It can be difficult to keep up with one entire college football conference, let alone all 65 Power Five teams .. let alone all 128 Football Bowl Subdivision teams.
We are here to help, though. The 2015 college football season has reached its halfway point, with seven weeks down and seven weeks to go before the playoff and bowl selections. On Monday, we published our midseason All-America teams and awards, along with second-half questions. Now, we've compiled current rankings of all 128 teams, with a look at how each team's season has gone and where they might all be headed.
The rankings are based on an inexact mix of what teams have accomplished, how talented they are and where they might be headed. It's not a straight ranking based on resumes; there is still some personal projecting involved with only half a season of data. Head-to-head results are taken into account when it is sensible to do so, but upsets happen, and they do not always tell the story of how an entire season (or, well, half of one) has gone for a team. This is merely a snapshot of where teams stand with half a season to play.
All stats are via the essential cfbstats.com.
128. North Texas (0-6). When you are winless and suffer the biggest FBS to FCS loss in history, 66-7 to Portland State, and fire your coach immediately afterward, you're going to get this spot.
127. New Mexico State (0-6). The Aggies, who haven't won more than four games since 2004, are allowing 48.5 points per game, but they may finally win a game with home dates vs. Idaho and Troy next.
126. Troy (1-5). First-year coach Neal Brown didn't inherit a favorable situation. The Trojans' only win is over Charleston Southern, and they just lost at home to Idaho. Brown is a promising offensive mind, but Troy hasn't scored more than 21 points in a game against an FBS opponent.
125. Idaho (2-4). The Vandals just beat Troy on the road, their first victory away from the Kibbie Dome since Nov. 5, 2011 -- and they barely made it to Alabama for the game. If Idaho wins one more game, this will be its best season since 2010.
124. UCF (0-7). The Knights already have two more losses than they did the last two years combined, when they went 12-1 with a Fiesta Bowl win in 2013 and 9-4 last year. George O'Leary has already fired himself as interim AD, but it's clear that the Knights are going to need a coaching change too. The UCF offense ranks last in yards per play.
123. Kansas (0-6). An opening loss to South Dakota State may have doomed Kansas to the first winless season by a power conference team since Washington in 2008. The Jayhawks did push Texas Tech last Saturday but lost 30-20 after throwing a late pick-six.
122. Miami, OH (1-6). The Cradle of Coaches was once a fairly consistent MAC team. Now the RedHawks have gone 3-28 since the start of 2013. They beat Presbyterian in the opener but have since dropped six straight and rank last in the nation in scoring (14.6 points per game).
121. Wyoming (1-6). After winning three FCS national titles at North Dakota State, Craig Bohl has had a rough start at Wyoming, one of the toughest jobs in college football. After a 4-8 2014 season, the Cowboys lost their first six this year, including a devastating 48-29 home loss to Eastern Michigan. They finally got a win by beating Nevada 28-21.
120. Eastern Michigan (1-6). The Eagles are one of the most historically inept programs in college football, but at least they won at Wyoming -- their first road nonconference win since 1988. Since then, they've lost four in a row by double digits, with a defense that's allowing 43.9 points per game overall.
119. UTEP (2-4). Sean Kugler's promising 7-6 second season has given way to a dreadful downturn in his third year. The Miners rank 127th in defensive yards per play, and they just lost 25-6 to UTSA and 52-12 to Florida International. They lost star RB Aaron Jones to a knee injury in Week 2.
118. UTSA (1-6). In its fifth year of existence, UTSA lost nearly every starter from last year's team, so a drop off was expected (the Roadrunners went only 4-8 in 2014 anyway). They have been competitive, though, scoring 32 against Arizona, losing to Colorado State by two and losing to Louisiana Tech by three, in addition to their 25-6 win over UTEP.
117. Ball State (2-5). It wasn't long ago that Pete Lembo was becoming a promising major head coaching candidate. But after going 10-3 in 2013, the Cardinals are 7-12 in the last one and a half seasons, and they just lost 31-19 at home to Georgia State.
116. Georgia State (2-4). It's been a rough road for the Panthers since starting a program and moving up to FBS play in 2013, but they've now increased their win total in three Sun Belt seasons, from zero to one to two, thanks to road wins at New Mexico State and, surprisingly, Ball State.
115. Charlotte (2-4). In only their third year of football and first year in the FBS, the 49ers opened with two wins against fellow young program Georgia State and Presbyterian. Last week, they lost to Old Dominion by three. This is one of the worst offenses in the country, but the goal this season was to win a few games and put up a fight.
114. Florida Atlantic (1-5). Strangely, the Owls' only win came in their ugliest performance, a 17-7 victory over FBS newcomer Charlotte, in which they averaged 2.5 yards per play and had 184 total yards. The game featured 12 turnovers.
113. Hawaii (2-5). With USC transfer Max Wittek at quarterback, Hawaii opened its season with a promising win over Colorado, but it was shut out in its first three road games (Ohio State, Wisconsin, Boise State) and just lost by one on a last-minute touchdown at New Mexico. Wittek has a 44.9 percent completion rate and missed the New Mexico game with a knee injury.
112. UL Monroe (1-5). The Warhawks beat Nicholls State 47-0 but are winless against FBS opponents. While the second-half schedule is easier (the first half featured Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Southern, Appalachian State and Tulsa), five of their final seven games are on the road.
