FOXSports.com's college power rankings
OCT 08, 2012 11:08a ET
1. Alabama Crimson Tide 5-0 --
Took the week off to heal up ... and get better. Missouri is next, in Columbia, and the Tide defense will be focused on Mizzou QB James Franklin.
2. Oregon Ducks 6-0 --
Another week, another very impressive performance by coach Chip Kelly's Ducks. No slow start against Washington — that's now nine straight for Oregon over its bitter rival. The Ducks will take this week off, then head to the desert for a Thursday night date with Arizona State on Oct. 18.
3. South Carolina Gamecocks 6-0 +3
I know Florida's schedule includes more impressive victories, but I don't think any of the Gators’ wins was more impressive than the thumping South Carolina put on Georgia on Saturday night. QB Connor Shaw is quietly having a season deserving of postseason hardware — a perfect complement for the Gamecocks’ nasty defense.
4. Florida Gators 5-0 +8
From preseason question mark to the No. 4 slot in these rankings, it's been quite the climb for the Gators. It’s all about defense, defense, defense, and Florida essentially beat LSU at the Tigers’ own game on Saturday. Florida next heads to the Music City to take on Vanderbilt, who is no one's "gimme" any longer. Right, Missouri?
5. West Virginia Mountaineers 5-0 +4
In one of the best wins of the weekend, the Mountaineers went on the road and beat Texas in a thriller. I saw it live, and yes, that Geno Smith kid IS all he's cracked up to be (and then some). But be careful at Texas Tech on Saturday, West Virginia.
6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish 5-0 +2
Remember how in the preseason we all wondered just how the Fighting Irish could handle the behemoth that was their schedule?! Quite nicely, say the Irish after dispatching a formerly strong program in Miami. They host Stanford on Saturday, and "force will be met with force."
7. Ohio State Buckeyes 6-0 +4
The Big Ten has decreed that Ohio State CAN win the Leaders Division title, but it still can't play in the conference title game or go to a bowl. No matter to the Bucks — they are fast proving to be the class of the conference. Is anyone truly surprised that Urban Meyer has them rolling this fast?
8. Kansas State Wildcats 5-0 -1
This is NOT FAIR in the immortal words of a young friend of mine, but I only dropped K-State because of the impressive wins of other teams, not due to performance. On Saturday, the Wildcats forced five Kansas turnovers. They’re at Iowa State this week for another dangerous Big 12 road game.
9. Oregon State Beavers 4-0 +6
Yes, the Beavers are in my top 10, and I believe they have earned it. Most of the country has difficulty believing, but they know how to win games in 2012. Jordan Poyer had three interceptions and is fast becoming a name discussed nationally. The next challenge awaits in Provo in the form of BYU.
10. USC Trojans 4-1 +3
Had to scramble at Utah last Thursday night, but once the Trojans got on track, they put it on the Utes. Another roadie this week, this time at Washington. Head coaches Lane Kiffin (USC) and Steve Sarkisian (Washington) are best buddies, but Coach Kiff pulled a successful fake punt on Sark last year. Scandalous!
11. LSU Tigers 5-1 -7
The addition of QB Zach Mettenberger in 2012 was supposed to cure all that ailed the LSU offense in 2011. But against Florida, just 42 rush yards and 1-for-13 on third down suggest otherwise. A visit from a fired-up, and fully capable, South Carolina awaits.
12. Texas Longhorns 4-1 -2
Back-to-back weeks of exciting games for the Longhorns. They outgritted Oklahoma State the previous week on the road and took West Virginia to the limit at home Saturday before losing. This football team is better than good, and it continues to improve behind sophomore QB David Ash.
13. Georgia Bulldogs 5-1 -10
Absorbed a thrashing at South Carolina that will lower expectations in a hurry, but I caution you to not count out the ’Dogs just yet. They will get a week off and then "get right" the following week at Kentucky ... before a shot at redemption against Florida on Oct. 27.
