College Football Power Rankings
Another week of upsets means another shift in the Power Rankings.
Here's how the teams stack up based on how good they appear to be at
1. Oregon Ducks 7-0 --
Last week: W, UCLA 60-13
Next up: at USC
Why Oregon is ranked No. 1: With the nation watching, it's hard to imagine the Ducks putting forth a more dominant effort, disposing of UCLA as if the Bruins were a Big Sky opponent. Not only did they score 60, but the Bruins didn't reach the end zone until the final moments.
Why the ranking should be lower: Has Oregon actually faced a real, live defense yet? Has it proven itself away from Autzen Stadium? When the game was competitive in the early going, UCLA ran it right up the gut with Johnathan Franklin and Derrick Coleman. The softness in the middle of the Oregon D gets exposed when opponents can stick to the original gameplan.
2. Auburn Tigers 8-0 +1
Last week: W, LSU 24-17
Next up: at Ole Miss
Why the ranking should be higher: How many schools have a better body of work than Auburn, which has now beaten Mississippi State, Clemson, South Carolina, Arkansas and LSU? The Tigers rushed for more than 400 yards on an LSU defense that had been giving up just 83 per game.
Why the ranking should be lower: Yeah, the defense was fine against the feeble LSU passing game, but this remains a unit with question marks. In its previous two games, the Tigers gave up 77 points, having particular difficulty stopping the pass.
3. Boise State Broncos 6-0 +1
Last week: Did not play
Next up: Louisiana Tech
Why the ranking should be higher: The Broncos are no lower than No. 4 nationally in scoring offense and scoring defense, a testament to their half-year of dominance. September wins over Virginia Tech and Oregon State look a lot better today than when they originally occurred.
Why the ranking should be lower: Obviously, the only knock on Boise State today and going forward will be schedule-related. On the field, the Broncos' play has been above criticism. However, they haven't gone into a true hornet's nest on the road all year -- and they won't until Nov. 26.
4. Michigan State Spartans 8-0 +1
Last week: W, at Northwestern
35-27 Next up: at Iowa
Why the ranking should be higher: The Spartans provided more proof that they're a team of destiny -- but one that's making its own breaks -- scoring 21 fourth-quarter points for a 35-27 comeback win on the road against Northwestern. Kirk Cousins was outstanding down the stretch, throwing for three scores and more than 300 yards. Beating Wisconsin now looks really, REALLY good.
Why the ranking should be lower: Struggling to beat Notre Dame at home now looks really, REALLY bad. And Michigan State had all kinds of problems on defense Saturday, giving up 25 first downs and too many yards on the ground to a punchless Northwestern running game. Having to rally in Evanston could be a sign of mediocrity.
5. Alabama Crimson Tide 7-1 +1
Last week: W, at Tennessee 41-10
Next up: at LSU (Nov. 6)
Why the ranking should be higher: In trouble for a while, 'Bama made the necessary halftime adjustments and outscored Tennessee 28-0 in the second half. The Tide finally located their missing running game, rushing for more than 200 yards for the first time in a month. The second half might have been the team's best 30 minutes of the year.
Why the ranking should be lower: Yeah, Alabama ran away and hid in the second half, but something has been missing over the last three weeks. In the loss to South Carolina and wins over Ole Miss and Tennessee, the Tide have looked very ordinary, especially on offense.
6. Wisconsin Badgers 7-1 +1
Last week: W, at Iowa 31-30
Next up: at Purdue (Nov. 6)
Why the ranking should be higher: Who has better wins over the last two weekends than Wisconsin, which has knocked off top-ranked Ohio State and Iowa on the road? Auburn, maybe? And the team was without several key players against the Hawkeyes. The Badgers' only loss was in East Lansing against unbeaten Michigan State.
Why the ranking should be lower: As has been the case at times this fall, the Badgers had problems defending the pass. J.J. Watt had their lone sack, and Iowa's Ricky Stanzi went 25 of 37 for 258 yards and three touchdowns.
7. Ohio State Buckeyes 7-1 +1
Last week: W, Purdue 49-0
Next up: at Minnesota
Why the ranking should be higher: The Buckeyes recovered impressively from the Wisconsin loss, outgaining the Boilermakers by almost 400 yards. The defense got back to being nasty again, creating three turnovers and allowing just nine first downs.
Why the ranking should be lower: Ohio State was nearly flawless on Saturday, but long term, the Buckeyes must do a better job at the point of attack. They haven't been particularly good in pass protection or getting to the quarterback.
8. TCU Horned Frogs 8-0 +1
Last week: W, Air Force 38-7
Next up: at UNLV
Why the ranking should be higher: The Horned Frogs faced an Air Force team that was ranked two weeks ago and still produced their seventh straight win by at least 17 points. The defense has been otherworldly, allowing just 10 total points over the last four games.
Why the ranking should be lower: With little to criticize about the on-field product, TCU's shortcoming will continue to be its soft schedule. None of its eight victims is currently ranked except for Baylor at No. 25.