111. Army (2-5). This isn't looking like the year to end Navy's 13-year winning streak. Army pushed Penn State, Wake Forest and Connecticut but also lost to Fordham and needed a long fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Edgar Allan Poe (yes, seriously) to beat Bucknell.
110. Massachusetts (1-5). The Minutemen had a fairly tough first-half schedule (Colorado, Temple, Notre Dame, Bowling Green), and while they have unbeaten Toledo next, the second-half slate has winnable games, with chances for improved production from touted QB Blake Frohnapfel. Receiver Tajae Sharpe already has 65 catches in six games.
109. Fresno State (2-5). It's been a painful fall for the Bulldogs since the departure of Derek Carr. A consistently competitive program for a while, Fresno State actually won the Mountain West's West Division last year but finished 6-8, and now it's off to a 2-5 start with struggles in the passing game. The Bulldogs did just beat UNLV 31-28 for their first FBS win of the year.
108. SMU (1-5). Despite the record -- and a 48-45 loss to FCS power James Madison -- this is clearly a much-improved team under Chad Morris. The defense remains a mess (dead last in yards per play allowed), but the offense has improved from 127th to 65th in yards per play under Morris' leadership. They might upset somebody.
107. Tulane (2-4). With the win over UCF, this is actually a better start than expected, because the Green Wave lost to Duke, Georgia Tech, Temple and Houston. The tough start will only get worse with road trips to Navy and Memphis next.
106. Texas State (1-4). The Bobcats are actually scoring 34 points per game thanks to a 63-24 win over Prairie View A&M and a 56-50 loss to Southern Miss. They're also allowing nearly 50 points per game. Fortunately, the second-half schedule is much easier, although getting to .500 for the third time in four FBS seasons may be a stretch.
105. Old Dominion (3-3). David Washington caught seven passes in the first five games. Then the Monarchs moved him to quarterback, and he got them out of their passing funk, throwing for 365 yards and four touchdowns in a 37-34 win over Charlotte.
104. Buffalo (2-4). Lance Leipold lost six games in his entire eight-year head coaching career at Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater, winning six national titles. He may surpass that number of losses in his debut season alone at Buffalo. The Bulls lost tight games to Nevada and Bowling Green but just got blown out 51-14 by Central Michigan.
103. UL Lafayette (2-4). An extensive NCAA investigation now casts a big shadow over a team that has gone 9-4 with New Orleans Bowl wins in all four of Mark Hudspeth's seasons. On the field, the Ragin' Cajuns have been up and down, starting with a near-upset at Kentucky in Week 1. They lost to Arkansas State on Tuesday night and finally appear set to take a step back from this run of 9-4 seasons and bowl wins.
102. Akron (3-4). Terry Bowden's Zips scored 10 points in their first two games against Oklahoma and Pittsburgh, but a road win at Louisiana-Lafayette in Week 4 makes a .500 season still possible. They have, however, been held to 12 points or fewer four times now.
101. South Alabama (3-3). The Jaguars unfortunately blew 31-20 fourth-quarter lead in last week's Sun Belt Tuesday game against Arkansas State, losing 49-31. With QB Cody Clements and some other UAB transfers, they do own a road win at San Diego State and still have a chance for a third straight .500 regular season.
100. Kent State (3-4). The Golden Flashes rank 127th in offensive yards per play (4.28), but they've still already managed to top last year's win total (two).
99. UNLV (2-5). This is actually promising start for former high school coach Tony Sanchez. He inherited a team that has finished with two wins in eight of the last 11 seasons. So, with one more win -- the Rebels just lost by three to Fresno State and six to San Jose State -- they'll already surpass most recent UNLV teams.
98. Nevada (3-4). The Wolf Pack went to bowl games in eight straight years under Chris Ault, but now they're in danger of missing their second in three years under Brian Polian. Another three wins are possible in a weak division, as they try to recover from disappointing losses to UNLV and Wyoming.
97. San Jose State (3-4). A few weeks after piling up 300 yards against Fresno State, tailback Tyler Ervin was just held to 22 yards on 17 carries against San Diego State, the clear division favorite. Bowl eligibility is a stretch, but the Spartans have already matched last year's win total.
96. New Mexico (4-3). Thanks in part to a last-minute one-point win over Hawaii, Bob Davie's Lobos have a chance to be bowl eligible for the first time since 2007, behind another productive rushing attack.
95. Florida International (3-4). FIU opened its season with a stunning 15-14 win over UCF that turns out to be not so stunning at all. The Golden Panthers will have to win the next three in a row to get bowl eligible for the first time since foolishly firing Mario Cristobal, because they end the season with C-USA frontrunners Marshall and Western Kentucky.
94. Connecticut (3-4). The Huskies have won one more game than last year -- thanks to tight wins over Villanova and Army -- but the only decent bet for a win the rest of the way might be against Tulane. Obviously, though, the season is already a success for a team that won a historic, storied rivalry like the ConFLiCT.
93. Purdue (1-6). There's no question that Purdue is a tough job, but coach Darrell Hazell may find himself in trouble soon. The Boilermakers won four games total in his first two seasons, and now their only win this season is against Indiana State, an FCS team. They've been soundly beaten by Minnesota and Wisconsin since their upset attempt at Michigan State came up short.
