1. Alabama (5-0). The nation’s best team actually didn’t cover the spread on Saturday, but that’s only because they were 55-point favorites against Georgia State, and won 45-3. They shouldn’t have much trouble in October with games at Kentucky and at home against Arkansas and Tennessee, before a week off and a date in Tuscaloosa with LSU on November 9.
2. Oregon (5-0). Colorado led the Ducks 10-8 halfway through the first quarter. By the end of the quarter, it was 29-10, Oregon. It is very tempting to put the Ducks at #1, over Alabama, because their closest game out of their five so far was a 55-16 game against Cal. However, they haven’t played a true test yet, but they will Saturday at Washington. If those numbers continue against the Huskies, they will certainly have my attention and may have my #1 spot.
3. Clemson (5-0). The Tigers move up to #3 after a 49-14 win over Syracuse in the Carrier Dome, in a game many people, including me, thought was a potential trap game for the Tigers, and that it would be a lot closer than it turned out to be. This week Clemson hosts Boston College in their final tune-up before hosting Florida State next week in primetime.
4. Ohio State (6-0). It’s was a tough decision to drop the Buckeyes down to #4 because they did beat a very good Northwestern team on the road. (I was just more impressed by Clemson this past week). They did show a lot of character in coming from behind against a ranked team on the road. Following a bye week, the Buckeyes will host Iowa and Penn State back-to-back. The biggest threat, by far, to their undefeated record and long winning streak will be the big game at Michigan on November 30.
5. Stanford (5-0). The Cardinal defeated Washington on Saturday in a battle of the unbeatens, 31-28, and they looked even better than the score would indicate. Since a 34-20 win over Army in which the Cardinal didn’t look very impressive, they have looked better and better every week. This week they will play at Utah, and are surely looking ahead to meetings with fellow unbeatens UCLA and Oregon on October 19 and November 7, respectively, both at home.
6. Florida State (5-0). The Seminoles defeated #25 Maryland 63-0, tying a Florida State record for largest win over a ranked opponent. After that blowout of the Terrapins, the ‘Noles move from 9th to 6th, and would be 5th in my rankings had Stanford not beaten a top-15 opponent. Florida State now has the week off to prepare for their big showdown at Clemson next week.
7. Texas A&M (4-1). The Aggies fall to 7th after a bye, only due to the success of both Stanford and Florida State, although they passed Georgia. Johnny Manziel is leading an incredible offense, as they have scored at least 42 in every game, including their only loss against Alabama. The Aggies will face a test Saturday on the road against an Ole Miss team who will be fired up after road losses at Alabama and Auburn.
8. Georgia (4-1). Injuries and the crowd kept Tennessee in Saturday’s game against Georgia, and the Bulldogs found a way to survive with a last-second game-tying touchdown and an overtime field goal to win. The surprising struggle by Georgia drops them from #5 to #8 in my rankings. The Bulldogs host #25 Missouri, who is unbeaten but whose toughest game so far has been Vanderbilt, on Saturday, and we’ll see how Georgia responds to last week’s near loss.
9. Louisville (5-0). The Cardinals may really be good enough to be a top-5 team. We won’t really know until bowl season because they have a very easy schedule in the new American Athletic Conference. Games against Rutgers this Thursday and UCF next Friday are likely the toughest two games they will face. By the way, they beat Temple, 30-7, this past week.
10. LSU (4-1). The Tigers defeated Mississippi State 59-26 on Saturday after leading 28-26 midway through the third, scoring 31 unanswered points, 28 of them in the 4th quarter. This game was their answer to a 44-41 heartbreaking loss at Georgia one week earlier. Two more games against fairly tough opponents await the Tigers the next two weeks, as they will host Florida and travel to Ole Miss.
Also considered: Oklahoma (5-0), Miami (5-0), UCLA (4-0)