Oklahoma assumes the No. 1 target on its back in the AP college football rankings this week with an impressive win over Texas Christian, as well as a little help from three former top 10 teams that decided to play hot potato with the top spot. It all started when former No. 1 USC was shocked on the road by Oregon State on Thursday. Then No. 3 Georgia was trounced at home by Alabama and No. 4. Florida choked at home versus Mississippi. Clemson, East Carolina, Illinois and TCU all dropped out of the Top 25.

1. OKLAHOMA SOONERS (4-0). The Sooners made sure TCU wouldn’t be leaving Norman with another upset this year. Sam Bradford continued to impress with dazzling stats (19 of 34, 411 yards, four TDs) against a stingy Horned Frog defense. Oklahoma hits the road against Baylor this Saturday.
2. ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (5-0). The Tide is looking like a true national title contender after invading Athens and blowing away the Georgia blackshirts, 41-30. At one point, Alabama was up 31-0. Undefeated Kentucky visits Tuscaloosa this weekend.
3. LSU TIGERS (4-0). The Tigers outlasted a pesky Mississippi State squad in Baton Rouge, 34-24. They have a bye this week before heading to Florida on Oct. 11.
4. MISSOURI TIGERS (4-0). Mizzou enjoyed a bye week and moved up two slots — just in time for a crucial Big XII Northern Division contest at Nebraska this weekend.
5. TEXAS LONGHORNS (4-0). The Longhorns destroyed Arkansas by a score of 52-10 — the same score they registered over Rice the previous week. Texas heads to Colorado this weekend and then has four straight games against ranked Big XII foes. Get ready for a lot more movement in the Top 25 this month.
6. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (5-0). JoePa collected his 477th career win as the Nittany Lions held off Juice Williams and a tenacious Illinois team, 38-24. Penn State faces Purdue in West Lafayette this weekend.
7. TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (4-0). The Red Raiders had the week off and head to Kansas State to begin Big XII conference play this weekend. Note to Tech fans: Enjoy this lofty ranking while it lasts.
8. BYU COUGARS (4-0). Brigham Young had a bye week and will face instate rival Utah State in a nonconference contest on Oct. 3. As the highest-ranked non-BCS program, the Cougars are carrying a pretty large target on their backs. Can they handle the pressure?
9. USC TROJANS (2-1). Maybe Pete Carroll will reconsider scheduling two bye weeks so early in the season next time around. Either that, or just stop playing Oregon State in Corvallis. I questioned the strength of USC’s wins over Virginia and Ohio State a couple weeks ago and the Beavers proved me right.
10. SOUTH FLORIDA BULLS (5-0). USF is like a hurricane gaining strength as it methodically works its way through every game on the schedule. North Carolina State was last week’s victim as the Bulls crushed the Wolfpack, 41-10. This week: Pittsburgh at home on Thursday night.
11. GEORGIA BULLDOGS (4-1). A win over Alabama would’ve earned the Bulldogs quite a few first-place votes this week, but the Crimson Tide had other plans. Wanna bet those black jerseys will be retired for the year? Georgia gets a week off to recover and get ready for Tennessee on Oct. 11.
12. FLORIDA GATORS (3-1). Florida rolled out the Swamp’s welcome rug for Mississippi and Houston Nutt’s Rebels stomped all over it. QB Jevan Snead helped Ole Miss overshadow a brilliant performance by Percy Harvin (10 carries, 82 yards, TD and 13 receptions, 186 yards and a score). The Gators head to Arkansas this weekend.
13. AUBURN TIGERS (4-1). The Tigers added another ugly win to their resume this season with a 14-12 decision over Tennessee. They get Vanderbilt on the road this weekend. Another ugly win will be acceptable to Auburn fans.
14. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (4-1). What a different Buckeye team we are seeing now with freshman phenom QB Terrelle Pryor leading the charge. Ohio State dominated Minnesota 34-21 and will face an extremely agitated Wisconsin team this week in the Badgers’ lair.
15. UTAH UTES (4-0). The Utes cruised over Division 1-AA Weber State 37-21 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicates. Utah emptied its bench before the third quarter was over. The Utes get a chance to make another MWC statement against the Pac-10 this Thursday night when Oregon State visits Salt Lake City.
16. KANSAS JAYHAWKS (3-1). Kansas had the week off to get ready for the commencement of Big XII competition against Iowa State this Saturday.
17. BOISE STATE BRONCOS (3-0). The Broncos will take on Louisiana Tech in WAC action this weekend after resting in the pasture last Saturday.
18. WISCONSIN BADGERS (3-1). The Badgers had Michigan on the ropes at half time with a 19-nuthin’ lead and then blew it in the second half, losing 27-25. Wisconsin’s meltdown probably cost the Badgers the Big Ten title. This week: A must-win when Ohio State comes to Madison.
19. VANDERBILT COMMODORES (4-0). The Commodores had the week off to prepare for Auburn this Saturday. It should be quite a game. Vandy will prove it’s for real with a win.
20. VIRGINIA TECH (4-1). Hokies jump back into the Top 25 with a solid 35-30 win over Nebraska in Lincoln. Now they get a breather with Western Kentucky at home this Saturday.
21. OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS (4-0). The Cowboys wrangled Troy 55-24 and were rewarded with their first spot in the rankings since 2004. There’s a slight problem, though. These boys haven’t been tested yet. So, this week they’ll get their first challenge when they host a mediocre Texas A&M team. If they get by the Aggies, they can look forward to No. 4 Mizzou the following week.
22. FRESNO STATE BULLDOGS (3-1). The Bulldogs gave up another 234 yards on the ground and have now yielded more than 700 rushing yards in the past three games. UCLA drove to the Fresno State 10-yard line before coughing up a fumble late in the fourth quarter to seal the game for FSU. The ‘Dogs can now set their cruise control to plow through the weak WAC with a conference title showdown destination on Nov. 28 at Boise.
23. OREGON DUCKS (4-1). Welcome the Ducks back to the rankings after quackhandling Pac-10 doormats Washington State, 63-14. Now say goodbye, because they visit the Los Angeles Coliseum and you-know-who this weekend.
24. CONNECTICUT HUSKIES (5-0). The Huskies outlasted host Louisville 26-21 and are ranked for the first time this season. The meat of Connecticut’s season is just beginning so it would be surprising to see them still ranked in November. In fact, this week they play a nonconference game on the road at North Carolina. Be surprised if they are still ranked next week.
25. WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS (3-1). Good thing Navy isn’t in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Deacons can repent from their embarrassing nonconference loss to the Midshipmen and concentrate on winning the ACC from here on. Welcome Clemson!