92. Iowa State (2-4). The Cyclones didn't beat Iowa this year, but at least they beat Kansas, ensuring that they won't be the worst team in the Big 12. They will, however, be an underdog in the rest of the games, and no matter how hard of a job this is and how personally popular Paul Rhoads is, another two-win season would make it hard to keep him.
91. Rice (3-3). The Owls can be forgiven for losing to Texas, Baylor and Western Kentucky, and their defense should improve against a weaker second-half schedule in a weak Conference USA West division. A fourth straight bowl appearance is likely.
90. Colorado (3-4). Away games in Honolulu are hard to predict, but Colorado still has to be kicking itself for losing its opener to Hawaii. The Buffaloes have dropped three straight Pac-12 games now after a three-game winning streak, and their only two home games the rest of the season are Stanford and USC. They've already surpassed last year's win total, but four wins appears to be the ceiling, even with a 13-game schedule because of the Hawaii trip.
89. Maryland (2-4). Four blowout losses cost Randy Edsall his job already. This was expected to be a rebuilding season, but it's worse than most expected, as the Terrapins could be 2-8 heading into their final two games against Indiana and Rutgers. They've thrown a national-worst 17 interceptions.
88. Oregon State (2-4). Mike Riley left new coach Gary Andersen with a 5-7 Oregon State team that lost nine defensive starters and quarterback Sean Mannion. Predictably, it's not going well, even if freshman quarterback Seth Collins has shown some promise with his running ability. The Beavers just lost by 37 at Arizona and 21 at Washington State.
87. Central Michigan (3-4). It's been a frustrating year for the Chippewas under new coach John Bonamego, because they have put up a fight in each of their losses, including holding Oklahoma State to 24 points, losing to Syracuse by three and losing to Western Michigan by two. QB Cooper Rush has completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 2,084 yards, and they did beat Northern Illinois.
86. Arkansas State (4-3). The Red Wolves have lost to three quality opponents -- USC, Missouri and Toledo -- and now they have quarterback Fredi Knighten back from injury. They're unbeaten in the Sun Belt and can challenge Appalachian State and Georgia Southern for the title.
85. Ohio (5-2). The Bobcats haven't finished below .500 since 2008, and that streak will stay alive. They beat Marshall and lost by a field to Minnesota, and they're a good bet to finish second in the MAC East behind Bowling Green.
84. Southern Miss (4-3). Tangible progress, finally. Southern Miss plummeted from 12-2 to 0-12 in 2012, and Todd Monken is in his third season of trying to fix a mess. With four wins, the Eagles have already equaled the total of his first two seasons, with Nick Mullens leading an offense that ranks 14th in yards per play. Southern Miss finished above .500 every year from 1994-2012. It may finally get back to that familiar territory.
83. Middle Tennessee (3-4). The future appears to be bright in Murfreesboro: Freshman QB Brent Stockstill -- the coach's son -- ranks 20th nationally in passer rating, and freshman receiver Richie James has 55 catches for 692 yards.
82. Northern Illinois (4-3). This is a solid team behind QB Drew Hare, but it's not as strong of a Northern Illinois team as we're become used to, and its streak of five straight MAC West titles and five straight seasons of three losses or fewer is likely to come to an end, unless the Huskies beat Toledo and Western Michigan.
81. Tulsa (3-3). Tulsa has often had successful teams with potent offenses in recent years, and it's not surprising to see former Baylor offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery putting a competitive offense on the field. The Golden Hurricane average 33 points per game, with Dane Evans throwing for 354 yards per game. Tulsa is stuck in a tough AAC West, but getting to six wins is possible after winning a total of five the last two years.
80. Boston College (3-4). The Eagles have dealt with injuries to quarterback Darius Wade and tailback Jon Hilliman, in addition to replacing the entire starting offensive line from last year. Playing offense has been a steep challenge. While the Eagles are giving up only 11 points and 51.7 rushing yards per game, they've scored a total of 24 points in four ACC losses, including the embarrassing 3-0 loss to Wake Forest. Half of this team is really good; the other half will cause the Eagles to stay home for the holidays.
79. Wake Forest (3-4). Dave Clawson's two ACC wins have both come in games in which Wake Forest did not score a touchdown, thanks to the horribly enthralling 3-0 win over Boston College and last year's amazing 6-3 double-OT win over Virginia Tech. The Demon Deacons are only 118th in rushing, but they already have 322 more yards than last year.
78. Syracuse (3-3). Another season-ending injury to Terrel Hunt put Syracuse in a tough position, but freshman QB Eric Dungey has thrown nine touchdowns and just one pick with an average of 8.8 yards per attempt, plus 222 rushing yards. The bad news is the Orange have dropped three straight, including 21-point loss to South Florida and an OT loss to Virginia.
77. Air Force (3-3). QB Nate Romine was knocked out for the season in Week 2, and the Falcons are 1-3 without him. All three losses were on the road to Michigan State, Navy and Colorado State, though, and the next three games are winnable, so the Falcons are still in solid position for an eighth bowl game in nine years under Troy Calhoun.
76. Colorado State (3-4). Beating Air Force was Mike Bobo's first win of note, as the Rams had heartbreaking three-point losses to Minnesota and Colorado and got blown out by conference heavyweights Boise State and Utah State. They're 121st in turnover margin, so improvement there could make a big difference down the stretch.
