Week 8 of the college football season brought plenty of upsets and impressive performances, so changes in the rankings were certainly expected. While a few teams stepped up and proved to be legitimate contenders, the latest AP poll proves there is no question Alabama and Oregon are still on a collision course to decide the best team in college football.
|Week 9 AP College Football Rankings|
Few expected the Crimson Tide to have much trouble with Arkansas, but 'Bama made the Razorbacks look like FCS fodder on Saturday by virtue of a 52-0 thrashing. Not only is the defense playing extremely well, but quarterback AJ McCarron was incredibly efficient, which bodes well for the Tide moving forward.
It was another walk in the park on Saturday for the Ducks, as Oregon cruised past Washington State 62-38. Oregon simply hasn't missed a beat on offense since Chip Kelly left for the NFL as quarterback Marcus Mariota continues to put up Heisman-caliber numbers in the Ducks' high-octane offense.
Should either Alabama or Oregon falter in the coming weeks, Florida State is now waiting in the wings. Few could have envisioned the Seminoles being the class of the ACC after quarterback EJ Manuel departed for the NFL, but fantastic freshman signal-caller Jameis Winston has ensured that the team hasn't missed a beat.
Florida State faced a huge challenge Saturday night on the road against then-No. 3 Clemson, but the Seminoles handed the Tigers their first loss in a 51-14 massacre.
The Seminoles may very well miss out on the BCS National Championship Game even if they go undefeated, assuming Alabama and Oregon also avoid a loss. Despite that, Seminoles wide receiver Rashad Greene believes Florida State is the nation's best team, according to Dan Wolken of USA TODAY.
"We definitely are the best team in the country," receiver Rashad Greene said, moments after leaving the tomahawk-chopping party of players, coaches, boosters and fans that made their way onto the field after the final buzzer and lingered for nearly 10 minutes, snapping pictures and hugging as if they had won a championship.
The Top Three is quite clear, but Ohio State continues to lurk in the No. 4 position. While the Buckeyes are riding a long undefeated streak after winning all of their games last season, they haven't exactly blown away the competition this year. The Buckeyes held on for a 10-point win over Iowa on Saturday after narrow wins over Wisconsin and Northwestern.
Ohio State will remain in the mix as long as it stays undefeated, but it won't pass any of the top three teams unless one of them loses. The Buckeyes did gain some breathing room, though, as a pair of contending one-loss teams fell on Saturday.
LSU suffered a tough loss on the road to Ole Miss, while Auburn shocked Texas A&M as quarterback Johnny Manziel's comeback bid came up just short.
In addition, previously undefeated teams in the form of Louisville and UCLA fell for the first time this season. An insane fourth-quarter comeback allowed Central Florida to upend Teddy Bridgewater's Cardinals, while the Bruins lost a tough road game to Stanford.
Those four losses allowed a number of teams to move up in the rankings, including Miami (Fla.), Baylor and Missouri. All of those teams are undefeated, and they made statements this week with important victories. The Hurricanes barely held off North Carolina, but Baylor blew out Iowa State 71-7, while the Tigers scored a 36-17 win over a ranked Florida team at home with backup Maty Mauk under center.
A few additional undefeated teams remain as well. Texas Tech came from behind to beat West Virginia and preserve its unblemished record, while a pair of potential BCS busters continued to roll with both Fresno State and Northern Illinois picking up victories.
With just over a month remaining in the regular season for most teams, there is still plenty that can happen. Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State may appear to be in the driver's seat right now, but all of them face some stiff challenges on the horizon.
If all of them are able to remain undefeated, though, it will make for some very interesting decisions and arguments when the season comes to a close.
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