You know the routine...
1. Ohio State: The Buckeyes had a pretty impressive win on Saturday. The final score was close, but they did go on the road and beat a 5-2 Michigan State team in a conference game, despite the fact that offensive meltdowns that directly gave the Spartans two touchdowns. Not many teams can do that, especially in this crazy year. I don't know if they can hang on, but they are legit number ones. Nonetheless, it's a tough road with games at Penn State (6-2), Wisconsin (6-2), Illinois (5-3), and at Michigan (6-2). If they win out, they deserve it.
2. Arizona State: Another impressive win for the Sun Devils, but we'll find out just how good these guys are in the next month with Cal, USC, UCLA, and Oregon. If they get through that unscathed, see you in New Orleans. With a win this week, they'll probably jump LSU in the BCS.
3. Boston College: Again, they'll choke. Matt Ryan may get them a win this week over Virginia Tech, but they'll fall somewhere. They are here by default.
4. LSU: A big win, and the dumbest coach I've ever seen. This is a good team, but I really don't think they can go through Alabama, Ole Miss, Arkansas, and Florida again to get to New Orleans. I'll drop them one spot this week due to ASU's unbeaten season being extended, and because I figure coaching stupidity costs them one game. An LSU friend called the decision for a deep pass at the end, "The worst coaching decision I've seen since Curley Hallman against Auburn in 1994." Still, gotta tip your hat to anyone who rips Auburn's heart out.
5. Oregon: The Ducks look very good at the moment, and it was arguably a fluke loss to Cal. The next two weeks, however, are very big games with USC and Arizona State. If they can reel off two wins the next two weeks, they are likely BCS bound and may end up in the Big Easy.
6. Oklahoma: That performance against Iowa State was so bad I could smell it all the way down South. Still, the schedule works out really well for these guys, and the odds are that they win out and have a rematch with Missouri in the Big 12 title game.
7. USC: The scariest thing about their trip to South Bend was the flight. I know this team has played terrible the past month, but they still have great coaching and incredible talent. Now these guys close with at Oregon (#5), Oregon State (4-3), at Cal (#21), at Arizona State (#4), and then play UCLA. To be quite frank, that's exactly what these guys need. If they run the table against that, they will seriously contend for a trip to NOLA. And to be quite frank, they are probably deserving if they do.
8. Florida: I think I called the Kentucky game just right, and as long as Tebow stays healthy, these guys are headed back to Atlanta. UGA usually can't beat them if their life depended on it, and there's no way SOS is pulling the upset now. Saturday was the perfect day for them, with South Carolina choking against Vandy, 'Bama killing Tennessee, and the Gators beating Kentucky. The LSU people cannot be happy about this one.
9. Missouri: The big win over Texas Tech really showed what this football team is all about. They'll get a rematch against Oklahoma in a little over a month, and that could springboard them to a BCS game. Sorry guys, but the Pinkel curse isn't apparently going to kick in.
10. Kansas: These guys are undefeated, but I really don't think anyone believes they'll beat Missouri. I know they have a great offense, but if the Tigers could shut down the Red Raiders, they'll do the same against the Jayhawks. Still, nine or ten wins should be expected.
11. Michigan: Look, these guys went on the road and beat a good Illinois team, all the while having their star player Mike Hart on the sideline. These guys are the second best team in the Little Ten, and Ohio State better bring their A-game to Ann Arbor. It's pathetic, but these guys may be in a BCS bowl.
12. West Virginia: I doubt this bunch is very good, but with the meltdown of USF, they could very well win the Big East and get in a BCS game. I hate the "Big" East.
13. Texas: The Longhorns aren't great, but they are a pretty good team. They should annihilate Nebraska this weekend, and with a weak schedule they have a good shot at running the table to finish 10-2. That probably won't get them in a BCS game, but that's definitely good enough for a top 15 ranking.
14. Kentucky: Again, I love the Kentucky story, but they just aren't that good. I know about the LSU game, but as I said that was more about LSU's struggles than anything else, and Florida showed that. Kentucky has a great QB and good receivers, but not much else. I imagine they lose at least one more. Still though, great year for the 'Cats.
15. Virginia Tech: The Hokies aren't great, but the ACC is terrible, and just being pretty good is going to be enough to win it this year. I'm not sure if they can beat BC this Thursday, but it's going to be close.
16. Virginia: I'll put them here just because they are 7-1, but they haven't beaten anyone yet and aren't that good. They are likely to be exposed.
17. South Florida: Against a mediocre Rutgers team, they looked terrible. Sayonara.
18. Alabama: I had serious doubts about this team, but the annihilation of Tennessee puts the Crimson Tide at 6-2, and a win in two weeks against LSU likely puts us in Atlanta. That's got to be good enough for a top twenty ranking. I know the Vols aren't that good, but any time you play a complete game like that and annihilate a rival, it's something special. The win over Tennessee was great; had I died yesterday, I'd died a happy man.
19. Auburn: These guys took LSU right down to the wire, and had their DB been paying attention he would have gotten the game-winning interception at the end. You have to give them credit, this is a good football team, but their Atlanta hopes are now officially done. Gig 'em.
20. South Carolina: Big-time stinker performance, at home, against Vanderbilt, and I think that should end any thoughts that these guys are particularly good. And you can probably forget them winning the East. I think a lot of people give the Gamecocks more than they deserve because they think Spurrier is as good as Bear Bryant or something, but he's not. The 'Ol Ball Coach is currently a good but not great coach, and his team is a good but not great team. As I said last week in the ballot, "Number six in the BCS? No way."
21. Georgia: The Dawgs aren't all that good, but they are still alive in the SEC East. If Hell freezes over this weekend, i.e. they somehow beat Florida, maybe they'll get it done. Still, they'll go at least 8-4 or so and that will be enough to be in the top 25.
22. UConn: These guys are 6-1 and may be a sleeper in the Big East. Whatever.
23. Cal: The losses of the past two weeks are completely unacceptable, but they've still got some big games left where they could catapult themselves higher into the rankings.
24. Rutgers: These guys aren't all that good, but it's not like you need to be in the Big East to do well. If they can knock off West Virginia this week, they are likely Big East champions.
25. Vanderbilt: My "Mr. Irrelevant" pick goes to the Vanderbilt Commodores. After knocking off Tennessee in 2005, Georgia in 2006, down goes South Carolina in 2007. If these guys can just knock off Miami (Ohio) and Wake Forest, or get one of those games and pull another upset, a bowl game will be forthcoming. You have to be pulling hard for these guys.