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1. LSU (42)
Not even one week can go by without LSU being involved in a rankings flip-flop with another winning team. It was justified this week though. Their defense is truly terrifying, and their team speed causes problems all over the place. I still have trouble believing Les Miles can win another BCS Championship, but there’s so much talent on this team that even he might not be able to screw it up.
2. Oklahoma (12)
Even though they dropped to No. 2, the Sooners didn’t have a bad week. They had a strong win over a very good Missouri team, and absolutely look like they could win the BCS Championship as well. Landry Jones is a legitimate NFL quarterback, and that is the biggest difference between Oklahoma and LSU. LSU barely has a college quarterback.
However, the most important development for the Sooners this week was Florida State’s loss to Clemson, which dealt Oklahoma’s strength of schedule a blow. They’ll be able to make it up in the Big 12, especially with the game against Oklahoma State. At this point though, LSU has done more to prove that they are the No. 1 team in the country.
3. Alabama (5)
Let’s not forget Alabama. They had an overwhelming win over then-No. 14 Arkansas. Nick Saban’s teams are always really good, and in many seasons this team could make a claim to be the top team in the land. At the very least, they have been as impressive as Oklahoma.
4. Boise State (1)
Didn’t they do the exact same thing last week? Am I really supposed to differentiate between a 41-21 win over Tulsa and a 40-15 win over Toledo? Since there isn’t a new angle on BSU’s cool efficiency, let’s discuss something else. During the weeks of speculation about which school would end up in which conference, Boise State was not even mentioned in passing, let alone as a legitimate option. Why were the Broncos left completely out of the conference realignment picture?
5. Oklahoma State
Their win over Texas A&M was fantastic, and they look primed for a BCS bowl this season. My only real issue with the team is the cognitive dissonance I feel whenever I see Justin Blackmon’s braces.
10. South Carolina
Nebraska and Wisconsin play each other this week in what will be Russell Wilson’s career Big Ten opener and Nebraska’s all-time Big Ten opener. It will almost certainly be the marquee game of the Big Ten regular season and could very well be a preview of the Big Ten Championship (Wisconsin’s in the Leaders and Nebraska’s in the Legends. The Big Ten is stupid).
11. Virginia Tech
14. Texas A&M
This quintet should belong to the ACC every week. They annually have a handful of teams that are reasonably good, but never any teams that are great. We should have known that Florida State was ranked too highly at the beginning of the season, and that they would lose to Oklahoma to bring them closer to the middle of the rankings. Losing this week to a lower ranked Clemson was a classic ACC move. Clemson will probably lose to Virginia Tech this week after their win over Florida State though, and as is tradition, Virginia Tech will then cough up whatever momentum that gains them in the next week or two.
16. South Florida
Do you remember last season when Denard Robinson had 1,230 total yards in the team’s first three games and looked like a legitimate Heisman contender who would bring Michigan back to relevance? Do you also remember that team finished 7-6? He’s doing a bit of that again this season. His numbers aren’t as amazing, but he’s made some electric plays that are pushing Michigan up the polls. Don’t be too influenced by his play or the 4-0 record though. This is team is — at best — decent.
21. Georgia Tech
22. West Virginia
23. Florida State
25. Arizona State
This is a very odd quintet. While West Virginia and Florida State lost to the two top teams in the country, respectively, Illinois jumped into the rankings last week after beating Arizona State, then the No. 22 team in the country. That loss knocked ASU out of the rankings, but they returned this week later after beating then-No. 23 USC, who was knocked out of this week’s rankings. There are a lot of strange interconnections here. Georgia Tech doesn’t factor in here though. Go triple option.