Week 7 of the 2011 college football season is now in the books, and we are finally starting to see some separation in the conference standings. Teams are now going to be in pitched fights for the coveted automatic bids to the lucrative BCS.
Teams such as Florida State, Auburn and Ohio State, who have been BCS locks in the past few years, have seen their hopes crash and burn.
There are many teams such as LSU, Oklahoma, Alabama and others who can make their case to be in the top two, as Oklahoma dominated Texas yesterday in the Red River Shootout 55-17 and LSU rolled over SEC adversary Florida by a score of 41-11.
The ultimate goal in college football is to capture the coveted crystal football awarded to the BCS National Champion. Many teams could very well find themselves inching closer toward that goal at the conclusion of Saturday's games.
Here are five teams that are primed to rise in the rankings come this afternoon:
The Oklahoma State Cowboys are often overlooked because of their sister college in Norman (who just put on a show against Big 12 doormat Kansas yesterday, crushing the Jayhawks by a lopsided final score of 70-28).
Led by QB Brandon Weeden, the Cowboys scored more points against the nation's worst defense than they had scored in 94 years prior to this game. The Cowboys scored on all of their offensive possessions, and the defense had four takeaways in the first half.
The Cowboys are sure to make a jump in the rankings, as they have dominated every opponent put in their way. They may be in for a tough fight, as all five of the teams ahead of them won yesterday, but in the BCS, stranger things have happened before.
The Cowboys may have the best offense in the country behind QB Weeden and WR Justin Blackmon.
The former No. 1 team in the country is angry—angry that LSU jumped them two weeks ago and swiped the top ranking from the Sooners, after Oklahoma had a bit of trouble putting away Missouri in Norman.
The Sooners dominated Texas in the Red River Shootout by a score of 55-17, during the Texas State Fair.
The Sooners ended Texas' facade that they were a decent team, ready to be tested after starting the season unranked and moving all the way to No. 11
That perception was over quickly.
Landry Jones established himself as probably the best quarterback in the Big 12 after dominating Texas by throwing three touchdown passes, and his prime target was All-American WR Ryan Broyles.
Again, the win brought Oklahoma back into the conversation as to whether they deserve to get back to the top spot in the country, as some people believe that LSU, Alabama and Wisconsin are better than they are.
Long considered the doormat of the ACC, the Demon Deacons have not been relevant in college football for a long time. The Deacons are now 3-0 in ACC play for the first time in school history after yesterday's 35-30 upset at the expense of the 23rd-ranked Florida State Seminoles.
The Deacons have beaten FSU four times in the last six meetings and show no signs of slowing down. With Virginia Tech struggling to get by Miami yesterday, one has to wonder whether the team can make it four ACC wins.
Led by QB Tanner Price and RB Josh Harris, the Deacons can be explosive on offense and score on anyone. In the game against Florida State, the defense turned five Florida State turnovers into 17 points to put the Seminoles away, who had risen as high as No. 5 in the country but have lost three straight.
The Demon Deacons are currently in first place in the ACC's Atlantic Division and have a tough test as they play Virginia Tech on Saturday.
What a turnaround so far for the Wolverines. After drowning in mediocrity during the Rich Rodriguez era, Michigan has roared to a perfect start to the season in the new-look Big Ten.
The Wolverines are led by QB Denard Robinson on offense, and he is what makes them go.
Robinson is a threat to run the football anywhere on the field, but his biggest knock is that he needs to improve his passing in order to become the real deal.
With Wisconsin, Nebraska and Michigan State being the early contenders in the conference, Michigan is going to have to prove to the nation that they are indeed the real deal, and the only way to do that is to beat Michigan State and Nebraska and win the Big Ten regular season conference title.
Another thing that Michigan will have to prove is that they can beat teams that are inferior to them. Ohio State has owned the Wolverines for the past decade, and even though the Buckeyes are in a lean year, the Wolverines should make a lasting statement by beating them.
Michigan cruised by Northwestern yesterday, as Denard Robinson accounted for multiple touchdowns to run the Wolverines' record to 6-0.
The Arkansas Razorbacks can often be overlooked in the powerful SEC. The conference features teams such as No. 1 LSU, No. 2 Alabama and the defending national champion Auburn Tigers. The conference has boasted the last six BCS National Champions.
Arkansas started the season ranked in the top 20, but a loss to Alabama set them back in the SEC West. They have otherwise dominated all opponents who they have come across.
The only real tests remaining for them are against South Carolina and LSU. Arkansas should be in the thick of the SEC race all the way until the end of the season.
With their win against No. 15 Auburn, the Razorbacks should move up the rankings inside the top 10. A win against the defending national champ is a huge statement, no matter what conference you're in.