1. Ohio State Buckeyes, 6-0 (2) – With Alabama’s loss, Ohio State jumps to the #1 spot. The Buckeyes creamed Indiana. The game wasn’t as close as the score indicates. But the Buckeyes don’t have much time to enjoy their #1 ranking. They have to travel to Madison to take on a physical, talented Badger team. The last time the Buckeyes went on the road they nearly lost at Illinois. Last week: Defeated Indiana, 38-10. This week: at Wisconsin (5-1).
2. Oregon Ducks, 6-0 (3) – The Ducks were sloppy against one of the worst teams in the FBS, but still won by 20 points. Oregon goes into the bye this week before running the Pac 10 gauntlet. It’s nice to have the Stanford win, but there are a number of teams that can beat the Ducks, especially if Oregon plays the way they did at Washington State. Last week: Defeated Washington State, 43-23. This week: Bye.
3. Boise State Broncos, 5-0 (4) – The Broncos won by more than 40 points again last week, which might become a recurring theme. Toledo was their latest victim, and San Jose State is next. Boise probably won’t get much of a challenge from anyone other than Nevada. It’s only a matter of time before major conference fans start hating the Broncos more than they already do. Last week: Defeated Toledo, 57-14. This week: vs. San Jose State (1-4).
4. TCU Horned Frogs, 6-0 (5) – The Horned Frogs keep rolling along. They pitched their second straight shutout on Saturday, this time against Wyoming. Like Boise, TCU will continue to add enemies every week they win and every week major conference teams lose. Neither team should probably play for the national title, but it’s fun to listen to people complain. Last week: Defeated Wyoming, 45-0. This week: vs. BYU (2-4).
5. Oklahoma Sooners, 5-0 (6) – The Sooners enjoyed a bye last week, and take on the Iowa State Cyclones this Saturday in Norman. Oklahoma might be the best team in the Big 12, though fans in Lincoln, Nebraska would say otherwise. With Alabama’s loss, the Big 12 conference champ has a much better shot of playing for the national championship. Last week: Bye. This week: vs. Iowa State (3-3).
6. Nebraska Cornhuskers, 5-0 (7) – Nebraska stuck it to Kansas State and Bill Snyder on Snyder’s birthday. Nebraska started a little sluggish, but they dominated the game. The defense gives up yards, but they stiffen up in and around the red zone. Taylor Martinez has some wheels. The Nebraska o-line is underrated. This team can really run the football. They’ve had an easy schedule so far, but they play Texas this week. Last week: Defeated Kansas State, 48-13. This week: vs. Texas (3-2).
7. Auburn Tigers, 6-0 (8) – The Tigers just about slipped up in Kentucky, but Cam Newton led the team down the field for a last second field goal to win the game. Auburn has done everything right so far, but they have another tough test with Arkansas coming to town this Saturday. Just another huge SEC game, which seems to take place every week. Last week: Defeated Kentucky, 37-34. This week: vs. Arkansas (4-1).
8. LSU Tigers, 6-0 (9) – LSU silenced its critics with an enormous win down in the swamp. Florida isn’t as good as they used to be, but they’re still a formidable opponent. Hats off to Les Miles for going with the fake field goal. If that didn’t work, LSU fans probably would’ve been calling for his job. But now Miles looks like a hero. Also, excellent work by the much maligned LSU offense for executing down the stretch. Last week: Defeated Florida, 33-29. This week: vs. McNeese State (2-3).
9. South Carolina Gamecocks, 4-1 (16) – Steve Spurrier got his marquee win at South Carolina. Spurrier’s Gamecocks put together a hell of an effort against ‘Bama, and took down the defending champs by 2 touchdowns. South Carolina eases into a softer part of its schedule with games against Kentucky, Vandy, and Tennessee before taking on Arkansas and Florida. The Gamecocks look to be the best team in the SEC East. Last week: Defeated Alabama, 35-21. This week: at Kentucky (3-3).
10. Alabama Crimson Tide, 5-1 (1) – Alabama met its Waterloo at South Carolina. The Gamecocks were the better team on Saturday. They were more physical, tackled better, made big plays, and had the better running game. But not all is lost for ‘Bama. Since South Carolina is in the SEC East, the Crimson Tide still has a chance of getting to the SEC title game, and potentially the national title game. Last week: Lost at South Carolina, 21-35. This week: vs. Mississippi (3-2).
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11. Michigan State, 6-0 (19) – The Spartans took down another ranked team in Michigan. Sparty looks solid this year. They can run the ball as well as anyone in the country. Kirk Cousins is underrated, and so is the defense. But if the Spartans don’t take Illinois seriously, they’ll lose to a much improved Illini team. Just ask Penn State. Luckily for Michigan State, Illinois runs a spread option that has some similarities to Michigan, so they should be somewhat prepared. Last week: Defeated Michigan, 34-17. This week: vs. Illinois (3-2).
12. Iowa Hawkeyes, 4-1 (12) – Iowa had a bye last week, which means they’ve had an extra week to prepare for Denard Robinson. The Hawks are in the midst of a brutal portion of their schedule. After Michigan, Iowa has to play Wisconsin and Michigan State. If they can successfully navigate through that stretch, a November 20 showdown with Ohio State looms large. Last week: Bye. This week: at Michigan (5-1).
