AJ McCarron and Alabama continue to be a fixture on top. Photo: USA Today Sports
After a week of some important game sin the BCS championship picture we are beginning to see a bit more clearly how things are going to work out coming down the final stretch of the regular season. As usual, our staff submitted our top 10 this week and they have been combined to form our weekly power rankings. As you might have expected, our top two is pretty obvious.
1. Alabama (89 points, 8 first-place votes)
Following a thorough defeat of LSU this weekend, the staff feels pretty confident in saying Alabama remains the team to beat this season. The Crimson Tide pulled in all but one first-place vote from our staff this week to reassert their position on top of our power rankings after Florida State created a bit of a split last week. Alabama has been on top of our weekly power rankings since we debuted them at the beginning of October and until they force us to drop them it looks as though they will stay there.
2. Florida State (81 points, 1 first-place vote)
With Oregon taking a loss last Thursday, Florida State has firmly taken over second place in the power rankings and is likely to stay there until proven otherwise. The Seminoles picked up the only first-place vote that did not go to Alabama this week and they have an 11-point advantage over Ohio State while trailing Alabama by eight points. Our staff is unanimous on the top two teams, and much like most of the nation, is eyeing up a BCS title game between Alabama and Florida State at this point.
3. Ohio State (70 points)
Ohio State is next in line according to our power rankings. In the event Alabama or Florida State take a hit in the next few weeks, it looks as though the unbeaten Buckeyes will take advantage. The lack of a good quality win for Ohio State continues to hold them back. The best win to be had may have to come against Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship game as the Wolverines are sinking.
4. Baylor (64 points)
Baylor's offense got off to a slow start against Oklahoma Thursday night but once it got rolling it struck in a hurry. Baylor's offense is going to be difficult for any remaining team to stop, but the question will be whether or not any team can crack their defense enough to pull an upset. Baylor looks to be on track for a Big 12 championship coming down the stretch.
5. Stanford (56 points)
Without a doubt our best one-loss team is Stanford. After knocking off Oregon, the Cardinal have asserted themselves with that title and are a whopping 23 points ahead of one-loss Auburn (25 ahead of Oregon). Stanford gets a good test this weekend from a rejuvenated USC team. If Stanford can avoid any sort of letdown, which we do not expect from a program like Stanford, Stanford will remain in the championship hunt and ensure the Pac 12 championship goes through them.
6. Auburn (33 points)
Auburn is our top one-loss SEC team, three point ahead of Missouri. The Tigers now look to be the biggest threat to Alabama's championship plans in what could be one of the biggest Iron Bowls in recent memory. If Auburn can avoid a slip-up before then, we could be staring at 11-0 Alabama vs. 10-1 Auburn with a trip to the SEC Championship on the line. Please, can we see this happen?
7. Oregon (31 points)
Oregon took a big fall after having the clamps put down on them by Stanford. Sure, the Ducks made things interesting late in the game and they get credit for that, but we saw just how this high powered offense can be beat by a team with the right kind of defense, which shows why Oregon is not quite ready to compete for a national title. Oregon is still in the BCS mix but unless Stanford loses again the Ducks will have to settle for being an at-large selection.
8. Missouri (30 points)
We are still keeping a close eye on Missouri, who put away Kentucky this past weekend. Missouri has off this week but ends the season with two huge games at Ole Miss and at home against Texas A&M. Missouri is still likely to head to Atlanta to play in the SEC Championship Game but may have to keep the foot on the gas pedal if South Carolina gets by Florida this weekend.
9. Clemson (19 points)
Clemson is officially out of the running for the ACC championship (Florida State clinched the Atlantic Division) but the Tigers can still think about a potential BCS bowl game. The one-loss Tigers have only lost to Florida State but have been rolling on offense since their embarrassing loss at home to the Noles.
10. Michigan State (9 points)
The Michigan State Spartans have been deemed the biggest challenge for Ohio State in the Big Ten. The Spartans have the best defense in the Big Ten and all of a sudden seem to have found their offense. After taking care of Michigan, the Spartans are now eyeing a return to the Big Ten championship game after playing in the first title game two seasons ago. Michigan State travels to Nebraska this weekend in a game that will likely determine who goes on to face the Buckeyes in Indianapolis.
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