Thirteen teams entered Week 7 of the college football season unbeaten. Ten of those teams remained perfect when everything was said and done on Saturday.
Denard Robinson was contained by Michigan State for the second straight year as the Michigan standout was just 9-for-24 passing for 123 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and his ground heroics were almost completely bottled up by the Spartans, to the tune of 18 carries for 42 yards and a touchdown.
It marked the third consecutive year that the Wolverines were unbeaten heading into their annual clash with Michigan State and left the game with their first loss. It was Michigan State's fourth straight win overall in the series.
Also in the Big Ten, Illinois suffered its first loss as Ohio State coach Luke Fickell channeled his inner Woody Hayes, calling just four pass plays as Dan Herron returned from his six-game suspension to rush for 114 yards and a touchdown in the Buckeyes' 17-7 win over the Fighting Illini.
In the Atlantic Coast Conference, Georgia Tech suffered its first loss at Virginia, 24-21, as Perry Jones ran for 149 yards and the Cavaliers were able to at least slow the Yellow Jackets' triple-option attack.
I have been ranking teams this season since after Week 4 at my blog, After Further Review, but this is my first contributions to the rankings here at B/R. So any references to previous rankings reflect the work I've done up to this point in the season.
And with no further ado, here's the Top 40:
Previous ranking: 35
This week: Lost to Kansas State 41-34
Next: at Oklahoma
Quarterback Seth Doege put up video game numbers for the Red Raiders, finishing 43-for-63 for 461 yards, but committed turnovers on three consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter that helped the Wildcats hang on for the win.
Tech out-gained K-State 580-339 but the Red Raiders killed themselves with four turnovers while forcing none from the Wildcats.
It doesn't get any easier this week for Texas Tech, as they head to undefeated Oklahoma trying to avoid a third consecutive loss after a 4-0 start.
Previous ranking: Not ranked
This week: Won at Illinois 17-7
Next: vs. Wisconsin (Saturday, Oct. 29)
The Buckeyes snapped their two-game losing streak and handed the Fighting Illini their first loss of the season. Dan Herron returned from a six-game suspension and ran for 114 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries as Ohio State's offense evoked memories of the Woody Hayes era, running the ball 51 times to just four passing attempts.
Bradley Roby made the big play for the Buckeyes, intercepting Nathan Scheelhaase in the third quarter to set up the Buckeyes' first touchdown, a 12-yard run by Herron that gave Ohio State a 10-0 lead. The Buckeyes got three takeaways and didn't turn the ball over.
Ohio State now has a bye week to prepare for the Big Ten's last unbeaten team, Wisconsin, which comes to the Horseshoe Oct. 29.
Previous ranking: Not ranked
This week: Beat Buffalo 34-0
Next: at Bowling Green
The Owls are the lone member of the Mid-American Conference in the rankings, moving into the list for the first time this season after overwhelming the Bulls.
Temple has a conference loss, but leads the MAC's East Division with a 3-1 mark and appears to be on a collision course with Toledo—which beat the Owls 36-13 on Oct. 1—to meet in the MAC title game.
Against Buffalo, Bernard Pierce racked up 152 yards rushing and scored twice and the Owl defense posted its second straight shutout, holding the Bulls to just 155 yards of total offense and dominating time of possession by a 39:08-20:52 margin. Backup running back Matt Brown added 120 yards and a touchdown as Temple rolled up 400 yards on the ground.
Previous ranking: 30
This week: Lost to Miami 30-24
Next: at Clemson
The Tar Heels fell to 1-2 in the ACC Coastal—tied with the Hurricanes for the division's basement—because they fell too far behind in the first half and couldn't recover. Miami racked up 27 points and 263 yards of offense in the first half as they built a 27-3 lead.
North Carolina was able to make it competitive by holding the Hurricanes to just three points and 48 yards after the break, but the hole was simply too deep. Jacory Harris was good for Miami, throwing for 267 yards and three touchdowns. The Tar Heels had a final chance in Miami territory but the final play, a pass from Bryn Renner to Giovani Bernard with laterals to Erik Highsmith and Jheranie Boyd, was stopped well short of the end zone.
North Carolina could find itself completely out of the Coastal race if it can't come away with a win next week—at undefeated Clemson.
