The road to the Pac-12 North Division may no longer run through Eugene, and maybe that means the Oregon State Beavers have a chance in the Civil War. However, we’re getting way ahead of ourselves here at the end of the September. This much we know is true: Utah’s dismantling of Oregon at Autzen Stadium sent seismic shifts throughout the Top 25 this week.
Consider: With the Utes’ 62-20 victory over the Ducks (no, that’s not a typo), suddenly Michigan State doesn’t look as impressive. Maybe Utah’s seven-point win at home over Michigan gives the Wolverines some street cred. Maybe the Beavers aren’t that far away from competing, considering their losses to Stanford and Michigan.
The only conference not affected by the Utah result might be the SEC, and that conference has a lot of problems of its own (we’re looking at you, Arkansas and Auburn). What a September it’s been as we’re down to just 29 unbeaten Football Bowl Subdivision teams this week, which means next week will probably bring some one-loss teams into our Top 25.
As we look at our Top 25 this week, however, we’re going to offer commentary on each team as we go through the rankings, which really emphasize strength of schedule again—and that changes a lot right now, week to week. In addition, we will also note the team’s current record, its most recent game result and its ranking last week (if applicable).
- LSU Tigers (3-0): Beat Syracuse, 34-24, on the road. They held serve this week with an underwhelming road win over an ACC team. (LW: 1)
- Utah Utes (4-0): Beat Oregon, 62-20, on the road. Rumor has it that’s the most points ever scored against the Ducks at Autzen. Ouch. (LW: 7)
- UCLA Bruins (4-0): Beat Arizona, 56-30, on the road. Another impressive road win for a Pac-12 South contender. The conference is loaded. (LW: 6)
- Toledo Rockets (4-0): Beat Arkansas State, 37-7, at home. Toledo owns the state of Arkansas now, by the way. The Rockets are here because of two wins over Big 5 squads already. (LW: 25)
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-0): Beat Massachusetts, 62-27, at home. This is the only weak team on the schedule for Notre Dame this year, by the way. (LW: 2)
- Northwestern Wildcats (4-0): Beat Ball State, 24-19, at home. The Wildcats don’t face a ranked team until November 21 now. Watch out! (LW: 4)
- Temple Owls (3-0): Bye week. It’s hard to explain the SOS here, so we won’t even try. See Toledo above. (LW: 24)
- Florida Gators (4-0): Beat Tennessee, 28-27, at home. Two conference wins already, like LSU, helps a lot with this ranking. (LW: HM)
- Oklahoma Sooners (3-0): Bye week. We hate September byes, if we haven’t mentioned it already. Just weak scheduling. (LW: 9)
- Texas A&M Aggies (4-0): Beat Arkansas, 28-21, at home. Still getting a lot of mileage off the opening-week win over a fading Arizona State team. (LW: 18)
- Michigan State Spartans (4-0): Beat Central Michigan, 30-10, at home. The Spartans lost some luster with the Oregon loss, but they have two more easy games ahead. (LW: 3)
- Clemson Tigers (3-0): Bye week. Ugh! Play games now; rest later! (LW: 14)
- Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0): Beat Western Michigan, 38-12, at home. Decent recovery for the Buckeyes after last week’s underwhelming performance. (LW: 5)
- Iowa Hawkeyes (4-0): Beat North Texas, 62-16, at home. Two cupcakes down, and two Big 5 opponents down. (LW: 15)
- California Golden Bears (4-0): Beat Washington, 30-24, on the road. Two big road wins in a row for Cal. (LW: 22)
- TCU Horned Frogs (4-0): Beat Texas Tech, 55-52, on the road. Any conference road win is a good win, but this was kind of lucky. No defense, again, either. (LW: 12)
- Mississippi Rebels (4-0): Beat Vanderbilt, 27-16, at home. No letdown for Ole Miss after the big win last week. (LW: 11)
- Indiana Hoosiers (4-0): Beat Wake Forest, 31-24, on the road. No, this is not a basketball poll. Road wins against Big 5 teams are big, though. (LW: NR)
- Georgia Bulldogs (4-0): Beat Southern, 48-6, at home. Playing these patsies really kills your SOS, guys. (LW: 8)
- Florida State Seminoles (3-0): Bye week. No comment. (LW: 10)
- Memphis Tigers (4-0): Beat Cincinnati, 53-46, at home. Again, not a basketball score. An earlier win over Kansas helps the SOS via relativity. Nice, huh? (LW: HM)
- West Virginia Mountaineers (3-0): Beat Maryland, 45-6, at home. Yet to play a road game, WVU ran up the score against the Terps. Not cool. (LW: 19)
- Kansas State Wildcats (3-0): Bye week. (LW: 20)
- Oklahoma State Cowboys (4-0): Beat Texas, 30-27, on the road. Any conference road win is a good win, even against poor Texas. (LW: 23)
- Miami (FL) Hurricanes (3-0): Bye week. (LW: 21)
Also receiving consideration: Baylor, Houston, Navy, North Carolina State