1. Oregon Ducks, 7-0 (1) – The Ducks throttled UCLA at home. The offense looks unstoppable, but the Pac 10 isn’t known for its defense. The Duck D has been good enough; they don’t have to be great when the offense puts up 60 points. They have an intriguing game at a resurgent USC this week. The Trojans defense is terrible, but the offense is decent. Should be a shootout. Last week: Defeated UCLA, 60-13. This week: at USC (5-2).
2. Auburn Tigers, 8-0 (5) – It’s difficult to rank the top 4 teams. Auburn has the most impressive body of work to date. They won another close game against a solid LSU team, and the offense ran the ball with ease. If they keep winning, they are a lock for the national championship game. Cam Newton looks to be the obvious frontrunner for the Heisman trophy, and the only thing that could stop him would be injury. Last week: Defeated LSU, 24-17. This week: at Ole Miss (3-4).
3. Boise State Broncos, 6-0 (2) – Boise State keeps benefiting from big losses by big schools. If either Oregon or Auburn stumbles, Boise State has a legitimate chance of playing for the national championship. However, they might need Iowa to beat Michigan State. They play on Tuesday night this week against a middling WAC opponent. The good news for the Broncos is that the game will be televised nationally. Last week: Bye. This week: vs. Louisiana Tech (3-4).
4. TCU Horned Frogs, 8-0 (3) – The TCU defense is outstanding. They had little trouble stopping the triple option of Air Force, and they lead the country in scoring defense. The offense keeps humming along. The problem for TCU is that Boise State continues to be ranked ahead of them. But by the end of the season, the Horned Frogs’ schedule might be enough to jump the Broncos. Last week: Defeated Air Force, 38-7. This week: at UNLV (1-6).
5. Michigan State, 8-0 (7) – The Spartans rallied from 17 points down to squeeze by Northwestern. If Michigan State can find a way to win in Kinnick Stadium, Sparty should finish their regular season undefeated. Then they’ll either play in the Rose Bowl or the national championship game. This is one of the biggest games in school history. Last week: Defeated Northwestern, 35-27. This week: at Iowa (5-2).
6. Alabama Crimson Tide, 7-1 (8) – Don’t count out the Crimson Tide just yet. They still play LSU and Auburn, which will help their strength of schedule and allow the Tide to play their way into the SEC championship game. They still have an outside shot of playing for the national championship. They started slowly against Tennessee, but ended up winning going away. They get the bye this week to prepare for LSU. Last week: Defeated Tennessee, 41-10. This week: Bye.
7. Wisconsin Badgers, 7-1 (9) – The Badgers scored another huge victory. After beating the Buckeyes at home, Wisconsin traveled to Iowa and beat the Hawks in Kinnick Stadium. A fake punt in the middle of the fourth quarter kept the game winning drive alive. The Badgers get a well earned bye this week before closing out their Big 10 schedule. The team is primed for a BCS bowl this year. Last week: Defeated Iowa, 31-30. This week: Bye.
8. Ohio State Buckeyes, 7-1 (10) – Ohio State rebounded from their loss at Wisconsin with a drubbing of Purdue. The Buckeyes were up 42-0 at halftime. Unfortunately for OSU they don’t play Michigan State this year, so they’re on the outside looking in for a Big 10 title. Last week: Defeated Purdue, 49-0. This week: at Minnesota (1-7).
9. Utah Utes, 7-0 (12) – Utah beat another cupcake, which is a running theme for this team. Although they’ve had one of the weakest schedules in college football, the Utes have taken care of business in impressive fashion. The meat of their Mountain West schedule is upcoming; they have to travel to Air Force this week, and a home game against TCU is looming. Last week: Defeated Colorado State, 59-6. This week: at Air Force (5-3).
10. Missouri, 7-0 (17) – Missouri had the most impressive win of the weekend as they took down the mighty Sooners. Mizzou took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown, and consistently outplayed Oklahoma. They looked to be the better team on the field. Believe it or not, the schedule is probably getting tougher as they head to Lincoln to battle the Huskers. Last week: Defeated Oklahoma, 36-27. This week: at Nebraska (6-1).
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11. LSU Tigers, 7-1 (6) – The Tiger rush defense was gashed by Auburn. LSU gave up a school record 440 rushing yards. Not having the tie-breaker with Auburn hurts, but if they can beat Alabama, LSU still has a great chance of playing in a BCS bowl. They have the bye this week, then ‘Bama at home. Last week: Lost at Auburn, 24-17. This week: Bye.
12. Oklahoma Sooners, 6-1 (4) – The number one team in the BCS fell at Columbia, Missouri. The Sooners got outplayed by a hungry Tiger team. Unfortunately for Oklahoma, their national championship hopes are likely squashed. But they should still come out of the Big 12 South to play for a BCS bowl. Last week: Lost at Missouri, 27-36. This week: vs. Colorado (3-4).