75. South Florida (3-3). Thanks to back-to-back wins over Syracuse and Connecticut, six wins isn't actually impossible for a team that has greatly underperformed in recent years, not going to the postseason since 2010. Behind tailback Marlon Mack, the Bulls rank 32nd in yards per play, up from 107th last year.
74. Virginia (2-4). The Cavaliers did themselves no favors with a schedule that included Boise State and UCLA on top of the ACC partnership game with Notre Dame. The Cavaliers nearly upset Notre Dame but got blown out by the other two, and fortunately they just escaped with an overtime win over Syracuse. They'll be underdogs the rest of the way.
73. Vanderbilt (2-4). Taking control of the defense has worked out for head coach Derek Mason, but even with a unit that's allowing a respectable five yards per play, the Commodores will need an upset win to avoid taking a step back from last year's 3-9 record.
72. San Diego State (4-3). The Aztecs hold a commanding lead in a very weak West Division in the Mountain West, as they're 3-0 in the conference, while the rest of the division has at least two losses. After three straight losses to California, South Alabama and Penn State, they've won three in a row within the division behind another stingy defense.
71. Western Michigan (3-3). After improving from 1-11 to 8-5, P.J. Fleck is trying to sustain the momentum (and then likely start fielding phone calls from Big Ten teams). The Broncos rank 27th in yards per play and should be 6-3 heading into a brutal end-of-season MACtion stretch against Bowling Green, Northern Illinois and Toledo.
70. Indiana (4-3). Not going to a bowl game would feel devastating. Kevin Wilson is trying to get the Hoosiers to the postseason for the first time since 2007, but after a 4-0 start they've lost a heartbreaker to Ohio State and a blowout to Penn State, before blowing a 52-27 lead to lose to Rutgers. Maryland and Purdue are still on the schedule, but both are road games, so a bowl game is not guaranteed. The Hoosiers need to get tailback Jordan Howard back from an ankle injury.
69. Rutgers (3-3). The Scarlet Knights beat Indiana 55-52 last week in Kyle Flood's return, scoring 31 unanswered points in the final 18 minutes. Is this the turning point in which Rutgers begins an ascent? Well, no, definitely not. Rutgers' next four games are against Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Nebraska, making bowl eligibility unlikely.
68. South Carolina (3-4). At least the Gamecocks beat Vanderbilt in the first game after Steve Spurrier's sudden resignation. They were lucky to beat North Carolina in the opener because of red-zone turnovers, and three of their four losses have been by double digits. They'll likely finish below .500 for the first time since Lou Holtz was the coach in 2003.
67. Georgia Tech (2-5). One of the most disappointing teams in the country, Georgia Tech had a rough road this year with Notre Dame, Georgia, Florida State and Clemson on the schedule. But even with the loss of most of the skill position players, nobody could have seen this fall after an Orange Bowl win. The Yellow Jackets have lost five in a row (Pitt, Duke and North Carolina included), and now they'll try to salvage their season starting this Saturday against unbeaten Florida State. The most telling stat? After finishing in the top four in third-down conversions three of the last four years, they're currently 114th.
66. Illinois (4-2). Interim coach Bill Cubit has done a solid job since Tim Beckman was fired a week before the season, with the Fighting Illini even scoring a last-minute win vs. Nebraska. With two more wins, Illinois can go bowling two times in a row -- something that's happened only once since a run of five straight bowls from 1988-92.
65. N.C. State (4-2). The Wolfpack were considered a possible sleeper this year, but a 4-0 start told us nothing, because their nonconference schedule was awful. Jacoby Brissett has had back-to-back rough outings in ACC losses to Louisville and Virginia Tech, and now the Wolfpack really need a win at Wake Forest with Clemson and Florida State coming up.
64. Minnesota (4-3). After back-to-back 8-5 seasons, injury-riddled Minnesota has taken a clear step back. While it pushed TCU, three of its wins were against Group of Five teams by a field goal each. Last Saturday, the Gophers got blown out by Nebraska. With Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin left, a bowl game is not a lock.
63. Virginia Tech (3-4). Virginia Tech hoped to rebound and re-take control of the ACC Coastal this year, but instead the Hokies haven't taken advantage of a favorable schedule in which they don't play either Clemson or Florida State. They lost three of their last four, including their second loss in a row to East Carolina.
62. Texas (2-4). Thankfully Texas beat Oklahoma in a Red River upset, because this season was quickly looking liked disaster in Charlie Strong's second year. The offense is still wildly erratic -- Texas lost 50-7 to TCU a week earlier -- but the Oklahoma win at least restores some confidence, especially with a handful of winnable games coming up before the season finale at Baylor.
61. Appalachian State (5-1). The Mountaineers started 1-5 in their first FBS season, but since then they've won 11 of 12 games, their only loss coming to Clemson on Sept. 12. Their five wins have come by a total score of 225 to 30. Beyond Clemson, the schedule has been weak, though, so this Thursday's game against Georgia Southern looms large.
60. East Carolina (4-3). Ruffin McNeil continues to do a solid job with the Pirates, who have become a reliable team with eight bowl appearances in nine years. They beat Virginia Tech, their three losses are all understandable (Florida, Navy, BYU) and they're actually a three-point favorite over undefeated Temple at home on Thursday night.
