1. Alabama. Alabama is leading the nation in pass efficiency, and Duke is undefeated. Both indications of a coming apocalypse are balanced by two very normal constants: Alabama beat another team by 30 points in a 44-13 victory, and that team was a Tennessee team all too happy to help keep the world normal by handing the Tide turnovers and blown assignments. They're givers, every last one of them.
2. Oregon. Chip Kelly politely pulled starting QB Marcus Mariota at the half, and that is a real courtesy. With him, Oregon was on pace to score 80 on Arizona State, and really could have since they were rolling Kenjon Barner down the field like a bowling ball on command in the first half. You call it manners, Chip Kelly probably calls it efficiency, and the result is a 43-21 final that could have easily been the 86-14 video game massacre of your dreams.
3. Florida. You hand the ball to your opponent on the 15-yard line four times, and you're probably going to have a bad time, Steve Spurrier. Florida has at least two-thirds of a football team, and the other third knows when to cash in its opportunities to make 44-11 change out of a game where neither team topped 200 yards offense. (Not that it's that hard to do so when you get the ball on the opponent's 15, but last year's Charlie Weis offense would have kicked field goals in that situation because Charlie Weis is horrible at his job, but very good at hypnotizing athletic directors into writing him large checks.)
4. Kansas State. Arthur Brown and the Kansas State defense don't get enough credit for the resurgence Collin Klein typically serves as the poster boy for, but the balance is insane and worth noting. No player had more than five tackles, no West Virginia offensive play went longer than 13 yards, and the ballistic Mountaineer pass offense averaged just 4.4 yards per play. That's the real work at play in a 55-14 blowout: defensive balance and open field tackling at all 11 spots on the depth chart.
5. Notre Dame. Ugly as hell in winning a 17-14 victory over BYU, but should have been. BYU plays a nasty, caustic brand of football that is really not dissimilar to Notre Dame: defense first, and let the touchdowns happen where they may. They happened marginally more often for ND than for BYU, but marginal victories are the sort of things good teams make happen on rough nights. Notre Dame -- he says, reaching for the bourbon with a terrified, shaking hand -- IS A VERY GOOD FOOTBALL TEAM.
6. LSU. Five turnovers are how you get out-gained on the road and yet still win, but a.) at least this makes sense, unlike a full 40 percent of Les Miles victories, and b.) Johnny Manziel was the one making many of them happen, so they were at least spellbinding and entertaining turnovers.
7. Ohio State. Beating Purdue with your backup quarterback seems like mere loose change until you remember that Purdue does have the periodically available superpower of becoming twice its normal size against Ohio State. Purdue's other superpower is becoming completely invisible against every other team, and they use it all freakin' time.
8. Oregon State. A 21-7 win now places Oregon State among the nation's most bankable teams, and also puts the entire team on a cholesterol catastrophe watch with all the In-N-Out they've been consuming on this win streak.
9. South Carolina. The one bright spot in a 44-11 debacle in the Swamp: they held Florida to less than 200 yards of offense. The bad is everything else, and the new impossibility of making the SEC Championship Game.
10. Oklahoma. Now comfortably dusting bad competition like Kansas 52-7, and approaching something like having an identity on offense beyond "Jones-to-Stills." Kansas is 1-6, and has not won a game against an FBS opponent this season. (Please see earlier comment about Charlie Weis, competence, and paycheck hypnosis.)
11. USC. Walked in a 50-6 blowout of Boulder City College of Homeopathy and Outdoor Leadership. The scheduling of these disgraceful non-conference paycheck games must stop now.
12. Florida State. Miami's good depth-wise for two, perhaps three quarters of fierce football. After that, the floor falls out, and then it's up to the opponent to finish the drill and push the wreckage on top of them. That's some fine wreckage-pushin', Jimbo Fisher, turning 13-10 at the half into 33-20 by daring the Canes to keep up with a deep backfield down the stretch. Miami, in response, had 29 rushing yards on 21 attempts not including the yardage gained by a Canes streaker who ran on the field during a live play.
13. Georgia. Nearly lost to Kentucky 29-24 in Lexington, and faces Florida in the Cocktail Party next week to decide the East's representative in the Championship Game in Atlanta. Whoever wins will face Alabama, so the loser can take cold comfort in knowing that in defeat they grant their opponent a bounty of irredeemable pain and misery later. If that isn't what true rivalry is about, we don't know what is.
14. Clemson. If you see a waterslide being built inside Lane Stadium, it is because Dabo Swinney owns Virginia Tech and also really, really likes waterslides. 38-17 over the Hokies is a delightful way to begin building up the seesaw momentum of a Clemson stock upswing, but remember to sell before the inevitable loss to someone like Maryland down the stretch.
P.S. All Randy Edsall does is ruin things.
15. Mississippi State. A snoozy first-half performance against Middle Tennessee State still turned into a 45-3 decision for the Bulldogs, but Tyler Russell continues to impress with economy: 17-21 for 191 yards and three TDs. He'll need that economy against Alabama next week because the Crimson Tide defense is its own portable recession.
16. Louisville. Another efficiency ninja: Teddy Bridgewater, he of the 21 of 25 attempts for 256 yards and two TDs, the last being the winning score in a 27-25 win over USF at home. You say, "Oh, that's not good, because USF has lost five straight." In response, we say, "Yeah, that really should worry you, not just because you let USF almost win, but also because B.J. Daniels had three touchdown passes he threw with his arm, and not one he had the training staff attach to his torso with duct tape at halftime."
17. West Virginia. Whatever the Mountaineer defense has appears to be contagious, and has spread to the offense. Dana Holgorsen has pretended to be a lot of things through the years to keep the man off his trail, but never an epidemiologist. SEND HELP, CDC. SEND IT NOW.
18. Texas Tech. A 56-53 win over TCU will be heartwarming for Red Raiders fans for a long time, perhaps even after Tommy Tuberville hits the afterburners on the way out of Lubbock back to one of two SEC jobs he is currently salivating over.
19. Rutgers. "A 35-10 win Temple is a 35-10 win over Temple is a 35-10 win over Temple." -- Gertrude Stein, college football writer who doesn't really know what this means either.
20. Texas A&M. A loss to LSU is no real shame here, since Johnny Manziel was going to show his age in the bad way eventually.
21. Cincinnati. Lost to Toledo 29-23 because you don't just walk into the Glass Bowl without catching a few shards in the eye, Butch Jones.
22. Stanford. The usual pummeling of the usual Cal. Congratulations, reader: Cal as a team only out-rushed you by 3 yards. Wait, I didn't play football yesterday, you say? That's correct, and for the most part neither did Cal.
23. MIchigan. A 12-10 victory over Michigan State? Why, that's some tasty MANBALL there, Michigan, a reliable, American-made Ford Taurus of a victory, even.
24. Boise State. A 32-7 win reminds you that a.) Boise can make some really weird box scores and b.) all the UNLV job does is destroy good coaches.
25. Ohio. On a bye week, where Frank Solich spent his free time calling you a dumbass, Eric.