Weekly NCAA Football Rankings

Our publisher takes his weekly look at what he considers to be the top 25 teams in college football as things stand right now. And don't look now but your favorite team is back on his ballot after playing one of the best three-game stretches in the history of the program.

1. USC (9-0)…The pleasantries are over for the Trojans, the final three games of the season are against teams that have spent most of this season ranked at one time or another.

2. Texas (9-0)…Statement needed, statement made by the Longhorns in a 62-0 pasting of a previously thought to be an upstart Baylor team.

3. Alabama (9-0)…The Crimson Tide are going to need to muster some semblance of a downfield passing game if they're going to win their final two games.

4. Miami, Fla. (8-1)…Speaking of statements, the Hurricanes spoke loudly with their dominating play in Blacksburg. But they still have two tough ACC games left and then perhaps the league title game.

5. Penn State (9-1)…After winning the de facto Big Ten championship game, the Nittany Lions now control their own destiny for a BCS berth.

6. LSU (8-1)…Didn't look great against Appalachian State, but now has a chance to take over the SEC West Division race by posting a rare win in Tuscaloosa.

7. Georgia (7-1)…D.J. Shockley is expected back in the lineup this week, and the Bulldogs need him because they're not the same team without him under center.

8. Virginia Tech (8-1)…Exposed at home, it's apparent these Hokies weren't ready for primetime. But there's still a chance to claim an at-large spot in the BCS field.

9. Ohio State (7-2)…The Buckeyes are back, not only in the Big Ten race with a little help from Michigan State, but in the BCS conversation as well if they win their final two games.

10. Notre Dame (6-2)…The 41-21 win over Tennessee all but guarantees the Irish will play in a BCS bowl in Charlie Weis' first year, provided they win out.

11. Texas Tech (8-1)…With the way the Red Raiders have bounced back from that woodshed beating at Austin two weeks ago it's looking more and more like the Longhorns are that good.

12. Oregon (8-1)…The Ducks persevered through the loss of standout senior quarterback Kellen Clemens and beat California in an overtime thriller in their first game without him.

13. UCLA (8-1)…The year of living dangerously finally stung the Bruins, who were absolutely buried by a rebuilding Arizona team already out of bowl contention.

14. Florida (7-2)…Gators got all they could handle from an improving Vanderbilt squad, but still got the job done in double overtime and still have a shot in the SEC East.

15. Florida State (7-2)…The loss to mediocre N.C. State proves yet again that the Seminoles are no longer an elite program, just a solid one. However, they could say otherwise by winning the ACC.

16. West Virginia (7-1)…Showed no rust in their first game in over two weeks, but they still have a tricky finale at South Florida for the Big East championship on December 3rd.

17. TCU (9-1)…The Horned Frogs clinched their first outright conference crown in six decades by blowing out Colorado State.

18. Auburn (7-2)…The young Tigers continue to improve as the season wears on and they will provide stiff competition for whomever they match up with in the postseason.

19. Colorado (7-2)…Made short work of Missouri and are now one win away from clinching their fourth berth in the Big 12 Championship Game in the last five years.

20. Wisconsin (8-2)…The reality that they're not actually all that good finally caught up with the Badgers, although they still have a shot of sharing the Big Ten title.

21. Fresno State (7-1)…It's been a couple of years since the Bulldogs has displaced Boise State atop the WAC standings, but they can do it this week at home versus the Broncos.

22. Michigan (6-3)…Rested, healthy, and still chasing a potential share of their third straight Big Ten crown, these Wolverines could be dangerous the rest of the way.

23. Georgia Tech (6-2)…Now that bowl-eligibility is out of the way for the Yellow Jacket, they may have the toughest closing schedule in the entire country.

24. Iowa State (6-3)…Back in the rankings after being left for dead following three straight midseason heartbreaks. However, they've bounced back to outscore their last three opponents 124-29.

25. Louisville (6-2)…If the Cardinals win out they'll play in their first New Year's Day bowl game in 15 years. And they should be favored in their final three games.

Honorable Mention: #26 Boston College (6-3), #27 Northwestern (6-3), #28 California, #29 South Carolina (6-3), #30 UTEP (7-1).

Five Thoughts

1.  If you weren't at the Iowa State-Kansas State game in person than you should know that the stat sheet doesn't tell the whole story. Not even by a long shot. The bottom line is that I'm not sure how many of K-State's starters would start for ISU, but I'm guessing it's a real low number. The Cyclones are a lot better.

2.  What's the best news for the ISU coaches from the boot stomping of K-State? The fact that ISU lost its discipline several times on offense with holding and false start penalties. That gives Coach Mac and crew something to get mad about this week in practice. Even better news for Cyclone Nation is the fact this team now has the kind of talent necessary to overcome those mental lapses, and we saw that on display against K-State.

3.  ISU is searching for its first home win over Colorado since 1983, and it won't be easy to come by. This is the best team ISU has played this season, but a win would put the Cyclones back in the North Division race with a little help from Nebraska. A win would also greatly enhance ISU's bowl outlook and probably get them back in the national polls.

4.  Let's see…the Cyclones rout those hated, classless Wildcats from K-State. The Hawkeyes melt down in the final two minutes against Northwestern and now face the possibility of not making a bowl game. Nebraska gets 40-pointed at Kansas. Yep, this is a good week to be a Cyclone. J

5.  My Heisman ballot with four weeks left to go—1. Reggie Bush (USC), 2. Vince Young (Texas), and 3. Matt Leinart (USC). I don't think there is a fourth place. One of these three guys is going to win it.

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