59. Arkansas (2-4). At least Bret Bielema has called out Ohio State's schedule, drawn the ire of Kliff Kingsbury and baited an opposing player into a personal foul penalty to try to get people to talk about something other than the fact that he's 3-16 in SEC games at Arkansas. The Razorbacks did win at Tennessee, which was certainly needed after nonconference losses to Toledo and Texas Tech.
58. Marshall (6-1). This isn't nearly as dominant of a team as last year, which was to be expected after the loss of Rakeem Cato. But the Thundering Herd have hit their stride after a disappointing loss to Ohio, winning five straight with a defense that ranks 18th in yards per play allowed. They have a chance to win 10 games for the third year in a row, although Western Kentucky is the clear Conference USA favorite.
57. Louisiana Tech (4-3). It felt like Jeff Driskel was at Florida forever, and yet here he is, throwing for 2,115 yards and rushing for 221 yards in seven games as a graduate transfer for Louisiana Tech. He's already thrown for more yards than he ever did at Florida, making the Bulldogs clear favorites in the Conference USA West Division.
56. Cincinnati (3-3). Although they beat Miami, this is the second year in a row that the Bearcats have started 3-3 in the first half of the season. Last year, they won their last seven regular season games in a row. Trips to Houston and East Carolina are tough, but there are plenty of wins left on the schedule, regardless of whether Gunner Kiel or Hayden Moore is playing quarterback.
55. Kansas State (3-3). Bill Snyder's band of walk-ons and overlooked recruits suffered heartbreaking close losses to Oklahoma State and TCU, then ran out of gas against an angry Oklahoma, losing 55-0. The offense lacks explosive plays with Tyler Lockett now in the NFL, but Snyder will still probably find a way to pull off an upset. If you do beat him, he'll send you a nice note.
54. Louisville (2-4). The Louisville offensive line is struggling for the second year in a row, and the Cardinals started three different quarterbacks in three losses to start the year. Things have settled down behind freshman Lamar Jackson now, and every remaining game is winnable, so there should not be too much worrying about missing the postseason, even if it's a close call.
53. Kentucky (4-2). The Wildcats are actually eight points away from being undefeated, as they lost by five to Florida and by three to Auburn. The SEC East isn't particularly strong, so Mark Stoops appears to have the Wildcats finally in position to go bowling for the first time since 2010.
52. Georgia Southern (5-1). Under Willie Fritz, the Eagles are 14-4 since jumping to the FBS level, with their only losses coming to West Virginia, N.C. State, Georgia Tech and Navy. They have yet to lose a Sun Belt game, although this Thursday features what could be the Sun Belt game of the year at Appalachian State. Running back Matt Breida averages 10.3 yards per carry.
51. Missouri (4-3). The defense is phenomenal, despite losing Markus Golden and Shane Ray, among others. The Tigers rank second nationally in tackles for loss, behind young players like Charles Harris, Walter Brady and Terry Beckner (plus stalwart linebacker Kentrell Brothers). However, the offense is a disaster. QB Maty Mauk is suspended, and Missouri has been held to 13 points or less four times. There won't be another surprise SEC East title.
50. Nebraska (3-4). Mike Riley finally got in the win column again by capturing $5 Bits of Broken Chair in decisive fashion against Minnesota. The Cornhuskers' four losses have come by a Hail Mary, an OT interception after staging a massive comeback, poor clock management and a last-second field goal -- by a total of 11 points. They rank last the nation in pass defense, allowing 341.7 yards per game.
49. Arizona (5-2). Star linebacker Scooby Wright has had two injuries and missed most of the season, and without him the Wildcats got blown out by both UCLA and Stanford. A repeat Pac-12 South title isn't going to happen, but the offense is still 14th in yards per play and Anu Solomon has yet to throw an interception.
48. Auburn (4-2). The season can still be salvaged, now that Auburn survived a road trip to Kentucky. Jeremy Johnson went from preseason breakout Heisman candidate to the bench within a month, as Auburn plummeted from the top 10 to unranked following losses to LSU and Mississippi State. The defense hasn't made much improvement under Will Muschamp just yet, and beyond Idaho, the remaining schedule is difficult.
47. Penn State (5-2). The defensive line is fantastic, with former walk-on Carl Nassib leading the nation in sacks, tackles for loss and forced fumbles. The offense, though, is still a disjointed mess as Christian Hackenberg struggles behind poor pass protection. The good news is that freshman phenom tailback Saquon Barkley appears to be unstoppable, averaging 8.3 yards per carry and rushing for 194 yards at Ohio State.
46. Washington (3-3). Despite losing Shaq Thompson, Hau'oli Kikaha, Danny Shelton and Marcus Peters, the Huskies defense has been excellent, springing the upset at USC and giving up 16.8 points per game. But the offense is way behind as the offensive line and freshman quarterback Jake Browning go through growing pains. Freshman tailback Myles Gaskin is looking like a star, at least.
45. Oregon (4-3). After losing by 42 to Utah and getting upset by Washington State, the Ducks avoided a total collapse, winning their 11th in a row against rival Washington. Royce Freeman and the running game are rolling and QB Vernon Adams has returned from his finger injury, but the pass defense is still a huge red flag.