9. Missouri Tigers 7-0 +3
Last week: W, Oklahoma 36-27
Next up: at Nebraska
Why the ranking should be higher: The Tigers have stepped up their game in back-to-back weeks, blowing out Texas A&M in College Station and upsetting No. 1 Oklahoma. They're getting it done on both sides of the ball, ranking in the top 25 in scoring offense and defense.
Why the ranking should be lower: Do you think the Tigers are going to beat Nebraska? Mizzou has played just one true road game all year, and that was against a mediocre Texas A&M team. If the Tigers are legit national title contenders, they'll prove it in upcoming games in Lincoln and Lubbock.
10. Oklahoma Sooners 6-1 -8
Last week: L, Missouri 36-27
Next up: Colorado
Why the ranking should be higher: The Sooners are a one-loss team, falling in Columbia to unbeaten Missouri, which isn't exactly something to get upset about. The offense remains among the most dangerous in the country, cranking out 450 yards a game.
Why the ranking should be lower: Since the opener, Oklahoma has been unimpressive on defense, especially between the tackles and when the ball is in the air. Missouri's Blaine Gabbert carved up a Sooner secondary that now ranks 91st nationally in pass defense.
11. LSU Tigers 7-1 --
Last week: L, at Auburn 24-17
Next up: Alabama
Why the ranking should be higher: There's no shame in losing to Auburn these days, especially at Jordan-Hare in the final minutes. The score was tied at 17 before Onterio McCalebb broke loose for the game-winning score.
Why the ranking should be lower: A lack of offensive punch and some shoddy tackling finally caught up to the Tigers, who are a couple of lucky bounces away from being 5-3. The cornerstone defense was gashed by QB Cam Newton and the Auburn running game.
12. Utah Utes 7-0 +1
Last week: W, Colorado State 59-6
Next up: at Air Force
Why the ranking should be higher: Utah has not been pushed since opening night, winning the last six games by no fewer than 24 points. The offense is simply sizzling behind Jordan Wynn's passing and a multi-headed running game.
Why the ranking should be lower: Sure, the scores have been head-turners, but who have the Utes defeated? None of their wins are against teams currently ranked, and only Pitt has a realistic shot at playing in the postseason.
13. Stanford Cardinal 6-1 -3
Last week: W, Washington State 38-28
Next up: at Washington
Why the ranking should be higher: The Cardinal offense took care of business when it had to, getting 146 yards from RB Stepfan Taylor and a crisp night out of QB Andrew Luck. Watch out down the stretch for Luck, who finally has favorite target Ryan Whalen back at full strength.
Why the ranking should be lower: The score was a little deceptive because Wazzu scored three times in the fourth quarter against a prevent defense, but a 10-point win over a Pac-10 bottom-feeder won't impress anyone. The defense remains a work in progress.
14. Nebraska Cornhuskers 6-1 +7
Last week: W, at Oklahoma State 51-41
Next up: Missouri
Why the ranking should be higher: While not the kind of effort that'll shine during film study, the Huskers recovered from last week's loss to end Oklahoma State's perfect season. They got back the old (or young) Taylor Martinez, who threw for five touchdown passes and accounted for more than 400 yards.
Why the ranking should be lower: What happened to the Blackshirts? The Husker D was a major disappointment in this one, yielding almost 300 yards to QB Brandon Weeden and more than 200 on the ground to Kendall Hunter.
15. Oklahoma State Cowboys 6-1 -1
Last week: L, Nebraska 51-41
Next up: at Kansas State
Why the ranking should be higher: Even in a loss, the Cowboys continued to feature one of the nation's most explosive offensive, slapping almost 500 yards and a season-high 41 points on Nebraska.
Why the ranking should be lower: If you can't make stops, you can't be considered a contender for a major league championship. Oklahoma State was gutted for five touchdown passes by a quarterback who threw three in the first half of the year.
16. Florida State Seminoles 6-1 -1
Last week: Did not play
Next up: at NC State
Why the ranking should be higher: The Seminoles are one of the nation's hottest teams, winning five in a row. They rank in the top 25 in both total offense and total defense and lead the country in sacks.
Why the ranking should be lower: The opposition is beginning to stack the box to stop the run, daring QB Christian Ponder to win games with his arm. From Ponder to pass protection, Florida State hasn't been clicking through the air.
17. Arizona Wildcats 6-1 -1
Last week: W, Washington 44-14
Next up: at UCLA
Why the ranking should be higher: It looks as if the Wildcats will be just fine until QB Nick Foles recovers from his injury. Against a dangerous Washington team, they enjoyed their most lopsided win since a Week 2 beating of The Citadel, getting 467 yards of almost perfectly balanced offense, led by fill-in QB Matt Scott.
Why the ranking should be lower: Arizona's only loss came at home and against unranked Oregon State. When you start sizing up each team's defeats, that one is not going to stand out as a valiant effort.
