Here at The Thrill of Victory, I introduced something new last week: my own personal Top 25 rankings. All those weekend upsets in the Southeastern Conference resulted in quite a re-shuffle of last week’s rankings, so here’s how I see everyone standing now that the dust has settled.
1. Alabama (7-0): It’s a three-team competition for the No. 1 spot, and I think you have to continue to give the nod to the defending national champ, especially as it continues to get better.
2. Oregon (6-0): Ducks haven’t played a top-flight schedule, but they’ve been playing without running back DeAnthony Thomas, and yet only Washington (21) has come within 38 points of OU.
3. Florida State (6-0): It seems almost unfair that FSU destroyed Clemson on the road and yet stayed the same spot in my rankings. A convincing argument exists that the Seminoles could be No. 1.
4. Baylor (6-0): The next 8-9 spots are where things get murky, and yes, I have a hard time elevating a team which, according to Jeff Sagarin, has the 100th-toughest schedule in the country this high. But man, when you’re out-scoring opponents by 49 points a game and out-gaining them by nearly 400 halfway through the season, doesn’t that make a bit of a statement?
5. Missouri (7-0): Three weeks ago, the Tigers were unranked. Then, they beat Vandy and Georgia on the road, and dismantled Florida at home. The last game came with backup QB Maty Mauk at the controls, too.
6. Stanford (6-1): I’m not blown away with Stanford, statistically — plus-14 points and only 43 yards per game — but you can’t ignore a team that’s beaten Arizona State, Washington and now, UCLA.
7. Ohio State (7-0): I’m still not blown away with the Buckeyes, who have beaten Wisconsin for their only great win amidst a handful of much-smaller accomplishments.
8. Miami, Fla. (6-0): Hurricanes are almost a carbon copy of Ohio State statistically, but without all the preseason hype. An awful night by QB Steven Morris nearly cost Miami its undefeated season, but we give credit to the ‘Canes for hanging on.
9. UCLA (6-1): Bruins fall after a loss at Stanford, but the rest of the resume remains quite solid.
10. Texas Tech (7-0): Yet-another top 10 team that hasn’t much played anyone, but Red Raiders have brought it every week and are very similar in statistical dominance to Miami and OSU.
11. Wisconsin (5-2): Wanna know the college football travesty of the week? The Badgers didn’t even make the BCS Top 25 this week. Again, I remind you, an officiating screw-up probably cost the Badgers a road win at Arizona St.
12. LSU (6-2): A pair of field-goal losses at Ole Miss and Georgia (the healthy version) are all that stand between the Tigers and an unbeaten season.
13. Clemson (6-1): I have reservations about dropping the Tigers this far — both polls have them in the top 10 — but did you see how bad Clemson looked on Saturday night?
14. Auburn (6-1): Recent wins over Ole Miss and Texas A&M have the Tigers, who can reall run the ball well, moving up the charts.
15. Texas A&M (5-2): Aggies remain what they are, which is, a team with a defense almost as bad as Johnny Manziel is good.
16. Oklahoma (6-1): Sooners’ loss to Texas overshadows the fact that they’ve got a great defense (17.1 points, 293 yards per game).
17. Virginia Tech (6-1): Hokies are the anti-A&M — a team that can defend with the best of them, but can’t score.
18. South Carolina (5-2): Inconsistent Gamecocks haven’t played to their potential most of the year, and QB Connor Shaw’s bum knee isn’t helping matters.
19. Arizona State (5-2): Even if I penalize ASU for what happened against Wisconsin, Sun Devils get points for out-scoring Sagarin’s 11th-toughest schedule by an average of almost 19 per week.
20. Central Florida (5-1): After a road win at Louisville, Knights have to be wondering what might have been had they just held on to to a big lead over South Carolina.
21. Louisville (6-1): Cardinals have been dominant statistically, but wet the bed in their first real test against Central Florida last Thursday.
22. Oklahoma State (5-1): Barely left out of my rankings last week, OSU benefits from a nice win over TCU as well as a massive stumble by a number of SEC teams.
23. Michigan State (6-1): There’s nothing impressive about whom the Spartans have beaten, but what is impressive is the nation’s top-ranked defense, which yields just 228 yards per game.
24. Ole Miss (4-3): Rebels’ four wins against Sagarin’s top-ranked schedule include road conquests at Vandy and Texas, and the recent home upset of LSU.
25. Washington (4-3): Huskies have similar story to Rebels in that they’ve competed well against a brutal schedule, but was a 29-point loss to Arizona State a sign that the wheels are falling off?
Also considered: Nebraska, Oregon State, Fresno State, BYU, Utah