prove themselves.


Clemson is usually the butt of all the jokes when it comes to legitimacy in college football. The Tigers somehow find a way to lose a huge game, knocking them out of college football championship contention year after year.

The Tigers finally have a legitimate quarterback in Deshaun Watson, though. While Watson has not performed up to the preseason Heisman standards that were thrust upon him, he has been excellent.

The sophomore has thrown for 1,553 yards and 15 touchdowns, while also running for three more scores. Clemson also is playing top 10 defense much like the aforementioned LSU Tigers.

While Clemson does not have a player of Fournette’s ability, its offense is far more complete than LSU’s. After blowing out Miami (a game I had Miami winning), the Tigers are no joke to me.

With NC State coming up this weekend and Florida State coming in a couple of weeks, Clemson will show their true colors soon.


Baylor has been the best offense in the nation by a long shot. The Bears average almost two touchdowns more than second place TCU and they are the only program in America to average over 620 yards of offense.

However, Baylor’s Russell broke a bone in his neck, forcing him to undergo season-ending surgery.

True freshman Jarrett Stidham steps in to take over under center for the Bears.

In garbage time, Stidham has performed well, throwing six scores and 331 yards while completing 86 percent of his passes. Stidham will have the luxury of throwing to the nation’s best receiving core, led by Corey Coleman.

Coleman has caught 18 touchdown passes already this season, and if Stidham can play well, expect the Bears to not miss a beat through the air.

The Bears also have one the nation’s best running games, led by Shock Linwood. Linwood has run for nine touchdowns and 974 yards.

Defensively, the Bears are starting to hit their stride. Although defensive tackle Andrew Billings has been hampered with recent injuries, the Bears’ defensive line has been tremendous.

If the Bears can continue to get pressure on opponents and score points at their usual electric rate, expect them to continue their winning ways.


Ohio State jumps Baylor because of the Bears’ health. While that may seem arbitrary, the Buckeyes also played extremely well last week while the Bears struggled.

J.T. Barrett took over the reins of the offense from Cardale Jones and got right back to work. The sophomore sensation threw for three touchdowns and ran for another two, showcasing his dual-threat ability.

With Barrett at the helm, the Buckeyes will be just as dominant as they were last year.

The Buckeyes have also started to play good defense as well, and with arguably the most talent in the nation, Ohio State is starting to look scary again.

However, the Buckeyes do have two games remaining against Michigan State and Michigan that should challenge them.

Against the two Michigan squads, the Buckeyes will be tested in two different ways.

Their defense will need to step up against Connor Cook and the strong Spartan attack while the Buckeye offense will face a Michigan defense that ranks first in the nation in both points allowed and yards per game.

The Buckeyes have a legit chance to repeat and if their talent pulls together for the rest of the season, they will be tough to beat.