Oregon is second in our power rankings, but just barely. Photo: USA Today Sports
The top of our rankings should look pretty familiar, with Alabama remaining on top and trailed by Oregon and Florida State. As usual, the biggest changes in our power rankings can be seen in the bottom half. This week's power rankings consist of eight staff votes ranking the top ten teams in the country.
1. Alabama (77 points, 5 first-place votes)
It feels pretty clear that unless Alabama happens to lose a game, the Crimson Tide are going to remain at the top of our weekly power rankings. Alabama picked up five first-place votes from us this week to stay solid at the top of the rankings. Alabama gets a week off this weekend to prepare for the big SEC West battle in Tuscaloosa next weekend against LSU. Alabama leads the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 9.8 points per game and that number is inflated by Texas A&M's 42 points.
2. Oregon (69 points, 1 first-place vote)
By the slimmest of margins, the Oregon Ducks stay put in second place in this week's power rankings. Oregon edged Florida State by one point in our weekly voting to stay ahead of the surging Seminoles despite receiving one fewer first-place vote compared to Florida State. Oregon had a good tussle with UCLA last weekend but blew away the Bruins in the fourth quarter. Oregon gets the week off to prepare for a Thursday night match-up in the Pac 12's game of the year. Oregon visits Stanford next Thursday night in a game that should end up deciding the Pac 12 North division champion, and likely determine home field advantage in the Pac 12 championship game.
3. Florida State (68 points, 2 first-place votes)
Although Florida State fell just shy of second place in our weekly rankings, they did earn more first-place votes from our staff than the Ducks. Florida State has thrashed three straight opponents in ACC play and this week gets a chance to shine as the top team in college football action this weekend. Florida State hosts a Miami team that carries a top ten ranking but has shown plenty of flaws that could easily be exposed by Florida State. If the Seminoles can continue to tear through the ACC this weekend, maybe they can sneak past Oregon in our power rankings next week.
4. Ohio State (58 points)
Still on the outside looking in on the BCS championship conversation, Ohio State is pretty much locked in at fourth place in our power rankings. The Buckeyes are ten points behind Florida State and 12 points ahead of Baylor, so it is pretty much a consensus on how we are viewing Ohio State compared to the rest of the field this week. Ohio State had a bit of a statement game against Penn State last weekend and will need more shows of dominance the rest of the way to stay within striking distance, ready to pounce as soon as Alabama, Oregon or Florida State lose. Ohio State has Purdue on the schedule this weekend. The Boilermakers have been tricky for Ohio State in the past, so keep it in mind.
5. Baylor (46 points)
Just as Ohio State is locked in at fourth, Baylor appears locked in at fifth in our power rankings. The high-scoring Bears are undefeated and are seven points ahead of Stanford in this week's power rankings. Baylor has a bear of a stretch run coming up in Big 12 play, starting at home next Thursday against Oklahoma. Baylor has the offense to beat everyone on their schedule, but the Sooners have already slowed down one high-flying offense. Can the Sooners slow down Baylor enough?
6. Stanford (39 points)
Stanford is without a doubt our top one-loss team, despite their loss coming against a pretty woeful Utah team. The Cardinal are 18 points ahead of undefeated Miami, which tells you how much we still value Stanford over Miami right now. Stanford's defense is the best in the Pac 12 and is coming off a brilliant performance against Sean Mannion at Oregon State in Corvallis last weekend. Now they get a week off to prep for Oregon in Palo Alto. As mentioned above, this is the Pac 12's game of the year and has huge Pac 12 championship, and BCS, implications riding on the outcome.
7. Miami (21 points)
Miami is 7-0 for the first time since 2003, when the Hurricanes went 11-2 and ended the season with an Orange Bowl victory over Florida State. Miami was in the Big East then and is just now looking to play the role of ACC contender for the first time since joining the conference. Is Miami back? No, but they are on the right track. They may get squashed by Florida State this weekend, but if they manage to play the Seminoles close and maybe even pull the upset Miami's respectability will skyrocket.
8. Oklahoma (15 points)
Oklahoma's only loss this season has come to Texas but the Sooners have some nice wins this season, including last weekend's win against Texas Tech and an earlier win at Notre Dame. If the Sooners can manage to slow down Baylor enough to score a road upset win,Oklahoma's path to a Big 12 championship will begin to clear up a little bit (Texas still has to lose two Big 12 games for it to happen though). Oklahoma gets the bye week to prepare for that Baylor offense.
Oklahoma tied with Auburn in our point total but appeared on more ballots than the Tigers to break the tiebreaker.
9. Auburn (15 points)
It is time to start thinking about Auburn as an SEC contender. Auburn is coming off a road win at Texas A&M and is now trailing only Alabama in the SEC West division despite having lost to LSU. The Tigers are running the football very well this year, ranked fifth in the nation, and the defense has done well in slamming the door shut on most of their opponents. This Auburn team is now capable of getting to the Iron Bowl with a record of 10-1, and they get Alabama at home. Hmmm…
10. Missouri (12 points)
After losing their first game of the season in heartbreaking fashion, Missouri took a little spill in our power rankings. Still, Missouri appeared on more ballots from our staff this week than Clemson to break a tie for the final spot in this week's power rankings. Missouri's loss to South Carolina was a rough one the way it unfolded, but Missouri still controls the fate of the SEC East division and can still play their way in to the BCS championship conversation if everything falls in to place. How long Missouri can count on Maty Mauk is a fair concern but James Franklin should come back at some point.
How We Voted
Some members of the staff release their updated rankings outside of Crystal Ball Run. Feel free to examine each voter's public rankings. This will be updated as needed.