18. Iowa Hawkeyes 5-2 -1
Last week: L, Wisconsin 31-30
Next up: Michigan State
Why the ranking should be higher: It's not as if the Hawkeyes played poorly in the loss to the Badgers, out gaining them 376-347 in total yards. The offense did its part, at least until the last-second brain cramps, getting three touchdown passes from Ricky Stanzi and converting 11 of 16 third-down tries.
Why the ranking should be lower: Iowa needs to clean up its act on special teams. The Hawkeyes missed a key extra point that might have forced overtime and botched a field-goal attempt in the early going. For a team that plays plenty of close games, every point is going to matter.
19. South Carolina Gamecocks 5-2 -1
Last week: W, at Vanderbilt 21-7
Next up: Tennessee
Why the ranking should be higher: While not indicated in the final score, the Gamecocks moved the ball at will on Vanderbilt, racking up more than 500 yards without star RB Marcus Lattimore. QB Stephen Garcia was on target, going 31 for 39 for 354 yards and a pair of scores.
Why the ranking should be lower: A win's a win, but this was hardly a statement game for South Carolina, which didn't get any breathing room until midway through the fourth quarter. Considering the ease with which they moved the ball, three scores were not nearly efficient enough.
20. Arkansas Razorbacks 5-2 -1
Last week: W, Ole Miss 38-24
Next up: Vanderbilt
Why the ranking should be higher: The Razorbacks bounced back from last week's loss at Auburn to dispose of Ole Miss by a couple of touchdowns. With QB Ryan Mallett taking it easy, the running game took over, getting a career day out of sophomore RB Knile Davis. Why the ranking should be lower: The Arkansas D had its worst effort of the year, giving up more than 500 yards to the Rebels. Sure, some of it came when Ole Miss was in comeback mode, but 326 yards passing and three touchdowns from Jeremiah Masoli are still cause for concern.
21. Virginia Tech Hokies 6-2 +1
Last week: W, Duke 44-7 Next up: Georgia Tech (Nov. 4) Why the ranking should be higher: The Hokies are in the middle of one of the great turnarounds in recent memory, erasing an 0-2 start with their sixth straight win. Expand Description
Last week: W, Duke 44-7
Next up: Georgia Tech (Nov. 4)
Why the ranking should be higher: The Hokies are in the middle of one of the great turnarounds in recent memory, erasing an 0-2 start with their sixth straight win. The offense, specifically QB Tyrod Taylor, has fueled that run, scoring at least 40 points in the last four games.
Why the ranking should be lower: The winning streak has been fantastic, but it's not as if it's been littered with prominent opponents. In fact, Tech has feasted entirely on unranked teams. We'll get a better read on the Hokies when November begins.
22. Miami (FL) Hurricanes 5-2 +2
Last week: W, North Carolina 33-10
Next up: at Virginia
Why the ranking should be higher: The Canes played their best game in weeks, scoring the last 30 points in a rout of previously hot UNC. QB Jacory Harris threw three touchdown passes and the defense suffocated the Heels, especially on third down.
Why the ranking should be lower: It's going to take more than wins over Duke and Carolina to make voters forget about the 45-17 loss to Florida State earlier in the month. It happened in Miami and will put a cap on this team's ranking for a while.
23. Illinois Fighting Illini 4-3 --
Last week: W, Indiana 43-13
Next up: Purdue
Why the ranking should be higher: The Illini are coming off their best showing of the season and another stout effort from the defense. The three losses have come against Missouri, Ohio State and Michigan State, teams with a combined 22-1 record.
Why the ranking should be lower: Is there a good win on the schedule? OK, they beat Penn State, but the Nits are clearly down this year. After that, Illinois' victims are Southern Illinois, Northern Illinois, and Indiana. Ugh.
24. Michigan Wolverines 5-2 +1
Last week: Did not play'
Next up: at Penn State
Why the ranking should be higher: Sure, the Wolverines have lost consecutive games, but both came against highly ranked Big Ten opponents. A well-placed break in the schedule has allowed one of the game's most electrifying players, QB Denard Robinson, to heal his injured shoulder.
Why the ranking should be lower: Regardless of personnel tweaks, Michigan has yet to find the right combination on defense. Ranked last in the conference and near the bottom of the nation against the pass, Michigan has yielded at least 34 points in each of the last three games.
25. USC Trojans 5-2 --
Last week: Did not play
Next up: Oregon
Why the ranking should be higher: Without a lot of national fanfare, the Trojan offense has been explosive, ranking in the top 25 in both rushing and passing. They have a ton weapons surrounding Matt Barkley, and their only two losses were on walk-off field goals.
Why the ranking should be lower: The defense has been anything but vintage Troy, ranking 87th nationally and allowing 69 points in the two defeats to Washington and Stanford. The pass D is especially soft, yielding at least two touchdown passes in all but the Virginia game.