We’ve reached the midpoint of the season and Florida and Alabama remain on a collision course to meet in the SEC title game on December 5. Texas shook off what’s becoming typical first half sluggishness to KO Colorado. The ‘Horns face their biggest challenge of the regular season in archrival Oklahoma this Saturday—the last ever Red River Shootout to be played at the Cotton Bowl.

1. FLORIDA GATORS/SEC (5-0). Well, Tebow took the snaps, and like I projected, the Gators took the Tigers by the tail in Baton Rouge last weekend, 13-3. Arkansas visits Gainesville Saturday as 24.5-point underdogs. The Gators will win, but not by that spread.
2. ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE/SEC (6-0). Roll Tide, Roll. And did they ever, to the tune of 22-3, marginalizing Mississippi’s passing game and tossing the Rebs’ postseason hopes onto the now mounting heap of once possible BCS Cinderfellas. Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina Gamecocks come to town with visions of an upset dancing inside their helmets. Won’t happen.

3. TEXAS LONGHORNS/Big 12 (6-0). Texas struggled again in the first thirty minutes of ballgame versus an inferior opponent (Colorado) and then brought the stampede in the second half. Final score: 38-14. I smell an Oklahoma uprising in this week’s contest with the Sooners. See my prediction in the OK capsule.
4. USC TROJANS/Pac-10 (4-1). Pete Carroll should be thankful his schedule provided a bye last week. The Trojans have a very difficult task ahead of them at South Bend—not because the Irish are more talented than USC—but because they have a significantly higher confidence level than they’ve ever witnessed. I still like Southern Cal to take this in a fairly close contest.
5. VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES/ACC (5-1). The Hokies demolished a decent Boston College team, 48-14, and head to Atlanta for the most challenging ACC game left on their schedule. Georgia Tech is really tough to beat at home, but I like the way Tyrod Taylor is running the V-Tech offense. The Hokies should pull this one out.
6. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES/Big Ten (5-1). Buckeye Nation breathed a sigh of relief after a pesky Wisconsin team left Columbus last weekend without the win they coveted. OSU will invade a very irritable Purdue fortress on Saturday and try to pull out another Big Ten “W,” but it won’t be easy.
7. CINCINNATI BEARCATS/Big East (5-0). The Bearcats had the weekend off to prep for Thursday night’s Big East showdown with South Florida. The Bulls are going to be tough to beat at home, and Cincy will find a way to win this because Brian Kelly is a genius.
8. TEXAS CHRISTIAN HORNED FROGS/MWC (5-0). The Horned Frogs pulled off a close one (24-17) in Colorado Springs against a tough little Air Force Academy squad that is giving every opponent fits this year. Colorado State limps into Fort Worth this weekend for some more MWC action. Froggies will win.
9. MIAMI HURRICANES/ACC (4-1). Miami romped over D-1AA Florida A&M Rattlers, 48-16, and take on yet another instate school—this week it’s Central Florida.
10. OKLAHOMA SOONERS/Big 12 (3-2). Sam Bradford is back in the saddle and the Sooners dispatched Baylor, 33-7, in a tune-up for the Big One in Dallas this weekend. I like the Sooners in a mild upset. They are much better than their record indicates.
11. LSU TIGERS/SEC (5-1). The Bayou Bengals looked stout on defense (limiting Florida to 13 points) and that’s the only reason I have LSU still ranked fairly high. Gary Crowton’s offense has a long way to go before we can take LSU serious again as a top ten team this year. They have a bye this week and then Auburn comes to town.
12. IOWA HAWKEYES/Big Ten (6-0). A win is a win and Iowa squeaked one out over Big Ten rival Michigan in the friendly confines of Kinnick Stadium last Saturday night, 30-28. Would a healthy Tate Forcier have made a difference at the end of the game and put the Wolverines in field goal position? Lucky for Iowa, we’ll never know. Another stern conference test awaits the Hawkeyes in Madison this week against an angry pack of once-defeated Wisconsin Badgers.
13. GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS/ACC (5-1). The Ramblin’ Wreck took care of business in Tallahassee last weekend, winning there for the first time in G-Tech history. It was a sloppy, see-saw high scoring game (49-44) but they’ll take the W. Bobby Bowden sure has heck would love to take it. The Jackets can bolster their postseason hopes with any kind of win, ugly or not, over No. 5 Virginia Tech this Saturday.
14. BOISE STATE BRONCOS/WAC (6-0). The Broncos had a bye last week and barely knocked off Tulsa this week—28-21—when Golden Hurricane G.J. Kinney missed his wide open receiver, Slick Shelly, in the final minute of play at the BSU 30-yard line. How Chris Peterson could label his team’s shoddy performance a “solid victory” is puzzling, to say the least. It’s certainly a tribute to the art of hyperbole.
15. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS/Big Ten (5-1). The Nittany Lions trounced D-1AA Eastern Illinois, 52-3. An improved and dangerous Minnesota Golden Gopher squad visits Happy Valley this weekend. The score will be much closer.
16. BYU COUGARS/MWC (5-1). Brigham Young had a surprisingly easy time dispatching Mountain West foe UNLV in Vegas, 59-21. The Cougars love playing in Sin City. Go figure. They head to San Diego this weekend to take on the Aztecs. San Diego is waiting to try out some new tricks on defense in this tilt. However, BYU is starting to get in a groove on both sides of the ball and should take care of business rather handily.
17. OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS/Big 12 (4-1). The Cowboys struggled at Texas A&M without Dez Bryant, 36-31. They’ll host Missouri this weekend and struggle again, with a close outcome in their favor.
18. OREGON DUCKS/Pac-10 (5-1). The Quacks handled UCLA in Pasadena last week, 24-10, but that’s not saying much. The Bruins were pathetic on offense. Oregon will have the week off and then they head to Washington on Oct 24.
19. KANSAS JAYHAWKS/Big 12 (5-0). The Jayhawks pulled out a close win over Iowa State, 41-36. I see them getting upset by Colorado in Boulder this weekend.
20. WISCONSIN BADGERS/Big Ten (5-1). The Badgers choked in Columbus last weekend, 31-13. They could have won with mistake-free ball, but that might be asking too much of the team. Iowa will find a way to win in Madison when they pay a visit to the Badgers on Saturday.
21. NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH/Independent (4-1). The Irish had the week off to prepare for USC. That’s the good news. The bad news is USC did, too. It might be close, and ND has been winning the nail-biters this year, but Pete Carroll is the difference in this contest. Charlie Weis cannot win the chess match with Pete.
22. SOUTH FLORIDA BULLS/Big East (5-0). The Bulls host Cincinnati in a huge conference tilt on ESPN’s Thursday night spotlight game. They’ve had an extra week to prep for this one, but the Bearcats will rule when all is said and done.
23. HOUSTON COUGARS/C-USA (4-1). The Cougars make their way back into the ranking with an impressive, hardfought road win over the SEC’s Mississippi State, 31-24. They head to the Superdome this weekend to take on Tulane. Now that will be a yawner, considering what BYU did to the Green Wave last month.
24. NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS/Big 12 (4-1). The Huskers impressed last week, defeating Missouri on the road, 27-12. Texas Tech visits Lincoln on Saturday and Nebraska will prove that they are finally ready to jump back in the mix as one of the conference’s elite.
25. UTAH UTES/MWC (4-1). The Utes demonstrated a lot of poise battling back in Fort Collins last week against Colorado State, 24-17. They should put the final nail in the career coffin of UNLV’s Mike Sanford (who was, incidentally, a former OC at Utah under Urban Meyer) on Saturday.