These rankings reflect the opinion of the Boise Sports Examiner and are not a representation of the Associated Press poll or the polls that make up the BCS rankings. Click the links for teams 1-10 and 11-20.
21. Michigan State 3-1
Previous Rank: 23; Last Game: W 45-7 Central Michigan; Next Game: @ Ohio State
The Spartans bounced back from a humiliating loss to Notre Dame to easily take care of the Chippewas. Le’Veon Bell had three 1st half rushing touchdowns and Isaiah Lewis had a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown to stake the Spartans to a 31-0 halftime lead. The defense did their job, holding Central Michigan to 112 yards of total offense and only eight 1st downs while forcing four Chippewa interceptions. Michigan State held the ball for 38 minutes and dominated both sides of the ball. The Spartans now dive into Big Ten play with a huge game against Ohio State.
22. Georgia Tech 4-0
Previous Rank: 24; Last Game: W 35-28 North Carolina; Next Game: @ North Carolina State
Tevin Washington broke a 28-28 tie with a touchdown in the final five minutes to give Georgia Tech a big ACC win over North Carolina. The Jackets ran for 312 yards and Washington was one of three Georgia Tech runners to finish with at least 70 yards on the ground. It was a very evenly matched game and Georgia Tech’s ball-control was the difference. Holding the ball for over 12 minutes more than the Tar Heels, the Yellow Jackets were able to squeak out the win.
23. West Virginia 3-1
Previous Rank: 16; Last Game: L 47-21 LSU; Next Game: vs Bowling Green
Geno Smith was terrific but the Mountaineers were still humbled by LSU in a big non-conference showdown. Smith threw for 463 yards and two scores, but was also intercepted twice. Four West Virginia turnovers contributed mightily to the loss as did allowing a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown after the Mountaineers had clawed back with six points. West Virginia outgained LSU by 167 yards but the turnovers and 10 penalties were their undoing. There are no moral victories but West Virginia proved, even in losing, that they are the class of the Big East.
24. Illinois (4-0)
Previous Rank: NR; Last Game: W 23-20 Western Michigan; Next Game: vs Northwestern
The Illini struggled but overcame the Broncos on Derek Dimke’s third field goal of the game with 8:14 remaining. Troy Pollard ran for 133 yards and Donovonn Young added 100 yards and a touchdown to pass the Illinois offense. The defense held Western Michigan to 35 yards rushing but allowed the Broncos to convert all three 4th down attempts and Alex Carder threw for 306 yards and two scores to keep Western Michigan in the game. Illinois opens Big Ten play at home against Northwestern before a tough stretch of three road games in four weeks.
25. Arizona State (3-1)
Previous Rank: NR; Last Game: W 43-22 USC; Next Game: vs Oregon State
The Sun Devils took a one-week hiatus from the top 25 but came back with a vengeance in a big win over USC to take control of the Pac-12 South. Cameron Marshall ran for 141 yards and three scores and Shelly Lyons’ 41-yard interception return to close the scoring was the 4th turnover forced by the defense. Trailing 21-9 at the half, USC battled back to take a 22-21 lead before Marshall and the Sun Devils put it away. Brock Osweiler was an efficient 25-32 for 223 yards and two 2nd quarter touchdowns. The Sun Devils now face lowly Oregon State before a tough run at Utah and at Oregon.
Dropped from the rankings: Florida State (12), Ohio State (25)
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