Rank 'Em

Keep in mind these weekly rankings are based on how our publisher ranks the top teams in the country at the moment, but also considers things such as strength of schedule, head-to-head competition, strength of schedule, etc. Of course, like any poll, it's entirely subjective in nature.

1. USC (10-0)…So-so game from Reggie Bush, a fair to midland effort from Matt Leinart, and the Trojans still roll on the road by 25 points against a bowl-eligible team. Lendale White is going to make a lot of money playing on Sundays, too.

2. Texas (10-0)…Ok, that was just wrong. Come on, 42-0 with 12 minutes to go in the second quarter over a Kansas team that could still qualify for a bowl game? These Longhorns are on a mission.

3. Miami, Fla. (8-1)…Now that the offense is humming, too, look out. These Hurricanes are just one botched field goal in the season-opener away from causing a BCS mess.

4. LSU (8-1)…Eliminated the Crimson Tide from the ranks of the unbeaten and took control of the West Division in a classic, SEC defensive struggle.

5. Penn State (9-1)…The Nittany Lions still need to beat Michigan State to win their first outright Big Ten title since 1994. And despite the Spartans embarking on their annual "I quit tour" that won't be easy in East Lansing.

6. Alabama (9-1)…The defense was stout, but the offense again couldn't deliver in the loss to the Tigers. And it doesn't get any easier this week on the road in the Iron Bowl.

7. Virginia Tech (8-1)…Can still sneak back in the hunt for a BCS berth by winning out, but this week's road trip to Charlottesville will not be easy.

8. Ohio State (8-2)…Two heartbreaking losses to two of the top five teams in the country, otherwise the Buckeyes would be right there. If there was a tournament like in basketball they'd be a dangerous draw.

9. Auburn (8-2)…Considering this team lost four first round draft picks to the NFL from last season's snubbed 13-0 SEC champions; this has been a great coaching job by Tommy Tuberville.

10. Notre Dame (7-2)…The Irish are still likely bound for the BCS, but I'm still not really sure how good they are. The main reason for the hype is a game they lost, albeit an epic contest to USC.

11. Oregon (9-1)…Still getting the job done without Kellen Clemens, and still has a shot at a rare 10-win season if the Ducks – whose only loss is to USC – can beat the Beavers in an instate showdown.

12. UCLA (9-1)…Nice bounce-back win over Arizona State for the Bruins, who now have an odd scheduling quirk with three weeks to prepare for the city championship on December 3rd.

13. Georgia (7-2)…The return of D.J. Shockley re-ignited the offense, but that wasn't enough to lift a suddenly soft run defense. However, it's still in the East Division driver's seat.

14. West Virginia (8-1)…This young team just gets better and better, and is the cream of the crap in the Big Least. Could be even better in 2006.

15. TCU (10-1)…Not a bad rebound at all for the solid Horned Frogs, who overcame a rare bowl-less season by rolling the Mountain West in their first season in the league. Now they await their bowl opponent.

16. Fresno State (8-1)…Finally overcame the Boise State hex, and their only loss this season was a three-point squeaker at Oregon. However, a road trip to face the nation's No. 1 team looms.

17. Texas Tech (8-2)…The Red Raiders got caught in the classic sandwich game, playing at lowly Oklahoma State after a big win over Texas A&M and in advance of this week's clash with Oklahoma.

18. Minnesota (7-3)…Like the Denver Broncos in the NFL, it doesn't matter whom the Gophers put in at running back behind the best offensive line in college football.

19. Michigan (7-3)…The Wolverines are humming now, and are expected to get Mike Hart back and healthy for the Buckeyes. And wouldn't you know it, the Big Ten title could be on the line again.

20. Iowa State (7-3)…Beat Colorado at home for the first time in 22 years, and did it by double-digits. Offense, defense, and special teams – the Cyclones are displaying the total package right now.

21. South Carolina (7-3)…The old ball coach still has a few tricks up his sleeve, like beating Phil Fulmer (again) as well as those mighty Gators. Just think of what he'll do when the recruiting amps up?

22. Florida (7-3)…Hard not to describe Urban Meyer's first season as Zooker-like. The Gators beat Georgia (as Zooker always did) but sit with three losses (again) before the end of the season.

23. Florida State (7-3)…Hanging onto the rankings by a thread, the Seminoles injury woes are exposing warts as the season wears on, and there could still be two more losses coming.

24. Colorado (7-3)…The Buffaloes are still a solid team, and one that just ran into a hot Cyclone team at home. They're still headed to their fourth Big 12 title game in five years.

25. Wisconsin (8-3)…As I've said all year, this team just isn't that good and has been exposed the last two weeks. The Badgers have overachieved to have the record they have.

Honorable Mention: #26 Boston College (7-3), #27 Louisville (7-2), #28 UTEP (8-1), #29 Virginia (6-3), #30 Oklahoma (6-3).

Five Thoughts

  1. Remember when the Cyclones were finding ways to lose games? Now they're finding ways to win them. With gale-force type winds in effect at Jack Trice Stadium, the offense was muzzled for half the game. Plus, the running game couldn't get going against a tough Colorado defense. So what do you do when momentum is starting to slip away? You score two defensive touchdowns to win the game going away.
  2. Against Missouri last year Stevie Paris had a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter that nearly went for the winning touchdown in a game that would've given the Cyclones an outright North Division title. Against Nebraska this year, Nick Leaders nearly picked off a screen pass that would've clinched that game in overtime. Those plays linger in the psyche of Cyclone Nation, but those demons were exorcised against Colorado. This time Paris took his fortuitous bounce all the way to the end zone, and Brent Curvey held on to wayward screen pass and took it to the house for the play of the year if you're an ISU fan.
  3. Props to the crowd for taking advantage of the bargains at the box office and for hanging around after the weather looked like a sequel to Twister, forcing a delay to kick-off and a pre-game evacuation.
  4. Props to Nik Moser for the umm…well…"block" of the year.
  5. As for the Heisman, late momentum is tilting Vince Young's way and the thinking is that the two USC studs will split the vote. Young has had a great year, but Reggie Bush is the best player in college football.

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