44. Washington State (4-2). Mike Leach finally has some momentum. An opening loss to Portland State appeared to spell doom, but the Cougars won a dramatic finish across the country at Rutgers, hung with Cal in a 34-28 loss, beat Oregon in overtime and beat Oregon State 52-31. The program's second bowl appearance since 2003 is plausible again, with Luke Falk hitting a Leach-ian stride at quarterback.
43. Bowling Green (5-2). Few teams are more fun to watch. Former Art Briles assistant Dino Babers has the Falcons offense putting up a ton of points behind Matt Johnson, who leads the nation with 2,891 passing yards (413 per game). They're a clear MAC East favorite, and their Nov. 17 game vs. Toledo could be a preview of the conference title game.
42. West Virginia (3-3). West Virginia got sleeper attention for the way it dominated its first three games, but star safety Karl Joseph suffered a season-ending injury, and the Mountaineers have struggled through their brutal October schedule against four ranked teams, getting blown out by Oklahoma and Baylor and losing to Oklahoma State in overtime. They have a bye this week … and then the tough road continues with a trip to TCU.
41. Wisconsin (5-2). This was expected to be a breakout year for tailback Corey Clement, but he hasn't played since Week 1, with his status unclear as he recovers from sports hernia surgery. The Badgers offense has had growing pains with a rebuilt line under new coach Paul Chryst, but the defense continues to play at a high level, ranking 15th in yards per play allowed behind linebacker Joe Schobert.
40. Navy (4-1). Quarterback Keenan Reynolds is just five rushing touchdowns away from breaking Montee Ball's FBS career record of 77. He actually hasn't scored one since Sept. 26, but there is still plenty of time left, on a team that hopes to compete with Memphis, Houston and Temple to win the AAC in its first ever season in a conference.
39. Texas Tech (5-2). The Red Raiders have already topped last year's disastrous 4-8 campaign, beating Arkansas and coming one tipped pass touchdown away from beating TCU. There's still a lot to prove, given that the team's two Big 12 wins are against Kansas (by 10) and Iowa State, but this offense has the firepower to pull off an upset somewhere, even if the defense is still an enormous liability.
38. Miami (4-2). The Hurricanes couldn't upset Florida State, so now they'll try to spoil undefeated Clemson's season on Saturday. If they don't, they'll be 4-3, in a hole in the ACC Coastal, with a trip to Duke the next week that could really start to cause trouble for coach Al Golden. A win over Virginia Tech last week helps, as does a solid season from Brad Kaaya and the offense, but the defense ranks 93rd in yards per play allowed.
37. Arizona State (4-3). The season has been somewhat disappointing, although losses to Texas A&M, Utah and USC are understandable -- even if the USC margin was embarrassing. The Sun Devils won at UCLA, and if they can start winning turnover battles, the second-half schedule sets up nicely, depending on what Oregon brings to the table next week.
36. Tennessee (3-3). The Volunteers finally closed out a game in beating Georgia after blowing leads to Oklahoma, Florida and Arkansas to ruin what they hoped was a breakout season. They're two games behind Florida in the SEC East, and now they have one last brutal game at Alabama before a relatively light five-game finish.
35. BYU (5-2). Tanner Mangum's early-season magic was unbelievable, after he replaced the injured Taysom Hill and beat both Nebraska and Boise State with Hail Marys, but the Cougars ran out of steam with a tight loss to UCLA before getting shut out by Michigan. They're quietly a solid 5-2 now, in line for a good season with the only remaining tests being Missouri and Utah State.
34. Western Kentucky (6-1). The Hilltoppers rank sixth in yards per play as quarterback Brandon Doughty continues to light up defenses. He ended last year with 491 yards vs. Marshall and 486 yards in the Bahamas Bowl, and this year he's completed 77.4 percent for 2,709 yards with 24 TDs and four picks. They're the Conference USA favorite, losing one game by three at Indiana.
33. Northwestern (5-2). Great defense allowed Northwestern to jump to a 5-0 start with wins over Stanford, Duke and Minnesota, but the offense has failed to make any substantial progress. The Wildcats rank 126th in yards per play and just scored a total of 10 points in blowout losses to Michigan and Iowa.
32. USC (3-3). USC is capable of beating anyone and losing to almost anyone, which is how it has back-to-back losses to Washington and Notre Dame but is still favored to beat undefeated No. 3 Utah. It's impossible to know how this team is going to finish after the firing of Steve Sarkisian and losses in three of the last four games, but the offense does still rank fifth in yards per play.
31. Boise State (5-2). While the Broncos made the Fiesta Bowl with two losses last year, last week's eight-turnover, 52-26 loss to Utah State likely doomed them to the Las Vegas Bowl, or something else of that nature. Barring more turnover disasters -- freshman QB Brett Rypien has otherwise played well -- this team can still run the table and be in the mix for the conference title.
30. Utah State (4-2). Chuckie Keeton was once one of the most exciting QBs in college football, but injuries have ruined three straight seasons. Yet Matt Wells is still 23-11 at Utah State despite the quarterback carousel, with three straight excellent defenses leading the way. Utah State just blew out Boise State by forcing eight turnovers and is in the Mountain West driver's seat.
29. Pittsburgh (5-1). Pitt might be the quietest one-loss team in the country, with its lone loss coming on the road to unbeaten Iowa on a 57-yard field goal. The Panthers have done this mostly without injured star running back James Conner and despite making a quarterback switch from Chad Voytik to Nathan Peterman. The second half of the schedule is tough, but the Panthers will at least stop the streak of four straight seasons within one game of .500.
