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Florida State, Mississippi State and Auburn survived and are the top three teams in this week’s XN Sports Top 25 College Football Rankings.
Ole Miss, who lost to Auburn and has now dropped two straight, did not survive and has been essentially eliminated from the college football playoff field of candidates.
Big games abound this weekend with Kansas State at TCU, Alabama at LSU and Notre Dame at Arizona State the highlights. Games between ranked teams also include Baylor at Oklahoma and Ohio State at Michigan State.
Welcome to the poll Wisconsin and goodbye ECU, after the Pirates lost to Temple.
25. West Virginia (6-3) – The Mountaineers have lost to teams that were ranked No. 2, 4 and 7 at the time they played. Last Game: Lost to TCU, 31-30. Next Game: Saturday at Texas.
24. Wisconsin (6-2) – The Badgers had to replace seven starters on defense this season and have done so with fantastic results. Wisconsin ranks first in yards allowed (253.8 yards per game) and third in scoring defense (14.1 points per game). Last Game: Beat Rutgers, 37-0. Next Game: Saturday at Purdue.
23. Utah (6-2) – The Utes managed only 241 yards and 13 first downs against the Sun Devils. Numbers like that will equal a severe beat down this weekend with the Ducks coming to town. Last Game: Lost to Arizona State, 19-16 (OT). Next Game: Saturday vs. Oregon.
22. Clemson (6-2) – The Tigers have not scored more than 23 points in any of their last three games but have won them all. Defense has been the difference as Clemson has allowed just 36 points during that span. Clemson is second in the country in average yards allowed (268.6) and 10th in points allowed (18.3). Last Game: Beat Syracuse, 16-6. Next Game: Thursday at Wake Forest.
21. Arizona (6-2) – The Wildcats have lost two of three and while they still have a shot at the Pac-12 South, they don’t have an easy road ahead. Washington, Utah and Arizona State are on the schedule to close out the season for the Wildcats, who have lost two of three. Last Game: Lost to UCLA, 17-7. Next Game: Saturday vs. Colorado.
20. Marshall (8-0) – In 480 minutes this season, Marshall has trailed for only 21:39. Last Game: Beat Florida Atlantic, 35-16. Next Game: Saturday at Southern Miss.
19. Duke (7-1) – The Blue Devils keep finding a way thanks in large part to QB Anthony Boone, who is 17-3 as a starter, tying Jerry Barger for the most wins by a quarterback in program history. Last Game: Beat Pitt, 51-48 (2OT). Next Game: Saturday at Syracuse.
18. UCLA (7-2) – The Bruins kept their Pac-12 South title hopes alive thanks to a defense that totally stymied Arizona. Last Game: Beat Arizona, 17-7. Next Game: Saturday at Washington.
17. Georgia (6-2) – The Bulldogs had their five game win streak and playoff hopes come to a crashing halt as they allowed 418 yards rushing in a stunning 38-20 loss to Florida. Last Game: Lost to Florida, 38-20. Next Game: Saturday at Kentucky.
16. Oklahoma (6-2) – The Sooners have never lost to Baylor at home. They would like to keep that streak in tact and run any hopes the Bears have for a playoff berth. Last Game: Beat Iowa State, 59-14. Next Game: Saturday vs. Baylor.
15. Nebraska (8-1) – Ameer Abdullah is expected to be ready to go after a bye week before the Wisconsin game after the Heisman candidate RB tweaked his left knee against Purdue. Last Game: Beat Purdue, 35-14. Next Game: Nov. 15 at Wisconsin.
14. Ohio State (7-1) – Ohio State has been pointing to Saturday’s showdown in East Lansing since losing to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game last season. It’s put up or shut up time with the loser out of the playoff chase. Last Game: Beat Illinois, 55-14. Next Game: Saturday at Michigan State.
13. LSU (7-2) – The Tigers have lost three straight to Alabama but can play spoiler to the Crimson Tide’s playoff hopes with a win. Working in LSU’s favor is a 46-4 record in night games at Tiger Stadium under coach Les Miles. Last Game: Beat Ole Miss, 10-7. Next Game: Saturday vs. Alabama.
