XN Sports Top 25 College Football Rankings

Florida State Seminoles quaterback Jameis Winston

And then there were three.

With all apologies to Marshal, which is having a great season, there are only three major unbeaten teams in college football and the season will end with no more than two since Mississippi State and Ole Miss have to play each other in a few weeks.

That means there is a lot of jostling for position left to do in the polls and in the race for the four spots in the college football playoff. For now, Florida State is on top of the XN Sports Top 25 after an exciting victory over Notre Dame.

The Bulldogs and the Rebels are right behind the Seminoles and a number of other one-loss teams round out the top 10.

25. West Virginia (5-2) – The Mountaineers won a big one Saturday for the first time in a while. West Virginia exceeded its win total from last season and beat a top five opponent for the first time since it ended the 2007 season with a win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. Last Game: Beat Baylor, 41-27. Next Game: at Oklahoma State.

24. UCLA (5-2) – Brett Hundley racked up 424 yards of offense and accounted for three TDs to lead the Bruins to their first win at Memorial Stadium since 1998. Last Game: Beat California: 36-34. Next Game: Saturday at Colorado.

23. LSU (6-2) – Back in the rankings, LSU hammered improving Kentucky on Saturday and now has a chance to wreak havoc in the SEC West Division with its next two games coming against Ole Miss and Alabama, both at home. Last Game: Beat Kentucky, 41-3. Next Game: Saturday vs. Ole Miss.

22. Clemson (5-2) – Clemson is doing it with defense. The Tigers have allowed just 30 points in their last three games, including a shutout of North Carolina State. Last Game: Beat Boston College, 17-13. Next Game: Saturday vs. Syracuse.

21. USC (5-2) – QB Cody Kessler broke the school record with seven TD passes in the win over the Buffaloes. He surpassed the mark of six thrown by Matt Barkley against Colorado in 2011. Last Game: Beat Colorado, 56-28. Next Game: Saturday vs. Utah.

20. Marshall (7-0) – Rakeem Cato threw four TD passes to extend his streak of games with a touchdown pass to 39, breaking the FBS record he had shared with former N.C. State and Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson. Cato has now thrown for at least four TDs in a game nine times and he has 110 TD passes in his career. Last Game: Beat Florida International, 45-13. Next Game: Saturday vs. Florida Atlantic.

19. Utah (5-1) – Devontae Booker ran for 229 yards and three touchdowns, including a 19-yarder in the second overtime to lead the Utes past the Beavers. Booker has run for over 150 yards in three straight games to help Utah get off to its best start since the 2010 squad went 8-0. Last Game: Beat Oregon State, 29-23 (2 OT). Next Game: Saturday vs. USC.

18. Oklahoma (5-2) – The Sooners missed two field goals, had an extra point blocked and allowed and an interception return for a touchdown against Kansas State. They still lost by just a point but they lost for the second time this season and now are spoilers in the Big 12 and national playoff hunt. Last Game: Lost to Kansas State, 31-30. Next Game: Nov. 1 at Iowa State.

17. Nebraska (6-1) – Ameer Abdullah ran for 146 yards and four TDs against Northwestern to move into second on the school’s all-time rushing list with 4,001 yards. Mike Rozier at 4,780 yards is the leader and Abdullah should be able to close that gap considerably against the Scarlet Knights. Last Game: Beat Northwestern, 38-17. Next Game: Saturday vs. Rutgers.

16. Arizona State (6-1) – After losing to Stanford twice last season, Saturday’s win was big, but Arizona State doesn’t have much time to celebrate. A trip to improved Washington awaits this weekend and the Sun Devils still have to play Utah, Notre Dame and at Arizona. Last Game: Beat Stanford, 26-10. Next Game: Saturday at Washington.

15. Ohio State (5-1) – One down, Penn State and Illinois to go for Ohio State before its showdown with Michigan State. Freshman QB J.T. Barrett is looking more and more comfortable as the starter as he threw for three TDs and ran for two more against Rutgers. Last Game: Beat Rutgers, 56-17. Next Game: Saturday at Penn State.

14. Arizona (5-1) – The Wildcats have had a week off to stew over their loss to the Trojans. Now they visit Martin Stadium for the first time since 2010 when current Philadelphia Eagle Nick Foles was the starter. Arizona has a three-game win streak in Pullman dating to 2006. Last Game: Lost to USC, 28-26. Next Game: Saturday at Washington State.

13. East Carolina (5-1) – East Carolina is off to its best start since opening 7-1 in 1999. The Pirates should move another step close toward that mark with the lowly Huskies coming to town. Last Game: Beat South Florida, 28-17. Next Game: Thursday vs. Connecticut.

