Clemson snuck into the top 5 this week, but shuffling was about all that took place regarding the top 10. That won't be the case this week, as there are three matchups that pit top-12 teams against each other.
1. Ohio State (Last Week: 1)
We're still waiting for the Buckeyes to give us any kind of indication they are the nation's true No. 1 team, and struggling at home to put away Maryland's joke of a team was not that.
2. Baylor (Last Week: 3)
Throttled Kansas as expected, and now the Bears get a shot at revenge against the only team to beat them in the 2014 regular season. I don't take issue with Baylor jumping TCU after the Frogs had to stage a furious comeback against Kansas State to remain undefeated. Sure, the Bears haven't played anybody, but they have looked way better against weaker competition than other teams in this vicinity.
3. TCU (Last Week: 2)
TCU flirted with disaster again, but credit the Frogs for erasing a 17-point halftime deficit on the road against a quality opponent. I worry about that defense allowing 52 and 45 points in two games recently with Baylor waiting on the schedule, and there will have to be a serious turnaround in the coming weeks if TCU is going to have any chance to contain the Bears' offense.
4. Utah (Last Week: 5)
Forcing Jared Goff into five interceptions is quite the impressive feat, and the Utes needed every one of them to edge Cal and move to 5-0. Utah still owns one of the better resumes out there, although its premier win is now undoubtedly the season opener over Michigan, as the only thing impressive about the Oregon win at this point is the margin of victory. This would be a playoff team if the season ended today, but I have my doubts that they can finish the season undefeated.
5. Clemson (Last Week: 6)
The Tigers followed up the emotional Notre Dame win with a dominant performance against Georgia Tech. The schedule shapes up well, but Clemson will have to maintain focus as there are still opportunities to slip up. Looking more and more like a playoff team, however.
6. LSU (Last Week: 7)
The Tigers took care of South Carolina in what we will now remember as Steve Spurrier's last game as head coach of the Gamecocks. Leonard Fournette was bottled up early, but it's hard to keep that man down for long. LSU got a deus ex machina with the announcement that Florida quarterback Will Grier is suspended for the rest of the season just days before a titanic showdown in Baton Rouge against the Gators. That certainly gives the Tigers an edge, although they will have to lean heavily on Fournette as Florida would undoubtedly feast on their subpar passing game.
7. Michigan State (Last Week: 4)
The voters have finally begun enacting punishment on Sparty for its barn-burners against the doormats of the Big Ten, as it followed up a 3-point win over Purdue with a 7-point win at Rutgers. It may not be the best time for Michigan State to be traveling to Ann Arbor, but that is the task at hand this week. Talk about two teams trending in opposite directions. Can the Spartans right the ship and bring the Wolverines' resurgence to a screeching halt? I don't see it.
8. Florida (Last Week: 11)
Just when it looked like nothing could stop the Gators in their quest to reclaim the SEC East, the stunning news about Grier's suspension was announced just in time for Florida's trip to LSU. I still wouldn't count Florida out because that defense could very well stonewall the one-dimensional Tigers, but it's safe to say that the Gators offense is just not the same with Treon Harris at quarterback.
9. Texas A&M (Last Week: 9)
Texas A&M gets the chance this week to stake its claim as the team to beat in the SEC West when the Aggies play host to Alabama. The Tide looked vulnerable a week after dismantling Georgia as they trailed Arkansas 7-3 at the half in Tuscaloosa. Alabama has struggled recently to defend good teams that can spread them out, and for that reason I like A&M to notch a resume win and vault into the playoff conversation.
10. Alabama (Last Week: 8)
As previously mentioned, the Tide's win over Arkansas was not a thing of beauty. Beating Georgia was nice, but that's about the only decent feather in this team's cap right now. Alabama is probably the only team that could suffer a second loss and not fall out of playoff consideration, and it's really for no reason other than the school's name.
11. Florida State (Last Week: 12)
Florida State did as Florida State does and beat another middling opponent by a close margin, this time against Miami. I'll say one thing for the Seminoles — they know how to win. There's really nothing else positive to say that doesn't involve Dalvin Cook. It wouldn't be shocking at all to see Louisville knock Florida State from the ranks of the unbeaten this week.
12. Michigan (Last Week: 18)
Michigan was the big riser this week after it demolished Northwestern for an unheard of third straight shutout. I've been hesitant to buy the Wolverines because this quick of a turnaround just seems to good to be true, but there is no reason they shouldn't dispatch of struggling rival Michigan State this week.
13. Ole Miss (Last Week: 14)
If you're looking for an upset special this weekend, look no further than Ole Miss' curious midseason trip to Memphis to face the undefeated Tigers. Swag will be the second-best quarterback on the field as Paxton Lynch is quietly putting together a stellar season for a team that is on the fringe of the top 25 and could crash the poll with a statement win against the Rebels.
14. Notre Dame (Last Week: 15)
The Irish took care of Navy and now host a USC team that just fired its embattled head coach. Southern Cal is still talented, but Notre Dame has its act together much more so than the Trojans right now.
15. Stanford (Last Week: 16)
The Cardinal hosts UCLA Thursday night in a big cross-divisional Pac 12 matchup. Stanford has been on fire, and UCLA showed vulnerability in its home loss to Arizona State. The Cardinal are still far from out of the playoff race, although that "good loss" to Northwestern was devalued this past week.
16. Oklahoma State (Last Week: 21)
The Cowboys aren't winning in convincing fashion, but they are winning — albeit against the muddled middle of the Big XII. They could continue to move up at the expense of others, but despite a scheduling anomaly where they get TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma all coming to Stillwater, you have to believe Oklahoma State fades down the stretch when November rolls around.
17. Iowa (Last Week: 22)
Well, well, well ... look who's in sole possession of first place in the Big Ten West — the SEC East of the Big Ten, for those of you who aren't keen on your Big Ten divisions (read: everybody). The undefeated Hawkeyes catch Northwestern a week after the Wildcats were dismantled by Michigan, and a win would put them in prime position to make a run at the Big Ten championship game.
18. UCLA (Last Week: 20)
UCLA hasn't beaten Stanford in a billion years [source needed], so it's hard to see the Bruins going into Palo Alto Thursday night and coming out with a win. Of course, it's the Pac 12, so who honestly has any clue?
19. Oklahoma (Last Week: 10)
My kiss of death seems to be getting the best of one team each week, and this time around it was the Sooners. I even mentioned last week the shambles Texas was in, but the Longhorns pulled off a stunning win in the Red River Rivalry to make the pollsters think twice about Oklahoma.
20. Northwestern (Last Week: 13)
The charade appears to be over as Northwestern proved to be just a decent team that ran into an absolute buzzsaw in Michigan.
21. Boise State (Last Week: 25)
This ranking is well deserved, as the Broncos have been lights out aside from the part they played in the early-season BYU Hail Mary extravaganza.
22. Toledo (Last Week: 24)
The amazing thing about the Rockets' 5-0 record is that they have amassed it largely without star running back Kareem Hunt. Toledo is among a solid group of squads trying to stake their claim as the best Group of Five team.
23. California (Last Week: 23)
Cal stays put after battling No. 4 Utah on the road but coming up just short. Jared Goff threw an unthinkable five interceptions, and his team still had a chance to win the game. It could have been a statement win for the Bears, but they are still capable of putting together a quality season.
24. Houston (Last Week: NR)
No qualms here, as the Cougs' balanced offense has been good for the ninth most points per game in the nation.
25. Duke (Last Week: NR)
Might give the edge to an undefeated Temple or Memphis here to round out the poll, but hey, #goacc.