Previous ranking: 26
This week: Lost at Auburn 17-6
Next: vs. Georgia at Jacksonville, Fla. (Saturday, Oct. 29)
The Gators tried everyone they could at quarterback short of Danny Wuerffel, with freshman Jacoby Brissett starting, freshman Jeff Driskel working in relief and sophomore running back Trey Burton even getting into the act but their losing streak stretched to three games because they could only muster a pair of field goals on the Plains.
Florida was held to just 66 yards on the ground and had 194 yards of total offense, but they also turned the ball over three times.
At 2-3 in the SEC East, Florida needs to beat Georgia in the world's biggest whatever-they-call-it-since-the-PC-police-banned-cocktail party in two weeks and South Carolina on Nov. 12 and will still need some help if they want to return to the SEC title game.
Previous ranking: Not ranked
This week: Beat Iowa State 52-17
Next: vs. Oklahoma State
James Franklin threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more scores as the Tigers snapped their two-game losing streak in convincing fashion over the Cyclones. Missouri scored touchdowns on its first four possessions en route to its first win in Big XII play this season.
Franklin was 20-for-28 passing for 289 yards—although he was picked off twice—and ran 11 times for 84 yards. Henry Josey ran for 129 yards and a score as the Tigers racked up 294 yards rushing and 583 yards in total.
Missouri hosts undefeated Oklahoma State next and may not have defensive tackle Terrell Resonno, who left against Iowa State with a knee injury.
Previous ranking: 38
This week: Beat Louisville 25-16
Next: at South Florida
Isaiah Pead ran for 151 yards, including the game-clinching 50-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, and the Bearcats won their Big East opener against the conference's top-ranked defense.
Cincinnati did not allow the Cardinals an offensive touchdown even though Louisville had a substantial advantage in time of possession. The Bearcats overcame four fumbles and a pick-six thrown by quarterback Zach Collaros to win their fourth straight game.
Cincinnati visits South Florida—which lost at Connecticut—with a chance to become bowl-eligible in coach Butch Jones' second season.
Previous ranking: 36
This week: Beat Navy 21-20
Next: at Louisville (Friday)
Brandon Jones saved the Scarlet Knights by blocking Jon Teague's potential 34-yard go-ahead field goal with 4:43 remaining and Rutgers won its fourth straight.
Freshman Gary Nova threw for 271 yards and three touchdowns but was intercepted twice, including one that was returned by Chris Ferguson for a 16-yard touchdown in the first half as the Midshipmen took a 14-7 lead.
The Scarlet Knights can become bowl eligible and improve to 3-0 in the Big East with a win at Louisville Friday night.
Previous ranking: 33
This week: Idle
Next: vs. New Mexico
This is still not last year's Horned Frog defense, but it is coming off its best performance against an FBS opponent two weeks ago when TCU held San Diego State to just 14 points in a win at Qualcomm Stadium.
The biggest news involving the Horned Frogs was off the field last week, when they accepted an invitation to join the Big 12 next season, backing out of an agreement to go to the Big East in an effort to get into a conference with a BCS automatic qualifying bid.
TCU should have no trouble improving to 3-0 in their Mountain West swan song when the Lobos visit.
Previous ranking: 25
This week: Lost at Texas A&M 55-28
Next: at Oklahoma State (Saturday, Oct. 29)
Robert Griffin III set a school record for the Bears, throwing for 430 yards, and had three touchdowns. But the Baylor running game was almost non-existent and the defense was torched for 681 yards and surrendered six touchdown passes to Ryan Tannehill in a game that got away from the Bears late.
The loss means Baylor still hasn't won at A&M since 1984 and the Bears might not get another chance for awhile with the Aggies moving to the SEC next season.
Baylor has two weeks to fix its leaky defense before visiting Oklahoma State.
Previous ranking: 37
This week: Beat Central Florida 38-17
Next: at Southern Mississippi
The Mustangs won their fifth straight game by beating Central Florida for the first time ever, avenging a loss in last year's C-USA championship. J.J. McDermott improved to 5-0 as SMU's starting quarterback, throwing for 358 yards and the first two touchdown passes surrendered by the Golden Knights this season.
