1. Oregon Ducks, 8-0 (1) – The Ducks put away USC and remain atop the rankings. The defense shut out the Trojans in the fourth quarter, and a late interception sealed the deal. The offense keeps clicking along. They’ll try to avoid a letdown against the Huskies this week. Last week: Defeated USC, 53-32. This week: vs. Washington, (5-3).
2. Auburn Tigers, 9-0 (2) – Auburn answered another challenge. They won at Mississippi in convincing fashion. The offense looks as unstoppable as Oregon’s. They get an FCS school at home this week. It seems like the only team that can take down the Tigers is Alabama. They’ll play in the Iron Bowl over the Thanksgiving weekend. Last week: Defeated Ole Miss, 51-31. This week: vs. Tennessee-Chattanooga, (5-3).
3. Boise State Broncos, 7-0 (3) – The Broncos won by 29 points and still didn’t look as dominating as they needed to. Louisiana Tech’s offense had some long, sustained drives against Boise’s defense. The Broncos get a potentially dangerous Hawaii team this week. The Warriors have been dominating opponents, although historically, they’ve had trouble playing off the island. Last week: Defeated Louisiana Tech, 49-20. This week: vs. Hawaii, (7-2).
4. TCU Horned Frogs, 9-0 (4) – TCU is in the midst of an impressive run. The defense has given up 16 total points in their last 5 games. That’s an average of 5.2 points per game. They have a stiff test this week when they head to Utah to take on a talented Utes team. The winner will likely be the champion of the Mountain West Conference. Last week: Defeated UNLV, 48-6. This week: at Utah, (8-0).
5. Alabama Crimson Tide, 7-1 (6) – Alabama had their bye this past week. Tide fans have to be happy with Missouri and Michigan State losing. If the Tide can beat Auburn down the road, there’s a good chance they’ll jump an undefeated Boise State or TCU. They have a difficult game this week, though, as they travel to Baton Rogue to take on the other Tigers. Last week: Bye. This week: at LSU, (7-1).
6. Wisconsin Badgers, 7-1 (7) – With wins over Ohio State and Iowa, Wisconsin is putting together one of the best seasons in its school’s history. They went into the bye on a roll, and for Badger fans, hopefully they didn’t cool off. This week they travel to West Lafayette to take on a reeling Boilermaker team. Last week: Bye. This week: at Purdue, (4-4).
7. Ohio State Buckeyes, 8-1 (8) – The Buckeyes beat up on another pitiful Big 10 team. Thanks to Iowa’s win over Michigan State, Ohio State still has a chance to share the Big 10 crown. They get their bye this week. Last week: Defeated Minnesota, 52-10. This week: Bye.
8. Utah Utes, 8-0 (9) – The Utes had a tough time putting away Air Force, but a late defensive stop won the game. They have a chance to make a national statement this week when they host TCU. The winner will likely take the Mountain West and might have a shot at playing for the national championship. They’ll need to play a nearly perfect game to slow down the Horned Frogs. Last week: Defeated Air Force, 28-23. This week: at TCU, (9-0).
9. Nebraska Cornhuskers, 7-1 (14) – Since losing to Texas, Nebraska has taken down 2 formerly undefeated teams. This past week they used a fast start to do away with Missouri. The Huskers have a powerful running game when they go to it. Taylor Martinez gets a lot of press, but that offensive line is tough and talented. Nebraska aims for revenge this week as they lost to Iowa State in Lincoln last season, 9-7. Last week: Defeated Missouri, 31-17. This week: at Iowa State, (5-4).
10. LSU Tigers, 8-1 (11) – Like Alabama, LSU is coming off its bye. They get the Crimson Tide at home. They might not be able to play their way into the SEC championship, but with a win over ‘Bama, the Tigers can still secure a BCS at large bid. Easier said than done. Last week: Bye. This week: vs. Alabama, (7-1).
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11. Stanford Cardinal, 7-1 (13) – The Cardinal keeps rolling along. Some people thought Washington might be good enough to get the upset, but they got smoked by Stanford. Unfortunately for the Cardinal, they need Oregon to drop 2 games to win the Pac 10. But if they run the rest of their schedule, they should find their way into a BCS bowl, and maybe even the Rose Bowl. Last week: Defeated Washington, 41-0. This week: vs. Arizona, (7-1).
12. Oklahoma Sooners, 7-1 (12) – After losing in Columbia, the Sooners took out their frustrations on a Buffalos team that will likely have a different coach next year. The Big 12 South is still well within the Sooners’ grasp, which means they can earn an automatic birth in a BCS bowl. But they have to go to College Station this week, which is usually a tough place to play. Last week: Defeated Colorado, 43-10. This week: at Texas A&M, (5-3).
