1. Alabama Crimson Tide, 5-0 (1) – The Crimson Tide is clearly the best team in the country. They had a hiccup against Arkansas, but followed that up with a thorough thrashing of a talented Florida squad. The ‘Bama defense played tremendous at the goal line. The offense did what it wanted against a top-notch defense. It’s hard to imagine this team losing, but then again, they should’ve lost to Arkansas. They get Steve Spurrier and South Carolina this week. Last week: Defeated Florida, 31-6. This week: at South Carolina (3-1).
2. Ohio State Buckeyes, 5-0 (2) – The Buckeyes had to work for it, but they managed to get a win in Champaign. Illinois gave a game effort; maybe Ron Zook can hold onto his job. Now Ohio State gets a disappointed Indiana team that gave up a late touchdown to Michigan last week, losing 42-35. Last week: Defeated Illinois, 24-13. This week: vs. Indiana (3-1).
3. Oregon Ducks, 5-0 (8) – I’m a believer. The Ducks fought back after getting down early against Stanford, and ultimately won the game by 3 touchdowns. The defense played well when it had to, and the offense is extremely powerful. If Ohio State falters, this is the next team in line to play Alabama. Last week: Defeated Stanford, 52-31. This week: vs. Washington State (1-4).
4. Boise State Broncos, 4-0 (5) – The Broncos are getting into a softer part of their schedule, which should get Boise-haters all riled up. They disposed of an awful New Mexico State team in decided fashion. Now they get another patsy as Toledo visits the blue turf in Boise. Look for a lopsided score. Last week: Defeated New Mexico State, 59-0. This week: vs. Toledo (3-2).
5. TCU Horned Frogs, 5-0 (5) – Gary Patterson’s team had some first half troubles against an outmatched Rams squad, but they put it together in the second half to make the score more respectable. The defense pitched a shutout, which is always impressive. The Horned Frogs get the Cowboys from Wyoming, which should be another easy victory. Last week: Defeated Colorado State, 27-0. This week: vs. Wyoming (2-3).
6. Oklahoma Sooners, 5-0 (6) – The Red River Shootout was a fairly competitive game, though neither Oklahoma nor Texas appears to be as good as pundits thought. Nevertheless, the Sooners are 5-0 heading into the bye week. They’ll prepare for Iowa State, which doesn’t take two weeks. Last week: Defeated Texas, 28-20. This week: Bye.
7. Nebraska Cornhuskers, 4-0 (7) – The Huskers limped a bit into their bye week. They had a disappointing victory against an FCS school, and Bo Pelini was not pleased. Expect the Huskers to play with more urgency in Manhattan, Kansas. But battling Bill Snyder in his stadium is no easy task. The Wildcats are 4-0. The following week, Nebraska gets Texas in Lincoln. Last week: Bye. This week: at Kansas State (4-0).
8. Auburn Tigers, 5-0 (10) – After beating several quality opponents, Auburn did not suffer a letdown against LA-Monroe. The Tigers dominated from start to finish. Gene Chizek’s guys have been playing great football. They travel to Kentucky before getting Arkansas and LSU at home. In other words, this has the makings of a trap game. Last week: Defeated Louisiana-Monroe, 52-3. This week: at Kentucky (3-2).
9. LSU Tigers, 5-0 (12) – It’s hard not to feel bad for Tennessee. They were so excited, and in their way, they won that game. Having 12 men on the field had no affect on a bad snap. But rules are rules. LSU got another chance and won the game, so they’re still undefeated. However, that might end this week as they travel to Gainesville to take on a good Gator team. Last week: Defeated Tennessee, 16-14. This week: at Florida (4-1).
10. Florida Gators, 4-1 (3) – Florida ran into a buzz saw in Tuscaloosa. But the Gators have a good shot at coming out of the SEC East, which means they’d likely get another crack at the Crimson Tide. Urban Meyer and his team gear up for another battle this week. The Gators host the undefeated LSU Tigers in the Swamp. Last week: Lost at Alabama, 6-31. This week: vs. LSU (5-0).
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11. Arizona Wildcats, 4-0 (14) – Arizona managed to get into the bye week undefeated after beating California in the closing seconds. They get another solid Pac-10 opponent as Oregon State visits Tucson. The Beavers are coming off a close win over the other Arizona school, the Sun Devils. Last week: Bye. This week: vs. Oregon State (2-2).
12. Iowa Hawkeyes, 4-1 (15) – The Hawks dominated Penn State in Kinnick Stadium. The defense kept the Nittany Lions out of the end zone. It’s tough to run on that defense. Iowa heads into their bye week with visions of Denard Robinson on their minds. The Hawks head up to the Big House to play Michigan the week after their bye. Last week: Defeated Penn State, 24-3. This week: Bye.
13. Utah Utes, 4-0 (16) – Coming off the bye, Utah travels to Ames, Iowa to hook up with the Iowa State Cyclones. The Utes shouldn’t look past the ‘Clones, who recently beat Texas Tech at home as a 7 point underdog. But if Utah shows up focused, they should be able to win the game handily. Last week: Bye. This week: at Iowa State (3-2).
