This is how I would rank the top teams in college football this week if I had a vote in the AP Poll:
2. LSU (7-1)…Bounces back after going 2-1 against a three-game, SEC gauntlet that would've railroaded most teams in the nation.
3. Boston College (7-0)…This lofty ranking is rarified air for the Eagles, who are on upset alert this Thursday night in Blacksburg.
4. Oregon (6-1)…Not even season-ending injuries to two key players can slow down the Ducks and their high-flying offense.
5. Oklahoma (7-1)…Survived a scare in Ames that should've never been that close, but the Sooners are getting a bye week at just the right time.
6. Kansas (7-0)…I'm starting to think that Lou Holtz is right about these guys, but they're on upset alert in College Station this week.
7. Arizona State (7-0)…Are the Sun Devils for real? We'll find out since they play the rest of the Pac-10's first division the next four weeks straight.
8. USC (6-1)…Out-gained Notre Dame by over 300 yards, but this week they play a team wearing green jerseys that can actually score.
10. Missouri (6-1)…I'm starting to believe the Tigers might be the best team in the Big 12, and they'll be favored in every game the rest of the way.
11. Florida (5-2)…Easily the best two-loss team in America, the Gators control their own destiny in the SEC East again.
12. West Virginia (6-1)…I love their offense and its gaudy stats, but to be honest the Mountaineers really haven't beaten anyone yet.
13. Virginia Tech (6-1)…I love their defense and its gaudy stats, but to be honest the Hokies really haven't beaten anyone yet.
14. Kentucky (6-2)…Just ran into the hungry Gators at the wrong time, but the Wildcats still have a shot at their first January bowl bid in eons.
15. Michigan (6-2)…They're baacckk. Once considered road-kill on the endangered species list, the Wolverines have come roaring back.
16. Virginia (7-1)…The Cavaliers have quietly tied the school record for longest winning streak in the program's history.
17. Auburn (5-3)…I'm not sure you can penalize the Tigers too much for giving LSU all it could handle in Baton Rouge.
18. California (6-2)…Hard to believe the Bears were just minutes away from being ranked the #1 team in the nation last week.
22. Texas (6-2)…If the Longhorns can win out they'll be an attractive at-large team for the BCS, but that's a big if.
24. Penn State (6-2)…Another Big Ten team that has bounced back nicely after an iffy start, the Nittany Lions host #1 this week in primetime.
25. UCLA (5-2)…Despite two ugly non-conference losses, the Bruins are quietly tied atop the Pac-10 standings.
My Heisman Ballot
Five Thoughts on the Cyclones
1. No, before you ask, Saturday's 17-7 loss to Oklahoma wasn't a "moral victory." I'm not going to go so far to say there's no such as moral victories, because I observed one on an August night at Arrowhead Stadium in 2002 when the Cyclones nearly defeated #3 Florida State. But the idea that guys ought to be digging their girlfriends and signing autographs after blowing the multitude of chances that Iowa State had on Saturday is beyond ridiculous. So I'm glad that Gene Chizik dismissed any such silly notions after the game. Moral victories is old school Iowa State. Under Chizik we're attempting to go new school, as in just win baby. The idea we should be happy we "only" lost by 10 is insulting. And it's one thing when it comes from Mr. Hawkeye Jim Zabel on Sound Off, it's even more pathetic when it comes from our own ilk.
2. Now, that doesn't mean there aren't positives to take from this effort, because there are. Here's one: earlier last week Chizik refused to give up the rest of the season for a so-called "youth movement" and I think the team's effort on Saturday is a direct correlation to that move. This demonstrates that the players, yes even the seniors, are still responding to Chizik despite the 1-7 record.
3. Another positive is that first half atmosphere at Jack Trice Stadium was electric, dare I say Hawkeyesque? That had to make an impression on the recruits in attendance. Or at least let's hope so.
4. He's a high quality young man who saved the 2004 season and played the pivotal role in our lone victory this season, but it's getting tougher and tougher to watch Bret Culbertson kick field goals. Is it just me, or do you just cringe for the young man every time he trots out there? Now, if we're doing that you know the players are doing it. And if they're doing it, what do you think is going on inside Culbertson's head?
5. We'll find out if indeed the Cyclones' effort against Oklahoma was a one-time stand on pride or a sign the team is still battling by the way they play in Columbia this week. Missouri might be the best team in the conference, and you know they'll want vengeance for their controversial loss in Ames last November.