USC remained at the top after enjoying another bye week and, coupled with Oregon’s loss, the Trojans are the only Pac-10 team remaining in the AP Top 25. In jest, many are dubbing the conference “USC and the Little 9” or the “Pathetic-10” based on its dismal inter-conference record this season. Meanwhile, TCU joins the ranked this week, giving the Mountain West Conference its third Top 25 team along with BYU and Utah. Vanderbilt and Boise State are the two other newcomers to this week’s ranking.

1. USC TROJANS (2-0). Pete Carroll’s boys worked hard to stay out of trouble during their second bye week this month. The Trojans hit the road to Corvallis, Ore., this weekend — the site of their last road loss in conference play (two years ago against the Oregon State Beavers).
2. OKLAHOMA SOONERS (3-0). The Sooners had a timely week off to prepare for No. 24 Texas Christian. The last time the Horned Frogs came to Norman in 2005, they left with a 17-10 upset victory.
3. GEORGIA BULLDOGS (4-0). Even though UNLV’s previous upset over Arizona State took a lot of wind out of the Bulldogs’ visit to Tempe this past weekend, it was still an important opportunity to make a pitch for the national title game. Mission accomplished, 27-10. Next up, No. 8 Alabama rolls into town for the best game of the week.
4. FLORIDA GATORS (3-0). The Gators wiped out Tennessee for the second year in a row, this time by the score of 30-6. (Last two years combined scores over the Vols: 89-26). Florida welcomes Mississippi to the Swamp this weekend in SEC action.
5. LSU TIGERS (3-0). Knocked off SEC rival Auburn (last week No. 10) 26-21 on the road and leapfrogged over Missouri to No. 5. Tigers will snack on 1-3 Mississippi State Bulldogs this Saturday in Baton Rouge.
6. MISSOURI TIGERS (4-0). Mizzou tamed a tough Buffalo Bulls team 42-21 behind another stellar performance by Heisman hopeful Chase Daniel (36 of 43 for 439 yards and two TDs). The Tigers get a much-needed bye week in preparation for a key Big XII Northern Division showdown with Nebraska on Oct. 4 in Lincoln.
7. TEXAS LONGHORNS (3-0). Destroyed the Rice Owls (once again) 52-10 and this week will welcome former Southwest Conference rival Arkansas in a rescheduled game from the Sept. 13 Hurricane Ike cancellation.
8. ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (4-0). The Tide rolled through Fayetteville last weekend, absolutely demolishing the Razorbacks, 49-14. Not a bad tuneup for another road game this Saturday at No. 3 Georgia in Athens.
9. WISCONSIN BADGERS (3-0). The Badgers took a break this week readying for the start of Big Ten action. They head to Ann Arbor, Mich., where for the first time ever they will be facing an underdog Wolverine squad.
10. TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (4-0). Somehow the Red Raiders managed to move up a spot after running up their stats on another Division 1-AA opponent ; this time it was Massachusetts, 56-14. Mike Leach and TT will take a week off figuring out how to compete against Big XII competition before heading to Kansas State on Oct. 4.
11. BYU COUGARS (4-0). Brigham Young moved up three slots after extending its scoreless streak to eight quarters with a second consecutive shutout, this time over MWC conference rival Wyoming, 44-0. The Cougars get a week off before hitting the road against Utah State in a nonconference contest Oct. 3.
12. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (4-0). JoePa collected career win number 476 as the Nittany Lions crushed Temple, 45-3, last weekend. Penn State kicks off its Run for the Roses this weekend when No. 22 Illinois visits Happy Valley.
13. SOUTH FLORIDA BULLS (4-0). The Bulls won an ugly 17-9 battle with instate upstart Florida International and now head to North Carolina State this weekend to face a re-energized Wolfpack that is coming off a big win over East Carolina.
14. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (3-1). Ohio State christened Terrelle Pryor as its new quarterback — something Jim Tressel should have done against USC — and the freshman phenom responded with four TD passes and a 28-10 victory over Troy State. Surprising undefeated Minnesota will try to upset the Buckeyes in Big Ten action this Saturday.
15. AUBURN TIGERS (3-1). The Tigers followed up their ugly win over Mississippi State with an ugly 26-21 loss to LSU last weekend in the friendly confines of Jordan-Hare Stadium. They’ll try to get it right this week against a demoralized Tennessee squad. Auburn and Tennessee have not faced each other since December 2004.
16. WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS (3-0). The Demon Deacons knocked off then-No. 24 Florida State last weekend in Tallahassee, 12-3. It was the third straight victory for Wake Forest over the Seminoles and established the Deacons as an early favorite in the ACC. They’ll take a break from conference action this weekend to host Navy.
17. UTAH UTES (4-0). Utah stayed on track for a season-ending battle against rival BYU with a key Mountain West Conference road win at the Air Force Academy. The Utes didn’t pull out the 30-23 win over the Flyboys until less than a minute was remaining in the game. This week: A breather against Division 1-AA Weber State.
18. KANSAS JAYHAWKS (3-1). The Jayhawks schooled Division 1-AA Sam Houston State, 38-14, and will take this week off before opening Big XII competition against Iowa State on Oct. 4.
19. BOISE STATE BRONCOS (3-0). The Broncos registered a light upset over toothless Oregon and its fourth-string quarterback, 37-32, last weekend. BSU has the easiest path to a BCS bowl game with nothing but WAC fodder on the remaining schedule. This week it will be Louisiana Tech.
20. CLEMSON TIGERS (3-1). Clemson took out its frustrations on Division 1-AA South Carolina State last Saturday, 54-0. Things will get a bit more serious with ACC foe Maryland visiting this weekend.
21. VANDERBILT COMMODORES (4-0). The Commodores join the AP Top 25 rankings for the first time in 24 years after their 23-17 win over SEC rival Mississippi. They’ll have an extra week off now to prepare for Auburn on Oct. 4.
22. ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI (2-1). The Illini had the past week off to get ready for a huge Big Ten Conference matchup on the road against Penn State this weekend. The winner could very well end up in the Rose Bowl Game on New Year’s Day.
23. EAST CAROLINA PIRATES (3-1). ECU’s dream of appearing in a BCS bowl game dissolved into a nightmare when the Pirates were defeated by North Carolina State, 30-24. C-USA nemesis Houston visits Greenville this week.
24. TEXAS CHRISTIAN HORNED FROGS (4-0). TCU joins the AP Top 25 for the first time this season after a 48-7 smack-down over crosstown rival SMU. The Frogs get a chance to make a huge statement for their program this Saturday when they take on No. 2 Oklahoma.
25. FRESNO STATE BULLDOGS (2-1). How the Bulldogs clung on to their ranking after surviving a mediocre Toledo team in two overtimes, 55-54, is anyone’s guess. The Rockets racked up 598 total yards on Fresno’s Swiss cheese defense. FSU closes out its nonconference schedule against UCLA this weekend.