It was a bad week for top-level teams like Baylor and Oregon, but a good week for the middle-of-the-pack teams from the Southeastern and PAC-12 conferences. See how all the recent action, updated through Thursday night’s games, changed this week’s ratings.
1. Alabama (11-0): Crimson Tide register another shutout over Chattanooga with Auburn and a possible SEC Championship Game appearance looming.
2. Florida State (11-0): FSU leads the country with a 43.8-point scoring margin, but all hopes going forward hinge on whether or not Jameis Winston stays eligible.
3. Ohio State (11-0): Buckeyes have but won win over a Top 25 team (Wisconsin by seven) but continue to feast on the bottom half of a weak Big Ten.
4. Missouri (10-1): Tigers continue to look strong, having beaten every opponent on the schedule besides South Carolina by at least 14 points.
5. Stanford (9-2): Not many teams have faced a schedule with more challenges week-in and week-out than the Cardinal.
6. Auburn (10-1): Tigers could jump into the national title picture by beating Alabama.
7. Wisconsin (9-2): Perpetually-underrated Badgers may be on the verge of sneaking into a BCS bowl.
8. Oregon (9-2): I know, I know, it’s looked ugly for the Ducks lately, and the pollsters have OU several spots lower than I do here. But that first-half-of-the-season resume´still counts for something, doesn’t it?
9. Oklahoma State (10-1): Cowboys’ blasting of Baylor may have been the most impressive one-game feat of the college football season, but OSU’s resume´lacks top-shelf wins otherwise.
10. Baylor (9-1): The problem with playing a weak schedule is this: when you get bludgeoned by a good team the way the Bears did on Saturday, it makes you question the validity of most of what you’ve accomplished.
11. Arizona State (9-2): A 9-2 mark against the nation’s second-toughest schedule is really impressive. The pollsters don’t rank ASU higher because they don’t put enough stock into that; I don’t rank them higher because of that Wisconsin game, but there are several teams ahead of ASU that I’d much-rather face right now.
12. Clemson (9-1): Tigers destroyed The Citadel, but actually fell two spots because of the weeks that OSU and ASU (beat UCLA) had.
13. LSU (8-3): Speaking of impressive feats, LSU’s total annihilation of Johnny Football also ranks way up there.
14. South Carolina (9-2): Something feels wrong about putting Carolina this low, but the Gamecocks will certainly have their chance to move up by beating Clemson — which I expect them to do.
15. Michigan State (10-1): Spartans are just a four-point loss to Notre Dame from being undefeated. However, the fact that their best win is over Iowa limits their upside in the rankings for now.
16. UCLA (8-3): Pollsters dropped Bruins to a consensus No. 22 this week, but let’s not forget those three losses came to Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State.
17. Southern Cal (8-3): Did you realize that the Trojans are riding a six-game PAC-12 winning streak?
18. Washington (7-4): Huskies return to their winning ways with a 42-point pounding of Oregon State.
19. Georgia (7-4): The resume´– wins over South Carolina and LSU, narrow road losses to Clemson and Auburn — scream that UGA’s legit at this spot. The question is, can the Bulldogs get by without star quarterback Aaron Murray now?
20. Central Florida (9-1): Golden Knights are solid in every phase of the game, and are just three points away from being undefeated.
21. Louisville (10-1): That defense (243 yards, 11.4 points per game) is impressive, but for context, Jeff Sagarin ranks Cards’ schedule 118th nationally.
22. Texas A&M (8-3): You can’t much hold losses to Alabama, Auburn and LSU against someone, but the Aggies’ biggest problem now (besides that defense) is that their best win is over Ole Miss.
23. Oklahoma (9-2): Sooners defense, special teams have been solid from start to finish this year.
24. Notre Dame (8-3): Has any team in the country been more unpredictable than the Irish, which have not-so-flattering losses to Michigan and Pitt, but also wins over Michigan State and Southern Cal?
25. Arizona (7-4): Wildcats smoke Oregon in a game that was never close at any point. Three of UA’s losses have come by seven points or less.
Also considered: Ole Miss, Northern Illinois, BYU, Texas