13. Arizona Wildcats, 7-1 (16) – It wasn’t pretty, but the Wildcats managed to top the Bruins in Los Angeles. They have an intriguing game this week when they take on Stanford in northern California. The Cats defense is pretty good, but they’ll have to play some great football to slow down the Cardinal offense. Last week: Defeated UCLA, 29-21. This week: at Stanford, (7-1).
14. Iowa Hawkeyes, 6-2 (17) – Finally, Iowa played a complete game. It helped that Michigan State laid an egg, but the Hawkeyes – at times – can look like one of the best teams in the country. If Wisconsin stumbles, the Hawks still have a shot at playing in the Rose Bowl. They need to win out, though. They travel to Bloomington this week. Last week: Defeated Michigan State, 37-6. This week: at Indiana, (4-4).
15. Michigan State, 8-1 (5) – The Spartans’ magical season was brought back to Earth in Iowa City. The Spartans looked awful all game. Iowa was the better team, but Michigan State has to be disappointed with their performance. They’re still tied for first in the Big Ten, and this week they get the conference doormat, Minnesota. Last week: Lost at Iowa, 6-37. This week: vs. Minnesota, (1-8).
16. Oklahoma State, 7-1 (18) – Even without the services of Justin Blackmon, the Cowboys still managed to get a road win in Manhattan. The Cowboy defense played especially well after getting thrashed by Nebraska at home. They head back to Stillwater to take on a Baylor team that has been playing good football. Last week: Defeated Kansas State, 24-14. This week: vs. Baylor (7-2).
17. Missouri, 7-1 (10) – Mizzou found itself in a 24-0 hole in the first quarter, and then won the last three quarters, 17-7. The Tiger rush defense had no answer for Roy Helu, Jr. The offense couldn’t find rhythm against the Huskers’ secondary. They’ll look to rebound in Lubbock this week. Last week: Lost at Nebraska, 17-31. This week: at Texas Tech, (4-4).
18. Arkansas Razorbacks, 6-2 (19) – Arkansas had no trouble disposing of Vanderbilt. If they were in the SEC East, they’d probably be headed for the SEC championship game. But so it goes. They have a tough road game at South Carolina, the team most likely to come out of the SEC East. Last week: Defeated Vanderbilt, 49-14. This week: at South Carolina, (6-2).
19. Virginia Tech, 6-2 (21) – That game against James Madison seems like a long time ago. The Hokies have been the ACC’s most consistent team in conference play. Coming off the bye, they get Georgia Tech at home this week. As many people know, it’s nice to have an extra week to prepare for the triple option. Last week: Bye. This week: vs. Georgia Tech, (5-3).
20. South Carolina Gamecocks, 6-2 (20) – The Gamecocks struggled against Tennessee, but still managed to win by 2 touchdowns. Stephen Garcia is starting to regress, which is reason for concern. But Marcus Lattimore is the real deal. They’ll need to play better this week when they host the Razorbacks. Last week: Defeated Tennessee, 38-24. This week: vs. Arkansas, (6-2).
21. Mississippi State, 7-2 (22) – With all the talk surrounding Auburn, Alabama, LSU, and Arkansas, people forget that the Bulldogs are a surprising 7-2. Mississippi State won again as they held off Kentucky. Just imagine if they could’ve figured out a way to beat Auburn earlier in the season. They get their bye this week. Last week: Defeated Kentucky, 24-17. This week: Bye.
22. Florida State Seminoles, 6-2 (15) – A late turnover by Christian Ponder prevented the Seminoles from moving to 7-1. The defensive line, which has played so well, had a difficult time with the Wolf Pack’s big uglies. They get the other North Carolina team this week. Last week: Lost at North Carolina State, 28-24. This week: vs. North Carolina, (5-3).
23. Baylor, 7-2 (24) – The Bears won a huge in-state game against a struggling Texas team. Robert Griffin III might be the Big 12’s top player this year. The defense isn’t great, but usually plays well enough to allow the offense to win the game. They travel to Stillwater for a game between 2 of the Big 12’s most surprising teams. Last week: Defeated Texas, 30-22. This week: at Oklahoma State, (7-1).
24. North Carolina State, 6-2 (NR) – With a big home win over Florida State, the Wolf Pack are back into our top 25. NC State is poised to take the ACC Atlantic title. Tom O’Brien is starting to work his magic. They head to Death Valley to battle an underachieving, though still dangerous Tiger team. Last week: Defeated Florida State, 28-24. This week: at Clemson, (4-4).
25. Nevada, 7-1 (NR) – Like the other Wolf Pack, Nevada squeezes back into the top 25. They haven’t played that well lately, but managed to outscore Utah State in a WAC shootout. They go to Moscow, Idaho to take on the Vandals. Idaho’s defense isn’t good, but Nevada’s isn’t either. The Wolf Pack might be in for another barnburner. Last week: Defeated Utah State, 56-42. This week: at Idaho, (4-4).
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