Rank 'Em

Please keep in mind that this is how our publisher ranks the top teams in college football at the moment while also taking into account the season as a whole.

1. USC (11-0)…People are overreacting to a close win over an underrated club. They're still going to get the Rose Bowl in their back yard, and they've still got Reggie Bush. Oh, and this just in—he's really, really good.

2. Texas (10-0)…A rivalry game on the road against a desperate foe needing a win to get to the postseason. Will it be enough for Texas A&M to spring the upset. Nope.

3. LSU (9-1)…Just busted out the whuppin' stick at Ole Miss and is just one win away from playing for their third SEC title in six years. Not a bad debut for Les Miles.

4. Penn State (10-1)…It took the Nittany Lions just two years to win their first Big Ten title after joining the league. Yet it took them 11 years to win their second. Joe Pa says don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years.

5. Ohio State (9-2)…Likely all but assured an at-large spot in the BCS field after another epic win in The Game, and if there was a tournament this would be a team to be reckoned with.

6. Auburn (9-2)…A young team playing as well as anybody in the SEC right now. With the road schedule reversing to the home schedule next year look out in 2006.

7. Virginia Tech (9-1)…Very impressive rebound victory at Virginia, and then the icing on the cake was the Hurricanes' stumbling at home to re-open the door to a second straight ACC title.

8. Oregon (10-1)…Quietly had a great season, with the exception of one half against the Trojans. Yet it's likely the BCS will look the other way with the powerhouse Buckeyes and Irish available.

9. Notre Dame (8-2)…One win at Stanford away from a multi-million dollar payday in the BCS. Think the Fiesta Bowl is licking its chops over a potential Notre Dame-Ohio State/Penn State game?

10. Miami, Fla. (8-2)…Saturday night's stunning lost was quite costly to the Hurricanes. It likely cost them another ACC title. It likely cost them a shot at the BCS. And that likely costs them some cash. But hey, maybe that new rap album will make up the lost revenue?

11. Alabama (9-2)…Considering the lackluster offense, and the fact the Crimson Tide still aren't playing with 85 scholarship players, the disappointing ending to this season shouldn't make the season a disappointment as a whole.

12. Georgia (8-2)…Has already clinched the SEC East Division title, but now faces a sneaky dangerous road game in Atlanta against an instate rival riding the momentum of a big win.

13. UCLA (9-1)…The Bruins will just sort of sit here the next couple of weeks, anticipating the finale at the Coliseum against the nation's number one team on December 3rd.

14. Fresno State (8-2)…Played their you-know-whats off against the Trojans, who needed a superhuman effort from #5 to pull it out. Year in and year out this club plays with no fear under Pat Hill.

15. Texas Tech (9-2)…Controversial, last-second win over Oklahoma likely sends the Red Raiders to their first major bowl game since they were last in the Cotton Bowl a decade ago.

16. 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.

17. TCU (10-1)…The Horned Frogs, who won their first outright conference crown in six decades, are attempting to work a trade that will get them in the Houston Bowl opposite a Big 12 team.

18. Georgia Tech (7-3)…The inconsistency of Reggie Ball at quarterback is all that kept this team from challenging for the ACC title. Few teams in the country have two road wins – at Auburn and at Miami – of better quality.

19. Iowa State (7-3)…Took the week off and saw Kansas State do them a favor by eliminating Missouri from the North Division race. Now it's "go Huskers" this weekend.

20. Michigan (7-4)…If you look at the total body of work this up and down season, the Wolverines deserve to be the highest ranked of the four-loss teams. When was the last time Big Blue lost three home games in one year?

21. Boston College (8-3)…Year after year under Tom O'Brien the Eagles get their 7-9 wins and a bowl game. If I'm an elite team looking for my next head coach, he might be someone to look at.

22. Colorado (7-3)…Just needs 40 more minutes of solid football against Nebraska at home to ensure themselves of a fourth berth in the Big 12 title game in the last five years.

23. Wisconsin (8-3)…Better not overlook this week's road finale at Hawaii, because under June Jones they can score and the Badgers aren't exactly packing a defense with them on the road.

24. Clemson (7-4)…Two nice wins to close out the season against the Seminoles and Gamecocks likely resurrected – again – Tommy Bowden's job security in Death Valley.

25. Louisville (7-2)…Took the week off and now just needs to woodshed Syracuse and UCONN to earn a Gator Bowl slot, likely opposite of the Hurricanes.

Honorable Mention:

#26 Florida State (7-3), #27 South Carolina (7-4), #28 Florida (7-3), #29 Iowa (7-4), #30 South Florida (6-3).


Five Thoughts

1.  The off week yielded mixed results for the Cyclones. Kansas State beating Missouri obviously was good news and knocked the Tigers out of the North Division race. Unfortunately, the results from the Big Ten and Miami's loss to Georgia Tech likely means the Alamo Bowl is now problematic for ISU. With two Big Ten teams likely heading to the BCS, the Alamo bowl will have a choice between three 7-4 teams: Iowa, Northwestern, and Minnesota. For the Alamo Bowl, that's an easy choice to make, and thus that likely means Iowa will ace ISU out of this bowl game for the second time. The previous was in 2001.

2.  Now the Cyclones are down to rooting against Colorado one week and for them the next. If the Colorado loses this week, and ISU wins, that sends the Cyclones to the Big 12 title game. But if Colorado were to win and then upset Texas, that likely sends two Big 12 teams to the BCS. That would mean the Holiday Bowl, in either situation, would become ISU's new best friend after giving the Cyclones the silent treatment thus far.

3.  In the end, the best bet is that ISU will spend New Year's Eve at the Houston Bowl. The opponent will be either TCU or an at-large team out of the ACC (like North Carolina, for instance).

4.  As for the Kansas game this week, I seem to be a lone wolf that thinks the Jayhawks are a dangerous opponent. I seem to be a lone wolf that thinks the Cyclones are walking into an ambush. So I will say this in conclusion: if Colorado loses on Friday, then ISU will win on Saturday. If Colorado wins on Friday…well…we'll see what happens.

5.  My Heisman ballot this week only has two names: Reggie Bush and Vince Young. If one of those two guys don't win it then I'm skinny.


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