1. Alabama (8-0, previously #1)
Let’s be honest, huh? The Tide didn’t play Saturday because they got promoted to Sundays and are playing the Bears, right? Ok, not really; but Alabama is still clearly the best team in the country. Big road game next Saturday night in Death Valley against LSU.
2. Clemson (8-0, previously #2)
Couple big resume-building wins over Louisville and at FSU make up for the lackluster performances early on the season against the likes of Auburn, Troy, and NC State. When the lights are bright, Clemson comes ready and can hang with anyone.
3. Louisville (7-1, previously #3)
Didn’t expect Louisville to be trailing Virginia in the final 30 seconds, but Lamar Jackson answered the bell and kept the Cardinals playoff hopes alive and well.
4. Michigan (8-0, previously #4)
An unimpressive 32-23 win over rival Michigan State won’t do much to convince those who were suspect of U-M. The Wolverines didn’t play particularly well in the second half, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Questions will remain until they go on the road and win handily (and let’s agree that we can’t count Rutgers).
5. Washington (8-0, previously #5)
The Huskies needed a punt return for a touchdown in the final four minutes to top Utah. Nevermind the blocks in the back that weren’t called. Hey — a win’s a win. And on another note, quarterback Jake Browning is gaining serious steam as a Heisman contender.
6. Ohio State (7-1, previously #6)
At the Horseshoe against Northwestern and Urban Meyer’s squad could only manage a 24-20 win? Buckeyes seem a little off. They’ll need to hurry up and find themselves before Nebraska visits the Shoe next Saturday or else any hopes of the playoff or a Big Ten title will be dashed.
7. Wisconsin (6-2, previously #9)
The eye test is a powerful thing. And the Badgers pass it. Even in losses to Michigan and Ohio State, Wisconsin was in those games right to the very end.
8. Texas A&M (7-1, previously #8)
Routing New Mexico State a week after getting drilled by Alabama was step one in the recovery process for the Aggies. Three of their final four games are against teams that A&M should beat — but they could be tested. They still have a lot to play for, with the inside track to a New Year’s Six bid.
9. Nebraska (7-1, previously #7)
Nebraska might have proven more in their loss this past weekend at Camp Randall than they had in their previous 7 wins.
10. Florida (6-1, previously not ranked)
If it weren’t for a total meltdown defensively in the 4th quarter of the Tennessee game, we’d be talking about Florida being 7-0. Few really believe the Gators are playoff-worthy or will pose anything threat to Alabama, if the two meet in the SEC Championship Game. But for now, I’m not sure any other team deserves this spot.
Feedback is always welcome through the website in the comments box or on my Twitter feed — @brian22goodwin.