14. Arkansas Razorbacks, 3-1 (17) – With a bye last week, Arkansas had an extra week to lick its wounds after the loss to Alabama. Clearly, the Razorbacks have a good team. They step out of conference this week to battle the Texas A&M Aggies in Arlington, Texas. The Aggies are coming off a tough loss to the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Last week: Bye. This week: vs. Texas A&M (3-1).
15. Stanford Cardinal, 4-1 (13) – Stanford just seemed to run out of gas against Oregon. It’s hard to win on the road, especially when you give up 626 yards of total offense. But the Cardinal is still a good team, and don’t be surprised to see them win 10 games this year. They can take out their frustrations on USC this week. Last week: Lost at Oregon, 31-52. This week: vs. USC (4-1).
16. South Carolina Gamecocks, 3-1 (18) – Steve Spurrier has had an extra week to prepare for the Gamecock’s huge showdown with the nation’s top team, the Alabama Crimson Tide. South Carolina dropped a physical game at Auburn the week before the bye. That should have given them a taste of what’s in store with ‘Bama. Last week: Bye. This week: vs. Alabama (5-0).
17. Miami Hurricanes, 3-1 (19) – The Hurricanes keep plugging along. They took down a decent Clemson squad in Death Valley last Saturday, which is a statement win. This week they renew their rivalry with the Florida State Seminoles. Both teams have been playing well, and could ultimately play each other in the ACC Conference Championship. Last week: Defeated Clemson, 30-21. This week: vs. Florida State (4-1).
18. Michigan Wolverines, 5-0 (21) – Michigan escaped with a win against an energized Indiana team. Denard Robinson didn’t disappoint. Some late game heroics were necessary after the Hoosiers scored a late, game tying touchdown. Here’s something to consider: which defense is worse, Michigan or USC? Honestly, I have no idea. The Wolverines better find some answers on D with the Spartans coming to Ann Arbor. Last week: Defeated Indiana, 42-35. This week: vs. Michigan State (5-0).
19. Michigan State, 5-0 (25) – The Spartans earned a huge conference win over the Wisconsin Badgers. They outgained Wisconsin by around 150 yards, and while watching the game, Michigan State was clearly the better team. Now they have to play Denard Robinson and the Michigan Wolverines in an in-state rivalry game between two ranked, undefeated teams. Should be fun to watch. Last week: Defeated Wisconsin, 34-24. This week: at Michigan (5-0).
20. Florida State Seminoles, 4-1 (23) – Florida State had an easy time at Virginia. They jumped out to a big, early lead and coasted to victory. The defense has really come along after getting rocked by Oklahoma in Norman. This week, the Seminoles line up against a Miami team that is really rolling along. The road team has won the past two match-ups in the series. Last week: Defeated Virginia, 34-14. This week: at Miami (3-1).
21. Wisconsin Badgers, 4-1 (9) – The Badgers couldn’t get over the hump in East Lansing. They would get within a field goal, and then Michigan State would answer. Credit the Spartans for playing well. But if you’re a Badger fan, worry about your defense. Look on the bright side, though. Your team gets to play Minnesota this week. Last week: Lost at Michigan State, 24-34. This week: vs. Minnesota (1-4).
22. Nevada, 5-0 (NR) – The Wolf Pack has been playing good football. They disposed of UNLV on the road last Saturday, but their marquee win is the beat down they put on Cal a few weeks back. No team runs the pistol offense better than Nevada. They get another cupcake this week with San Jose State. Last week: Defeated UNLV, 44-26. This week: vs. San Jose State (1-4).
23. USC Trojans, 4-1 (11) – What has happened to the Trojans? Granted, they were hit with NCAA sanctions, but they still have loads of talent on this team. The defense is horrible, and a heralded defense coordinator like Monte Kiffin can’t seem to help. The offense has shown signs of life, but they couldn’t find the end zone against Washington in the final few minutes, which would’ve sealed the deal. Now they have to go to Stanford, which could be a butt-whooping. Last week: Lost to Washington, 31-32. This week: at Stanford (4-1).
24. Oklahoma State, 4-0 (NR) – The young Cowboy squads cracks the Top 25 with a come-from-behind win over Texas A&M last Thursday night. That means they’ve had a few extra days to prepare for Louisiana-Lafayette, though it shouldn’t matter. The Cowboys could have something to say about who comes out of the Big 12 South. Last week: Defeated Texas A&M, 38-35. This week: at Louisiana-Lafayette (2-2).
25. Missouri, 4-0 (NR) – Missouri is another Big 12 team that has played well enough to squeeze into the Top 25. They had a bye this past week, and have the Colorado Buffalos coming into Columbia, Missouri. The Buffs are coming off a solid win over Georgia, which had to make Dan Hawkins feel a little better about his job security. Blaine Gabbert is starting to get more comfortable with Gary Pinkel’s unique offensive system. Last week: Bye. This week: vs. Colorado (3-1).
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