The unbeatens are thinned out, with just five of them entering November. That number will decrease to four (and possibly less) next week, since Utah and Texas Christian meet in Salt Lake City.
That will finally be a chance to answer the Utah Question --- namely, how good is a Utes team that arguably just got its best result of the season, a 28-23 victory at Air Force.
(To be fair, that rout at Iowa State looks more valuable than it did at the time).
Onto the full top 30, which Maryland narrowly missed ...
1. Auburn (9-0). Steady at No. 1. The Tigers have four legitimate top-25 victories to their name --- Louisiana State, South Carolina, Arkansas and Mississippi State --- and just turned back Mississippi. Their resume remains the best in all the land, plus they have a fantastic Choose Your Own Adventure tale from SB Nation/Every Day Should Be Saturday. What more could anyone want?
2. Oregon (8-0). Up from No. 3. The Ducks have three-touchdown victories over their two best opponents to date (Stanford and now Southern Cal), but the schedule strengths drops considerably after those two games. Of course, no one wants to hear that while they're oohing and aahing about an offense that's hung half-a-hundred five times already. Sound familiar? Then you must be acquainted with Oklahoma circa 2008. In any case, the Ducks should blitz Washington and California the next two weeks before things get really interesting.
3. Boise State (7-0). Up from No. 5. The Broncos roasted another bad team, and Oregon State's win gave it a mild boost. The thing really helping Boise is that Hawaii and Nevada keep winning. Stronger opponents near the top of the league can only help.
4. Texas Christian (9-0). Up from No. 7. The Horned Frogs have a huge thing going against them in the final three weeks of the season: They play nobody. OK, they play New Mexico on Nov. 27, but that's their only game after Nov. 13. Clearly, TCU must beat Utah and San Diego State as well, but it is not going to do anything to improve its resume after the next two weeks. One thing helping right now: Baylor's continued success.
5. Alabama (7-1). Up from No. 9. The Crimson Tide had the week off, but its best victories (Arkansas, Florida, Penn State) all look a bit better now than 24 hours ago. Plus, losses by Big Ten and Big 12 unbeatens devalued not only those teams, but the teams they had beaten.
6. Nebraska (7-1). Up from No. 15. So commences a scrum through No. 16 that is difficult to differentiate. The Cornhuskers can stick here thanks to beating Missouri, but they're tied to the Tigers' welfare at the time being. If Missouri falls again, look for Nebraska to take a hit here as well.
7. Missouri (7-1). Down from No. 4. No shame in losing to the Cornhuskers, and Gary Pinkel's team still has a victory over Oklahoma to prop it up. The national title hopes are probably dead, but this can still be a good season in Columbia.
8. Michigan State (8-1). Down from No. 2. Like Mizzou, Sparty's national championship hopes are gone. But they do have the victory over Wisconsin, though nothing else on their resume holds up right now.
9. Wisconsin (7-1). Down from No. 6. A one-loss Badgers team doesn't belong ahead of one-loss Michigan State, which depresses Wisconsin's value at the moment. The victory over Iowa, though, looks more excellent.
10. Oklahoma (7-1). Down from No. 8. Sure, the Sooners pushed Dan Hawkins a step closer to the firing line. But Florida State, Texas, Air Force, Cincinnati ... they all lost. The only Oklahoma victory that got more valuable was its thrashing of Iowa State, and even that is marginal since the Cyclones beat Kansas. Plus, Missouri (who beat Oklahoma) lost. Overall, another unhelpful weekend for the Sooners.
11. Louisiana State (7-1). Up from No. 13. Struggled with Utah and LSU in this spot. Pretty much a push. The Tigers' best wins look a little bit better this week (Mississippi State, Florida) and its lone loss is against No. 1. With Alabama up next, it'll be clear whetherthe Tigers are a top-10 team.
12. Utah (8-0). Steady at No. 12. A difficult November awaits the Utes, though that trip to South Bend looks easier by the day. Oddly, that's not what Utah needs at the moment.
13. Ohio State (8-1). Down from No. 10. What do we know of the Buckeyes? They're better than Miami, which means less by the day, and Illinois. Oh, and that they lost at Camp Randall. The resume is toward the bottom of the 6-through-16 scrum.
14. Arizona (7-1). Up from No. 16. It helped to beat UCLA, but the Wildcats' boat rises with Iowa. And the Hawkeyes knocked off Michigan State this week.
15. Iowa (6-2). Up from No. 22. The first of the two-loss teams absorbed its setbacks against a pair of 7-1 outfits. The Michigan State win is by far the Hawkeyes' best accomplishment, and the schedule turns favorable in November (Ohio State at home, three winnable Big Ten games otherwise).
16. Stanford (7-1). Down from No. 14. A very Oklahoma-like week for the Cardinal, who won easily but had all of its top victims lose.
17. South Carolina (6-2). Steady at No. 17. Not much changing here. The next tier of teams begins with the Gamecocks at the moment.
18. Virginia Tech (6-2). Up from No. 21. The Hokies rise along with N.C. State, which beat Florida State.
19. N.C. State (6-2). Up from No. 24. As long as the Wolfpack has just two losses, they'll be ahead of Florida State.
20. Mississippi State (7-2). Down from No. 19. Not in the Alabama/Auburn/Louisiana State neighborhood and without the signature victory of South Carolina, the Bulldogs are still better than the non-Gamecocks portion of the SEC East and Ole Miss. Alabama and Arkansas are up next.
21. Arkansas (6-2). Down from No. 20. The Razorbacks might be better than this ranking, but a resume featuring Georgia, Texas A&M and Mississippi makes that more faith-based than anything. Arkansas' greatest accomplishment might still be scaring Alabama.
22. Oklahoma State (7-1). Up from No. 23. A big prove-it game in the Big 12 looms next week when the Pokes welcome Baylor to Stillwater.
23. Florida State (6-2). Down from No. 11. The Miami win isn't doing much to help the Seminoles these days.
24. Baylor (7-2). Up from No. 26. Think Art Briles might be a popular candidate for a job opening this offseason?
25. Nevada (7-1). Not ranked last week. Like last week, this is about where the resumes get a bit skimpier.
26. Oregon State (4-3). Not ranked last week. The Beavers won at Arizona, lost to a pair of unbeatens and fell to Washington in overtime. That's an impressive 4-3.
27. Miami (5-3). Down from No. 18. The Hurricanes still have defeats of North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Clemson, which isn't bad. But if Jacory Harris is out for an extended stretch, The U will need to be evaluated differently.
28. North Carolina (5-3). Not ranked last week. And even this week, it's a stretch.
29. Florida (5-3). Not ranked last week The Gators' best feat is beating Georgia in overtime. This year, that doesn't mean a whole lot.
30. Southern Cal (5-3). Steady at No. 30. Irrelevant curiosity for November: How will the Trojans fare now that there's nothing to play for. At least one more loss (at Arizona and/or at Oregon State) probably still looms.
Dropped out: No. 25 Texas, No. 27 Clemson, No. 28 Michigan, No. 29 East Carolina
On the doorstep: Maryland, Hawaii, Illinois, Texas A&M, San Diego State, Penn State