1. Oregon Ducks, 9-0 (1) – It took a while for Oregon to get into their game with Washington, but the Ducks eventually throttled the Jake Locker-less Huskies. The offense continues to be the most potent in the country. They have a potentially dangerous game against the Golden Bears. It’s always tough to play at Cal. Last week: Defeated Washington, 53-16. This week: at California, (5-4).
2. Auburn Tigers, 10-0 (2) – The Tigers basically had an off week as they took down Tennessee-Chattanooga from the FCS. The Cam Newton controversy didn’t seemed to disrupt the Tigers’ offensive rhythm. They get Georgia at home this week. After that, they have one regular season game – at Alabama. Last week: Defeated Tennessee-Chattanooga, 62-24. This week: vs. Georgia, (5-5).
3. TCU Horned Frogs, 10-0 (4) – The Horned Frogs turned in one of this season’s most impressive performances. They annihilated a good Utah team on the road. The defense has given up 23 points in their last 6 games, which is less than 4 points per game. The offense has been similarly impressive. This looks to be a complete football team. Last week: Defeated Utah, 47-7. This week: vs. San Diego State, (7-2).
4. Boise State Broncos, 8-0 (3) – Boise had no trouble with a hot Hawaii team. The Broncos offense was efficient and the defense was awesome all game long. It’s tough to drop this team to #4, but TCU’s performance against Utah can’t be ignored. Boise has an instate battle with the Vandals this week. Last week: Defeated Hawaii, 42-7. This week: at Idaho, (4-5).
5. LSU Tigers, 9-1 (10) – The Tigers have quietly been one of the most impressive teams in college football. They’ve beaten Alabama and managed to get by Florida in Gainesville; their only loss was to Auburn by a touchdown. They’ve played their way into a BCS bowl, as long as they don’t play their way out of it. They shouldn’t this week when they get La-Monroe at home. Last week: Defeated Alabama, 24-21. This week: vs. Louisiana-Monroe, (4-5).
6. Wisconsin Badgers, 8-1 (6) – The Badgers were sluggish coming out of their bye at Purdue. They were actually down at halftime, but came out and covered the spread. They get Indiana this week, and then Michigan and Northwestern. As long as Wisconsin doesn’t slip up, they’ll be playing in a BCS bowl. Last week: Defeated Purdue, 34-13. This week: vs. Indiana, (4-5).
7. Ohio State Buckeyes, 8-1 (7) – Ohio State had its bye this past week. They’re gearing up for Penn State at home, but perhaps they’re looking down the road. They play at Iowa the week after. Although Penn State isn’t as good this year as in recent seasons, they’re still a dangerous team if taken lightly. Last week: Bye. This week: vs. Penn State (6-3).
8. Nebraska Cornhuskers, 8-1 (9) – Nebraska got outplayed by a game Cyclone squad, but a failed 2 point conversion in overtime allowed the Huskers to escape from Ames with a win. The Huskers’ unique defensive system hasn’t been too impressive. They were beat up by the Cyclones. But a win is a win, and Nebraska moves to 8-1. They should get a breather against Kansas in Lincoln this Saturday. Last week: Defeated Iowa State, 31-30. This week: vs. Kansas, (3-6).
9. Stanford Cardinal, 8-1 (11) – Stanford scored an impressive victory against Arizona. If not for TCU’s drubbing of Utah, more people would be talking about how the Cardinal dismantled a decent Arizona team. They have to travel to Tempe this week. They would be wise to not overlook the Sun Devils, who nearly beat Oregon at home. Last week: Defeated Arizona, 42-17. This week: at Arizona State, (4-5).
10. Alabama Crimson Tide, 7-2 (5) – It’s never easy playing in Death Valley. LSU found ways to win, while Alabama did not. The Crimson Tide just doesn’t seem to have it this year. The personnel is there, but something is lacking. Although they can’t win the SEC, they can still spoil Auburn’s shot at a national championship, which is something to play for. Last week: Lost at LSU, 21-24. This week: vs. Mississippi State, (7-2).
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11. Iowa Hawkeyes, 7-2 (14) – Iowa should’ve lost to the Hoosiers, but a dropped touchdown pass on 4th down late in the game was the difference. Iowa didn’t have the services of Adam Robinson, but credit the Indiana defense for playing inspired football. The Hawks have to travel to Northwestern this week. Careful, Iowa. Northwestern has owned this series in recent years. Last week: Defeated Indiana, 18-13. This week: at Northwestern, (6-3).
12. Michigan State, 9-1 (15) – Sparty had no trouble with Minnesota, though they narrowly missed covering the spread. Michigan State was in control for the entire game. The Spartans get their bye this week. As long as they don’t drop another game, Michigan State will, at worst, share the Big 10 title. Last week: Defeated Minnesota, 31-8. This week: Bye.
