The Times’ college football rankings

Louisiana State beat Alabama, but LSU now has to play an extra game while Alabama has secured a free pass to the national championship game. LSU is practicing this week while Coach Nick Saban is out recruiting. Congratulations, LSU … we think. Don’t count out No. 4 or No. 5 as this independent arbiter closely monitors closing statements from Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech. Stanford doesn’t deserve consideration because it didn’t even win its division in the Pac-12. Only Southeastern Conference schools that didn’t win their division get to make that argument.

1; Louisiana State 12-0; Preparing like Tigers for an SEC title game it might not have to win. (1)

2; Alabama 11-1; All schools (except us) should have to win division to earn spot in BCS title game. (2)

3; Stanford 11-1; Luck edges out Commissioner Larry Scott for league’s most valuable player. (4)


4; Oklahoma State 10-1; Coach won’t campaign for team but will host pancake breakfast for Ron Paul? (5)

5; Virginia Tech 11-1; Winner of Clemson rematch clinches Atlantic Coast Conference’s automatic bid to BCS bowl defeat. (8)

6; Houston 12-0; Let’s not sugarcoat this: One more win and you’re playing in the Sugar Bowl. (6)

7; USC 10-2; Coming to a T-shirt near you: University of Southern (Division Champion) California. (9)


8; Boise State 10-1; Petersen considers move to L.A. as 5 million of us consider moving to Boise. (7)

9; Oregon 10-2; Temporary track installed at Autzen so Ducks can literally run laps around UCLA. (10)

10; Arkansas 10-2; Associated Press voter Craig “Phony Express” James has Hogs at No. 3 and Boise State at No. 24. (3)

11; Oklahoma 9-2; Stoops plays spoiler role at Stillwater in Shakespeare’s “Oil’s Well that Ends Well.” (11)

12; South Carolina 10-2; Three straight wins over Clemson has Spurrier thinking about a fourth straight. (12)

13; Kansas State 9-2; Quarterback Klein has run for five more touchdowns (25) than Alabama’s star running back. (13)

14; Georgia 10-2; Victory over LSU in SEC title game might ignite student chant of “We Want Boise!” (16)

15; Texas Christian 9-2; One Las Vegas sports book set odds of losing to Nevada Las Vegas at “astronomical.” (14)


16; Michigan State 10-2; Rankman rooting for Spartans to make first Rose Bowl appearance since 1988 because … (15)

17; Wisconsin 10-2; … Badgers were just there last year and lost to a team with “frog” in its nickname. (17)

18: Michigan 10-2; New Ohio State coach wants to know if you’re still making Edsels up there. (18)

19; Baylor 8-3; Texas handlers worried someone will try to brand “RGIII” into Bevo’s hide. (21)

20; Nebraska 9-3; Nine victories not shabby in first year of 12-team Big Ten. (23)

21; Clemson 9-3; Mean Mr. Spurrier tells Clemson Tigers kids there’s no such thing as Santa Paws. (19)

22: Penn State 9-3; A pretty good year under unbelievably extraordinary circumstances. (20)

23; Southern Mississippi 10-2; At some point you just have to tip your hat to Coach Larry Fedora. (NR)


24; West Virginia 8-3; Good Luck vs. Big East opponent (fill in blank) for whatever it means. (NR)

25; Florida State 8-4; Honored as “best team in state” by Downtown Lake Okeechobee Athletic Club. (NR)

Dropped out: Notre Dame (22), Georgia Tech (24), Virginia (25).

Moved in: Southern Mississippi, West Virginia, Florida State.

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