Is LSU the best one-loss team in the country right now, or is Texas A&M? Photo: USA Today Sports
After a week of some upsets from coat to coast we have some shuffling within our latest batch of power rankings. The top two teams remain unchanged, with Alabama and Oregon claiming the top two spots for the third straight week, but after that every position was up for grabs. Here's a look at our updated power rankings. The power rankings are updated every Monday or Tuesday.
1. Alabama (6 first-place votes)
Alabama once again sits on top of our power rankings without losing any ground to Oregon. For the second straight week the Crimson Tide received six first-place votes. Alabama had an easy time with Kentucky in Lexington this past weekend, winning 48-7. Since the Texas A&M game, Alabama has held their opponents to 16 points over four games. While much of that is due to level of competition, that does include a shutout of Ole Miss a couple of weeks ago. This weekend Alabama hosts Arkansas, with the Razorbacks getting tanked by South Carolina last week. Alabama's next three games, starting this weekend, will come at home and all eyes are locked on November 9 against LSU.
2. Oregon (3 first-place votes)
Oregon has been ranked second each week we have done our power rankings, and unless they take a stumble against Stanford in November it is likely they will sit there unless Alabama takes an upset. The Ducks had no problem getting by their first real threat of the season, with a 21-point road win at Washington. The high-powered Ducks offense should continue to roll this weekend at home against Washington State. Two huge games are coming up though, with a home game against UCLA (Pac 12 Championship Game preview?) and Stanford.
3. Ohio State
Ohio State jumped up two spots in our power rankings this week, taking advantage of a Stanford loss and sluggish Clemson performance against Boston College during a bye week for the Buckeyes. When we last saw Ohio State they were providing a back-door cover at Northwestern. Ohio State's fortunes may have taken a hit moving forward after Northwestern was dropped from the ranking with a loss at Wisconsin and Michigan getting upset at Penn State. Ohio State has won 18 straight since the arrival of Urban Meyer and they can make it 19 in a row this weekend at home against Iowa.
Ohio State and Clemson tied for total points. Neither team received a first-place vote, so the tiebreaker was determined by most second-place votes, which favored the Buckeyes this week.
The Tigers have a chance to move up in the power rankings next week if they can get by Florida State this weekend in impressive fashion. The Tigers had to work a little harder than expected to get by Boston College at home this past weekend, but they did so to remain undefeated. The Tigers have been playing really solid defense, holding each opponent to 14 points or fewer since the week one victory over Georgia.
5. Florida State
Florida State moved up two spots in our power rankings this week while on a bye. Losses to Stanford and Georgia helped the Seminoles move in to the top five as they prepared for a showdown in Death Valley against ACC Atlantic Division rival Clemson. How the young freshman stud Jameis Winston handles this weekend will be key for the Noles. If the defending ACC champs can pull out a win, they could have a chance to start entering the bigger conversation at the end of the season.
Our first one-loss team in the power rankings this week is LSU. The Tigers lost two weeks ago at Georgia in a back-and-forth affair, but it was the defense that rose to the occasion back at home against Florida. The argument for best one-loss team in the country may come between the Tigers and our next team in the power rankings, but for now our staff seems to be favoring the fact that LSU can play some defense, which gives LSU the slight edge at this time.
7. Texas A&M
If you think offense tips the scale, then Texas A&M may be the best one-loss team in the country right now. After all, their only loss came at home to top-ranked Alabama. Johnny Manziel continues to amaze with his play on the field and may be the best player in the country right now. Texas A&M is giving up a lot of points (30+ points allowed four times this season), but the offense is capable of bailing them out more often than not.
Baylor moves up a spot in this week's power rankings after needing to rally in the fourth quarter to avoid an upset loss on the road at Kansas State this past weekend. The way things are laid out, Baylor should keep the offense chugging along the next two weeks (Iowa State, @ Kansas) before hosting Oklahoma and Texas Tech in consecutive weeks. There are still some fair questions about this Baylor team moving forward, but they have the best offense in the Big 12 right now.
Louisville returns to our power rankings after dropping out in last week's ranking. Teddy Bridgewater may not have had his finest performance last Thursday night against Rutgers, but he still managed to throw for 300 yards and lead the Cardinals to another win against their biggest challenge of the season thus far. Louisville's strength of schedule is fair to point out, but the Cardinals lead the nation ins coring defense by allowing just 7.3 points per game. Next up? A Friday night match-up at home against Central Florida, a team that has beaten Penn State and gave South Carolina a good challenge. If Louisville gets by the Knights, an undefeated regular season is in sight.
UCLA has been on our radar since we started these power rankings, but this is the first appearance for the Bruins. To this point the height of the season came in week two when UCLA capped a tragic week with a memorable second half against Nebraska for a 20-point victory in Lincoln. The next two weeks will be a real challenge for UCLA and give us more a sense of whether or not they belong in the Pac 12 championship conversation. This week UCLA visits Stanford in a Pac 12 Championship Game rematch, and next week the Bruins visit Oregon for a rematch of the 2011 Pac 12 Championship Game. If the Bruins earn a split, they are a team to watch out for, and a split is entirely possible.