1. Mississippi State (6-0, Last Week: 1st)
Fresh off their 38-23 win over then-2nd ranked Auburn, the Bulldogs had a bye Saturday. This week, led by Heisman contending QB Dak Prescott, the Bulldogs travel to Kentucky, where the Wildcats will try to improve on their 3-11 record against top ranked teams, and an stretches of 0-15 and 1-26 against ranked opponents. With the bye last week, the game will be the first the program has ever played as the #1 team.
2. Ole Miss (7-0, 2nd)
Ole Miss avoided the potential trap in their home game against Tennessee, winning convincingly by a 34-3 margin. While Ole Miss’s offense has been strong, scoring 35.4 points per game, their defense is their strength, as they lead the nation, allowing 10.6 points per game, and never allowing more than 20 in a game thus far. The Rebels’ undefeated record will be tested Saturday when they take a trip to Baton Rouge to take on 24th-ranked LSU, after which they host Auburn.
3. Florida State (7-0, 3rd)
The Seminoles survived a test from previously unbeaten Notre Dame in primetime on Saturday, and many will say they were outplayed by the Irish in a 31-27 win (and others will say they were aided by the officials). Nevertheless, they have now won 23 straight, which is easily the nation’s longest winning streak (Mississippi State’s 9-game streak is the next longest). After a bye the ‘Noles go to Louisville next Thursday, and while they don’t have a particularly tough schedule the rest of the way in the ACC, every team left on the docket could potentially sneak up on Florida State and, if nothing else, give them a scare.
4. Alabama (6-1, 8th)
A week after the team was criticized for beating Arkansas by “only” a 14-13 margin, the Crimson Tide silenced their critics Saturday with a resounding 59-0 win over Texas A&M, a surprise considering the series has recently produced some very competitive games. After the win, the Tide jump back into the top four in these rankings (important because the top four make the new playoff), and currently lead the one-loss teams in these rankings. Alabama heads to Tennessee (offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin’s first return to Tennessee since leaving there to coach at USC), and then has a bye week before a rough November when they play three ranked teams, including two of the top five.
5. Notre Dame (6-1. 4th)
In many ways, the Irish outplayed Florida State in their showdown Friday night, falling just short after the potential winning touchdown was reversed by penalty, losing 31-27. The Irish certainly proved they belong in the title conversation, even with one loss, as it was on the road against the 2nd-ranked team (according to the AP Poll), against the defending Heisman winner, and they were still one play away from a win. They only dropped a spot here due to the impressiveness of Alabama’s win against Texas A&M. Many have said the Irish schedule has been too soft, and while they have only played two teams with winning records thus far, it does get tougher down the stretch. While they do play Navy next after a bye this week, they have an upcoming home game with Louisville and road games with Arizona State and USC. If they can run the table to finish 11-1, they will have earned it.
6. Auburn (5-1, 6th)
Like Mississippi State, the Tigers had the week off after the top three showdown between the teams, which gave Auburn its only loss of the season. While at one time the schedule looked like the Tigers would play seven ranked teams in eight games, a couple of the teams on their schedule have dropped out of the polls due to struggles, including South Carolina, who comes to Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday night. That being said, Auburn still has games left with three of the current top 10, all on the road, as they play Ole Miss, Georgia, and Alabama between now and the end of November.
7. Oregon (6-1, 7th)
The Ducks defeated Washington, 45-20, to take the outright lead in the Pac-12 North division race, although the division may come down, as usual, to their game with Stanford. Oregon hasn’t played the toughest schedule, but they have had a couple of tough games, and despite the loss to Arizona, they have one of the season’s signature wins from September 6 when they beat Michigan State. This week, the Ducks play at Cal on Friday night, before they head back home for the aforementioned game with Stanford, on November 1.
8. Georgia (6-1, 10th)
The Bulldogs beat Arkansas 45-32, in a game that was pretty even for about a quarter and a half, before Georgia went up 38-6 by halftime, only to let the Hogs get back within 13 in the fourth quarter. Georgia has thrived in the running game, even without suspended RB Todd Gurley, as Nick Chubb has led the attack, with a 203-yard performance, joining Herschel Walker and Rodney Hampton as Georgia freshman to rush for over 200 in a game. This week the Bulldogs get a bye, just as they apply for Gurley’s reinstatement, before playing their annual neutral site rivalry with Florida in Jacksonville at “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” Looming down the road is a home date with Auburn.
9. Michigan State (6-1, 9th)
The Spartans struggled briefly in the first half at Indiana, before pulling away to win 56-17. Their only blemish remains a road loss to Oregon in early September, but life as a one-loss playoff contender is tough, as every week becomes a must-win if they want to win a national title. This week they host rival Michigan, before they play a de facto playoff elimination game against Ohio State. QB Connor Cook has been very solid for the Spartans, throwing for over 1600 yards for 16 touchdowns against 5 interceptions,
10. TCU (5-1, 14th)
TCU jumps into this top 10 for the first time this season after a very interesting three-week stretch. First the Horned Frogs pulled a 37-33 upset win at home over Oklahoma. Then they led Baylor on the road 58-37 in the fourth quarter before collapsing defensively to lose 61-58 on a last second field goal. Then, in another home game with ranked team, the Frogs blew out Oklahoma State, 42-9. This week, TCU gets a small reprieve from a tough stretch in the schedule, as they host Texas Tech, before going to West Virginia and hosting Kansas State.
11. Kansas State (5-1, 17th), 12. Arizona State (5-1, 13th), 13. Ohio State (5-1, 12th), 14. Baylor (6-1, 5th), 15. USC (5-2, 18th)
16. Oklahoma (5-2, 11th), 17. Clemson (5-2, 16th), 18. East Carolina (5-1, 19th), 19. Arizona (5-1, 20th), 20. UCLA (5-2, 22nd)
21. West Virginia (5-2, unranked), 22. Marshall (7-0, 24th), 23. Nebraska (6-1, 25th), 24. Stanford (4-3, 15th), 25. LSU (6-2, unranked)
Fell from rankings: Texas A&M (5-3, 21st), Oklahoma State (5-2, 23rd)