THE RANKS: Chaos Below No. 4
Watched my Falcons get annihilated by the Saints tonight, so I might be a bit harsh. Too bad.
1 (Last week: 1) Ohio State: def. Penn State, 28-6. Another week at No. 1. How long now before we begin seeing ESPN graphics saying, "Is Ohio State the best team ever?" Cue soft-lens profile of Troy Smith, tough times last year, yada yada yada yada. Oh, and they have a test coming up against some team from Iowa.
2 (2) Florida: def. Kentucky, 26-7. I think -- think -- that Kentucky is better than Buffalo this year. So a slightly less impressive win scorewise isn't quite enough to bump them down below Auburn. But the Tigers could make a run with another unimpressive showing.
3 (3) Auburn: def. Buffalo, 38-7. This was a week where everything in the top few slots was going to stay static unless someone really got surprised. No one did.
4 (8) Michigan: def. Wisconsin, 27-13. This is where the ranks have gotten kind of muddled lately, in that whole 4-10 range. I'm moving Michigan up because they've continued to win games against decent (if not great) competition, while some of the other contenders are beginning to look shaky.
5 (5) LSU: def. Tulane, 49-7. Came this close to bumping them down a spot. But they keep winning, the only exception being the slog-fest against Auburn. So they hold on to top-5 status for another week. But I need to see something soon.
6 (6) Southern California: def. Arizona, 20-3. Again, haven't seen anything from this team that makes me go, "Wow, this is a top-5 caliber team." No, the Arkansas win doesn't count.
7 (7) Louisville: def. Kansas State, 24-6. They didn't really do a lot this week. But they had in a back-up QB, and until they lose they'll stay in the top 10.
8 (4) West Virginia: def. East Carolina, 27-10. They had trouble getting rid of a team coached by the less talented Holtz. That should trouble anyone, and it's enough to bump them down for now.
9 (9) Iowa: def. Illinois, 24-7. Big, big test coming up this week. We'll see how good the Big Ten's two 'Eyes -- Hawkeyes and Buckeyes -- really are.
10 (11) Texas: def. Iowa State, 37-14. To some, this was a preview of the Big 12 championship game. Iowa State better hope it wasn't.
11 (12) Notre Dame: def. Michigan State, 40-37. Yes, they got some lucky bounces. Yes, they should have won this game more easily. But I like a team that doesn't give up.
12 (13) Clemson: def. North Carolina, 52-7. Creeping up spot by spot. I hate it, but what can you say? This is a good team.
13 (14) Tennessee: def. Marshall, 33-7. A big fourth quarter makes this game look a lot better than it was for the Vols.
14 (10) Georgia: def. Colorado, 14-13. This was not a fluke. The score was the result of a team that just played flat-out bad football for three quarters.
15 (16) TCU: DNP. Benefits from a tumble by Penn State.
16 (17) Virginia Tech: def. Cincinnati, 29-13. Big matchup with Georgia Tech looms.
17 (18) Oregon: DNP. I think they could beat the people below them. That simple.
18 (19) Oklahoma: def. MTSU, 59-0. That was just taking out frustrations.
19 (21) Georgia Tech: def. Virginia, 24-7. This team might be very, very good. Saturday will tell.
20 (22) Rutgers: def. Howard, 56-7. Could they crack the top 20? Would the world end then?
21 (15) Penn State: lost to Ohio State, 28-6. It wasn't that they lost to No. 1. It was that they were incredibly unimpressive in the effort.
22 (23) California: def. Arizona State, 49-21. Crushed a team that was probably slightly overrated, but still a good win.
23 (20) Florida State: def. Rice, 55-7. Not really their fault. They played well, but got outplayed by others.
24 (24) Nebraska: def. Troy, 56-0. Doesn't prove anything.
25 (NR) Missouri: def. Ohio, 31-6. Cracks the top 25. Now can they stay?
DROPPING OUT: Boston College loss to N.C. State means it'll be a long time before the Eagles get back on...
ON THE BUBBLE: Michigan State just misses the cut after the late defensive collapse, but they've got a good chance if someone tumbles out...Purdue is 4-0...Washington still seeks the signature win...