As for the rest of the contenders, it’s complicated.
The Sooners and Ducks suffered respectable defeats to quality opponents – Baylor and Southern California respectively. The once second-ranked Cowboys, in contrast, were slayed by an underachieving Iowa State team that has earned its giant killer reputation. Thus all three hang on to remain in the Top 10, as their potential replacements have yet to garner enough consideration to be placed among the national elite.
Clemson’s 24-point loss to lowly North Carolina State knocks the Tigers from the Top 10 for a second time. They are replaced by Boise State, who make their second appearance in the upper tier. Perhaps most suspect however is Virginia Tech, who rises to #4 practically by default. A comparatively weak schedule has allowed the Hokies to fly under the radar all season. Yet their less-than-dominant performance against largely substandard competition will most likely keep them from going any higher.
1. Louisiana State (def. Ole Miss, 52-3), 11-0, 665 pts.
2. Alabama (def. Georgia Southern, 45-21), 10-1, 600 pts.
3. Arkansas (def. Mississippi State, 44-17), 10-1, 580 pts.
4. Virginia Tech (def. North Carolina, 24-21), 10-1, 545 pts.
5. Stanford (def. Cal-Berkeley, 31-28), 10-1, 535 pts.
6. Houston (def. Southern Methodist, 37-7), 11-0, 500 pts.
7. Oregon (lost to Southern California, 38-35), 9-2, 465 pts.
8. Oklahoma State (lost to Iowa State, 37-31 in 2 OT), 10-1, 405 pts.
9. Boise State (def. San Diego State, 52-35), 9-1, 370 pts.
10. Oklahoma (lost to Baylor, 45-38), 8-2, 335 pts.
|Louisiana State head coach Les Miles sings the school fight song with his players after defeating Ole Miss in Oxford, 52-3. The Tigers simply look unbeatable. Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images|