18 Football Bowl Subdivision teams emerged from September undefeated. Who has the best chance to keep that pace up?
In this gang of perfection, perhaps no one's grasp on their precious zero is more tenuous than that of the Gophers. Minnesota's quarter of victories have come by a combined 20 points, and it's not like they're topping world-beaters (South Dakota State, Fresno State, Georgia Southern).
Biggest Challenge: 11/9 vs Penn State
17. Wake Forest
The fun Demon Deacons could well enter a November 16 visit to Clemson with a 9-0 record. But, the fact remains...they have a November 16 visit to Clemson.
Biggest Challenge: 11/16 @ Clemson
The Big 12's roller coaster nature could have you scoring 40 points one week and 40 the next...but, you know, with different result. Baylor will finally leave the Lone Star state on Saturday, as they head to Manhattan to take on Kansas State.
Biggest Challenge: 10/21 @ Oklahoma State
It's anything but a Florida vacation for the Gators. They're probably aching for a chance to prove to the nation that they're truly "back", but the opportunities are quite dangerous with three of their next four foes currently ranked in the AP's top ten.
Biggest Challenge: 10/12 @ LSU
14. Penn State
After this Saturday's battle with Purdue, the Nitanny Lions go into three straight games against ranked conference enemies (Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State). While formidable, that trio appears manageable, but a November challenge from Ohio State looms even larger.
Biggest Challenge: 10/12 @ Iowa
The Hawkeyes get a slight nod in these rankings over their visitors on October 12 because they avoid the Columbus juggernaut. The road to Indianapolis' Big Ten title game, however, is not traveled without a November pitstop in Madison.
Biggest Challenge: 10/12 vs Penn State
Our perfect AAC duo won't play a seething UCF squad until the conference title game at the earliest. Their remaining slates are equally manageable (with mutual opponent Temple as perhaps the biggest challenge) before they do war on November 2 at the Liberty Bowl.
Head-to-Head: November 2 @ MEM
The Tigers have taken care of business against their ranked foes early, coming back against Oregon on neutral turf before handling Texas A&M on the road. Their remaining ledgers will square them up against four of the current top 10 teams, including a trip to Gainesville this Saturday.
Biggest Challenge: 11/30 vs. Alabama
9. Boise State
It's nice to see the Broncos back in their traditional slot of mid-major darling, but the dangerous Mountain West presents some challenges, like an October visit from Hawaii that was "flexed" to ESPN2. Don't underestimate a non-conference trip to BYU, either
Biggest Challenge: 10/12 vs. Hawaii
The Tigers have given themselves a nice tune-up game against Utah State this weekend. After that, three ranked teams await, including a November visit to Tuscaloosa.
Biggest Challenge: 11/9 @ Alabama
7. Appalachian State
You remember the Mountaineers, right? If they can get through a tricky Sun Belt slate, their biggest test comes against a directional Carolina school from a big conference...the one they haven't beaten already, that is
Biggest Challenge: 11/9 @ South Carolina
On paper, the Sooners' slate seems manageable, especially with that Jalen Hurts/Lincoln Riley-led offense. But we've said that plenty and plenty of times before...including last season against a rival at neutral site.
Biggest Challenge: 10/12 vs. Texas (@ Dallas)
Not used to seeing Clemson so low in a rankings list? Yes, their schedule is relatively easy (fellow unbeaten Wake Forest is the biggest question mark and even FCS Wofford comes to visit), but if they play like they did in Chapel Hill, schools like Florida State and North Carolina State might not be so forgiving.
Biggest Challenge: 11/16 vs. Wake Forest
4./3. Wisconsin/Ohio State
Another conference two-fer, these two have separated themselves from the rest of a mediocre conference. It's possible their October meeting could be the first of a couple, as a rematch at Lucas Oil Stadium is entirely possible.
Head-to-Head: 10/26 @ OSU
Back at their perch at the top of the AP rankings after Clemson's struggles, it's business as usual in Tuscaloosa. A visit from LSU and an Iron Bowl regular season finale will be tightly contested, but you don't doubt the Patriots, so why doubt the Tide?
Biggest Challenge: 11/30 @ Auburn
The Bulldogs handled Notre Dame and won't play Alabama until the early December excursion to Atlanta. Provided they navigate the annual Florida game and a trip to Auburn, they'll only have themselves to blame if they miss the playoff.
Biggest Challenge: 11/16 @ Auburn