12. Baylor (6-1) – The Bears scored just seven points in the second half against the Mountaineers and allowed four sacks. QB Bryce Pettywas 16 of 36 for 223 yards and two TDs. Last Game: Lost to West Virginia. 41-27. Next Game: Nov. 1 vs. Kansas.

11. Michigan State (6-1) – Connor Cook threw three touchdown passes and Jeremey Langford ran for three TDs as the Spartans moved closer to a showdown with Ohio State. A matchup with the Wolverines and then a bye week are on the schedule before Michigan State gets a shot at Ohio State with the winner likely to claim the Big Ten East Division title. Last Game: Beat Indiana, 56-17. Next Game: Saturday vs. Michigan.

10. Kansas State (5-1) – The Wildcats got a break as the Sooners missed a 19-yard field goal with under four minutes to play. Kansas State is now the lone team in the Big 12 without a conference loss but still has games at TCU, at West Virginia and at Baylor remaining. Last Game: Beat Oklahoma, 31-30. Next Game: Saturday vs. Texas.

9. TCU (5-1) – If not for a lousy final 11 minutes against Baylor, TCU would be unbeaten and in the top five. The Horned Frogs rebounded in a big way to dominate the Cowboys, out gaining them 676-258. Last Game: Beat Oklahoma State, 42-9. Next Game: Saturday vs. Texas Tech.

8. Oregon (6-1) – The Ducks cranked up the offense to beat the Huskies for the 11th straight time. True freshman RB Royce Freeman ran for 169 yards and four TDs while Heisman candidate QB Marcus Mariota threw for 336 yards and a pair of scores. Last Game: Beat Washington, 45-20. Next Game: Friday at California.

7. Georgia (6-1) – The Bulldogs have won five straight and are in control of the SEC East, a division they appear to be the class of. Georgia has a bye week before the annual cocktail party with Florida. The Bulldogs may or may not get RB Todd Gurley back by then but if they don’t it appears freshman Nick Chubb can handle the load after a 202 yard, two TD performance against Arkansas. Last Game: Beat Arkansas, 45-32. Next Game: Nov. 1 vs. Florida .

6. Notre Dame (6-1) – Illegal pick? Defensive holding? Your point of view of the penalty that cost the Irish the win over the Seminoles depends on who you were rooting for. What is not up for debate is that Notre Dame was very much in the game and won’t tumble much in the rankings because of a tough loss. Last Game: Lost to Florida State, 31-27. Next Game: Nov. 1 at Navy.

5. Alabama (6-1) – Before we get all pumped up over Alabama’s blanking of Texas A&M remember this. The Aggies came into the game already on a two-game losing skid. The state of Mississippi had already softened up Texas A&M, Alabama just got to feast on the carcass. Last Game: Beat Texas A&M, 59-0. Next Game: Saturday at Tennessee.

4. Auburn (5-1) – Last season the Tigers lost at LSU, had a bye week and then responded to win the SEC title and play for the national championship. Auburn is hoping for history to repeat itself this year as it enters its matchup with South Carolina off a bye week. Last Game: Lost to Mississippi State, 38-23. Next Game: Saturday vs. South Carolina.

3. Ole Miss (7-0) – The Rebels dominated the Vols, allowing a first-half field goal and nothing else. Ole Miss now leads the country in scoring defense, allowing 10.6 points per game. The most points the Rebels have allowed all season is 20 and they have limited three opponents to just three points. Last Game: Beat Tennessee, 34-3. Next Game: Saturday at LSU.

2. Mississippi State (6-0) – Coming off a bye the Bulldogs get to ease their way back into their schedule. After visiting Kentucky, Mississipi State has games with Arkansas and Tennessee-Martin before a trip to Alabama. Last Game: Beat Auburn, 38-23. Next Game: Saturday at Kentucky.

1. Florida State (7-0) – Regardless of what you thought of the call on Notre Dame’s would be go-ahead TD, the Seminoles fought back in the second half and got an outstanding performance from Jameis Winston. Surrounded by controversy off the field, Winston just blocks it all out when he is between the lines. He completed his first 13 passes o the second half and led the Seminoles to three TD drives over the final two quarters to pull out the win. Last Game: Beat Notre Dame, 31-27. Next Game: Oct. 30 at Louisville.

Dropped out: Stanford, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State
Close but not quite: Duke, Minnesota, Colorado State

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John Nestor
John Nestor is a Philadelphia sports fan and veteran sportswriter trapped in Connecticut. Tweet him @nestorjdn