Richard Crawford had the game-changer for the Mustangs in the second quarter when he returned a punt 92 yards for a touchdown that put SMU up 17-0.
The Mustangs visit Southern Mississippi next week and are one of three teams in the C-USA West that is still unbeaten in conference play, along with Houston and Tulsa.
Previous ranking: 34
This week: Won at California 30-9 (Thursday)
Next: at Notre Dame
The Trojans' defense stood up, forcing five Golden Bear turnovers at AT&T Park and shutting out Cal until late in the third quarter after allowing 84 points and 946 yards in their previous two games.
USC continued its recent dominance against the Golden Bears, who haven't beaten the Trojans since 2003 and have been outscored 125-29 in the last four meetings.
Next up for USC is a visit to Notre Dame, which has won four straight after starting the season 0-2.
Previous ranking: 29
This week: Beat Colorado 52-24
Next: at Stanford
The Huskies put up a half a hundred for the first time in more than 10 years to improve to 3-0 in the Pac-12 North and keep the Buffaloes winless in their first trip through the conference.
Keith Price threw four touchdown passes in the first half as Washington's offense was nearly perfect, opening up a 38-10 lead at intermission. It's the Huskies' first 5-1 start since 2001 and their first 3-0 conference start since 1997.
The win also sets up a Pac-12 North showdown at Stanford as both teams bring unblemished conference marks into the game.
Previous ranking: 19
This week: Lost to Oklahoma State 38-26
Next: vs. Kansas (Saturday, Oct. 29)
The Longhorns' 4-0 start seems like a lifetime ago after back-to-back humblings at the hands of the Big 12's Oklahoma contingent. Texas went with freshman quarterback David Ash the entire way for the first time and he was 22-for-40 for 139 yards and was picked off twice.
Freshman running back Malcolm Brown rushed for a career-high 135 yards and scored two touchdowns but the game marked the first time a Mack Brown-coached team ran for 200 yards and lost.
The Longhorns will have to taste the back-to-back losses for an extra week as they will be idle until hosting Kansas in two weeks.
Previous ranking: 13
This week: Lost to Ohio State 17-7
Next: at Purdue
The Fighting Illini had close calls with Western Michigan and Northwestern after its signature win over Arizona State but its luck ran out against the Buckeyes. Illinois got a late touchdown toss from Nathan Scheelhaase to Evan Wilson that helped it avoid its first shutout since a 30-0 loss at Ohio State in 2009.
Scheelhaase was intercepted twice and the Illini was never able to get its running game on track while its defense wore down under Ohio State's relentless ground onslaught—the Buckeyes called 51 runs and just four passes.
Illinois is now one game behind Penn State and Wisconsin in the loss column in Big Ten's Leaders Division and visits Purdue in what amounts to a divisional elimination game.
Previous ranking: 12
This week: Lost at Virginia 24-21
Next: at Miami
The shocker wasn't that the Yellow Jackets ran for 272 yards against the Cavaliers; it was that Virginia did the same thing to Georgia Tech. The Cavaliers succeeded where Maryland came up just short a week earlier—forcing quarterback Tevin Washington to beat them.
Washington had as many completions and interceptions—two—and carried the ball 26 times for 115 yards as Virginia's strategy was to take away the pitch from Tech's option attack.
The Jackets now head to Miami as one of four teams in the ACC Coastal with one loss, along with Virginia Tech, Virginia and Duke.
Previous ranking: 23
This week: Idle
Next: vs. USC
The Fighting Irish had a week off to prepare for USC, which Notre Dame beat at the Los Angeles Mausoleum last November to break an eight-game losing streak to the Trojans.
The Irish have won four in a row after opening the season with losses to South Florida and Michigan but were shut out of the national polls this week.
A win over USC would almost certainly change that.
Previous ranking: 27
This week: Beat Florida 17-6
Next: at LSU
The Tigers got a spark from backup quarterback Clint Moseley, who relieved an ineffective Barrett Trotter and went 4-for-7 for 90 yards. The big plays for Auburn were on special teams, though, as the Gators muffed a pair of punts.
Cody Parkey atoned for a pair of earlier misses by icing the game with a 42-yard field goal with 35 seconds remaining.
Auburn visits unbeaten LSU this week as it tries to stay alive in the rugged SEC West.
