College Football Week 10 Takeaways: Notable grades, advanced stats and more

Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) passes the ball against the Tennessee Volunteers during the first half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia is still the best team in college football: The No. 3 Bulldogs remain the team to beat after a commanding 27-13 win over No. 1 Tennessee

Alabama‘s and Clemson’s playoff hopes are on life support: After losses on Saturday, it looks bleak for two of college football’s powerhouses.

The College Football Playoff and Heisman races are wide open: We’re three-quarters of the way through the season, and there are still many candidates who can claim a playoff spot and college football’s most distinguished individual award. 

Estimated Reading Time: 5 mins

Week 10 resolved a few questions, such as Georgia still being the best team in college football.

Other situations only got more cloudy, such as the Heisman race and which teams deserve the remaining playoff spots.

Here are the biggest takeaways from Week 10 of the 2022 college football season. 

Georgia is still the team to beat

In what was billed as the biggest game of the year, No. 3 Georgia dominated top-ranked Tennessee, 27-13.

The Bulldogs' defense accomplished something no team in college football had been able to prior: neutralize previous Heisman favorite Hendon Hooker and the Volunteers' offense. Hooker finished with just a 66.0 grade against Georgia, his second-worst mark all season.

Tennessee’s Passing Offense | 2022
Week(s) EPA per pass Rank in FBS
First eight games 0.463 1st
vs. Georgia -0.100 77th

No college program has won two straight national championships since Alabama did so 10 years ago. The Bulldogs look like the favorite to accomplish that this season.

Alabama’s playoff hopes die in Death Valley

Speaking of the Crimson Tide, their hopes of making the playoff very likely ended on Saturday with a 32-31 overtime loss to No. 10 LSU.

The Tigers gashed Alabama’s usually elite run defense. Heading into the game, the Crimson Tide had a 94.1 team run-defense grade, which was nearly two points higher than any other school in the country. That mark came in at just 54.6 against LSU, as the Tigers averaged 7.1 yards per attempt.

The soul-crushing loss was the Crimson Tide’s second defeat of the season. In the playoff’s eight-year history, a two-loss team has never been invited.

Clemson’s playoff chances are (likely) dashed

Alabama wasn’t the only powerhouse to see its playoff hopes all but dissolve on Saturday. No. 4 Clemson suffered a dominant 35-14 loss to Notre Dame in South Bend.

DJ Uiagalelei was in the midst of a bounce-back season before the Tigers’ past two games. He had an 85.7 passing grade in Clemson’s first seven contests, over 20 points higher than his 64.4 figure last season. In his past two games against Syracuse and Notre Dame, though, that’s dropped to an abysmal 50.3 mark.

It might be time for the Tigers to turn to true freshman Cade Klubnik, who was the highest-rated quarterback recruit coming out of high school. However, he hasn’t looked great in limited snaps, either, with just a 49.8 passing grade on 29 dropbacks.

Clemson’s playoff aspirations aren’t completely dead, but they’re on life support. At best, the Tigers can go 12-1 and win the ACC Championship. That still might not be enough on its own to earn a spot in the final four. Clemson should be rooting for absolute chaos over the next few weeks.

The College Football Playoff picture is WIDE open…

We’re 75% of the way through the college football regular season, and the playoff picture seems to get murkier by the week.

Two spots seem all but guaranteed: Georgia and the winner of the Ohio StateMichigan game. Unless the Bulldogs slip up in their final three games, they should be guaranteed a playoff spot, regardless of what happens in the SEC championship game. The Buckeyes and Wolverines seem destined to meet as two 11-0 teams, creating a pseudo-playoff game in the final week of the season.

After that, it's a mess. TCU will lock up a spot if it finishes undefeated and wins the Big 12, but what happens if the Horned Frogs lose to Texas next week but avenge that defeat in the Big 12 title game?

Does the loser of the Ohio State-Michigan game get the benefit of the doubt if it’s a close game? 

What about Tennessee if it finishes 11-1?  

Does a two-loss LSU make it if the Tigers beat Georgia in the SEC Championship game? What about a one-loss Ole Miss if it somehow wins the SEC West and beats the Bulldogs in the championship game?

Does Oregon, USC or UCLA make it in as a one-loss Pac-12 champion? 

How about a one-loss ACC champ in Clemson or North Carolina?

The next few weeks should clear some things up, but the playoff committee could have a whale of a time finding the four most deserving teams at the end of the season. 

…and so is the Heisman race

The race for college football’s most coveted individual award is also an unknown at the moment.

Heisman Trophy Odds (BetMGM)
Player Position School Odds
C.J. Stroud QB Ohio State +175
Hendon Hooker QB Tennessee +300
Blake Corum RB Michigan +700
Caleb Williams QB USC +800
Bo Nix QB Oregon +800

After struggling against Georgia, Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker dropped to second in BetMGM’s latest Heisman odds. The new favorite is Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud, but his 84.8 grade this season sits just 16th in the Power Five. He struggled against one of the worst Power Five teams in Northwestern on Saturday, completing just 53.8% of his passes for 76 yards in the windy conditions.

Michigan’s Blake Corum is trying to become the first running back to take home the award since Derrick Henry did so in 2015. His 93.4 grade is the highest among all running backs in college football.

Two Pac-12 quarterbacks round out the top-five in USC’s Caleb Williams and Oregon’s Bo Nix. Both are among the Power Five’s 10 highest-graded quarterbacks this season.

Right now, my Heisman vote would go to North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye, who’s sixth in odds at (+1200). His 92.3 grade is the highest among all quarterbacks in the country this season. Not to mention, the Tar Heels have lost just one game and could make an interesting playoff case if they beat Clemson in the ACC Championship game. Maye should be near the top of the Heisman conversation instead of on the outside looking in.

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