Last week's rank in parentheses. A note on methodology: BON employs a ranking methodology that relies heavily on resume. As such, this is not a power poll.
1. Ohio State (2) As impressive a victory as anyone can claim this season vaults the Buckeyes into the championship game, the undisputed #1 team in the country. Now if only the #2 team were so clear cut...
2. Southern California (4) On resume alone, you have to go with the Trojans right now. Victories over California, Arkansas, Nebraska, and Oregon give them the narrowest of edges over Michigan for now. If they finish the season with wins over Notre Dame and UCLA, they ought to find themselves playing Ohio State in Glendale.
3. Mighican (1) The only question for Michigan is whether they'll play in the Rose Bowl or the BCS Title Game. As good as that game between Michigan and Ohio State was, I think I side with my father on this one: a rematch in the next game does a huge injustice to the first one, and sets up a pretty unfortunate situation of carping and complaining. Probably best to send Michigan to the Rose Bowl with a shot to finish the season 12-1 and #2 in the country.
4. Florida (5) Florida ostensibly has two tries to knock the socks off of human voters: at Florida State and the SEC Championship Game. As good as Florida's been this year (very), they've yet to play a game that left viewers overwhelmingly believing they might be #1 or #2 this season. It's not too late. But if USC wins out, Florida's only chance is to absolutely obliterate both Florida State and Arkansas to finish the season.
5. Arkansas (6) More ammunition for the "Schedule Softies" school of thought: if Arkansas had lost narrowly to a high-medium tier school, or defeated someone decent, to start the season, instead of getting blown out by USC, they'd be in much better position than they are today. As is, they're stuck behind a team that beat 'em by 36 points in Fayetteville. The road to Glendale involves big wins over LSU and Florida, plus a Trojan loss. It could happen, but they ought to just focus on winning the SEC and getting a Sugar Bowl berth.
6. Notre Dame (7) It would truly take a miracle for Notre Dame to play in the national title game. How could anyone legitimately move them in front of Michigan after the Wolverines whipped the Irish by 26 points in South Bend. It's the same problem that Arkansas faces - a one-loss team in front of them has beaten them soundly. That makes it awfully hard to move up to #2. The only chance they have is to run USC out of the Colliseum by 25+ points.
7. Rutgers (3) Whoops. Hey, it was probably unrealistic to expect Rutgers to win 'em all, but the win over Louisville is still a great one. And they can finish with two great ones if they knock out West Virginia.
8. Louisville (8) A West Virginia victory next week makes Louisville Big East champions. With just one loss, their resume still looks quite good, though the loss to Rutgers must really sting after the way the Scarlet Knights played Saturday evening.
9. LSU (9) What a maddening team. Tiger fans must hate how much this team is underachieving/living dangerously on the edge. To steal one of Bill Simmons' favorite lines: "Ladies and gentlemen: The Les Miles Era!" If the Tigers drop the game to Arkansas to finish 9-3, I think you'd have to call it a disappointing season.
10. Texas (10) Losing to Kansas State really sucked. Let's not talk about it anymore.
11. Oklahoma (13) Could they play their way into a BCS at large invitation? It's absolutely possible, provided they handle Oklahoma State to finish the season. Of course, if Texas can't take down A&M, they'll be playing for the Big 12 title in Kansas City. Let's make sure that doesn't happen, cool?
12. Boise State (14) Eleven down, one to go. Only Nevada stands between Boise State and a Fiesta Bowl berth. Go, Nevada? Yeah. Go Nevada.
13. Auburn (15) The Rutgers of the SEC! Solid defense, solid running game, awful passing.
14. West Virginia (16) It's November 20th and West Virginia still lacks a quality win. They might want to beat Rutgers to close things out, no?
15. Wisconsin (17) Speaking of teams lacking quality wins... Overheard in Madison: "What's in your wallet?" "Not a BCS Bowl Berth." Zing!
16. Boston College (18) The ACC has, what, six B+ teams? Not a looker in the bunch.
17. Tennessee (19) Wallopped Vandy and should finish 9-3, with losses only to Florida, LSU, and Arkansas. Nothing wrong with that.
18. Georgia Tech (20) B+!
19. Virginia Tech (21) B+!
20. BYU (22) John Beck es good. As of this week, BYU ranks 4th nationally in total offense. I count the Cougars among the teams I'll try to catch during Bowl Week.
21. Nebraska (23) The Huskers tune up with Colorado before the Big 12 title game. Provided Texas beats the Aggies, we'll have ourselves a rematch.
22. California (11) Under The Hood pretty much nailed this one.
23. Hawaii (NR) Speaking of Under The Hood, I think we need to take a close look at Hawaii this week. Les numbers are outstanding.
24. Clemson (25) B+!
25. Wake Forest (12) You guessed it: B+!