Previous ranking: 28
This week: Idle
Next: vs. Marshall
The Cougars are the lowest-ranked of the 10 remaining unbeatens and was in the news off-the-field this week after reportedly receiving an invitation to join the Big East.
Houston hasn't committed to the move away from Conference USA, which agreed to a merger with the Mountain West Conference in football that could begin as soon as next season.
The Cougars return from their bye week by hosting Marshall, which shares the lead in C-USA's East Division with East Carolina.
Previous ranking: 24
This week: Won at Vanderbilt 33-28
Next: vs. Florida at Jacksonville, Fla. (Saturday, Oct. 29)
The temperature of Mark Richt's seat has cooled since the Bulldogs' 0-2 start. Aaron Murray threw for a career-high 326 yards to help Georgia hold off the Commodores and give the Bulldogs their fifth straight win.
Georgia had to survive a late chance for Vanderbilt that was created when Udom Umoh blocked Drew Butler's punt with seven seconds to go. Brandon Barden was tackled well short of the end zone, however, and Georgia kept pace with South Carolina in the SEC East.
The Bulldogs now have two weeks off before their annual meeting with Florida in Jacksonville.
Previous ranking: 14
This week: Lost at Oregon 41-27
Next: vs. Colorado (Saturday, Oct. 29)
Brock Osweiler threw for 291 yards and two scores for the Sun Devils, but they were unable to snap their losing streak to the Ducks.
Arizona State had its last lead early in the second half on Cameron Marshall's four-yard touchdown run but Oregon rallied behind backup quarterback Bryan Bennett, who replaced injured Darron Thomas in the third quarter and was 2-for-5 for 22 yards but also ran for 65 yards.
The Sun Devils are off for two weeks before hosting Colorado, which is still looking for its first Pac-12 victory.
Previous ranking: 21
This week: Beat Purdue 23-18
Next: at Northwestern
Silas Redd scored a touchdown and ran for 131 yards and the Nittany Lions made the Boilermakers pay for special teams mistakes while escaping with their fifth straight win.
Purdue missed a one-point conversion, a two-point conversion and a field goal as it squandered a chance to get a win at Happy Valley. Penn State's two-quarterback offense featuring Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden had trouble moving the ball consistently.
The Nittany Lions visit Northwestern this week as one of just two unbeaten teams in the Big Ten's Leaders Division along with Wisconsin.
Previous ranking: 31
This week: Beat Michigan 28-14
Next: vs. Wisconsin
Can you really call a uniform a "throwback" when its a design the team has never worn before? The Spartans didn't answer that question but it solved Michigan's Denard Robinson for a second straight year en route to its fourth straight win over the Wolverines.
It is the first time since 1959-62 that Michigan State has beaten Michigan four consecutive times and matches the longest winning streak for the Spartans in the series. Keshawn Martin scored twice in the third quarter to give Michigan State a 21-7 lead and then the Spartan defense held off the Wolverines in the fourth quarter to secure the win.
Michigan State gets its second straight unbeaten visitor this week when Wisconsin comes to Spartan Stadium.
Previous ranking: 22
This week: Won at Wake Forest 38-17
Next: vs. Boston College
Wearing throwback helmets from the school's 1974-77 teams, the Hokies fell into a 10-point hole to the Demon Deacons before hitting their stride. Logan Thomas rushed for two scores and ran for two more as Virginia Tech rolled to four touchdowns in a span of 11:07 to take control of the game across the second and third quarters.
The Hokie defense held Wake Forest to 59 yards on the ground and allowed them to convert just one of its 13 third-down opportunities.
Virginia Tech hosts Boston College, which is still winless in ACC play.
Previous ranking: 16
This week: Idle
Next: at Minnesota
Without playing a game, the Cornhuskers suffered a big loss this week—the announcement that All-America defensive tackle Jared Crick will miss the rest of the season with a torn pectoral muscle. Crick was also a two-time all-conference selection while Nebraska was still in the Big 12.
The 'Huskers had a week to enjoy its first-ever win in Big Ten play over Ohio State after getting embarrassed in their conference opener at Wisconsin.
Nebraska visits Minnesota, which has already lost at home to FCS member North Dakota State.
