Out of deference to the Seminole tribe and their people, I’ll refrain from making any puns involving the name of the Florida State mascot, but know this: it is hard. There’s too many superlatives to throw around after FSU absolutely throttled Clemson in a battle for ACC supremacy. For those keeping track, that’s two straight games the Seminoles have played a ranked opponent. The tally of those two games … Florida State: 114, Opponents: 14. If there’s any argument against Florida State belonging in the national championship picture (at this time), you won’t find it in these rankings.
Last week, I mentioned that the winner of the ACC clash would likely find themselves in the running with Alabama and Oregon. What I failed to foresee was the absolute wood-shed beating that FSU would lay upon Clemson. To go on the road and beat the third-ranked team in the land by 37 points is just astonishing. Outside of Alabama’s performances in the last two BCS Championship Games, it may be the best performance my rankings have measured. And that is why we have a new team atop the rankings.
1. Florida State (100.00) – The Seminoles problem during the Jimbo Fisher era hasn’t been rising to the moment in big games. It’s always been letdowns against vastly inferior opponents. Just like this week’s opponent, North Carolina State, who is 2-1 against the Seminoles over the last three years.
2. Alabama (97.07) – Is it possible to underrate a team that’s coming off a 52-0 victory over rival Arkansas? Apparently so. Despite continuing the delivery of karmic justice to Bret Bielema and Co., the Tide found themselves in an unusual spot this week: looking up at somebody.
3. Oregon (95.55) – The Ducks wore pink helmets to raise breast cancer awareness this weekend as they won easily, despite being on the defensive end of a record 89 pass attempts by Washington State. The reward for their good deed: a home visit from a Bruins squad looking for redemption.
4. Missouri (92.39) – Mizzou leads the pack of what should be known as “the rest.” The top three teams have clearly separated themselves thus far, although the Tigers are making up ground every week. After laying waste to Florida, with a backup quarterback nonetheless, the Tigers host the Gamecocks in a game that could all but clinch the SEC East title. Wait, what?
5. Ohio State (91.89) – The Buckeyes dropped this week after a less-than-impressive victory over pesky Iowa. With only Michigan and the Big Ten Championship offering a resume boost, Ohio State will need a Daytona-sized car crash by the teams ahead of them to reach the BCS title game.
6. Baylor (90.76) – The Bears came out and proved that last week was merely a fluke as they beat a feisty Iowa State team 71-7. Baylor is now outscoring teams by more points (291) than Alabama has scored all season (285). And they’ve only played six games.
7. Miami (FL) (84.61) – After surviving against North Carolina, the Hurricanes enter the dreaded seven-spot . The last two weeks, the seventh-ranked team has lost at home to a lower-ranked opponent. This week, Miami hosts Wake Forest. You’ve been officially warned.
8. Stanford (84.46) – Despite having the worst loss (Utah) among our top one-loss teams, the Cardinal come in at eighth due to quality wins over UCLA and Washington. With two teams ahead of them guaranteed to lose by season’s end, and a date with the Ducks in a few weeks, Stanford could climb into the top four when all is said and done.
9. Auburn (82.05) – A tale of two Tigers: The Auburn Tigers were the big winners of the weekend, thanks to an upset of Johnny Manziel and the seventh-ranked Aggies in College Station. Auburn gets a practical bye week with football-afterthought FAU visiting town before heading off to face Arkansas and Tennessee on the road.
10. Clemson (82.05) – The other Tigers came in just a smidge behind Auburn, separated by the third decimal. These Tigers were the losers of the weekend, but need to rebound quickly with a trip to Maryland coming up.
11. Texas Tech (81.50) – How weak is the Big 12? They’re currently fifth in my conference rankings and their undefeated conference leader is behind three one-loss teams. That said, he Red Raiders can gain a lot of ground with a road victory in Oklahoma this weekend.
12. UCLA (77.84) – The Bruins continued their struggles versus Stanford, losing to the Cardinals for the third time in 10 months.
