Texas survived another challenge and remains on top of the college football rankings with unanimous backing from the sportswriters this week. The rest of the top five stayed pat with big wins in their respective conferences. There’s a lot of movement in and out of the bottom sector of the rankings the past few weeks, and this will continue to play out through the end of the season. It’s important to note that there are now six non-BCS conference teams ranked within the top 19 slots of this week’s AP poll.

1. TEXAS LONGHORNS (8-0). The Longhorns have passed every Big XII test with flying colors, so far. Once they get No. 6 Texas Tech behind them this week, the remainder of their regular season looks pretty manageable. The trouble will be getting by the Red Raiders in Lubbock. No small feat.
2. ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (8-0). Alabama cruised past the Tennessee Volunteers 29-9 last weekend and gets to take it easy this Saturday. The Red Wolves of Arkansas State are coming to Tuscaloosa to pick up a big check for their efforts.
3. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (9-0). JoePa collected career win number 481 and it was a doozy as the Nittany Lions finally wrestled the Big Ten title out of the grasp of the Buckeyes. PSU gets a bye this weekend and it couldn’t come at a better time to heal some injuries and rejuvenate before heading to Iowa City to face the dangerous Hawkeyes on Nov. 8.
4. OKLAHOMA SOONERS (7-1). The Sooners stomped on Kansas State 58-35 to maintain a grip on the fourth spot in the AP poll, but their defense is clearly suspect. Oklahoma has now given up 111 points in the past three games. They host Nebraska this weekend.
5. FLORIDA GATORS (6-1). Florida annihilated the Kentucky Wildcats 63-5 in the Swamp on Saturday. It was ugly, but a perfect tuneup for the world’s largest cocktail party against No. 8 Georgia in Jacksonville this weekend.
6. TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (8-0). TT easily dispatched former No. 19 Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., last weekend, and this Saturday they’ll host No. 1 Texas in the most important football game ever played in TT history.
7. USC TROJANS (6-1). USC struggled to put away Arizona on Saturday night in Tucson, 17-10. Winless Washington visits the Los Angeles Coliseum in this weekend’s yawner special.
8. GEORGIA BULLDOGS (7-1). The Dawgs stepped up to the plate and knocked LSU out of the SEC title picture, 52-38. This weekend they’ll take on No. 5 Florida to see who will gain the upper hand in representing the SEC East Division in the conference championship vs. Alabama.
9. OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS (7-1). The Cowboys represented well in their contest with No. 1 Texas, losing in a heartbreaker, 28-24. The AP voters respected their showing and dropped them just two slots from last week. They’ll host Iowa State this weekend.
10. UTAH UTES (8-0). The Utes trounced Colorado State 49-16 and will head to Albuquerque this weekend to face a very tough but unpredictable New Mexico Lobo squad.
11. BOISE STATE BRONCOS (7-0). The Broncos struggled with San Jose State for three quarters before finally putting them away, 33-16. They’ll now face the creampuff stretch of their WAC schedule with 3-4 New Mexico State on tap, followed by 1-7 Utah State and 2-7 Idaho.
12. TEXAS CHRISTIAN HORNED FROGS (8-1). The Frogs walked all over visiting MWC doormat Wyoming last Saturday, 54-7. They should achieve similar results this weekend when they roll the dice in Las Vegas against the UNLV Rebels.
13. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (7-2). The Buckeyes lost to Penn State on Saturday night, 13-6. It was the first time they were defeated by the Nittany Lions at home since 1978. Worse yet, it means Ohio State will not play in the national championship this year and will most likely relinquish the Big Ten title after holding it the past four years. The Bucks travel to Northwestern this weekend.
14. MISSOURI TIGERS (6-2). Mizzou throttled the Colorado Buffaloes on Saturday, 58-0, behind Chase Daniel’s five TD passes. Sorry, Chase. Too late for Heisman consideration. The Tigers take on Baylor in Waco, Texas, this weekend.
15. LSU TIGERS (5-2). LSU saw its SEC and BCS title hopes go up in flames against Georgia last weekend, 52-38. Tulane will serve as an adequate punching bag to work out their frustrations on this Saturday.
16. FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES (6-1). The Seminoles emerged victorious over Virginia Tech in Tallahassee last Saturday, 30-20, and look to be the class of the ACC this year. Georgia Tech will have something to say about that this weekend.
17. BYU COUGARS (7-1). The Cougars engaged in air-to-air combat with UNLV and survived a last-second Hail Mary by the Rebels, 42-35. Brigham Young travels to Fort Collins, Colo., this weekend where the Rams of Colorado State are always dangerous defending their home turf.
18. BALL STATE CARDINALS (8-0). Ball State crushed MAC bottom feeder Eastern Michigan last weekend, 38-16. The toughest part of the Cardinals conference schedule is looming a few weeks away with Central and Western Michigan. This week: Northern Illinois.
19. TULSA GOLDEN HURRICANE (8-0). Tulsa continues to demolish C-USA opponents. They took down Central Florida on Sunday night, 49-19. This week they face their only BCS competition of the year—the 3-5 Arkansas Razorbacks.
20. MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS (7-1). Minnesota stayed its course and knocked off a pesky Purdue team on the road, 17-6. Next up is a home game with Northwestern. The Gophers need to avoid getting into a shootout with the Wildcats.
21. NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS (6-2). The Tar Heels knocked off Boston College 45-24 last Saturday and now get a week off to get ready for ACC rival Georgia Tech.
22. MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS (7-2). The Spartans took care of business in Ann Arbor over big brother Michigan, 35-21, virtually assuring the Wolverines that they won’t go bowling for the first time in 33 years. How sweet that is for MSU? This weekend the Badgers of Wisconsin come to pay a visit.
23. OREGON DUCKS (6-2). It’s really difficult to tell if the Ducks are a decent team or if the Pac-10 is really as weak as it seems. The Ducks crunched Arizona State 54-20—yes, that same Sun Devils team that was ranked in the top 10 earlier this year. The Quacks travel to Berkeley to take on Cal this weekend.
24. SOUTH FLORIDA BULLS (6-2). The Bulls lost to Louisville on Saturday, 24-20. It was their second loss in three games after being undefeated and ranked in the top 10 in early October. Now two games out of first place, they have to travel to Cincinnati this weekend.
25. MARYLAND TERRAPINS (6-2). The Terps survived North Carolina State last Saturday, 27-24. They get a bye weekend and then hit the road to take on Virginia Tech in a key ACC Thursday night game, Nov. 6.