It's time for a new installment of Deadspin's college football rankings. As always, the teams are ranked according to the logic and values of college football, no matter how bizarre or contradictory they may be.
1. LSU (8-0) Last week: 2
While they waited another week to see if they're the best team in the SEC, the Tigers claimed the undisputed title of Best Tigers in College Football, thanks to Clemson's first loss.
2. Oklahoma State (8-0) Last week: 4
The Cowboys had two 99-yard touchdown drives as they beat Baylor, 59-24. The Bears did have 622 yards to Oklahoma State's 601, and they held the ball for nearly 39 minutes. So it could have been worse.
3. Stanford (8-0) Last week: 3
The Cardinal "scored" three "touchdowns" in a phony-baloney "overtime" shootout for a "victory" against USC, "56-48." Now Andrew Luck can also be the No. 1 draft pick of the Have Someone Hand You the Ball on the Twenty-Five Yard Line League.
4. Alabama (8-0) Last week: 6
Idly contemplated death or glory.
5. Houston (8-0) Last week: 7
The Cougars' nine-passing-TD Thursday-night romp over Rice was included in last week's rankings.
6. [Vacant] Last week: 10
Sorry, the top spots are for teams that don't lose games. And which aren't Boise State.
7. South Carolina (7-1) Last week: 13
The Gamecocks beat Tennessee by the oddly yet somehow typically modest score of 14-3. The season stats say that South Carolina's average score this year is 30.1 to 17.1, in the Gamecocks' favor. True, but misleading: South Carolina has never had a final score in the 30s—or anywhere between 25 and 44. Instead, they've gone back and forth between two wildly different kinds of games: three shootout/blowouts, with an average score of 51.7 to 27.3, and five grinders, with an average score of 17.2 to 11.0. They're 3-0 in the former, and 4-1 in the latter. Unstoppable yet gritty!
8. Arkansas (7-1) Last week: 11
Speaking of grit, Vanderbilt blew a 21-7 lead, then missed a 27-yard field goal with 8 seconds left, and the Razorbacks won, 31-28. Let Alabama and LSU battle for football supremacy; Arkansas and South Carolina are going to see who's got more character.
9. Clemson (8-1) Last week: 1
Sometimes a single play can ruin an entire season. In Clemson's case, the single play turned out to be Georgia Tech's quarterback follow, which the Yellow Jackets ran over and over again against a helpless Tigers defense. Quarterback Tevin
Washington had 176 of Georgia Tech's 383 rushing yards in a 31-17 victory.
10. USC (6-2) Last week: 8
The outlaw Trojans gave Andrew Luck the chance to show he's a clutch-time hero. Or a clutch-when-the-clock-has-stopped-for-a-dumb-shootout hero.
11. (tie) Kansas State (7-1) Last week: 9
11. (tie) Oklahoma (7-1) Last week: 120
Kansas State is not going to have an undefeated season. And neither is Oklahoma. The Sooners beat the Wildcats, 58-17, as if they could somehow pile up enough touchdowns to reverse the flow of time and make it so that they had not been whipped by Texas Tech, at home, the week before.
13. Georgia Tech (7-2) Last week: unranked
And here we're down into the schools that just feel good about spoiling other schools' seasons now.
14. Ohio State (5-3) Last week: unranked
Case in point. If the scandal-crippled Buckeyes can't be the best team in the Big Ten, nobody can. So Ohio State scored a touchdown in the final minute to give formerly dominant Wisconsin its second straight narrow loss, 33-29. It's the college-football equivalent of trashing an apartment on move-out day.
15. Boise State (7-0) Last week: 14
The idle Broncos saw Stanford barely beat USC, then watched the Cardinal vault over them in the BCS standings. Take a hint, Boise State.
16. Southern Miss (7-1) Last week: 16
The Golden Eagles beat UTEP, 31-13. Nice season they're having.
17. Auburn (6-3) Last week: 18
Newly installed quarterback Clint Moseley had four touchdown passes for the reigning national champions as they beat Ole Miss, 41-23.
18. Penn State (8-1) Last week: 15
The Nittany Lions fumbled six times and had 209 yards of total offense, but Illinois hit the upright on a 42-yard field-goal attempt at the final gun, and Joe Paterno collected his record-breaking 409th victory, 10-7.
19. Louisiana-Lafayette (7-2) Last week: 22
The Ragin' Cajuns beat Middle Tennessee, 45-20.
20. (tie) Virginia Tech (8-1) Last week: 19
20. (tie) Oregon (7-1) Last week: 19
Oregon benched its quarterback. Virginia Tech barely beat Duke. None of that changed anything.
22. (tie) Michigan (7-1) Last week: 19
22. (tie) Michigan State (6-2) Last week: 5
22. (tie) Wisconsin (6-2) Last week: 12
The Big Ten: neither "Ten" nor "Big."
120. Maryland (2-6) Last week: unranked
In an empty home stadium, the Terrapins lost their sixth game under new coach Randy Edsall, falling 28-17 to a Boston College team whose only previous win had been against UMass. B.C.'s Rolandan Finch rushed for 243 yards, which was more yardage than his three next-best games combined. Since announcing his Under Armour-scripted desire to "protect this house" at the team's preseason uniform unveiling ceremony, Edsall has lost more games than his fired predecessor, Ralph Friedgen, did in his first two full seasons (Edsall: 2-6; Friedgen: 21-5). Edsall does, however, still have the support of the Maryland athletic program's de facto owner, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank:
I'll tell you, there are a lot of kids in-state that are looking at the University of Maryland and saying something's happening there, and we can be a part of building something great.