Yes, the ‘Cats deserve to be ranked at the moment until they lose a game. Michigan and Michigan State are both coming up as road games, but knocking off Penn State at home would be vital for them to play in a decent bowl game.
24. Boise State
The Broncos offense still has some issues, but their defense was abysmal in stopping the Lobos devastating rushing attack. I kid because I care, but the defense was not Chris Petersen-like which only means they will drop like a bad habit if they lose soon.
The Bruins were idle or at least it seemed that way with their 42-14 victory over Colorado in Pac-12 play. The duo of Johnathan Franklin and Brett Hundley returned which only means this still is an eight or nine win team if they can avoid another tough loss (see Oregon State at gome).
What a job Kyle Flood has done with the Scarlet Knights and while they had a bye week, their upcoming Big East schedule is far from daunting. Everybody is talking about Louisville and Cincinnati, but the Knights have as good of a shot as anybody.
The second largest come from behind victory in school program is not a bad accomplishment, and Taylor Martinez deserves a ton of credit.
Totaling for over 300 yards combined and 3 TD in a game in which they were stagnant offensively, the Huskers may have given themselves the edge in their division to ultimately appear in Pasadena.
The Cardinal offensively speaking were a bit embarrassing and they may not be done losing with Notre Dame and Oregon coming up. While they are a legit top 25 team when moving the ball, their defense is not great enough to carry them over the Ducks or Irish.
The ‘Ville won a huge road game at Southern Miss, and the game was played in an absolute monsoon. Teddy Bridgewater is a stud and Charlie Strong is a hell of a coach. These are not shocking news, but there have been whispers about Arkansas giving the former Gator defensive coordinator. Let us hope they get to the BCS to at least give the Cardinals something to cheer about in case he does decide to ever leave the Big East.
18. Mississippi State
The Bulldogs do not have a tough schedule for a few more weeks before Tennessee, Alabama and LSU give them some major challenges. Still, this team has an excellent chance at going 8-4 or 9-3, and that is without upsetting the big beasts in the West.
The Horned Frogs struggles against a decent SMU squad, but the offense is still licking its wounds with the losses in their backfield. The defense isn’t great like it was two seasons ago, which could give them a four-loss season.
16. Oregon State
Scott Crichton and these Beavers on defense have been flat out balling, but it really has been Sean Manning that has made the difference.
Mannion once again had a monster day throwing for 433 yards and 3 TD, but Storm Woods has been the best player on the planet that nobody knows about (that is if you know Mannion).
Woods ran for 161 yards on 29 carries and all of a sudden Mike Riley is the leading candidate for Coach of the Year with a team that went from a potential eight-loss team to a eight-plus win team.
The Sooners better be ready for the Longhorns in two weeks because they could be inside the top 10 if they can keep up with Geno Smith. Oklahoma does not look legit like they have in the past, and Landry Jones has struggled miserably. The bye week helps but the holes on the offensive line are tough to overcome against elite teams in the Big 12.
14. Ohio State
The Buckeyes survived a defensive slugfest against the Spartans, and Braxton Miller continues to climb up the Heisman rankings. The duel-threat stud is really going bonkers right now and Urban Meyer and Ohio State could finish right where the Trojans did last season (ineligible team, finished 10-2 and in top 6).
The Tigers get an edge over the Buckeyes because their offense is arguably the best on the planet (save WV). Even without Sammy Watkins, Tajh Boyd went off finding DeAndre Hopkins early and often in their impressive 17-point road victory over Boston College.
The Trojans had a bye week and they needed it with their reeling offense. The defense isn’t nearly as good as some thought it was and this offense has not been the unstoppable force that imagined them at. Still, they should win nine-plus games if they can knock off the Ducks or at least avoid upsets against UCLA and Utah.
11. West Virginia
West Virginia and Baylor turned into the Niners against the Raiders in Super Tecmo Bowl, which means it was the one hell of a game in terms of pure entertainment. That said the Mountaineers may go down hard against the Longhornsin Austin next weekend, but there are so many heavyweight matchups that they still have left on the table.
TCU, Oklahoma, Kansas State and Texas can all inflict some pain on that awful defense, but Geno Smith and their offense set some records that I would have a tough time accomplishing on PS3.
10. Notre Dame
The Irish climb into my top 10 slightly over the Mountaineers because their defense is among the top 10 in America.
They need to solve their quarterback issues since Tommy Rees continues to play late in ball games, but we shall see how they perform at Soldier Field against a sneaky good Hurricanes squad. Stanford is coming up too, so this team will have to continue to play well to remain in the BCS hunt (at-large bid).
Their victory in Stillwater was a bit too close for comfort, but it goes to show how important Jordan Hicks is too this defense. Their linebackers are a bit weak and Joseph Randle gashed them for 200 yards, which is a glaring weakness still. This defense was expected to be dominant and instead it has been David Ash at quarterback who has led the way.
8. Kansas State
Collin Klein deserves some love even on a bye week and I cannot wait until go on the road to Morgantown against Geno Smith. Smith and Klein are the top two Heisman leaders right now and something may give since the loser will likely be out of the Big 12 and BCS at-large bid race.
The Gators is that damn good right now and hosting LSU at home next weekend will be the game of their season. Win that one and they have a chance to perhaps run the table heading into their season finale against the Noles.
Do not forget about Georgia and South Carolina though, since the SEC East as projected may be the best division in all of college football right now.
6. South Carolina
The Gamecocks BCS hopes are on the line next weekend against Georgia, which should be an entertaining affair that gives us more points than maybe we will anticipate. The Gamecocks look for real at the moment, but only two SEC squads make the BCS and somebody has to get left out. Marcus Lattimore owns the ‘Dawgs which only makes for one hell of a contest next weekend.
Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley are just sexy these days for a pair of nasty freshman. Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree returned against Tennessee, but they were gashed all game long. Tyler Bray had them on their toes all game long and they better D it up against Cocky and the boys or else their dream season will be over.
The Bayou Bengals will finally get tested when they play a defense that is every bit as good as them. Can the offense carry its own weight, or will it even matter with a dominant defense?
The Ducks continue to impress offensively and this is consecutive weeks now that De’Anthony Thomas has not done anything. Kenjon Barner ran for 200 yards and now he too has entered the Heisman talk as a potential dark horse winner. Until USC comes up on the slate, the Ducks may not get tested.
2. Florida State
The Seminoles did not put together a virtuoso performance against the USF Bulls, but a road victory after a huge victory is still solid. Florida State has NC State coming up before the ACC slate comes in full force, but this young team still needs senior leadership from E.J. Manuel. The senior signal-caller is a Heisman contender if he maintains his composure and puts this offense on his back at times despite the bevy of young talent all over the field.
Everybody is talking about Bama-FSU for a potential BCS title and they both struggled a bit this weekend, but they still look like the two best team out there.
The Tide have a much tougher schedule since the ACC is struggling once again (Georgia Tech lost to Middle Tennessee St, Va. Tech lost to Cincinnati and Virginia lost to La. Tech). Still, a road trip to Baton Rouge is never fun and they could find it trick heading over to Knoxville against a dangerous offense led by Tyler Bray.