Things at the top finally seem to be solidifying. The playoff contenders, in some order, look like Alabama, Clemson, Washington and the winner of the Michigan-Ohio State game. We’ll have to wait for Nov. 26 for that. And while Washington’s not quite there yet, after it went to Oregon and beat the Ducks by seven touchdowns, it’s hard to see road games at Utah (the only ranked team left on its schedule), Cal or Wazzu tripping the Huskies.
Nothing in the top five was close last week, with those teams outscoring opponents 291-116. Each of those wins were impressive in their own ways.
Show-me games included Texas A&M-Tennessee and Miami-FSU, and there’s some dead weight I sloughed off the end. Texas, you were on my ballot far too long.
Here’s the ballot I submitted to the Associated Press this morning. The poll, delayed from Sunday to Monday because of the South Carolina-Georgia game, comes out at 12:30 p.m.
- Alabama (where I had ’em last week: 1). Beat Arkansas by 19 on the road.
- Ohio State (2). Cruising until Michigan.
- Michigan (3). Made everyone in the Big Ten reconsider Rutgers.
- Clemson (4). Easy win over Boston College.
- Washington (5). Broke that Oregon streak.
- Louisville (6). Took a week off. Slackers.
- Texas A&M (8). Somehow escaped the Zombie Vols.
- Wisconsin (9). Bye after Michigan loss, now gets Ohio State at home.
- Tennessee (11). The team you can’t stop watching, because they don’t stop playing.
- Baylor (14). Enjoying the Big 12 triple-bye: Iowa State, a week off, then Kansas.
- Mississippi (12). Road tests at Arkansas, LSU in next two weeks.
- Houston (7). Loss to Navy ends playoff hopes.
- Oklahoma (15). Houston loss doesn’t look as good, but still strong.
- Florida State (20). Seven straight over Miami, this one by a single point.
- Miami (10). How will Canes rebound from injuries, FSU hangover?
- Nebraska (18). Game at Wisconsin Oct. 29 for Big Ten West superiority.
- Arkansas (17). Losses to Bama, A&M and needs to beat Ole Miss this week.
- Virginia Tech (NR). Had the best week of any ACC Coastal team.
- Boise State (NR). Sleeping on the Broncos no more.
- Utah (NR). Another team trying not to look ahead to Oct. 29 (Washington).
- Auburn (NR). Gus Malzahn off the hot seat?
- West Virginia (NR). Tricky little run ahead (at Texas Tech, TCU, at Oklahoma State), but 4-0 now.
- LSU (21). Let’s hope they play the UF game eventually.
- Florida (23). Not going to sit here and second-guess a hurricane. They made the right call.
- Western Michigan (NR). See No. 19.
Dropped out: No. 13 Stanford (two straight blowout losses, looking like a lost bunch); No. 16 Colorado (sputtered at USC in loss); No. 19 North Carolina (dismantled by a hot Virginia Tech); No. 22 Oklahoma State (struggled at home with an awful Iowa State team); No. 23 Georgia (not the most inspiring of wins over South Carolina, and that UNC win now looks weaker); No. 25 Texas (Oklahoma is still racking up yards as you read this).