After another crazy college football Saturday...
1) LSU: With USC falling, no doubt this team is the number one in the country. That said, they did look bad against Tulane, and Florida led them for 59 minutes before the Gators really beat themselves with turnovers. I'm not sure that LSU can go undefeated, but at this point they don't have to. If they can just avoid two losses, it may be enough to get them into the title game.
2) California: At the moment, the Bears are out front in the Pac-10, and if they can get a win over the Trojans, they are going to win the conference and make a run at an undefeated season. That said, I'm still not completely sold on them, but you have to give them credit after big wins against Tennessee and Oregon. I'm not sure if they can go undefeated, but at this point it's a very legitimate possibility.
3) Ohio State: Exactly how great are the Buckeyes? I don't know, but unless they just have a meltdown -- which this season has shown us to be a very legitimate possibility every week -- they could very well go undefeated. It's a tough close to their season, but they have no conference championship game, and I really don't see why anyone should beat them. They should be able to spank Michigan and Wisconsin, and I imagine they should beat Zook and his Illini as well. The Buckeyes are a legitimate title game contender.
4) Boston College: We really don't know how good this team is, but they are 6-0. That said, the final six games of the season are much, much harder than the first six, and I wouldn't be surprised if the bottom fell out for these guys. They are here because they haven't lost yet, not because I think they are that great.
5) Missouri: The other Tigers are nothing to joke at. They currently sit at 5-0, after beating Ole Miss, beating Illinois, and annihilating Nebraska. They'll play Oklahoma this week, and the winner will be the Big 12 favorite. That said, you can almost bet money now on a rematch in the Big 12 title game.
6) Oklahoma: I'll put the Sooners over the Bulls, if but for nothing more than I think they are a better team. It's hard to see these guys not running the table and heading into the Big 12 title game. The game with Missouri next week will determine who is the favorite to win the Big 12, but since we'll see a rematch in the Big 12 title game, it's really just a must-win for the Sooners to keep their BCS title hopes alive.
7) South Florida: I figure the Bulls choke somewhere, but if they don't, they will spoil the BCS. One way or another, it'll be a controversy on whether they deserve to be in the BCS title game. Rest assured the BCS people are pulling for a loss.
8) USC: There's little doubt that on paper the Trojans are the best team in the country, but they are playing with no intensity now and really aren't that good. They have potential, but as Bum Phillips said, "Potential is just a French word that means you haven't done a damn thing yet." If this team gets hot, they could very well fight their way back into the BCS title game, but they've got to play with the heart of a champion first. None of this expecting everyone else to roll over dead junk.
9) Illinois: I'll give Zook credit, he has the Illini playing quite well. They are currently 5-1 with only a heartbreaking loss to Missouri, on the road, clouding the resume, and they are likely to be the favorites in every game sans Ohio State. This team could very well end up 10-2, and if they can beat Ohio State, 11-1 and Big Ten champions with a BCS bowl berth.
10) Oregon: It's a crowded Pac-10, no two ways about it. But these guys deserve to be near the top. I'll let them round out my top ten.
11) Cincinnati: Just like with USF, these guys have the chance to be BCS spoilers. Whoever wins the Cincinnati v. USF game will play the role of spoiler.
12) Kansas: I'm not sure how good these guys are, but they are 5-0 at the moment, and to be quite frank I think they may be the only team in the Big 12 North that could possibly have something for Missouri.
13) Arizona State: These guys are 6-0, and again the Pac-10 is very, very crowded. I don't know if they can stay, but 6-0 is 6-0 at this point, and they deserve to be in the top 15. That said, we'll find out just how good they are in the next three weeks with the daunting schedule that they face.
14) Florida State: Another week, another win for the Seminoles. And it looks like the light has finally came on for Xavier Lee, who had another very good performance. These guys are now 4-1 with a loss to Clemson, but that team that lost to Clemson isn't around any more, they'd pound Clemson today. These guys are very legitimate contenders to win the ACC.
15) Florida: You have to give the Gators credit for showing up ready to play in Baton Rouge, but you cannot ignore the simple fact that these guys had LSU beat and they choked it away with key turnovers. These guys are solid -- and Tebow is an absolute beast -- but the truth is that with the whole they've dug themselves the past two weeks, they now need to go undefeated in the conference to get back to Atlanta. Another loss in conference play and these guys are done in the East.
16) South Carolina: I know, these guys are now the favorites to win the SEC East, but I really don't see how they are that good. LSU beat them solidly, and while they did beat Kentucky, they were really dominated all night long and South Carolina only won when the Wildcats had a meltdown of boneheaded mistakes. Sorry, SOS, but you haven't convinced me.
17) Wisconsin: Well, we all knew it would happen. Everyone knew the Badgers weren't that good, and it was just a matter of time before they were beaten. Thanks Illinois. Still, as weak as the Big Ten is, they're still likely to win nine or ten games.
18) Auburn: I'll admit it: I thought Auburn was done. But I'll give Tuberville credit, that man has more lives than a litter of cats, and he has somehow breathed life into his hapless Tigers. The truth is, if Auburn continues to play like they have the past two weeks, they are in great shape. Arkansas is an underdog to the Tigers this week, at home, and LSU had better be ready to play on November 20th. To be quite frank about it, Auburn can grab the SEC West by the balls the next two weeks, and if they play like they have the past two weeks, they may well do it.
19) Kentucky: The Wildcats may be better than I thought, but no team that kills themselves like they did this past Thursday night deserves a very high ranking. That said, those guys should have won with ease. A loss this week will effectively eliminate them from contention in the SEC East -- given the difficulty of the remaining schedule -- so we'll see this week what they are made of.
20) West Virginia: I'm not sure how good these guys are, particularly with Pat White banged up and out for a few weeks, but realistically speaking with Louisville being so terrible, the absolute worst case scenario for the Mountaineers is to finish 9-3. More realistically, they finish 10-2 in the regular season, get a New Year's Day bowl game, and that's more than good enough to finish in the final top twenty.
21) Hawai'i: Another huge win over basically a nobody. As always, they'll start out 10-0. Tune in for the final two weeks of the season and we'll find out how good this bunch really is when they face some quality competition. This bunch might not be very good, but it's hard not to rank someone that is 6-0 and who generally blows out their opponent by multiple touchdowns.
22) Tennessee: Where in the hell did that come from? Seriously? With that blowout of UGA, not only did the Vols temporarily save the Fat One's job, they also put themselves back in contention for the SEC East. Still though, we'll have to see if it is a true quality team or a one-week fluke. The Fat One now moves onto his next goal: to avoid getting Croomed.
23) Georgia: Again, where in the hell did that come from? Suddenly, the Dawgs are in major trouble, and with intra-division losses to South Carolina and Tennessee on the slate -- combined with their almost certain loss to Florida -- they are effectively eliminated from the SEC East race. Maybe my pre-season skepticism of the Dawgs was well-founded.
24) Purdue: There's no real shame in losing to Ohio State, because that was honestly more of an indicator of how good Ohio State is than anything else. This team isn't great, I don't think, but they'll probably win eight or nine regular season games, and probably end up towards the bottom of the polls.
25) Texas: I'll keep the Longhorns ranked just because they fought valiantly against the Sooners, but came up short. You can forget about them winning the Big 12 South, I think, but I guess they'll still go 8-4 or so. Not great, but teams that rank 25th in the country usually aren't great either.