Bryce Petty and Baylor have emerged as our "waiting next in line" team in the power rankings. Photo: USA Today Sports
Time once again to check in with our staff and see which teams make our weekly top ten ranking. As expected, Alabama and Florida State remain on top of the rankings, but we have some shuffling behind them following a week that saw Stanford take a loss at USC and subsequently drop off the top ten entirely. Here is this week's batch of power rankings from our staff.
1. Alabama (88 points, 7 first place votes)
Despite not playing their best game of the season, Alabama's defense is just too darn good for most. even when Mississippi State looked to have some life, Alabama's defense came up with the plays needed to keep the upset off the table. Can Alabama afford to play that way against Auburn in a couple of weeks? Probably not, but if that is the worst we will see from the Crimson Tide this season that is pretty scary.
2. Florida State (82 points, 2 first place votes)
Florida State figured to take advantage of a "weak" performance by Alabama,but only managed to pick up one first-place vote from our panel this week. Still, there is a considerable distance between the top two teams from the next best contenders. In other words, our staff remains firm that Alabama and Florida State are the two top teams in college football right now until forced to make a change.
3. Baylor (67 points)
Baylor skipped past Ohio State in our poll this week after trailing the Buckeyes by six points last week. That is a nine-point swing this week that favors the Bears. We had one poll voter rank the Buckeyes ninth in our poll this week, which sunk Ohio State in the overall poll results. Baylor's strength of schedule appears to favor them the rest of the way this season and they can pad their position perhaps with a win against Oklahoma State this weekend in what could end up being a deciding game in the Big 12 race.
4. Ohio State (64 points)
Ohio State was criticized for "struggling" against Illinois this past weekend but it was the third straight game Ohio State scored 56 points or more and second time in three games they scored 60 points. Ohio State also rolled up 591 yards of offense, including 441 yards on the ground on the road. for now, Baylor has the upper hand in our voting despite Ohio State being ranked higher than the Bears on five of nine of our staff polls.
5. Auburn (51 points)
Our best one-loss team this week is Auburn. Fresh off a miracle win over Georgia, the Tigers are now locked and loaded for their epic Iron Bowl game at home next week against Alabama. The game will determine which SEC West team goes on to Atlanta to play in the SEC Championship Game, which is a bizarre rarity for this storied rivalry. Auburn nearly let a game slip away from them against Georgia but may this serve as a lesson to not take a foot off the gas pedal when Alabama comes to town.
6. Oregon (41 points)
Oregon is once again the top team in the Pac 12 after Stanford was upset by USC. Yes, Stanford did just recently manhandle the Ducks, but the way things shape up there does not appear to be anyone else in the conference standing in the way of Oregon's next trip to Pasadena. The Pac 12 now must go through Eugene it appears, and with one loss Oregon is still in the BCS Championship conversation even if from a bit of a distance.
7. Clemson (32 points)
Clemson has looked very good since their blowout loss to Florida State, but that awful loss leaves a huge stain that just will not come out. That keeps Clemson at a distance in our power rankings and behind two other one-loss teams this week. Clemson still is in position for a BCS at-large berth, one that becomes even more likely if Florida State advances to the BCS Championship Game, so we certainly cannot count Clemson out of anything.
8. Missouri (31 points)
Missouri has a tough end of the season ahead of them but if they can get by a road trip to Ole Miss and pick up a home win against Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M, Missouri could easy start to pass some of the other one-loss teams sitting in front of them in our power rankings. Missouri has to keep chugging along though to reach Atlanta because South Carolina has put the pressure on in the SEC standings. One loss these next two weeks will knock Missouri out of the SEC Championship Game and send South Carolina back to Atlanta for the first time in three years.
9. Michigan State (16 points)
We continue to be impressed with Michigan State's defense, which remains the best in the Big Ten. The Spartans are now deemed the biggest threat to Ohio State in the conference, so all eyes are on a potential match-up in Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game. More importantly, Michigan State's offense has really come on strong over the past month, making them a much more complete team than they were at the start of the season.
10. Oklahoma State (11 points)
Oklahoma State has crept back in to the power rankings after a lengthy exit. A big win at Texas has kept the Cowboys in contention for their second Big 12 title in three years. All they need to do now is pick up a win against Baylor, which would not only shake up the Big 12 race but also our power rankings and the BCS championship hunt. Can Oklahoma State become our top one-loss team, or will the Cowboys be dropped from the power rankings for a second time?