College football rankings: Tailgater top 25, week 10

The nation’s elite stayed perfect on Saturday, though it wasn’t all smooth sailing for ‘Bama or Oregon (clockwise from top: AP/ Herbert, AP/ Wagner, Getty/ Laberge)

Tailgater Top 25 Rankings, Week 10

Alabama couldn’t make good on Vegas’ nine-point spread.  In fact, it took about 59 minutes for the Crimson Tide to secure its ninth win of the year.  But as well as LSU played, especially on the defensive side of the ball, ‘Bama still regins atop the polls and the BCS standings.  Here too in Tailgater, the majority is still rolling with the Tide.  But it’s clear that the top three is a bit more fungible than its been in recent weeks.  If (and that’s a mighty big if) all three of Alabama, Kansas State, and Oregon were to finish unbeaten, there’s going to be a quite a vigorous debate as to which should be left out of the title game.

The Ducks and Wildcats kept that debate alive by earning big wins of their own on Saturday.  Oregon found itself in a shootout with USC, and while it mgiht have fielded a lame duck defense, that offense is downright frightening.  Kansas State was only slightly less flashy in dispatching Oklahoma State, although the team now must concern itself with a Collin Klein injury.  Early reports suggest that it was a concussion, raising doubts about the Heisman candidate’s fitness in upcoming weeks.

Following on their big win at Norman, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame fell flat on their faces against lowly Pittsburgh.  The final outcome, a triple overtime three-point win, tells us their no justice in college football; the Panthers gave the game away several times over.  The most excruciating moment cam in overtime, when a high snap disrupting the timing on what should have been the short game-winning field goal for Pitt.  But in the end, Notre Dame survived another one.  With OT wins over Stanford and Pittsburgh, the irish are living on the edge.

All six remaining unbeatens stayed perfect.

Here are our updated college football rankings for week 10.

Zach Bigalke John Mitchell Matt Strobl

1. Kansas State
2. Oregon
3. Alabama
4. Louisville
5. Notre Dame
6. Ohio State
7. Georgia
8. Florida State
9. Clemson
10. Oregon State
11. Florida
12. Louisiana Tech
13. Texas A&M
14. Stanford
15. Kent State
16. Rutgers
17. Toledo
18. Northern Illinois
19. Oklahoma
20. Nebraska
21. UCLA
22. LSU
23. Ohio
24. Texas
25. Boise State

1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. Kansas State
4. Notre Dame
5. Ohio State
6. Georgia
7. Louisville
8. Florida
9. Florida State
10. LSU
11. Clemson
12. Oregon State
13. South Carolina
14. Texas A&M
15. Louisiana Tech
16. Oklahoma
17. Stanford
18. Nebraska
19. UCLA
20. Toledo
21. Kent State
22. Rutgers
23. Northern Illinois
24. Mississippi State
25. Texas
1. Alabama
2. Kansas State
3. Oregon
4. Ohio State
5. Notre Dame
6. Florida
7. Georgia
8. Louisville
9. Florida State
10. Clemson
11. Oregon State
12. LSU
13. Texas A&M
14. Oklahoma
15. South Carolina
16. Louisiana Tech
17. Stanford
18. UCLA
19. Nebraska
20. Texas
21. Kent State
22. Toledo
23. Texas Tech
24. Oklahoma State
25. TCU
 

Bigalke:
1-10:My fellow Tailgaters might disagree with this, but I’m tired of following convention. I’m tired of keeping the top 5 static merely because that’s how I had it ranked last week, and the week before, and the week before that. The best team in the country, right now, has to be Kansas State. I basically have Oregon and Alabama as 2a and 2b behind the Wildcats, with the Ducks getting the edge for covering the spread in their showdown with USC. I moved Louisville ahead of Notre Dame after another ridiculously efficient day for Teddy Bridgewater. Georgia impressed, Florida did not, and thus one is still a top 10 team and the other isn’t. Idle FSU and big winner Clemson move one spot behind Georgia, while Oregon State returns to the top 10 after taking care of Arizona State at home.

 
11-20:Struggling against Mizzou is NOT a recipe for staying in the top 10, as the Gators learn. Louisiana Tech remains the last best hope for a one-loss BCS Buster. Stanford and Texas A&M both finished off impressive road victories — though the Aggies were more impressive for winning in Starkville than the Cardinal were shutting out the hapless Buffaloes in Boulder. Kent State remains ahead of Rutgers; both rise thanks to the attrition around them. MAC West rivals Toledo and Northern Illinois continue to win, and former Big 8 rivals Oklahoma and Nebraska return to the top 20 after their own road survivals on Saturday.
 
