Finally … a couple of huge upsets in college football! Oklahoma and Wisconsin both went down on Saturday night, giving a couple of new teams a chance to rise up to my top 10 and prove themselves.
1. LSU (Last week: No. 1) — The Tigers steamrolled another opponent on Saturday. Yawn. This time, it was 20th-ranked Auburn, and it was never a tight game; LSU won 45-10 as they ran away from their competition. They don’t play again until the Nov. 5 showdown with Alabama, so the Tigers will be my top-ranked team until that game has been decided.
2. Alabama (Last week: No. 2) — The Crimson Tide is also off this week as they prepare for the Nov. 5 showdown with LSU, and while it wasn’t the prettiest of wins against Tennessee on Saturday (the game was actually tied 6-6 at halftime), Alabama won’t suffer a fall in the polls as a result.
3. Oklahoma State (Last week: No. 4) — The Cowboys slaughtered Missouri 45-24 and their offense is looking great. There’s nothing this team can’t do at this point and they have to be a top contender to take over the No. 2 spot behind the LSU/Alabama winner in two weeks. This week, they moved up a spot when Oklahoma lost to Texas Tech.
4. Stanford (Last week: No. 6) — The Cardinal deserves their jump in the poll because they’re playing solid football and have been doing so all season. They might have allowed their highest point total of the season over the weekend in their 65-21 win over Washington, but hey, they scored 65 points. That was also the most points that they’ve scored this year, so there’s your evidence that Stanford is a good, high-powered football team.
5. Oregon (Last week: No. 7) — The Ducks beat Colorado 45-2 (thank goodness for the safety, am I right?). Welcome to the Pac-12, Buffaloes. Oregon is a stellar football team with a couple of good wins, and as each week passes, I take less away from them for their loss to LSU because the Tigers are that good, and the Ducks hung with them better than anyone has in 2011.
6. Clemson (Last week: No. 8 ) — The Tigers are already running out of opportunities to get in their own way and ruin an undefeated season. Their toughest opponents remaining are Georgia Tech (this weekend), South Carolina at the end of the year (they don’t have Marcus Lattimore) and likely Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game (who they beat already — in Blacksburg). They’re been allowing points by the bunches, but their offense is scoring them even faster. Let’s see how they handle November, because it’s usually their month of mayhem.
7. Kansas State (Last week: No. 13) — The Wildcats have had a magical season so far. They sit at 7-0, but their true tests are ahead, and they’re aplenty. In the next four weeks, K-State will play Oklahoma (BCS No. 9), Oklahoma State (No. 3), Texas A&M (No. 16) and Texas (No. 24). With all due respect to the SEC, no national title contender has a stretch like that on their schedule.
8. Boise State (Last week: No. 9) — So this is what it’s like to be a voter in a poll and have to figure out where Boise State fits in with all the other schools! Their 11-point victory over Air Force wasn’t flashy, but there really isn’t much quality below them, and Arkansas isn’t looking better than the Broncos right now.
9. Arkansas (Last week: No. 10) — A near-loss to Ole Miss is pretty embarrassing, but they’ve played a tough schedule so far, and the upsets of teams ranked higher than them allowed for a promotion in the poll, even if they didn’t earn it in any way (much like Boise State).
10. Virginia Tech (Last week: No. 11) — The Hokies reappear in the poll this week due to teams losing at the top and their 30-14 victory over Boston College. OK, so that’s really not impressive in any way, but bear with me … finding these top 10 teams wasn’t easy this week. There’s a lot of reasons to have a top 7 instead.