Florida State has muscled their way up our power rankings, but is still behind our top two. Photo: USA Today Sports
Following another weekend of upsets we see some shuffling of the power rankings this week. Our top two teams remain unchanged, but Florida State has stormed in to the conversation while we say hello to a couple of new faces this week in our staff power rankings. The gap at the top may be closing though, as the top three teams in our weekly power rankings are separated by just nine points between first and third.
1. Alabama (four first-place votes)
What's the old expression? There are only three guarantees in life; death, taxes and Alabama being ranked number one. Or something like that. Alabama has been ranked on top of our power rankings all month and seems to be the only SEC team to avoid being hit by an upset. Will that streak continue this weekend against Tennessee? Alabama received four out of seven first-place votes this week.
2. Oregon (two first-place votes)
another fixture in our weekly power rankings, Oregon came through with just enough points to stay ahead of Florida State. The Ducks picked up one more first-place vote and one more second-place vote in our weekly staff voting. If Oregon blows away UCLA this weekend, will the votes start to swing back in favor of the Ducks?
3. Florida State (one first-place vote)
Without a doubt, Florida State caught everyone's attention this weekend. With their historic blowout at Clemson, Jameis Winston has risen to the top of the Heisman debate and the Seminoles are ranked second in the BCS. We may have them ranked third this week, but they have put themselves in the same category as Alabama and Oregon. Now Florida State must avoid the letdown game against North Carolina State.
4. Ohio State
Somebody had to be a victim of Florida State's rise in the power rankings. Other than Clemson, this week it is Ohio State, who slips to fourth after being ranked third last week. A win this weekend over Penn State may not be enough to warrant climbing back up a spot, but we will keep an eye on the Buckeyes moving forward.
OK Missouri, you have our attention! Following wins against Georgia and Florida, Missouri remains undefeated this season and makes their debut in our power rankings at the very respectable number five spot. Considering this is their debut, that is pretty impressive. Mizzou is just a few points behind Ohio State in our voting and perhaps they can close that gap or pass the Buckeyes this weekend with another key SEC East victory over South Carolina.
Baylor has moved up two spots in our power rankings this week. We like what Baylor is doing, especially on offense, but right now they seem to be stuck in the middle of the top ten without much room to improve unless other teams start taking some hits. It's an uphill climb for Baylor, but has not slowed this program down yet. Will anyone?
Stanford battled back in to the power rankings this week by flexing some muscle against UCLA, who drops out of our rankings. Dropping Stanford out last week figured to be a short-term situation for the Cardinal, and now Stanford can make a case for being the nation's top one-loss team in the BCS conversation. Stanford can continue to maneuver back up this weekend with a road win at ranked Oregon State, or they can fall out again and make it much more difficult to get back in before the end of the season.
While Miami's performance last Thursday night certainly did not win any style points, we have to give credit to what Miami has done overall this season. Yesterday's news regarding the NCAA's penalties against the program actually serves as a sigh of relief and now we can begin to place Miami in various postseason scenarios. We're all just waiting for Miami's road game at Florida State before pushing Miami up our rankings.
9. Texas Tech
Kliff Kingsbury may be a leading candidate for coach of the year honors with what he is doing at Texas Tech. The second half of the season is going to present a number of challenges but we're certainly enjoying watching Texas Tech again. This is the first time Texas Tech has appeared in our power rankings this season.
Despite that ugly loss to Florida State Saturday night, Clemson manages to stay in our top ten this week, although it was just by one single point in the voting (Auburn just missed the cut). Perhaps that season opening win against Georgia is hard to forget and maybe the outlook for the rest of the season looks more promising for the Tigers. What they do this weekend on the road against Maryland could be telling for what's in store for this Clemson team. A struggle against an injury-riddled Maryland offense could put Clemson's spot in the power rankings at risk next week because Auburn is ready to pounce.