21-25: As opposed to last season, when they sneaked into the Pac-12 Championship thanks to sanctions against USC, the Bruins actually look like a legitimate contender in the South this year. LSU drops ten spots after losing a game they should have put away several times. Ohio might have had its most impressive win of the year, but other MAC teams are more impressive at this point. Texas moves back into my ballot after winning a third straight, this time over Texas Tech. And wrapping things up is Boise State, who dropped 12 spots after blowing their BCS Buster chance with just their second home loss in 14 years.
 
Mitchell:
1-10: I’m not dropping Alabama because they pulled out a win in the toughest road environment in college football. I still believe they are the best team in the country. I moved Oregon back ahead of Kansas State this week because I think the Ducks are the biggest threat to Alabama. Notre Dame and Ohio State are both undefeated, but I think they are significantly behind the top three teams. Same goes for Louisville at 7, who finds themselves behind the best one-loss team in Georgia. Florida and Florida State sit at 8-9 despite Florida’s unimpressive win over Missouri. Despite their second loss, I still feel like LSU is a Top-10 team and they took #1 Alabama down to the wire in Baton Rouge.
 
11-20: Things start to get tricky here. Clemson is on the fringe of the Top-10, but I still have no idea what to make of them. Oregon State rebounded nicely after their first loss by beating Arizona State. South Carolina and Texas A&M make it 6 SEC teams in the Top-14. Louisiana Tech is the best non-AQ team. Oklahoma, Stanford, and Nebraska follow Louisiana Tech, and UCLA leaps back into the poll on the heels of their 56 point win over Arizona. Toledo rounds out the Top-20 as they move up two spots without playing.
 
21-25: Kent State moved to 8-1 and are one of several MAC representatives in the Top-25. Rutgers was idle, but attrition ahead of them has them on the rise. Northern Illinois is the third team from MAC with a quietly impressive 9-1 record that saw their only loss come against Iowa by one point in the season opener. Mississippi State has been blown out by the two good teams they have faced, but both of those teams are among the nation’s 15 best. Texas rounds out the Top-25 after earning a big road win over Texas Tech. USC, Boise State, and Texas Tech drop out this week.
 
Strobl:
1-10: The best team in the country, unequivocally in my mind, is still Alabama.  While the Tide did struggle at LSU before pulling out the win, LSU is a clear-cut top 10 team with on eof the nation’s top defenses and a home field that, particualrly at night, is as well-defended as any in football.  However, Kansas State has closed the gap between numbers one and two.  The best outcome this season would be for those two teams to remain unbeaten and square off in the National Championship.  Both will have played extremely demanding schedules and both have, to this point anyway, separated themselves from the field with strong performances week in and week out.  Oregon, while still an explosive and talented team, simply isn’t as complete.  The Ducks’ defense was exposed yet again on Saturday, allowing 51 points and 615 total yards to USC.  Yes, USC is a good team.  But this time around, Oregon doesn’t have the pretty excuse of having pulled its starters.  This time around, it was the first team’s failings made evident on the field.  There are two sides to any football game, and the team that doesn’t defend as well is in a solid third, but well behind the top two.  Rounding out the first five are Ohio State (the country’s only 10-0 team) and Notre Dame.  I would have loved to drop the Irish further after their embarrassing “win” over Pitt, but unbeaten is still unbeaten, by hook or by crook.
 
11-20: With the best of the one-loss teams filling the back half of the top 10, this segment becomes a race among the top two-loss programs.  LSU is clearly the cream of that crop, with Oklahoma and Texas A&M nipping at the Tigers’ heels.  Other Pac 12-ers are lurking here as well; the one-loss Oregon State Beavers don’t look as strong as they did early on, but a nice win over Arizona State has them back on the right track.  Stanford and the South-leading UCLA Bruins are awaiting their chances to take a swing at Oregon, though neither has much of a shot.  Finally, the Texas Longhorns emerged from relative obscurity with a monster win over Texas Tech.  That win indirectly helps Kansas State, as the Wildcats play Texas to end the season.  That matchup could now have more of a marquee flair to it.
 
21-25: A pair of one-loss MAC teams earn the nod in my final five.  Not only did they beat Rutgers, but the Kent State Golden Flahses have an overall body of work that still impresses me more than that of the Knights.  Similarly, Toledo has that quality win over Cincinnati keeping it afloat.  The best of the Big 12’s three-loss teams close things out this week, as that conference has proven itself to be the deepest in college football.