Top 25 Poll
Others receiving votes: Arizona, Ball State, BYU, Notre Dame, Texas
Dropped from the rankings: Notre Dame (24), BYU (25)
25 (NR). Houston (7-1) – This offense is for real. They had a bit of a hiccup on a short week against South Florida, but they got it done. Their stretch run begins now.
24 (NR). Arizona State (6-2) – When the Sun Devils are at their best, they are maybe the best team in the division.
23 (21). LSU (7-2) – IDLE. Next week: at Alabama.
22 (20). Texas Tech (7-2) – They had a tough loss to an inspired and hard-to-prepare-for Oklahoma State team. They are still a great offense and one that no one really wants to face. I can’t wait to see the chess match shootout when the Red Raiders play Baylor.
21 (23). Michigan State (8-1) – So, they can lose to Notre Dame and almost shut out Michigan? They can have no offense and now score 30 per game? This is a team I cannot get a read on. We will see how they handle the pressure in Nebraska following their bye next week.
20 (22). Wisconsin (6-2) – The Badgers look really strong right now. If there was a rematch with the Buckeyes, my money might be on this team.
19 (19). Oklahoma (7-1) – IDLE. Next week: at Baylor.
18 (16). UCLA (6-2) – They appeared to be sleepwalking for part of the game against a putrid Colorado team. They had better show up in Arizona next week if they want to win the South.
17 (17). Northern Illinois (9-0) – They do not have any decent teams left on their schedule. Jordan Lynch is a freak, though. They are fun to watch.
16 (18). Oklahoma State (7-1) – They had a big time win in Lubbock. They still control their own destiny in that strange Big 12.
15 (15). Louisville (7-1) – IDLE. Next week: at Connecticut.
14 (14). UCF (6-1) – IDLE. Next week: vs Houston.
13 (13). South Carolina (7-2) – This team is so confusing. They had another nice win yesterday and a huge win last week against Missouri after an embarrassing loss to Tennessee. They are a good team, though…I think?
12 (12). Texas A&M (7-2) – The Aggies got a mini-bye week with UTEP going to College Station. They took care of business early.
11 (10). Fresno State (8-0) – Their defense has been exposed the past few weeks. They have the offensive talent to score on nearly anyone, but without a solid defense, I cannot see them actually upsetting anyone.
10 (8). Miami (7-1) – They performed about as well as could be expected against one of the true class teams in the nation. It was still disappointing to see how horribly they handled pressure, though. They will, in all likelihood, get another shot at the Noles in the ACC Title Game.
9 (11). Missouri (8-1) – The Tigers had another dominating win over the weekend. Their only loss was not in regulation. How did this team get so good so fast?
8 (9). Auburn (8-1) – Not that it really matters (since voters will not move them off the 1-line if they keep winning), but Alabama has got to be the biggest Auburn fans out there now. Bama has such an easy schedule that they need the Iron Bowl to mean something. This is a tough-minded and sneaky great team.
7 (7). Clemson (8-1) – The offense finally opened it up again to show what they are really capable of. They are absolutely in the driver’s seat to go to a BCS bowl if they can avoid an upset against in-state rival South Carolina to close the season.
6 (6). Stanford (7-1) – IDLE. Next week: vs Oregon.
5 (5). Ohio State (9-0) – The Buckeyes have stopped playing down to their competition, finally. They are looking like a team that is good enough to beat an Alabama or Oregon. They have very few tough games left. They have a tricky rivalry game against a weaker Michigan squad and potentially a shot at the nation’s best defense (Sparty) in the B1G Title Game.
4 (3). Baylor (7-0) – IDLE. Next week: vs Oklahoma.
3 (4). Florida State (8-0) – They now have perhaps the two most impressive wins of the season, after hammering unbeaten Clemson and Miami teams. They look like an NFL team against the ACC. It is such a shame that they, Ohio State, and Baylor will not have a shot at the BCS Championship. That stupid 4-team “solution” wouldn’t even work this year. HOLIDAY MADNESS, anyone?
2 (2). Alabama (8-0) – IDLE. Next week: vs LSU.
1 (1). Oregon (8-0) – IDLE. Next week: at Stanford.
Top 5 Games for Next Weekend
5. BYU at Wisconsin (#20), 12:30PM ESPN – If you like smash-mouth football, then this is the game of the weekend. The rushing attacks of these two teams are as good as there is in the country. I love this matchup. And is it just me, or is BYU a lot better Independent than expected? PREDICTION: Wisconsin 31-24
4. Houston (#25) at UCF (#14), 4:00PM ESPN2 – The AAC is going to be entertaining from now until the end of the season. This is the start of the terrific matchups. PREDICTION: UCF 44-38
3. LSU (#23) at Alabama (#2), 5:00PM CBS – This is always one of the best games of the year. I have been calling for this upset for weeks, but now I just cannot go through with it. It will be a close one, and if there is an SEC team with a shot at taking down the beast, it is LSU. PREDICTION: Alabama 31-23
2. Oklahoma (#19) at Baylor (#4), THURSDAY 4:30PM FS1 – This is going to be the first real test of how good that Baylor offense is. Oklahoma is not elite, but they are Oklahoma. This should be quite a show. Thursday is going to be amazing. PREDICTION: Baylor 42-31
1. Oregon (#1) at Stanford (#6), THURSDAY 6:00PM ESPN – How did the 2nd most anticipated game of the year (behind Bama-A&M) get stuck on a Thursday night? This is the one everyone wants to see and the real test for Oregon, if there is any team that really can test them. PREDICTION: Oregon 38-34
Heisman Trophy Watch
5. AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama – At some point, this guy it going to get his due. He is not Greg McElroy or Jason White or Danny Wuerffel. He is an NFL-level talent and the reason why his team keeps winning.
4. Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois – His rushing stats are just ridiculous. His passing is improving. He is like a better version of 2012 Heisman finalist Colin Klein, but with speed.
3. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M – He just effortlessly dominates games every week. His stats are even more impressive than his Heisman campaign last year.
2. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State – He had some bad decisions and throws for the first time this year in his rivalry game win over Miami. He responded well and will be in the spotlight until the 2015 NFL Draft.
1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon – He is still clearly the best player in the nation. He is polished and virtually unstoppable. That Stanford game is looming and bigger than ever.
Rose Bowl – Stanford over Ohio State
Orange Bowl – Florida State over UCF
Sugar Bowl – Auburn over Clemson
Fiesta Bowl – Baylor over Fresno State
BCS Championship Game – Oregon over Alabama
What did you think of the past couple weeks? Did you see the Hail Mary to end the Nebraska-Northwestern game (video below)? Who would you put in the BCS Championship Game as of right now? Will any of the top 5 lose? Let me know!