The top 16 teams remained unchanged this week in the AP college football rankings with Alabama still leading the pack by a thin margin over No. 2 Texas Tech. Florida State, South Carolina and Tulsa tumbled out of the rankings, paving the way for Maryland, Miami and Oregon to nudge their way into the sportswriters’ poll. It’s the third time the Ducks have been ranked this year, including the preseason poll.

1. ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (11-0). ‘Bama struggled mightily in the first half against Mississippi State, heading into the locker room with a 12-7 lead. They added 20, held the Bulldogs scoreless the rest of the way and called it a day. Their final regular-season game is at home against bitter SEC rival Auburn.
2. TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (10-0). Mike Leach’s Red Raiders had the week off to prepare for a road game against No. 5 Oklahoma. Expect no fewer than 85 pass attempts in this game between Tech and the Sooners.
3. FLORIDA GATORS (9-1). The Gators crushed Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina Gamecocks and are finished with SEC league play. Next up: Citadel. Are you kidding me? Division 1-AA, seventh place in the Southern Conference Citadel? Sure. They deserve a break.
4. TEXAS LONGHORNS (10-1). Texas smacked down Kansas and will take the weekend off. They face instate Big XII rival Texas A&M at home on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27.
5. OKLAHOMA SOONERS (9-1). The Sooners caught a break and got a bye last week just like their inbound opponent, Texas Tech. Bob Stoops’ troops look to avenge last year’s loss and inch their way up in the BCS rankings.
6. USC TROJANS (9-1). Get this. After last year’s humiliating loss at home to Stanford, the Trojans were all about revenge this time around. The halftime score in Palo Alto was 17-17. The Cardinal gained 202 rushing yards (USC was allowing an average of 90 per game this year), but in the end, the boys from Troy prevailed, 45-23.
7. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (10-1). Penn State is one win away from the 2009 Rose Bowl Game and you can be sure the Nittany Lions will be properly motivated on Senior Day in Happy Valley against the No. 17 Spartans of Michigan State.
8. UTAH UTES (11-0). Utah walloped San Diego State 63-14 on the road last weekend and will face its toughest opponent of the year this Saturday when it defends its top-ranked non-BCS position against No. 16 Brigham Young.
9. BOISE STATE BRONCOS (10-0). The Broncos ran all over the Idaho Vandals last weekend, 45-10. They’ll make their last road trip of the regular season this Saturday to Reno for a contest with the Nevada Wolfpack.
10. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (9-2). The Bucks got their payback on Illinois for last year’s upset and will polish this season off in weird fashion—taking on a Michigan team that isn’t going bowling for the first time since 1965.
11. OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS (9-2). The Cowboys pounded out a hard-fought road win over Colorado and will have a bye this week before taking on Oklahoma in Stillwater on Nov. 29.
12. MISSOURI TIGERS (9-2). Mizzou rolled over Iowa State 52-20 and has a week off before wrapping up its regular season with a visit from the Kansas Jayhawks on Nov. 29.
13. GEORGIA BULLDOGS (9-2). The ‘Dawgs dodged a mild upset at the hands of SEC rival Auburn, pulling out a 17-13 win. They’ll take a break this week and wind down their regular season by hosting instate rival Georgia Tech on Nov. 29.
14. BALL STATE CARDINALS (10-0). The Cardinals handled Miami (Ohio) last Wednesday, but look for their unbeaten streak to end this Wednesday on the road at MAC rival Central Michigan.
15. TEXAS CHRISTIAN HORNED FROGS (9-2). The Horned Frogs had the week off to recoup from their loss at Utah the week before. They’ll wrap up the regular season at home this week when they take on a very dangerous 8-3 Air Force Academy squad.
16. BYU COUGARS (10-1). Brigham Young just might be regaining that early season mojo. They scored more points than anyone else did this season against Air Force, also winning by a wider margin than anyone else, 38-24. They can claim a share of the MWC title with a win over No. 8 Utah this weekend in Salt Lake City.
17. MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS (9-2). The Spartans had the week off to prepare for their road game at No. 7 Penn State this weekend. The Big Ten title is on the line in this game.
18. LSU TIGERS (7-3). The Tigers spotted Troy a 31-3 lead into the third quarter last weekend and then ripped off 37 points in the final quarter and a half to prevail 40-31. They host SEC rival Mississippi this Saturday.
19. CINCINNATI BEARCATS (8-2). The Bearcats knocked off Louisville last Friday night, 28-20. The Big East lead will be on the line when No. 20 Pitt visits this Saturday.
20. PITTSBURGH PANTHERS (7-2). Pitt had a much-needed week off and will take on Big East rival No. 19 Cincinnati in the Bearcats’ lair this Saturday night.
21. OREGON STATE BEAVERS (7-3). The Beavers took care of business with visiting Cal last weekend, prevailing 34-21. Two more wins, and OSU can punch its ticket to Pasadena for New Year’s Day. Arizona will try to keep that from happening when the Wildcats host the Beavers on Saturday night.
22. MARYLAND TERRAPINS (7-3). The Terps knocked of league-leading North Carolina 17-15 on Saturday and will host ACC foe Florida State this weekend.
23. MIAMI HURRICANES (7-3). The Hurricanes join the AP Top 25 for the first time in two years after edging Virginia Tech 16-14 last Thursday night. They’ll have a heck of a time remaining in the poll when they travel to Georgia Tech this Thursday.
24. OREGON DUCKS (8-3). The Ducks defeated Arizona at home in a 55-45 shootout and jumped back into the AP poll for the third time this season. They’ll take a week off to practice and preen before heading to Corvallis for the Civil War with No. 21 Oregon State on Nov. 29.
25. NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS (7-3). The Tar Heels lost a 17-15 squeaker to Maryland last weekend and promptly tumbled eight spots in the ranking. The Wolfpack of North Carolina State will invade Chapel Hill this Saturday.