After LSU and California were stunned yesterday - I threw out the rankings and like last week, decided to start from scratch, AGAIN. Yes, that thumping sound is me pounding my head on a desk trying to figure out this season of, pure madness...
#1 - Ohio State [7-0]
The Buckeyes bread and butter thus far has been their defense, but the offense continues to grow as the season goes along. Moreover, the Bucks begin their conference gauntlet next week with a match-up against Michigan State. The defense should keep them in any game and produce for a title run - the offense will have to continue it's efficent output for the Bucks to stamp their New Orleans ticket.
#2 - South Florida [6-0]
Have multiple quality wins on schedule, and a quality thrashing of decent UCF to boot. Grothe continues to progress, and the Bulls are a very physical team that should be hard to beat in the Big East. History is on their side - there has yet to be a repeat BCS title winner. Could the Bulls be the 10th team to hoist a trophy?
#3 - Oklahoma [6-1]
With the loss in Boulder behind them, and two quality wins over Texas and Missouri later, the Sooners are right back in the national title picture. Should roll relatively unscathed the rest of the season right into the Big 12 Championship game (with a few bumps) - but you can never say never. The Sooners will need to win big to improve their relatively low computer standing (Colorado losing to Kansas State big won't help...)
#4 - Boston College [7-0]
As a whole, I don't think Boston College is that impressive (sans Matt Ryan's Heisman type play...). The Eagles could be in for a rough night when they pay a visit notoriously-raucous-on-a-Thursday-Night Lane Stadium.
#5 - LSU [6-1]
When I look at LSU's body of work, they are an impressive still not-withstanding the thriller 3OT loss at Kentucky. Yet, to see the Tigers be physically outplayed by Kentucky was shocking - it seemed someone on their team was injured every other play. The UK loss also exposed their seemingly impenetrable defense - and more teams along the way could give the Tigers fits.
#6 - South Carolina [6-1]
I'll keep the Gamecocks high despite struggling at UNC. UNC is a team on the rise, and Kenan Stadium is one of the more underrated places to play (as shown by the raucousness during the game). Smelley looks better and better with each outing, and this team could be poised for an SEC title game run.
#7 - Kentucky [6-1]
I rewarded the Wildcats lavishly for their win over LSU. However, I didn't play UK ahead of LSU because to this point, LSU still has a cumulative record edge over the Wildcats. The Cats don't get much time to rest, as they host a Gators team still seething over its last minute loss at LSU...
#8 - Arizona State [7-0]
The Sun Devils are rolling, and couldn't have picked a better time to start. ASU begins its Pac-10 gauntlet this week with a home game against reeling California. If ASU wins, they could begin to make serious national title noise...
#9 - Oregon [5-1]
California losing to Oregon State took the luster off Oregon's last second loss to the Bears, and kept me from placing them higher. Moreover, Oregon absolutely thrashed Washington State, and put the rest of the Pac-10 on alert that they are not going down without a fight.
#10 - Kansas [7-0]
The reward for being 7-0, and thrashing Baylor 58-10? A top ten ranking. Kansas has picked apart every team they've played, and the win at Kansas State looks that much better after watching them rip apart Colorado. The problem is, Kansas's lack of an opponent all year, until the regular season finale against Mizzou. I'll place them at 10, but this will be about as high as they go until they accumulate "good" wins.
#11 - Missouri [6-1]
Mizzou gave The Sooners a run for their money at home, and thus earned a benefit of the doubt card in the rankings department. Crossroads time for Mizzou; do they slip into their post-loss funk, or does this team rise up and continue to win? Only time can tell...
#12 - California [5-1]
Played a very sloppy game against Oregon State and subsequently lost (even with a last minute opportunity to win). The Bears don't have time to dwell in the loss... a match-up with streaking Arizona State looms (and gives the opportunity for redemption...).
#13 - West Virginia [5-1]
After a week off, the 'Neers get an improved but still not great Mississippi State team at home, and we'll see if Pat White can produce despite his recent injuries...
#14 - Virginia Tech [6-1]
The Hokies gained 445 yards this weekend. Against, Duke. Five wins after the LSU decable later and I am still not impressed with this team. Beating Boston College at home would go a long way to healing the wounds from that Tiger mauling - but if Boston College plays up to expectations I expect them to leave Blacksburg with a win.
#15 - Florida [4-2]
Tebow and company have had a long resting period to think about that last minute loss at LSU. The Gators travel to Lexington to take on a UK team coming off a 3OT upset of those same Tigers. Anyone thinking this could be the third week in a row the SEC produces a classical match-up/game for the ages?
#16 - USC [5-1]
...And they should be lower. The past 3 weeks have not helped the Trojans what-so-ever, a struggle win over Washington, loss to Stanford at home, and scrape by a LOWLY Arizona team 20-13 at home. Injuries withstanding, title teams overcome such obstacles (see LSU competing against stout competition with numerous injuries). If the Trojans don't improve in a hurry, they will sustain multiple conference losses.
#17 - Auburn [5-2]
Tuberville's team seems to be on the rebound after a dismal start, with the defense stepping up big in a win at Arkansas. The defense will have to keep up the play when the Tigers visit the Tigers across the way, as in LSU.
#18 - Tennessee [4-2]
Two impressive wins over Georgia and a improved Mississippi State = right back in the thick of things. The Vols pay struggling Alabama a visit next week.
#19 - Texas [5-2]
After two straight Big 12 losses, the Longhorns seem to have righted the ship against Iowa State. Too bad the Cyclones are a step below dismal. As with most Big 12 schedules - there aren't many tough games left for the Longhorns.
#20 - Georgia [5-2]
The Dawgs had their hands full at Vanderbilt, but Vandy isn't the run-of-the-mill pencil in win that it once was. They get a week off to prepare for a Florida team that'll be in the thick of it's SEC gauntlet on October 27th.
#21. Texas Tech
#24. Penn State
Texas Tech is on the rise, Cincy suffered its first loss to a reeling but none the less offensively talented L'ville, Hawai'i struggled against... San Jose State and continued to lose ground, Penn State rolled Wisconsin, Illinois lost at Iowa and dropped but are talented none the less (and would have won the game if not for a inexplicable TD erasing penalty)...
On The Prowl:
Wisconsin - Season could be done with the multiple injuries.
Virginia - Beat unbeaten UConn
Michigan State - romped 5 win Indiana
Michigan - steamrolled Purdue; offense finally clicking