Previous ranking: 18
This week: Idle
Next: at Syracuse (Friday)
Geno Smith already has thrown 16 touchdown passes this season and the Mountaineers have bounced back from their beatdown at the hands of LSU with blowouts of Bowling Green and Connecticut.
Still early in the Big East schedule, only Rutgers, Cincinnati and West Virginia are undefeated in league play.
The Mountaineers get back into action in prime time Friday night when they visit Syracuse.
Previous ranking: 20
This week: Beat Baylor 55-28
Next: at Iowa State
The Aggies pulled away from the Bears late, putting the back-to-back second-half meltdowns against Oklahoma State and Arkansas further in the rear-view mirror. After struggling with its deep passing game all season, Texas A&M broke out against Baylor.
Ryan Tannehill threw for 415 yards and a career-best six touchdowns—four of them to Ryan Swope—as the Aggies rolled up 681 yards of offense in blowing out the Bears. But the defense is still a big question mark—Robert Griffin III of Baylor became the third quarterback this season to set a school record for passing yards in a game while taking on A&M.
Texas A&M visits Iowa State this week with the Cyclones still winless in Big 12 play.
Previous ranking: 15
This week: Won at Mississippi State 14-12
Next: at Tennessee (Saturday, Oct. 29)
The Gamecocks escaped Starkville with a win when Connor Shaw connected with Alshon Jeffery for a four-yard touchdown pass with 3:50 remaining. It was an expensive victory for South Carolina, who lost running back Marcus Lattimore for the season with a knee injury.
The team also had to deal with a distraction heading into Mississippi State after former starting quarterback Stephen Garcia was finally kicked off the squad for violating the terms of his reinstatement agreement.
The Gamecocks will have a couple of weeks to adjust to life without Lattimore before visiting Tennessee.
Previous ranking: 9
This week: Lost at Michigan State 28-14
Next: vs. Purdue (Saturday, Oct. 29)
For three straight seasons, the Wolverines headed into their annual matchup with the Spartans undefeated. For the third straight year, Michigan left that game with their first loss, as Denard Robinson was held in check by Michigan State's defense and by heavy winds in East Lansing.
It was Michigan's fourth straight loss to the Spartans, matching their longest losing skid ever to their in-state rival. Robinson did run for a first-quarter touchdown but was mostly ineffective through the air; he was 9-for-24 for 123 yards and a touchdown.
The Wolverines have a week off to regroup before hosting Purdue.
Previous ranking: 17
This week: Won at Texas Tech 41-34
Next: at Kansas
Collin Klein ran for 110 yards and three touchdowns and passed for 146 yards and another score as the Wildcats remained unbeaten with a win over the mistake-prone Red Raiders.
Kansas State was able to come from behind in part because Seth Doege committed three straight turnovers for Texas Tech in the fourth quarter, allowing the Wildcats to survive Doege's 461 yards passing.
Kansas State will battle for Sunflower State supremacy when it heads to Lawrence to meet Kansas.
Previous ranking: 11
This week: Idle
Next: at Mississippi
The Razorbacks are positioned to be the third-best team in the SEC, which would shut them out of the BCS mix come early December. Arkansas already has lost to Alabama and will meet LSU to close the regular season.
The key for the Razorbacks will be to just keep winning and let the rankings play out where they will.
Arkansas returns from a bye week to visit former coach Houston Nutt and Mississippi.
Previous ranking: 8
This week: Won at Maryland 56-45
Next: vs. North Carolina
Freshman Sammy Watkins set a school record with 345 all-purpose yards and scored three touchdowns as the Tigers escaped the upset bid of the Terrapins. Tajh Boyd threw four touchdown passes and led an offense that racked up 576 yards.
Defensively, Clemson has to be concerned after being gouged for 468 yards by Maryland. C.J. Brown made his first start at quarterback for the Terrapins and ran for 162 yards and a touchdown while throwing for three scores.
Clemson hosts North Carolina as the last unbeaten in the ACC.
Previous ranking: 10
This week: Beat Arizona State 41-27
Next: at Colorado
The Ducks survived without Heisman Trophy finalist running back LaMichael James and despite losing quarterback Darron Thomas in the third quarter. Kenjon Varner rushed for a career-high 171 yards and a touchdown in place of James and Bryan Bennett helped keep the offense moving after replacing Thomas by rushing for 65 yards.
