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College Football Rankings, Week 9: Oregon Ducks, Auburn Tigers Should Headline Top 25

After the third straight No. 1-ranked team fell on the road to a conference rival, you sort of hate to rank either Oregon or Auburn number one. Both have road games against more-or-less competitive teams from within their conferences (USC Trojans and Ole Miss Rebels, respectively) next week. But there's really no argument against these two teams being the best of the bunch at this point. The only question is whether you prefer resumes or style points.

Auburn has the nation's best collection of pelts. They had the second best until yesterday, when they beat previous title-holder LSU. Official polls will certainly include a team or two in the top five whose conquests literally aren't half as impressive as Auburn's. I'd take Auburn's six best wins over the top three wins of any two teams in the country.

The combined six best wins of Michigan State and Oregon, for instance: Wisconsin, Stanford, Michigan, Arizona State, Northwestern, and UCLA. Does that top what Auburn's done? No. We'll see if they can keep it rolling, with Alabama and quite possibly South Carolina, Georgia, or Florida on the horizon, but for now there's no question. Auburn has beaten the best collection of teams in football.

The resume top five, listing each team's noteworthy victims:

  1. Auburn Tigers: LSU Tigers, South Carolina Gamecocks, Arkansas Razorbacks, Clemson Tigers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Kentucky Wildcats
  2. Michigan State Spartans: Wisconsin Badgers, Michigan Wolverines, Northwestern Wildcats, Illinois Fighting Illini, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  3. LSU Tigers: Mississippi State Bulldogs, Florida Gators, North Carolina Tar Heels, West Virginia Mountaineers, Tennessee Volunteers, Vanderbilt Commodores (minus a loss to Auburn)
  4. Oregon Ducks: Stanford Cardinal, Arizona State Sun Devils, UCLA Bruins, Tennessee Volunteers
  5. Alabama Crimson Tide: Arkansas, Florida, Penn State Nittany Lions, Tennessee, (minus a loss to South Carolina)
But does that tell the whole story? Oregon hasn't played the nation's toughest schedule, but it's absolutely eliminating people with its warp speed tarot card offense. If you can double the spread against any FBS team, you're doing something right. If you make it look easy and do it over and over, you're in the argument as the most impressive team in football no matter who you've played. Here's the style points top five, in which how a team wins matters more than who it beats:
  1. Oregon
  2. Boise State Broncos
  3. Missouri Tigers
  4. TCU Horned Frogs
  5. Auburn
Yes, in the full style points top 120 LSU would rank behind several teams with losing records.

We'll find out what the AP Poll, USA Today Coaches' Poll, and BCS Rankings think throughout the day, 

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.