14. Oklahoma Sooners 3-1 +5
I heard plenty of chatter that the Sooners were ripe for Texas Tech and that the Oklahoma aura was not the same. Did anyone see the defensive effort from OU in Lubbock, where the Sooners had not won since 2003? Three interceptions, including one returned for a TD, serve notice to Texas that it's the same old Sooners the Longhorns will see in Dallas on Saturday.
15. Florida State Seminoles 5-1 -10
I never put the Seminoles higher than No. 5 because I just didn't trust them. Sometimes my instincts are actually correct, as North Carolina State put a big dent in coach Jimbo Fisher's team’s national championship hopes with a late TD. But the ACC can still be Florida State's to claim.
16. Clemson Tigers 5-1 --
Commendable win over Georgia Tech, and Clemson QB Tajh Boyd has really impressed me with his offseason body "makeover." He's sleeker, stronger and in better condition, which improves his overall play (not to mention his improved mental acuity). He put up 397 yards and a pair of scores through the air against the Yellow Jackets on Saturday and added a rushing TD to boot.
17. Louisville Cardinals 5-0 --
A good week off for one of the favorites for the Big East title. If you want to beat them, you have to maximize your opportunities, because there won't be many of them since the Cards average nearly 35 minutes per game in time of possession and convert 56 percent of their third downs. They head to Pitt on Saturday.
18. Mississippi State Bulldogs 5-0 --
The Bulldogs are now 5-0 for the fifth time in school history. An Oct. 27 showdown at Alabama looms, and MSU can go ahead and dream about it, as this team is capable of handling Tennessee and Middle Tennessee in the next two weeks (but be very careful with those Vols).
19. Stanford Cardinal 4-1 +3
After the loss at Washington to end September, the buzz had quieted around The Farm. But after a mammoth comeback win over Arizona in OT on Saturday, coach David Shaw has his team thinking big on its way to South Bend to confront the undefeated Irish on Saturday.
20. Rutgers Scarlet Knights 5-0 +4
First-year head coach Kyle Flood has his Scarlet Knights running the ball ( Jawan Jamison has six straight games over 100 yards) and taking it away (four interceptions against UConn). They will be a big factor in the Big East race, and they should remain undefeated after Syracuse this week.
21. Texas A&M Aggies 4-1 --
The Aggies are a blown second-half lead against Florida from being ranked much higher. Frosh QB Johnny "The Bro" Manziel has been a revelation with his arm and his legs. A postponed match with undefeated Louisiana Tech that was supposed to be the season opener for both teams awaits on Saturday.
22. Cincinnati Bearcats 4-0 +3
Did what good teams are supposed to do by jumping on an overmatched foe: The Bearcats trounced Miami (OH) 52-14 on Saturday. 4-0 should easily become 6-0 before a trip to Louisville for a Friday night battle that could decide the Big East on Oct. 26. The QB is Munchie Legaux. OK, I just wanted to "say" Munchie Legaux, but he is their catalyst ... so, one more time, Munchie Legaux!
23. Boise State Broncos 4-1 --
After a tough 17-13 loss to Michigan State in the season opener, the Broncos have done what they usually do, and that's win. That streak currently stands at four straight, and I'm predicting the streak gets to 10 before the final clash at Nevada on Dec. 1.
24. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 5-0 --
Head coach Sonny Dykes has his Bulldogs playing "high, wide, and handsome" (and undefeated at 5-0). After taking care of teams from the Big Ten ( Illinois) and the ACC (Virginia), La. Tech gets its shot at the SEC this week in Shreveport against streaking Texas A&M. Win that one and the Bulldogs should go undefeated and have a shot at a BCS bowl.
25. Ohio Bobcats 6-0 --
Thought I forgot about you, Frank Solich-coached Bobcats? No, but you have the right to arch an eyebrow, as your season-opening win at Penn State is looking better and better with each passing Nittany Lions win. Ohio is now 6-0 (after a 10-4 campaign last season), and I don't see a team left on its schedule against which it should not be favored.