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 21-25.
11. Oklahoma 6-1
Previous Rank: 3; Last Game: L 41-38 Texas Tech; Next Game: @ Kansas State
The Sooners were held to just seven 1st half points and dug too deep a hole to overcome the Red Raiders Saturday night. Seth Doege threw four touchdown passes, three to Alex Torres, and finished with 441 yards to out-dual Oklahoma star Landry Jones. For his part, Jones finished with 412 yards and five touchdowns but the Sooners turned it over twice and their rally ran out of time. Kenny Stills had a big game for Oklahoma with 135 receiving yards and two touchdowns but the Sooners missed Dominique Whaley in their rushing attack and the defense gave up an uncharacteristic 572 yards without forcing a turnover. The Sooners will attempt to stay in the Big 12 race, as well as an outside shot at the BCS title chase, when they travel to unbeaten Kansas State on Saturday.
12. Wisconsin 6-1
Previous Rank: 5; Last Game: L 37-31 Michigan State; Next Game: @ Ohio State
The Badgers took an early 14-point lead, gave up 23 unanswered points, rallied to tie in the 4th quarter and then saw their national title hopes go up in flames when Kirk Cousins connected on a Hail Mary. The Badgers gave up a safety for Michigan State’s first points of the game and then had a punt blocked for a touchdown to close the 2nd quarter, just some of the miscues that hurt them despite out-gaining the Spartans 443-339. Russell Wilson threw for two touchdowns and ran for another and Montee Ball accounted for two touchdowns while rushing for 115 yards for the Badgers. There were questions about how good Wisconsin was prior to this matchup due to a weak early schedule. The Spartans may have helped answer that for the rest of the country.
13. Virginia Tech 7-1
Previous Rank: 14; Last Game: W 30-14 Boston College; Next Game: @ Duke
The Hokies have bounced back nicely since their loss to Clemson, winning three straight including their easy win over Boston College this week. Logan Thomas accounted for 328 yards of total offense and two touchdowns and David Wilson ran for 134 yards and a score. Virginia Tech’s defense forced two turnovers and Cody Journell added three field goals in the win. The Hokies face Duke this week before a bye. That is followed by a visit to Georgia Tech that will likely decide the ACC Coastal division crown and a berth in the ACC Championship game.
14. South Carolina 6-1
Previous Rank: 15; Last Game: W 14-12 Mississippi State October 15th; Next Game: @ Tennessee
South Carolina had a bye this week after getting the news that they would be without star running back Marcus Lattimore for the remainder of the year. Lattimore tore his ACL late in the win over Mississippi State and the already struggling Gamecock offense will be leaning on new starter Connor Shaw even more in the coming weeks. Following the trip to Tennessee, the Gamecocks travel to Arkansas before returning home for their final three games. A non-conference game with Citadel is bookended by visits from Florida and Clemson to close the season.
15. Nebraska 6-1
Previous Rank: 16; Last Game: W 41-14 Minnesota; Next Game: vs Michigan State
Nebraska jumped out to a 34-0 halftime lead and more than doubled Minnesota’s yardage in an easy Big Ten win. Rex Burkhead ran for 117 yards and a touchdown, Taylor Martinez threw for 162 yards and a score and Austin Cassidy returned a fumble 11 yards for a late 2nd quarter touchdown. The Cornhuskers piled up 515 yards to Minnesota’s 254, including 364 yards on the ground. Kenny Bell scored on an 82-yard run in the 2nd quarter as well to give Nebraska a commanding 17-0 lead. The Cornhuskers will now host Michigan State in a game they hope will keep them alive in the Rose Bowl race.
16. Michigan 6-1
Previous Rank: 17; Last Game: L 28-14 Michigan State October 15th; Next Game: vs Purdue
The Wolverines had an extra week to think about their frustrating loss to rival Michigan State while preparing to face Purdue. That game will be followed by trips to Iowa and Illinois before returning home to finish the season against Nebraska and Ohio State. Michigan still has a lot riding on the remainder of their games as they do not face Wisconsin this year and could claim a Rose Bowl appearance with some help from their conference foes. Denard Robinson has led the team in rushing with 716 yards and nine touchdowns but has struggled throwing the ball. That could become a problem down the stretch should the Wolverines fall behind as they did against the Spartans.
17. Houston 7-0
Previous Rank: 20; Last Game: W 63-28 Marshall; Next Game: vs Rice
Case Keenum continued his assault on the record books as he broke Timmy Chang’s record for total offense in the win over Marshall. Keenum threw for 376 yards and six touchdowns to five different receivers. The Cougars broke open a 14-14 game with three consecutive 2nd quarter touchdowns and Marshall got no closer than 14 points the rest of the way. With 802 more passing yards and just five touchdowns, Keenum will pass Chang and Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell for the career records in those categories as well. Both records should be in hand within three games, if not sooner. The Cougars are going to struggle for national respect, however, as their “signature” win this year is over a terrible UCLA team at home.
18. Texas A&M 5-2
Previous Rank: 21; Last Game: W 33-17 Iowa State; Next Game: vs Missouri
Ryan Tannehill threw two 2nd quarter touchdown passes to give the Aggies control in their game with the Cyclones. Tannehill finished with 263 yards passing and Texas A&M rushed for 247 yards. Christine Michael led the team with 142 yards and a touchdown and Cyrus Gray added 125. Randy Bullock connected on all four of his field goal attempts as the Aggies struggled to finish drives in the end zone. They piled up 30 1st downs but were just 5-16 on 3rd down tries. The Aggies host Missouri before a trip to Oklahoma to face the Sooners.
19. Penn State 7-1
Previous Rank: NR; Last Game: W 34-24 Northwestern; Next Game: vs Illinois
A 1st half scoring explosion, relative to the Nittany Lions’ usual output, was followed by a 2nd half shutout as Penn State held on to beat Northwestern. Averaging just 23 points per game, the Lions were able to put 27 points on the board behind two Matt McGloin touchdown passes. Silas Redd scored a 19-yard touchdown with 11:39 remaining in the 3rd quarter to give Penn State a 10-point lead and neither team scored the rest of the way. McGloin finished with 192 yards passing and Redd ran for 164. Dan Persa led Northwestern with 294 yards passing and a touchdown but the team managed only 94 rushing yards and a 2.5 yard average. Penn State is currently #5 in the country in scoring defense but they face a tough schedule down the stretch, hosting Illinois and Nebraska before traveling to Ohio State and Wisconsin to close the season.
20. Texas Tech 5-2
Previous Rank: NR; Last Game: W 41-38 Oklahoma; Next Game: vs Iowa State
Seth Doege threw for 441 yards and four touchdowns as the Red Raiders jumped out to an early lead and held on to beat the Sooners. Texas Tech used 24 unanswered points to grab a 31-7 lead in the 3rd quarter before Oklahoma began a furious rally. The Sooners cut the lead to seven points on the 3rd of Landry Jones’ five touchdown passes before Tech jumped back in front by 17. Two more Jones touchdown passes, the final one coming with 1:10 remaining, got Oklahoma back within three before Aaron Crawford recovered the onside kick to seal the Raiders victory. Alex Torres caught three of Doege’s touchdowns and Doege added a touchdown run.
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