Clemson and Alabama have separated themselves. They have split the last two national championship games and have been the two most impressive teams thus far this season. Some teams are gaining, including Georgia, which has rocked Mississippi State and Tennessee the last two weeks. Washington State’s win over Southern Cal was the big shakeup of the week.
1. CLEMSON – In front of a hostile crowd, Clemson dominated Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, the third top 15 team the Tigers beat in September. The Tigers host a vastly improved Wake Forest squad this week.
2. ALABAMA – The Crimson Tide made it 5-0 with an incredibly impressive win over Ole Miss, which certainly felt great going back to those back to back losses in ’14 and ’15. Now comes a trip to Texas A&M. Nick Saban’s team is rolling again.
3. MICHIGAN – The Wolverines had this Saturday off and now comes the old rival with Michigan State in Ann Arbor. Jim Harbaugh’s defense is quite good and the offense is coming around. The Wolverines are a prime contender in that rugged Big Ten East.
4. OKLAHOMA – Boomer Sooner had an open date after a narrow escape against Baylor. They’ll try and pour it on against Iowa State, which lost last Thursday in a tight one to Texas. The 41 points allowed to Baylor is a point of concern.
5. GEORGIA – The Bulldogs have been one of the best teams in the country the last two weeks. What Georgia did to Mississippi State and Tennessee is extremely impressive. It’s dangerous this week with the early kick against the Music City ‘Dores, who upset Georgia last year in Athens.
6. PENN STATE – The Nittany Lions came out flying, jumped out front 14-0 in the first couple of minutes and rolled past Indiana. Penn State is 5-0 and venturing to Northwestern before an open date and Michigan.
7. WASHINGTON – The Huskies put it on Oregon State 42-7. Jake Browning is some kind of terrific quarterback. Washington could have a tough one with California on the lake this weekend. That Apple Cup… Whew. More on that in just a moment.
8. WASHINGTON STATE – It victory for the Cougars, as they took down Southern Cal 30-27 on Friday night in Pullman. Mike Leach has WSU rolling. How big could the Apple Cup be? Can they now handle success?
9. TCU – The Horned Frogs are flying high after the big ft” win over Oklahoma State. TCU was off this week and now,
will have a tough one with West Virginia. Gary Patterson has another excellent team in Fort Worth.
10. MIAMI – The Hurricanes improved to 3-0 with a rugged Friday night win at previously undefeated Duke. Now comes a huge battle with arch-rival Florida State, which is trying to find its way.
11. AUBURN – The Tigers defense was awesome against Mississippi State, and the offense hit its stride. The Tigers are back at home to tangle with Ole Miss. Shea Patterson is a dangerous quarterback, but this Auburn defense is outstanding.
12. WISCONSIN – The Badgers got a big win against Northwestern to make it 4-0 on the season. This is a typical big and strong and tough Badger team. They go to Nebraska, the Cornhuskers desperate for something big to happen.
13. OHIO STATE – The Buckeyes made it 4-1 with a win at Rutgers. Now comes an improved Maryland squad that got the country’s attention in the season opener against Texas. Urban Meyer is trying to get this offense clicking on all cylinders.
14. SOUTHERN CAL – It was a heart-breaker in Pullman for the Trojans in a game that did not set up well. USC still appears to be the class of the PAC-12 South, and the men of Troy could certainly battle their way to a great season.
15. VIRGINIA TECH – The Hokies will have to mentally recover from the big showdown against Clemson, which the Tigers won 31-17. Virginia Tech has a game it can’t take lightly, venturing to Boston College.
16. SOUTH FLORIDA – The Bulls are rolling, and Charley Strong’s team may have the goods to put up a perfect season. The American Athletic Conference poses a couple of potential landmines, but USF may be the best team in the sunshine state. And that’s saying something.
17. NOTRE DAME – The Fighting Irish have played three great games since the instant classic 20-19 loss to Georgia. Notre Dame is a healthy 4-1 and should make it 5-1 against North Carolina in Chapel Hill. The Trojans are looming.
18. OKLAHOMA STATE – After a disappointing loss to TCU, the Cowboys high powered offense came out blazing and won a shootout with Texas Tech. The Cowboys are off this week and the host Baylor.
19. LOUISVILLE – The Cardinals had a couple of easy ones with Kent State and Murray State after getting rocked by Clemson. Now comes a tough one in Raleigh against a talented N.C. State squad that is playing very well.
20. SAN DIEGO STATE – The Aztecs won a 34-28 thriller over Northern Illinois, which beat Nebraska. The Aztecs are bringing back the glory of Brian Sipe and are sitting there with South Florida as the top two non-Power 5/Notre Dame teams.
21. FLORIDA – The Gators are gaining confidence. After a pair of improbable wins over Tennessee and Kentucky, the Gators took down tough Vandy 38-24. That’s 3-0 in the SEC, all against the East, since the loss to Michigan.
22. TECH – The Yellow Jackets are rolling. The lone loss is one that got away in the season opener against Tennessee. Paul Johnson has a terrific offense and one of his best defenses in his decade on the flats.
23. UTAH – Sitting at 4-0, Utah had this past Saturday off and now face a Stanford squad that seems to be finding its stride. A win over the Cardinal and its Utah which could be marked as Southern Cal’s prime challenger in the PAC-12 South.
24. N.C. STATE – Following a disappointing loss to South Carolina to start the season, the Wolfpack have put together four straight wins, including a signature victory over Florida State. Louisville comes to town on Thursday night.
25. TEXAS TECH – The Red Raiders nearly pulled off the upset at home against Oklahoma State, but came up just short in a shootout. Now comes a trip to Kansas and then West Virginia. Texas Tech is still looking for a steady defense.
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