13. Utah Utes, 5-0 (13) – The Utes struggled early on against Iowa State, but ended up destroying the Cyclones in Ames. Utah needs to take better care of the ball; otherwise, turnovers might catch up to them in some game. The offense is surprisingly potent and especially physical. The defense is solid, too. If they can beat TCU later in the season, they should run the table. Last week: Defeated Iowa State, 68-27. This week: at Wyoming (2-4).
14. Arkansas Razorbacks, 4-1 (14) – The Hogs held on for a hard fought win over Texas A&M at Cowboy Stadium. The offense looked like it was still hungover from the Alabama loss; the Aggies defense is soft. But they did what they had to and narrowly covered the spread. They travel to Auburn this week for one of the biggest games of the weekend. The Razorbacks still have a puncher’s chance of playing for the SEC title. Last week: Defeated Texas A&M, 24-17. This week: at Auburn (6-0).
15. Stanford Cardinal, 5-1 (15) – It took a late drive and a last second field goal, but the Cardinal managed to put away the USC Trojans. The game was much closer than many people expected, including the writer of these words; USC decided to show up for this game. Stanford goes into the bye before taking on the pitiful Washington State Cougars. Last week: Defeated USC, 37-35. This week: Bye.
16. Florida State Seminoles, 5-1 (20) – The Seminoles are quietly putting together an impressive season in Jimbo Fisher’s first year as head coach. FSU dismantled a pretty good Miami team in Miami. Ever since their debacle in Norman, the defense has been outstanding. The offense is experienced, which makes this a team that could easily win the ACC title. Last week: Defeated Miami, 45-17. This week: vs. Boston College (2-3).
17. Arizona Wildcats, 4-1 (11) – Arizona’s luck ran out against Oregon State. The Wildcats had been living dangerously, but found ways to win. Not this past Saturday night. The Beavers took it to Arizona, even after James Rodgers went down with a knee injury. Arizona can take out its frustrations on Washington State this Saturday. Last week: Lost to Oregon State, 29-27. This week: at Washington State (1-5).
18. Wisconsin Badgers, 5-1 (21) – The Badgers bounced back from their first loss with a sound beating of Minnesota. With Ohio State coming to town, Wisconsin has a great opportunity to make a national statement. Wisconsin pulls offensive linemen better than any other offense. If they can run the ball effectively, the Badgers have a shot of pulling off the upset. Last week: Defeated Minnesota, 41-23. This week: vs. Ohio State (6-0).
19. Florida Gators, 4-2 (10) – The Gators lost a heartbreaker to LSU. The game was back and forth from start to finish, but Florida appeared to have the upper hand. They had a late lead, and between LSU’s offense and Florida’s defense, the game appeared to be all but over. Credit LSU for grabbing a victory out of the jaws of defeat. Florida welcomes Mississippi State to the Swamp this week. Last week: Lost to LSU, 29-33. This week: vs. Mississippi State (4-2).
20. Nevada, 6-0 (22) – Nevada looked less than spectacular against San Jose State for their homecoming game. The offense looked somewhat flat against a very poor defense, and the Wolf Pack defense had their struggles as well. Have they been reading their own press? If they play like that at Hawaii, they’ll get beat. It’s always tough to play at Hawaii. Last week: Defeated San Jose State, 35-13. This week: at Hawaii (4-2).
21. Missouri, 5-0 (25) – Mizzou shut out Colorado en route to an easy victory. The Tigers have quite a bit of experience. Blaine Gabbert is the next Chase Daniel. If Missouri can establish a more consistent ground game, this offense could be tough to stop. The defense has been solid, but Mizzou’s schedule is about to get much more interesting. After traveling to College Station, the Tigers play Oklahoma and Nebraska. Then we’ll see how good this team really is. Last week: Defeated Colorado, 26-0. This week: at Texas A&M (3-2).
22. Oklahoma State, 5-0 (24) – Like Nevada, Oklahoma State was not impressive in their win over a cupcake. They were actually down at halftime, 21-17. They got it together in the second half, but it’s only a matter of time before this team takes it on the chin. Kendall Hunter is a great back, but the defense is not that good. The Cowboys head to Lubbock this Saturday to battle a Red Raider team coming off a big win over Baylor. Last week: Defeated Louisiana-Lafayette, 54-28. This week: at Texas Tech (3-2).
23. Michigan Wolverines, 5-1 (18) –Michigan bowed to a better opponent this past Saturday. Denard Robinson was held in check and threw a couple costly interceptions. The defense played better, but still got gashed on the ground and gave up 34 points. Somehow, that’s playing better. They don’t have much time to mope with the Hawkeyes coming to Ann Arbor. Last week: Lost to Michigan State, 17-34. This week: vs. Iowa (4-1).
24. West Virginia, 4-1 (NR) – The Mountaineers come back into the Top 25 after beating up on UNLV. Equally important for West Virginia was LSU’s victory at Florida; the Tigers are the only team to beat West Virginia. Considering the Big East is this year’s Pac 10, the Mountaineers have a legitimate chance of running their conference schedule. They get an overrated South Florida team this week. Last week: Defeated UNLV, 49-10. This week: vs. South Florida (3-2).
25. Air Force, 5-1 (NR) – The Falcons crack the top 25 after drubbing Colorado State. With all the talk about TCU and Utah, don’t forget about an experienced, disciplined Air Force team. It’s always hell trying to stop a well administered triple option attack. They’ll get a test at San Diego State this week. Then they have to play the aforementioned TCU and Utah back to back. Last week: Defeated Colorado State, 49-27. This week: at San Diego State (3-2).
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