28. Duke (5-1). David Cutcliffe continues to be one of the best coaches in America. Duke doesn't have a great win yet, given Georgia Tech's disappointing season, but that Duke is again an ACC Coastal contender and is poised to make a fourth straight bowl is a fantastic accomplishment for a team that won just 19 games in an entire decade from 2000-09.
27. Mississippi State (5-2). A forgotten decent team buried in the SEC West, the Bulldogs lost by two to LSU and by 13 to Texas A&M, and they beat Auburn. Dak Prescott has thrown for 1,700 yards with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions, plus 254 rushing yards. They're on their way to a sixth straight bowl, and while they aren't an SEC West contender, they aren't an easy out either.
26. Georgia (5-2). A season-ending injury to star tailback Nick Chubb was crushing, and over the last three games Georgia has lost to Alabama 38-10, lost to Tennessee 38-31 and beat Missouri in an ugly 9-6 game. The season -- well, Georgia's SEC East title hopes -- comes down to the Halloween date in Jacksonville with Florida.
25. UCLA (4-2). The Bruins are very good again, but they're not quite ready to break through. Freshman Josh Rosen is likely going to be a star, although he's had ups and downs, and the defense has been hurt by season-ending injuries to Myles Jack, Eddie Vanderdoes and Fabian Moreau. There's enough talent here to finish strong, and the Bruins will be under the microscope this Thursday vs. California.
24. North Carolina (5-1). The Tar Heels, known for underachieving most years, are one bad red-zone turnover away from being unbeaten. They threw away the opener vs. South Carolina and haven't lost since, with an offense that ranks fourth in yards per play. They may be the team to beat in the ACC Coastal.
23. Temple (6-0). A decade after getting kicked out of the Big East for being woefully inept at playing football, Temple has been to two bowls under two coaches and is now undefeated under a third coach, Matt Rhule. The Owls beat Penn State for the first time since 1941, and next week they host Notre Dame in an ABC prime-time game. Just watch out for Thursday's dangerous road trip to East Carolina.
22. Ole Miss (5-2). Ole Miss will cling to back-to-back wins over Alabama forever, but the memories have been erased by a blowout loss at Florida and a decisive loss at Memphis. At least this week, in a key game vs. Texas A&M, the Rebels finally get back star left tackle Laremy Tunsil, who sat out the first half of the season because of NCAA violations.
21. Toledo (6-0). The unbeaten Rockets have a knack for beating Power Five teams, and this year they've taken out Arkansas and Iowa State, even with five new offensive line starters. Star running back Kareem Hunt has played in only three games, and the Rockets are one of two teams to not allow a sack yet this season. Circle Tuesday, Nov. 17 on your calendar for potentially thrilling MACtion at nearby rival Bowling Green.
20. California (5-1). Prized NFL prospect Jared Goff's five-interception night at Utah wasn't a particularly impressive performance on a national stage, but he is still one of the nation's most talented quarterbacks, leading a dangerous offense. The Golden Bears already matched last year's win total, and they're in the hunt for the Pac-12 North title, lurking behind rival Stanford -- although they play UCLA, USC and Oregon the next three weeks.
19. Houston (6-0). Tom Herman has been a head coach for only six games, and yet he's one of the hottest names in coaching. He hasn't lost yet, after winning a national title as Ohio State's offensive coordinator, and quarterback Greg Ward is becoming a star with 1,524 passing yards and 631 rushing yards. The Nov. 14 game vs. Memphis is looking bigger and bigger.
18. Memphis (6-0). A rebuilding defense has been a big question, after Memphis won shootouts against Bowling Green and Cincinnati, but the Tigers survived both and then took down Ole Miss 37-24. Paxton Lynch has been one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and Justin Fuente is a rising star as a head coach.
17. Oklahoma (5-1). Oklahoma has not lost back-to-back games since Bob Stoops' first season in 1999, and the Sooners made sure to emphatically remind everyone last week by beating Kansas State 55-0 after losing to Texas. The loss to Texas was rough, but don't sleep on the Sooners in the Big 12 race, especially behind the playmaking ability of quarterback Baker Mayfield.
16. Michigan (5-2). It will take a long time to erase the pain of the Michigan State loss, but at least Michigan knows that a dark era of football is likely over, thanks to the presence of Jim Harbaugh. The Wolverines have lost two games by 11 points, and they've won five games 160-14. They're still a work in progress, and yet they have one of the nation's best defenses and will have a chance to upset Ohio State.
15. Oklahoma State (6-0). Oklahoma State took care of business against three overmatched nonconference opponents, and now it has three close Big 12 wins in a row, beating Texas by three, Kansas State by two and West Virginia by seven in overtime. The undefeated record is unsustainable, but this is a much-improved defense. Oklahoma, TCU and Baylor all visit Stillwater in November, so the Cowboys can be a factor in the conference title race.
14. Iowa (7-0). Everyone is, of course, looking forward to the Iowa-Oklahoma State national semifinal at the Cotton Bowl, right? The Hawkeyes just beat Northwestern 40-10 with two injured tackles, an injured running back and star defensive end Drew Ott out for the season. They're bound to slip up and get upset before the Big Ten title game, but with remaining games against Maryland, Indiana, Minnesota, Purdue and Nebraska … maybe not.
