Not their most impressive performance at Mississippi State, but many top teams that play that shaky end up losing. Not so with the Tide. They have Chattanooga next week and then visit Auburn in two weeks for the SEC West title.
2. Florida State Seminoles 10-0 —
Let’s not begin taking QB Jameis Winston’s performances for granted. What he’s doing on the field is special. Idaho this week and then at Florida in two weeks.
3. Baylor Bears 9-0 —
Outscored Texas Tech 63-20 after being down 14-0 early. Now comes danger for the Bears: a HUGE test at Oklahoma State on Saturday.
4. Ohio State Buckeyes 10-0 +1
Won big at Illinois, but there was a mid-game lull. Bored or warning flags? I lean toward boredom, and RB Carlos Hyde is a MAN. Buckeyes have Indiana at home this week.
5. Oregon Ducks 9-1 +1
Look who’s back in the top five and controls its fate in the Pac-12 North? QUACK! The Ducks should race to the crown and host the Pac-12 title game. They’re at Arizona this week.
6. Auburn Tigers 10-1 +1
It’s a charmed year for the Tigers. And then some. What a finish against Georgia! Rest this week and then Alabama visits in two weeks.
7. Clemson Tigers 9-1 +1
Impressive performance against Georgia Tech last Thursday night. After The Citadel at home this week, the Tigers go to South Carolina in two weeks for the state title.
8. Missouri Tigers 9-1 +1
Good weekend of rest and a tremendous matchup at Ole Miss this week. Lose and South Carolina wins the SEC East.
9. Oklahoma State Cowboys 9-1 +1
Beat Texas in Austin for the third straight time and is playing better each week. Clint Chelf has emerged at QB. But hold on: Baylor visits this Saturday.
10. Michigan State Spartans 9-1 +1
Just when we were convinced Sparty could not score, they put 41 on Nebraska and took complete control of the Legends division. At Northwestern this week.
11. Texas A&M Aggies 8-2 +1
Have won eight straight on the road in the last two seasons. That will be put to the test in the next two weeks, as the Aggies and Johnny Football head to LSU and then Missouri.
12. Wisconsin Badgers 8-2 +2
This team has hit its stride. As usual, the running game sets the tone, and the Badgers raced past Indiana last week with 554 yards on the ground. At Minnesota this week.
13. South Carolina Gamecocks 8-2 —
The Gamecocks have posted their number and are in the clubhouse at 6-2 in the SEC East, waiting to see if Missouri stumbles so they can claim the division title. They finish with Coastal Carolina and Clemson at home.
14. Arizona State Sun Devils 8-2 +4
After a 3-2 start, the Sun Devils have won five straight. Win at UCLA this weekend and they clinch the Pac-12 South.
15. USC Trojans 8-3 +8
All that talent has come together and given Ed Orgeron a case to remain as head coach. Very impressive win over Stanford. The Trojans go to Colorado this week.
16. Stanford Cardinal 8-2 -12
Both losses have to come to teams unranked at the time of the game. The Cardinal are a very good team, though, and they’ll try to finish strong against Cal and Notre Dame.
17. UCLA Bruins 8-2 -2
The “Myles Jack” show is one of the best stories of this season. A very young team (Jack is a true frosh) that has a chance to win the Pac-12 South must beat ASU at home this week to do so.
18. UCF Knights 8-1 -2
The country will call the Knights “lucky” for how they escaped at Temple. But isn’t that what good teams do — find a way to win? It’s BCS or bust now. Rutgers up next.
19. Louisville Cardinals 9-1 -2
Has to be hard for the Cardinals to play each week hoping that UCF will stumble; thus far they have not. Louisville gets Memphis at home this week.
20. Oklahoma Sooners 8-2 -1
Congratulations to coach Bob Stoops on his record-setting win over Iowa State. Eclipsing Barry Switzer’s victory total is quite the accomplishment! The Sooners go to Kansas State this week.
21. Northern Illinois Huskies 10-0 -1
Terrific game, and win, last Wednesday over an accomplished Ball State team. It was the Huskies’ 23rd straight MAC win. QB Jordan Lynch? WOW! NIU is at Toledo on Wednesday.
22. Fresno State Bulldogs 9-0 -1
Fresno State plays New Mexico on Saturday in another “make your case for the BCS” game. The Bulldogs, and QB Derek Carr, should be up to the task.
23. LSU Tigers 7-3 -1
Beat Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M on the road last year before Manziel truly morphed into “Johnny Football.” The Tigers get a chance to do it again as they welcome the Aggies to Baton Rouge on Saturday.
24. Duke Blue Devils 8-2 —
The beatdown of Miami puts Duke in control of its own fate in the ACC Coastal division. The Blue Devils are on course to play Florida State for the ACC title, but they must beat Wake Forest and North Carolina first.
25. Minnesota Golden Gophers 8-2 —
Congrats to the Gophers, not just winning (8-2) but for how they are doing it through the health battles of head coach Jerry Kill. Tough matchup against Wisconsin at home this week.