Freshman De'Anthony Thomas also had 73 yards on the ground for Oregon, which racked up 327 rushing yards.
It's still uncertain whether the Ducks will have James or Thomas when they visit Colorado.
Previous ranking: 7
This week: Won at Washington State 44-14
Next: vs. Washington
Andrew Luck shook off an interception on his first throw to finish with 336 yards and four touchdowns as the Cardinal pulled away from the Cougars in the second half.
Stanford led just 10-7 at the half before ringing up 34 straight points and the Cardinal defense held Washington State to just 48 yards rushing.
Stanford now hosts Washington in a Pac-12 North showdown.
Previous ranking: 6
This week: Beat Indiana 59-7
Next: at Michigan State
Russell Wilson caught a touchdown pass from Montee Ball and then handed the ball to Ball, who rushed for 142 yards and three touchdowns as the Badgers ran over the Hoosiers for 332 yards on the ground. Indiana scored a pyrrhic victory, losing by 52 at Madison after losing to Wisconsin by 63 at Madtown last year.
The Badgers didn't miss their top receiving threat, Nick Toon, who missed the game with a left foot injury.
Wisconsin now visits Michigan State in a possible Big Ten championship preview.
Previous ranking: 5
This week: Won at Texas 38-26
Next: at Missouri
Jeremy Smith had 140 yards on just seven carries, breaking away for touchdowns of 30 and 74 yards right through the middle of the Longhorn defense as the Cowboys beat Texas for the second straight year.
Justin Gilbert had his fourth career kickoff return touchdown for Oklahoma State, tying a school record, and Brandon Weeden had an efficient day with 218 yards passing—although he gave the Longhorns two points on an embarrassing safety when he just drifted out of the back of the end zone.
The Cowboys now visit Missouri, which is 1-2 in Big 12 play.
Previous ranking: 4
This week: Won at Colorado State 63-13
Next: vs. Air Force
New conference, same result. The Broncos routed the Rams in their Mountain West debut with its big offensive stars all on display. Kellen Moore threw for 338 yards and four touchdowns on 26-for-30 passing, Doug Martin ran for 200 yards on 20 carries and scored three times and receiver Tyler Shoemaker made nine catches for 180 yards and two scores and had a 36-yard run on a fake punt to boot.
Those totals all came in less than three quarters before the reserves closed out the game at Fort Collins.
Boise State hosts its first MWC game when Air Force visits the Smurf Turf.
Previous ranking: 3
This week: Won at Kansas 47-17
Next: vs. Texas Tech
Ryan Broyles set the NCAA career record for receptions and the Sooner defense shut out the Jayhawks in the second half after getting off to a sluggish start the week after blowing out Texas.
Broyles ended the game with 13 catches for a school-record 217 yards and scored twice, including a 57-yard grab for the record-breaker. The Oklahoma defense held Kansas to just one first down in the second half. Dominique Whaley ran for 165 yards and a touchdown as well.
The Sooners host Texas Tech hoping to hand the Red Raiders a third straight loss.
Previous ranking: 1
This week: Won at Mississippi 52-7
Next: vs. Tennessee
Trent Richardson staked his claim to the Heisman trophy, rushing for 183 yards and four touchdowns—including a 76-yard romp over and away from the Rebels defense. Jalston Fowler added a 69-yard touchdown run as the Crimson Tide overwhelmed Mississippi with 389 rushing yards.
Defensively, Alabama was also dominant, allowing just 28 yards rushing, 141 total yards and nine first downs.
The Tide now hosts Tennessee, which gets LSU and Alabama in consecutive weeks.
Previous ranking: 2
This week: Won at Tennessee 38-7
Next: vs. Auburn
The Tigers shook off a slow start to blast the Volunteers, integrating quarterbacks Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson and overwhelming Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms—making his first start this season in place of injured Tyler Bray.
Simms was just 6-for-20 for 128 yards and was picked off twice. LSU dominated the time of possession, holding the ball for 38:19 and just wore down the overmatched Vols.
Next up for the Tigers are the Tigers—Auburn, that is, in a huge SEC West battle.