13. Fresno State (76.44) – The Bulldogs easily dispatched of UNLV over the weekend and now have a slim lead over Northern Illinois for the rights to a non-AQ BCS berth.
14. Virginia Tech (76.21) – The BCS computers and I like the Hokies a lot more than the polls do. However, Tech has been playing with fire lately and we all know how that eventually turns out.
15. LSU (75.26) – Poor, poor LSU. The Tigers had the best chance of any one-loss team to breakthrough to the BCS Championship. An upset in Oxford may have dashed those hopes, but they can still play spoiler to rival Alabama on November 9th.
16. Oklahoma (74.22) – The Sooners returned to their winning ways, although a 15 point victory over the 2-4 Jayhawks doesn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence. They’ll have to play better to beat an undefeated Texas Tech team.
17. Louisville (73.98) – The faint flicker of hope Louisville had to make the BCS Championship was blown out by a strong UCF squad. They’ll now need some luck if they want to return to a BCS bowl.
18. UCF (72.12) – The Knights sit tied atop the AAC with a matchup against Houston looming in three weeks.
19. Michigan (71.40) – The Wolverines rebounded with a record-setting performance on offense, yet only won by 16 over Indiana. #FixTheD
20. Northern Illinois (71.28) – The Huskies are Fresno’s top contender for a non-AQ berth in the BCS. With a weak remaining schedule, NIU will need to post several blowouts to climb the rankings.
21. Texas A&M (70.06) – The Aggies were unable to battle back after Manziel was briefly injured, costing them a chance at a BCS bowl.
22. Arizona State (68.94) – What? A two-loss team from the Pac-12? Yep. The Sun Devils evisceration of the Huskies this weekend proved Arizona State can compete.
23. Nebraska (67.00) – The Cornhuskers look to ascend up the Big Ten Legends later with a bout against Minnesota this weekend before facing a withering Northwestern group at home.
24. Wisconsin (66.71) – As Bret Bielema continues to struggle in Arkansas, his former team continues their strong play after an easy win against Illinois.
25. Oklahoma State (66.37) – The Cowboys jumped nine spots this week, thanks to losses by the likes of Georgia, South Carolina, Houston and Washington.
BCS Teams Who Didn’t Make the Cut
As the season moves further along, the gap between visual perception and math lessens. This week, we have just two teams who made the top 25 in the BCS rankings, but missed out in these illustrious rankings. The Beavers of Oregon State just missed the cut, finishing 26th with a score of 65.47. A matchup with Stanford this weekend will show how real the Beavers really are. South Carolina (30) was the other BCS team to miss out. The Gamecocks lost by two in Knoxville over the weekend and currently claim a three-point victory over UCF as their best win of the season. Not exactly awe-inspiring.
The Ducks face off against UCLA at home this weekend. Although the Bruins do boast the 18th-ranked scoring defense, they're not likely to slow down Heisman contender Marcus Mariota and the high-flying Ducks.
The Beavers, on the other hand, will have their hands full with a tough Stanford squad. Sean Mannion leads the nation's best passing offense against tough, but beatable Stanford defense. With OSU's defense giving up over 28 points per game, Mannion will have to turn in an elite performance for the Beavers to come out victorious.
Other Notable Teams
Michigan State, leaders of the Legends Division, find themselves at 27th. Ole Miss moves up to 35th after upsetting LSU at home. Boise State rises nine spots to 40th with a 17-point victory over Nevada. Florida dropped to 46th after getting roughed up by Mizzou and Texas dropped four spots in their bye week, just to punish Mack Brown. Our bottom five this week features the same teams, just in a jumbled order. Southern Miss comes in at 122, followed by Western Michigan, Georgia State, New Mexico State with Miami (OH) playing caboose again.
*Note: The gap between New Mexico State and Miami (OH) is as large as the gap between the 25th team (Oklahoma State) and the 30th team (South Carolina).
Check out next week’s rankings to see how the Pac-12 sorts itself out (UCLA at Oregon, Stanford at Oregon State), whether Mizzou can continue their climb into the national title conversation and if Miami (FL) can avoid the Curse of Seven.