13. Florida (6-1). Jim McElwain has done a fantastic job in his first season, as the Gators pulled off a couple close wins early, then pummeled Ole Miss at home. Their only loss was on a fourth-quarter fake field goal at LSU, and despite the suspension of QB Will Grier, they're in position to win the SEC East behind a great defense.
12. Texas A&M (5-1). Throwing three pick-sixes is one way to lose to Alabama. There's a lot to be positive about, though, as Christian Kirk and Myles Garrett are two underclassman superstars, the defense is making some progress and QB Kyle Allen is a talented player despite the Alabama debacle. A major bowl bid is a possibility if the Aggies can split their remaining road games against Ole Miss and LSU.
11. Notre Dame (6-1). Brian Kelly is holding them together with duct tape, but the Fighting Irish keep finding ways to win, whether it was the late Will Fuller touchdown at Virginia or the fourth-quarter rally vs. USC. The loss to Clemson greatly decreases Notre Dame's margin for error -- the season-ending game at Stanford could be huge -- but just the fact that Notre Dame is in this playoff conversation after losing a starting quarterback, tight end and running back, among others, is impressive.
10. Florida State (6-0). A turnover machine at Notre Dame, Everett Golson has yet to commit a turnover at Florida State. He's joined in backfield by Heisman candidate Dalvin Cook, and while the Seminoles aren't getting a ton of love yet -- they'll have to beat Clemson on Nov. 7 -- remember that they've lost only once since the last game of the 2012 regular season vs. Florida, and that was to the Heisman winner in last year's Rose Bowl.
9. Stanford (5-1). Nobody has improved more since Week 1. After a 16-6 loss at Northwestern, Stanford has developed into a machine, blowing out four Pac-12 opponents -- including UCLA last Thursday -- to take control of the Pac-12 North. All-purpose back Christian McCaffrey is quickly becoming a superstar with the help of a terrific offensive line.
8. Michigan State (7-0). This a flawed undefeated team that beat Purdue by a field goal and Rutgers by a touchdown and needed an once-in-a-lifetime miracle to beat Michigan and has had injury problems … but I promised I wouldn't be negative about the Spartans' playoff chances this week. The Spartans have three losses in the last two and a half seasons and just made their chief rival feel miserable. Enjoy the moment.
7. Utah (6-0). The Utes just keep finding ways to win, putting together an impressive resume of wins against Michigan, Cal, Oregon and Arizona State. The passing game is up-and-down and the defense actually ranks only 53rd in yards per play allowed, but this is a dangerous team that has a favorable road the rest of the way … if the Utes can win in the Coliseum against USC on Saturday.
6. Alabama (6-1). Yes, Alabama lost to Ole Miss, committing five turnovers in a loss that is looking worse as the Rebels struggle. But how many teams would you actually pick to beat Alabama on a neutral field tomorrow? Jacob Coker and the passing game are erratic, with the Crimson Tide particularly struggling on third down, but they have a ton of talent, with emerging players like Calvin Ridley and Minkah Fitzpatrick, plus powerful running back Derrick Henry and an impenetrable defensive front. Bet against the Crimson Tide at your own risk.
5. TCU (7-0). The defense has shown a lot of holes, after losing several key starters from last year's team and then running into horrendous injury luck, but the offense keeps showing the ability to out-score anybody. The Trevone Boykin-Josh Doctson connection is unstoppable, and the Horned Frogs' veteran offensive line is underrated. This is a fun, must-watch team every week, with the road getting tougher in November with games at Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, plus the highly anticipated date with Baylor on Black Friday.
4. Clemson (6-0). After replacing nearly the entire starting defensive front from the nation's top defense, Clemson keeps rolling anyway, behind stars like Shaq Lawson and Mackensie Alexander. Deshaun Watson has made some mistakes at quarterback, but he has perhaps the highest ceiling of any quarterback in the country, especially as his line and receivers improve. Beat Florida State on Nov. 7, and a playoff bid is within reach.
3. LSU (6-0). The Leonard Fournette Heisman campaign keeps rolling with 1,202 yards in six games, Brandon Harris and the passing offense are gaining confidence and the defense is suffocating against the run and has a ton of talent in the secondary. And now that Les Miles is winning games on fake field goals again, suddenly this is looking like a classic Miles/LSU title contender.
2. Ohio State (7-0). The Buckeyes are the undefeated defending national champion, ranked No. 1 in the AP poll, and they're making a quarterback change. Which is the right move. J.T. Barrett has played better than Cardale Jones, and this team will undoubtedly keep getting better. It's the most talented roster in the country, with the best head coach, and it has three easy games to continue to put the puzzle together before finishing the season with Michigan State and Michigan.
1. Baylor (6-0). Have the Bears played anyone? Not really. But they've also won six games by an average score of 63.8 to 24.8, and they blew out West Virginia, who beat them last year. The defense is vulnerable, but it has enough standouts to make stops and make some big plays. The offense is unstoppable, averaging 8.9 yards per play thanks to breakout quarterback Seth Russell, incredibly prolific receiver Corey Coleman, underrated tailback Shock Linwood and arguably the nation's best offensive line. Baylor could stumble in its tough November with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and TCU in consecutive weeks, but this offense is playing out of its mind right now.