Well, there goes Penn State. Still, the run to the BCS promises to be complicated. Here we go.
1. Texas Tech (1) – No letdown for the Red Raiders, who just smoked Okie. State. However, a bye week before Oklahoma is pretty ideal, as it lets them decompress a bit.
2. Alabama (2) – Whew. That’s what Alabama has to say about surviving LSU. Road looks clear from now until the SEC title game with Florida.
3. Florida (4) – Gators continue to roll, adding Vanderbilt to its list of blowout victims. South Carolina could be tricky this week though.
4. Texas (5) – The Longhorns did what they needed to do in beating Baylor. Now, they have to root for (gasp!) Oklahoma in two weeks.
5. Oklahoma (6) – The Sooners’ football team is averaging more points per game than its men’s basketball team did last year. At least it seems that way. Tech looms in 13 days.
6. USC (7) – Penn State’s loss allows USC to jump a little bit. But barring some extreme weirdness, the Trojans’ chance at getting into the national title game seems remote.
7. Utah (8) – The Utes vaulted one huge hurdle with a comeback win over TCU. If they beat BYU in two weeks, Utah is BCS bound.
8. Penn State (3) – The Nittany Lions took a shot square in the gut from Iowa. Now we’ll see if PSU can pick up the pieces enough to go to the Rose Bowl.
9. Boise State (10) – The Broncos continue to do their thing, but the weakness of the WAC is going to make it harder for them to climb much higher.
10. Ohio State (13) – Buckeyes whip a pretty decent Northwestern team to get back in the top 10. Also, Penn State’s loss gives their Rose Bowl hopes some life.
11. BYU (12) – A win over San Diego State doesn’t do much for me. However, wins over Air Force and Utah over the next two weeks certainly would.
12. Georgia (14) – The Bulldogs barely avoid the letdown, escaping Kentucky. The defense is a concern though, as Georgia has given up 118 points the last three games.
13. Ball State (15) – The Cards stay undefeated and stay on an upward track in the standings. Last two games against Central Michigan and Western Michigan will tell a lot.
14. Oklahoma State (9) – The Cowboys got stomped down pretty good, but there’s no chance I can put them lower than a Missouri team they beat on the road.
15. Missouri (16) – Tigers get a little more cushion in their victory this week, but still don’t seem to be completely back on track.
16. North Carolina (21) – Whupping Georgia Tech, and establishing themselves as the class of the ACC, has the Tar Heels making a sizable leap up this week.
17. TCU (11) – Not going to punish TCU too much for losing at tough game at Utah. Besides, the Horned Frogs’ kicker is probably doing it for me after missing those fourth-quarter field goals.
18. Michigan State (20) – Good week for the Spartans. Not only did they get their ninth win, but Penn State’s loss gives their hopes of a Rose Bowl bid a bump up. After a week off, they’ll head to Happy Valley.
19. Florida State (24) – Makes big leap just because everyone else around them stubbed their toe. However, Seminoles in good position going down the stretch.
20. Pittsburgh (NR) – The Panthers are back in the rankings after backhanding Louisville. Have a week off before a brutal Cincinnati-West Virginia back-to-back.
21. Oregon State (NR) – The Beavers finally jump into the poll after playing exemplary football over the past six weeks. Amazingly enough, they control their Rose Bowl destiny.
22. LSU (17) – The Tigers don’t fall too much after taking Alabama to overtime. However, LSU has to wonder where it’d be if it didn’t have turnover machine Jarrett Lee at QB.
23. South Carolina (NR) – Gamecocks have won 6 of 7 and finally move into the rankings as a result. However, a game at Florida almost assures that their stay will be short-lived.
24. Cincinnati (NR) – Bearcats pull off a tough win at West Virginia in overtime, therefore they enter the rankings. Not really much more to say.
25. Tulsa (NR) – Tulsa didn’t play, but at 8-1, should be ranked – even if Conference USA is truly horrible this year, as it seems to be.
Under consideration: California, Georgia Tech, Arizona
Dropped out: No. 18 California (lost to USC), No. 19 Georgia Tech (lost to North Carolina), No. 22 Maryland (lost to Virginia Tech), No. 23 West Virginia (lost to Cincinnati), No. 25 Northwestern (lost to Ohio State).