13. Stanford Cardinal, 6-1 (13) – The Cardinal had some trouble with the Cougars. Stanford was a 36 point favorite, but only managed to win by 10. They have a tough road game in Husky Stadium this week. The Cardinal needs to put forth a better effort in that game or they’ll get beat. Last week: Defeated Washington State, 38-28. This week: at Washington (3-4).
14. Nebraska Cornhuskers, 6-1 (14) – Nebraska put up a whopping 51 points in Stillwater, but they gave up 41, which is surprising. This is a talented defense that has forgotten how to tackle. They have a chance to beat another undefeated team this week when Missouri comes to Lincoln. This game will likely decide the Big 12 North. Last week: Defeated Oklahoma State, 41-51. This week: vs. Missouri (7-0).
15. Florida State Seminoles, 6-1 (15) – The Seminoles had their bye this past week. The offense is experienced and potent, while the defense is underrated. In his first season, Jimbo Fisher seems to be doing a good job. FSU has an interesting road game at NC State this Thursday night. Last week: Bye. This week: at North Carolina State (5-2).
16. Arizona Wildcats, 6-1 (16) – Nick Foles didn’t play, but it didn’t matter. The Wildcats dominated the Huskies. The Arizona defense has to be the best in the Pac 10, and they can still play for the Rose Bowl. Of course, that means they have to beat the Ducks. Last week: Defeated Washington, 44-14. This week: at UCLA (3-4).
17. Iowa Hawkeyes, 5-2 (11) – Iowa didn’t put their best foot forward against Wisconsin. They did the little things all wrong, and special teams got them again. A blocked PAT, botched field goal, and fake punt by Wisconsin all equaled up to a one point loss. The Hawks’ hopes of a BCS bowl are out the window, but they can still play the role of spoiler. Undefeated Michigan State comes to Iowa City this Saturday. Last week: Lost to Wisconsin, 30-31. This week: vs. Michigan State (8-0).
18. Oklahoma State, 6-1 (18) – The Cowboys were bound to lose sometime, it happened against Nebraska. The offense was spectacular, and scoring 41 points should be enough to win a football game. But the Cowboy defense isn’t very good, and Nebraska’s offense can beat up on lesser defenses. They have another difficult test this week as they travel to Manhattan, Kansas to take on Bill Snyder’s Wildcats. Last week: Lost to Nebraska, 41-51. This week: at Kansas State (5-2).
19. Arkansas Razorbacks, 5-2 (20) – The Razorbacks bounced back from their humbling loss to Auburn with a two touchdown victory over Ole Miss. If they played in the SEC East, they’d probably end up in the SEC title game, but so it is. They host an underwhelming Vanderbilt team this Saturday. Last week: Defeated Ole Miss, 38-24. This week: vs. Vanderbilt (2-5).
20. South Carolina Gamecocks, 5-2 (21) – After their surprising loss in Lexington, the Gamecocks won a yawner against Vandy. South Carolina is the team to beat in the SEC East. They have to go to Tennessee this week, but that shouldn’t be too much trouble. Last week: Defeated Vanderbilt, 21-7. This week: at Tennessee (2-5).
21. Virginia Tech, (6-2) (23) – The Hokies keep rolling along. They annihilated Duke, as expected, and head into their bye week with a ton of confidence. It’s entirely possible that Va Tech will win the ACC and play in a BCS bowl. Right now, this is the best friend of the Boise State Broncos. Last week: Defeated Duke, 44-7. This week: Bye.
22. Mississippi State, (6-2) (24) – Mississippi State nearly stumbled at home against a game UAB squad. But the Tigers held on for the win to move up to 6-2 on the season. They play an up and down Kentucky team this week. The Bulldogs are a forgotten team in the SEC, but they’ve put together a nice season. Last week: Defeated UAB, 29-24. This week: vs. Kentucky (4-4).
23. Miami (FL), (5-2) (25) – Randy Shannon answered his critics with a pounding of North Carolina. The Tar Heels had been playing well, too. If the Hurricanes can run the rest of their schedule, they can earn another shot at Florida State and a spot in a BCS bowl. Easier said than done, though, as Miami still has games against Georgia Tech and Va Tech. Last week: Defeated North Carolina, 33-10. This week: at Virginia (3-4).
24. Baylor, (6-2) (NR) – The Baylor Bears make their way into our Top 25 for the first time all season. They’re coming off a win over Kansas State in a shootout, 47-42. Robert Griffin III is maybe the best player in the Big 12 conference. The Bears have only lost two games – one at TCU and the other to Texas Tech on a neutral field. They head to Austin this week to take on an angry Longhorns team. Last week: Defeated Kansas State, 47-42. This week: at Texas (4-3).
25. Michigan, (5-2) (NR) – Michigan finds its way back into the top 25. They’re coming off their bye, so their re-entry into the rankings is a result of other teams’ losses. But Michigan has just two losses – to Michigan State and Iowa – which is respectable. What stands out, though, is that they were both at home. They head to Happy Valley to tangle with the Nittany Lions this Saturday night. Last week: Bye. This week: at Penn State (4-3).
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