12. Arizona State (7-1) – The Sun Devils have won four straight and are in first place in the Pac-12 South. Arizona State will still have the conference title to shoot for after the Notre Dame game but if it wants a shot at a playoff spot it has to beat the Irish. Last Game: Beat Utah, 19-16 (OT). Next Game: Saturday vs. Notre Dame.
11. Ole Miss (7-2) – Back-to-back losses by a combined seven points have turned the Rebels from playoff contender to spoiler. Last Game: Lost to Auburn, 35-31. Next Game: Saturday vs. Presbyterian.
10. Baylor (7-1) – The Bears rolled up 669 yards against Kansas to rebound from their loss at West Virginia. Baylor needs a win to stay in the playoff conversation. Baylor will need to buck history if they want a shot at a playoff berth as it has never won in Norman. Last Game: Beat Kansas. 60-14. Next Game: Saturday at Oklahoma.
9. Michigan State (7-1) – The Spartans have won six straight entering their showdown with the Buckeyes with the winner likely to claim the Big Ten East Division title and the loser ousted from the playoff race. Last Game: Beat Michigan, 35-11. Next Game: Saturday vs. Ohio State.
8. Kansas State (7-1) – Kansas State, the lone team in the Big 12 without a conference loss and have won five straight since a 20-14 loss to Auburn. The Wildcats this week’s game at TCU and contests at West Virginia and at Baylor remaining that will determine their playoff fate. Last Game: Beat Oklahoma State, 48-14. Next Game: Saturday at TCU.
7. TCU (7-1) – TCU survived its trip to Morgantown and now hosts Kansas State in what is shaping up to be playoff elimination game. If the Horned Frogs get past the Wildcats they should be able to run the table (Kansas, Texas, Iowa State). Last Game: Beat West Virginia, 31-30. Next Game: Saturday vs. Kansas State.
6. Notre Dame (7-1) – QB Everett Golson became the first player in Notre Dame history to throw for three touchdowns and run for three TDs and the Fighting Irish needed every one of those TDs to hold off Navy. Last Game: Beat Navy, 49-39. Next Game: Saturday at Arizona State.
5. Alabama (7-1) – The Crimson Tide better have rested up during their bye week because they have a closing schedule that will put them in the playoffs if they win out or be the cause of their demise. After this week’s game at LSU, Alabama is home vs. Mississippi State and home against Auburn with a game against Western Carolina in betwen. Last Game: Beat Tennessee, 34-20. Next Game: Saturday at LSU.
4. Oregon (8-1) – Heisman candidate QB Marcus Mariota threw for two TDs and ran for a pair of scores as the Ducks snapped a two-game losing skid against the Cardinal. The Ducks lead the Pac-12 North by two games and are four wins away from a playoff spot. Last Game: Beat Stanford, 45-16. Next Game: Saturday at Utah.
3. Auburn (7-1) – Auburn is essentially the first team to win a playoff game this season, outlasting Ole Miss and handing the Rebels their second loss of the season. The Tigers can’t breathe easy though as another loss will likely have them on the outside looking in when the final four is announced. Last Game: Beat Ole Miss, 35-31. Next Game: Saturday vs. Texas A&M.
2. Mississippi State (8-0) – The Bulldogs survived a close game with the Razorbacks and remain in control of their own destiny in the SEC and in the hunt for a playoff berth. Mississippi State gets a breather this week with Tennessee-Martin before a trip to Alabama. Last Game: Beat Arkansas, 17-10. Next Game: Saturday vs. Tennessee-Martin.
1. Florida State (8-0) – Florida State was down to Louisville 21-0 but rebounded for its 20th straight win ACC opponents and 24th overall. There is some concern over QB Jameis Winston’s sore ankle, but he threw for a season high 401 yards against the Cardinals on it and coach Jimbo Fisher dismissed it as a non-issue. The Seminoles now appear to be five wins away from a spot in the first college football playoff. Last Game: Beat Louisville, 42-31. Next Game: Saturday vs. Virginia.
Dropped out: ECU
Close but not quite: Colorado State, Missouri