13. Oklahoma State, 8-1 (16) – The Cowboys have been impressive all year. They throttled the Bears in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicates, and Okie State won by 27. The Cowboy defense has gotten better all season. They travel to Austin this week to take on a reeling Texas team. Last week: Defeated Baylor, 55-28. This week: at Texas (4-5).
14. Utah Utes, 8-1 (8) – The perfect season is no more. The Utes got trashed by TCU at home. There was lots of talk about getting back at the Horned Frogs after last year’s shellacking, but the bottom line is TCU is a much better football team than Utah. Nonetheless, the Utes can still finish with a one loss season, which is quite an accomplishment. They head to South Bend to take on the Irish. Last week: Lost to TCU, 7-47. This week: at Notre Dame, (4-5).
15. Arkansas Razorbacks, 7-2 (18) – The Razorbacks dominated South Carolina, beating them easily. The SEC West is obviously the better of the two divisions. Arkansas steps out of conference this week when they host UTEP from Conference USA. The Miners have a decent offense, so Arkansas can’t look at this like it’s a bye. Last week: Defeated South Carolina, 41-20. This week: vs. UTEP, (6-4).
16. Virginia Tech, 7-2 (19) – The Hokies had all kinds of trouble against Georgia Tech, but managed to survive thanks to a late score. Va Tech is currently on a 7 game winning streak. They’ll tackle the Tar Heels this week. North Carolina has been solid all season, even with their suspensions, and is coming off a surprising road win against FSU in Tallahassee. Last week: Defeated Georgia Tech, 28-21. This week: at North Carolina, (6-3).
17. Arizona Wildcats, 7-2 (13) – Arizona got taken behind the woodshed at Stanford. The Wildcats were clearly outmatched on both sides of the ball. They can’t sulk for too long with USC coming to Tucson. Look for Mike Stoops to get his team ready for this one. Last week: Lost at Stanford, 42-17. This week: vs. USC, (6-3).
18. Missouri, 7-2 (17) – The Tigers dropped their second straight game, this time to Texas Tech in Lubbock. Their win over Oklahoma doesn’t seem as impressive, either, with the Sooners’ collapse in College Station. They have another tough game this week with Kansas State coming to town. Last week: Lost at Texas Tech, 17-24. This week: vs. Kansas State, (6-3).
19. Oklahoma Sooners, 7-2 (12) – What happened to the Sooners this year? They have a lot of talent on offense, but struggled mightily against an average Aggie defense. However, it’s always tough playing in College Station. They’ll look to get back on track against Texas Tech in Norman this week. This team can still win the Big 12 South. Last week: Lost at Texas A&M, 19-33. This week: vs. Texas Tech, (5-4).
20. Mississippi State, 7-2 (21) – The Bulldogs are coming off their bye and have to travel to Tuscaloosa to tangle with an angry Alabama team. Mississippi State has been one of the biggest surprises in all of college football. They already have a big road win at the Swamp under their belt. A win at Alabama would be a major national statement. Last week: Bye. This week: at Alabama (7-2).
21. Nevada, 7-1 (25) – The Wolf Pack throttled the Vandals this past week. No team runs the pistol as well as Nevada. They have an intriguing match up with Fresno State. Both teams are bowl eligible, and the Bulldogs are coming off a surprising road win at Louisiana Tech. Last week: Defeated Idaho, 63-17. This week: at Fresno State, (6-2).
22. Florida, 6-3 (NR) – The Gators get back into our rankings after spanking Vandy. After dropping three games in a row, Florida has battled back to being relevant in the SEC. If they can beat the Gamecocks at home this week, they’ll represent the SEC East in the title game. Last week: Defeated Vanderbilt, 55-14. This week: vs. South Carolina, (6-3).
23. UCF, 7-2 (NR) – The Golden Knights crack the top 25 for the first time all season. George O’Leary has a talented team, and the defense is especially good. They gave up quite a few points to Houston and East Carolina, but so do a lot of teams. UCF has a bruising ground attack and a dual threat quarterback. They look like the best team in Conference USA, but need to beat Southern Miss to solidify that claim. Last week: Defeated Houston, 40-33. This week: vs. Southern Mississippi, (6-3).
24. South Carolina Gamecocks, 6-3 (20) – It’s tempting to drop South Carolina from the rankings, but two of their three losses are to Auburn and Arkansas. They got thrashed at home against the Razorbacks. But they can still win the SEC East if they beat the Gators down at the Swamp. This is a homecoming for former Florida coach, Steve Spurrier. Last week: Lost to Arkansas, 20-41. This week: at Florida, (6-3).
25. Texas A&M, 6-3 (NR) – The Aggies sneak into the top 25 after handling the Sooners at home this past week. The offense is explosive and the defense turned in an inspired effort against OU. If they didn’t fall apart against Oklahoma State earlier in the season, this would be the team to beat in the Big 12 South. They don’t get too long to enjoy the victory as they head to Waco to take on Baylor. Last week: Defeated Oklahoma, 33-19. This week: at Baylor, (7-3).
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