THE RANKS: ((Shrugs, silenced by the wreckage))
1 (Last week: 1) Ohio State: def. Northwestern, 54-10. Finally. I don't have to find anything else to say about Ohio State and Michigan. It's here. The game that will figure this thing out ... and probably make the BCS computers explode.
2 (2) Michigan: def. Indiana, 34-3. Bounces back from ugly Ball State win to take care of Indiana in a nice little tune-up game. It's time to see if we've been wrong all this time and the Wolverines should have been at No. 1.
3 (10) Arkansas: def. Tennessee, 31-14. Okay, I'm sold. This is a good, good team. Actually, Darren McFadden is a good, good team all by himself. He runs! He passes! He designs defensive plays!
4 (5) Florida: def. South Carolina, 17-16. I really wrestled with whether or not to put them ahead of Arkansas. But if the Hogs fall to LSU, they'll drop. And if Florida beats Arkansas in the SEC championship (which will happen barring a total implosion by the Razorbacks), the Gators will move up. So this will sort itself out. That said ... had they lost to South Carolina -- and they should have -- they would have had no one to blame but themselves. Too many mistakes to convince me they deserve to play in the NC.
5 (10) Southern California: def. Oregon, 35-10. I'm still not convinced they're up to snuff. If they win out and Florida or Arkansas wins out, this will be a really, really tough call. That's a tough schedule, and I don't think Southern Cal has done enough to justify more than No. 5.
6 (19) Rutgers: def. Louisville, 28-25. Now I'm sold. Coming back from a 25-7 deficit to win against one of the highest-powered offenses in the nations is a fantastic win, and going undefeated in any BCS conference, as I've said, is a solid accomplishment. That said, it'll take a whale of a game against West Virginia to put them into the top two.
7 (12) Notre Dame: def. Air Force, 39-17. Support our troops? Charlie Weis thinks not. But that Michigan loss still, after all these weeks, leaves a strong, bitter taste on my tongue.
8 (4) Texas: lost to Kansas State, 45-42. What? Kansas State? When, when will Big 12 championship/NC contenders learn not to take the Wildcats lightly. It's not good when your team loses its QB and then falls completely apart.
9 (14) Wisconsin: def. Iowa, 24-21. They're here because they have one loss. I'm giving out bonus points for low loss totals right now, so they get the edge over LSU and Tennessee. And I think they're just flat out better than West Virginia.
10 (9) West Virginia: def. Cincinatti, 42-24. Again, a solid rebound. But there are still plenty of questions about this team that will have to wait until the Rutgers game to be answered. They get docked a slot for the Louisville loss looking less impressive.
11 (13) LSU: def. Alabama, 28-14. I'm tempted to say this may be the best two-loss team in college football. But then I realize that this is the best two-loss team in college football. Too bad the only way they get to Atlanta is a Hogs loss to Mississippi State.
12 (8) Tennessee: lost to Arkansas, 31-14. Up and down, up and down, up and down. Fulmer better hope this is a sign of climbing out of the 2005 hole instead of a temporary reprieve.
13 (7) California: lost to Arizona, 24-20. Cal better beat USC-West this weekend, because they obviously spent last week practicing for the Trojans.
14 (21) Wake Forest: def. Florida State, 30-0. I could use all the superlatives: "First time this ..." "First time that since ..." The fact of the matter is, you don't go to Tallahassee and hang 30 on a Bobby Bowden team will blanking them. No matter how bad the FSU team is.
15 (3) Louisville: lost to Rutgers, 28-25. You know what they said about market bubbles. They pop. Why move them below West Virginia? Don't worry, the Mountaineers will tumble if they lose to the Scarlet Knights.
16 (16) Georgia Tech: def. North Carolina, 7-0. It's the ACC. Look at the car wreck, then move on.
17 (17) Oklahoma: def. Texas Tech, 34-24. Wouldacouldashoulda. How much does that Oregon non-loss hurt now?
18 (6) Auburn: lost to Georgia, 37-15. Yes, they deserve every spot of this drop. That was a wretched loss that confirmed that this is just not a great football team.
19 (22) Maryland: def. Miami, 14-13. I give them credit for beating a team that was fired up emotionally.
20 (15) Boise State: def. San Jose State, 23-20. Anybody but San Jose State, and I could give them a pass. But not on this one.
21 (18) Virginia Tech: def. Kent State, 23-0. Again, anybody but Kent State and I could give them a pass. But not on this one.
22 (20) Clemson: def. N.C. State, 20-14. More teams below them moving up than any real reason to move them down. Again, who knows where all these ACC teams will end up?
23 (23) Boston College: def. Duke, 28-7. Beat a good team 28-7, and you get a bump. Beat Duke 28-7, and you hold.
24 (25) BYU: def. Wyoming, 55-7. Granted, Wyoming's D will never be mistaken for the unit from Ann Arbor. But the Cougars are consistently putting up big numbers.
25 (NR) Nebraska: def. Texas A&M, 28-27. They essentially sub in the for the Aggies by beating them head to head.
DROPPED OUT: Texas A&M falls one point short ...