Yes, I was hoping my Vols (I’m a Tennessee grad) would make a game of it, but Alabama let them dance awhile and then it was over. Big showdown in the SEC West this week as undefeated and 13th-ranked (in my rankings) Mississippi State visits with first place on the line.
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2. Oregon Ducks 7-0 —
Did you happen to see Oregon decimate Arizona State on Thursday night? The expected offensive fireworks occurred, but I was most impressed with the Ducks’ defense. Not only do their defenders swarm to the ball, but they will strike you. Colorado is next … yikes.
3. Florida Gators 7-0 +1
A most impressive thrashing of South Carolina in the Swamp on Saturday. Beat Georgia on Saturday in Jacksonville and the Gators can start making plans for the SEC title game in Atlanta.
4. Kansas State Wildcats 7-0 +1
Truthfully, I thought long and hard about making K-State No. 1 in my rankings. The thorough dismantling of West Virginia in Morgantown was a clinic on how to play the game (save for one kickoff coverage snafu that WVU took all the way back). National championship consideration for this team is real, and QB Collin Klein is my Heisman front-runner.
5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish 7-0 -2
An expected tussle from BYU, and it felt like a bit of a letdown by Notre Dame after the emotional win over Stanford. But with a trip to Oklahoma looming next week, the Irish found a way to get it done. A grand stage awaits against the Sooners.
6. Oregon State Beavers 6-0 —
This might be the surprise team of the year, and I like how the Beavers are doing it with defense as a constant! Their first 6-0 start since 1907, and a trip to reeling Washington next on the agenda. CB Jordan Poyer is playing like an All-America candidate.
7. LSU Tigers 7-1 +1
It has not been easy, nor pretty, but LSU arrives at its open week in a great position: a win over Alabama in two weeks and LSU controls its fate in the SEC West and can position itself for another run at the national title.
8. Oklahoma Sooners 5-1 +1
Coach Bob Stoops’ Sooners keep getting better each week. They host fifth-ranked Notre Dame on Saturday and might be the best one-loss team in the country.
9. USC Trojans 6-1 +2
Easy Saturday at home against Colorado, with QB Matt Barkley throwing six touchdown passes. A difficult trip to Tucson to take on Arizona this week. If the Trojans win, get ready for a super-hyped game vs. Oregon in Los Angeles the first Saturday in November.
10. Ohio State Buckeyes 8-0 -3
Yes, I know I had them ranked higher last week, but the Buckeyes barely survived a pretty average Purdue team at home, even taking into account QB Braxton Miller’s injury.
11. Georgia Bulldogs 6-1 +1
Very simple: Beat Florida this week and the Bulldogs control their fate in the SEC East.
12. Florida State Seminoles 7-1 +1
A good win on the road over a proud Miami team. Next the Seminoles get a fired-up Duke squad that is bowl eligible. Yes, Duke is bowl eligible.
13. Mississippi State Bulldogs 7-0 +2
The schedule has been kind to the Bulldogs, but they have been kind enough to win each week. Winner this week controls the SEC West.
14. Louisville Cardinals 7-0 +2
Another week, another close one for the Cardinals. QB Teddy Bridgewater is simply a marvel.
15. Texas Tech Red Raiders 6-1 +3
While all the talk about the Red Raiders’ improvement swirled around how much the defense had improved, TCU put 53 points on them. But the Red Raiders won in three OTs. Now they head to Manhattan, Kan., to try to take down Collin “Optimus” Klein (seven total TDs at West Virginia).
16. South Carolina Gamecocks 6-2 -6
It’s been a tough two weeks for the Gamecocks, losing at LSU and Florida. Think of how the Ol’ Ball Coach will feel if Georgia upsets Florida and becomes the SEC East front-runner.
17. Stanford Cardinal 5-2 —
Running back Stepfan Taylor ensured that Stanford kept “The Axe” in Palo Alto with 189 yards rushing at Cal.
18. Clemson Tigers 6-1 -1
Dealt Virginia Tech its fourth loss of the season in what was also Clemson’s third straight win over the Hokies, with those victories by an average of 23 points. At Wake Forest in a tough Thursday assignment.
19. Rutgers Scarlet Knights 7-0 —
Down 10 at Temple? No problem. Rutgers stayed composed and won by 25, led by QB Gary Nova (four TDs passing) and running back Jawan Jamison (114 yards rushing). Be wary of Kent State on Saturday, Scarlet Knights.
20. Michigan Wolverines 5-2 +2
Finally, a win over Michigan State, the first in the Wolverines’ past five tries. They do not immediately revert back to “Big Brother.” Michigan/Michigan State is a true rivalry again, and the Wolverines continue to get into position for a shot at the Big Ten title.”
21. Boise State Broncos 6-1 +2
Pounded UNLV. Wyoming awaits. Can the Nevada game hurry up and get here already?
22. Oklahoma State Cowboys 4-2 —
Coach Mike Gundy will have to turn back to freshman quarterback Wes Lunt after redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh suffered a season-ending knee injury Saturday. But Lunt, a better passer who only lost his job because of his own injury, should be fine.
23. Texas A&M Aggies 5-2 -3
A very difficult choice here, as I also strongly considered Wisconsin in this slot. But I went with the “better losses” tiebreaker. The Aggies have only lost close ones (albeit at home) to No. 3 Florida and No. 7 LSU. QB Johnny “The Bro” (or as most call him “Johnny Football”) Manziel is legit.
24. Ohio Bobcats 7-0 +1
The Bobcats are the prohibitive favorites to win the Mid-American Conference, but I still believe Kent State will have a hand in deciding where the trophy will reside at the end of the season.
25. Penn State Nittany Lions 5-2 —
No better story this season than the Nittany Lions, who lost their first two and have now won five straight. They will truly help determine who plays in the Big Ten title game. Bill O’Brien deserves every accolade (as does his staff, and especially his team) that comes his way. IMPRESSIVE rout in Iowa City last Saturday.