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Senior College Football Columnist

Power Poll: K-State moves up with defining game looming at WVU

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Welcome to the halfway point. Clip and save this week's Power Poll to see how your team does at the end of the season.

For now, this is what the 25 best teams in the country (according to moi) have accomplished so far.

Dodd's Power Poll
RankTeam (Previous)Comment
1Alabama (1)
Overall: 6-0
Conference: 3-0
Breathe, Bama Nation, breathe. It was only a bruised knee for quarterback AJ McCarron vs. Missouri. Bama's biggest obstacle was the weather on Saturday. The only doubt was whether a second-quarter lightning delay at Missouri would keep the Tide from covering. No worries. Alabama is No. 1 in seven national defensive categories this week. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Let's leave it to Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel: "Alabama might be the best team I have seen, ever. We will see, but I watched the film and couldn't find a weakness."
2Oregon (2)
Overall: 6-0
Conference: 3-0
In Week 8, the Ducks face their first true road game Thursday at Arizona State. How does a team go 1 months-plus without playing a road game? Biggest first-half accomplishment: Folding freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota into a loaded offense.
3Florida (3)
Overall: 6-0
Conference: 5-0
No LSU hangover. The Gators got ready for South Carolina by beating Vanderbilt 31-17. "We did not adjust well to the quarterback running game," Vandy coach James Franklin said. Ya think? Jeff Driskel went for 177 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Beating LSU.
4Kansas State (6)
Overall: 6-0
Conference: 3-0
There is one undefeated team left in the Big 12 and it wears purple. K-State slugged it out with Iowa State with Collin Klein scoring three touchdowns. Let Paul Rhoads provide the context: "It reads like a Bill Snyder-authored novel. Standard Kansas State football game, coached by a legendary coach and quarterbacked by a great, great football player," Now the Cats get ready for a season-defining trip to Morgantown. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Beating Oklahoma on the way to becoming the Big 12 favorite heading into the second half.
5Notre Dame (7)
Overall: 6-0
Conference: N/A
Goal-line "stand?" Hmmm. Call it karma for the Bush Push and bad play-calling at the goal line by Stanford. A top-five BCS team now faces reality with trips to Oklahoma and USC looming down the stretch. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Boarding a rocket ride to a BCS berth.
6LSU (8)
Overall: 6-1
Conference: 2-1
Back in the national picture after beating No. 4 (in Power Poll) South Carolina. No. 21 Texas A&M, No. 1 Alabama and No. 15 Mississippi State are coming up. If the Tigers play like they did Saturday, a trip to South Florida isn't out of the question. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Waiting until Week 7 to find an offense worthy of its all-world defense.
7South Carolina (4)
Overall: 6-1
Conference: 4-1
Still in control of the SEC East, but for how long? A trip to Gainesville is next. Coach Steve Spurrier must lean on Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor -- combined 11 tackles, half a tackle for loss and three pass breakups vs. LSU. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Exposing Georgia.
8Oregon State (9)
Overall: 5-0
Conference: 3-0
Cody Vaz hasn't played since 2010 and hasn't started a game a since high school. So it made perfect sense that the Beavers would walk into Provo and defeat BYU by 18. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Keeping In-N-Out in business.
9Oklahoma (15)
Overall: 4-1
Conference: 2-1
Saddest part of the Texas evisceration is that it might have been Mack Brown's final OU game. Not saying I know anything you don't, but something's not working. Texas' defense has given up 1,683 yards in the past three games. That's 561 yards per game, 9.35 yards per minute. Bob Stoops has handed Brown three of the five worst beatings in the Red River Rivalry -- combined 118-38. Blake "Belldozer" Bell has 20 touchdowns in 72 career carries. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Reminding Texas it is OU's, um, witch.
10Ohio State (10)
Overall: 7-0
Conference: 3-0
With West Virginia losing, it's time to call the Buckeyes the most entertaining team in college football. They have scored at least 31 five times and given up at least 28 three times. Braxton Miller may have moved to the top of the Heisman list. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Possibly becoming the best bowl team you never saw.
11Florida State (11)
Overall: 6-1
Conference: 3-1
Now that's what the Noles look like when they're paying attention. A 44-point beat-down of Boston College comes a week after the North Carolina State debacle, which begs the question: Where was that a week ago? Biggest first-half accomplishment: Beating Clemson to prove that FSU is back, then losing to NC State to prove that it really isn't.
12West Virginia (5)
Overall: 5-1
Conference: 2-1
In one shocking afternoon the Heisman, Big 12 title and undefeated season were affected. Geno Smith had 41 incompletions coming into the Texas Tech game. He missed 26 times against Tommy Tuberville's sneaky good D. The season's on the brink this week against Kansas State. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Allowing Baylor to score 63 -- and winning by seven. West Virginia has allowed 1,080 yards the past two games. Alabama has given up 1,087 all season.
13USC (12)
Overall: 5-1
Conference: 3-1
Xavier Grimble sounds like a character from Harry Potter. On Saturday, he caught a touchdown at Washington as the Trojans slowly tried to edge their way back into the national title picture. With seven unbeaten teams ahead of them, it's going to be tough. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Still trying to figure out what happened against Stanford.
14Georgia (14)
Overall: 5-1
Conference: 3-1
Bye week to ponder the South Carolina loss before heading to Kentucky. Then it's the Cocktail Party. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Somehow being one more South Carolina loss away from taking control in the SEC East.
15Mississippi State (17)
Overall: 6-0
Conference: 3-0
Bulldogs continue to be the most anonymous unbeaten team on the planet. Tyler Russell had a career-high 291 yards in kicking the crutches out from underneath Derek Dooley. Too soon? Tennessee's coach would prefer to be limping from hip surgery than be a dead man walking. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Replacing Arkansas in the SEC West as this year's "it" team.
16Rutgers (18)
Overall: 6-0
Conference: 3-0
The Scarlet Knights take New York! Not exactly. Rutgers will turn on TVs all over the Northeast? Uh, no. Just settle on Rutgers being big in the Big East -- and Piscataway -- after beating Syracuse. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Responding to first-year coach Kyle Flood.
17Clemson (19)
Overall: 5-1
Conference: 2-1
Shootout, thy name is Tigers. Bye week while Dabo Swinney figures out how his defense has given up 111 points the past three games. Virginia Tech is next. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Having the three best offensive players (arguably) in college football.
18Texas Tech (NR)
Overall: 5-1
Conference: 3-1
Geno who? Seth Doege wedged his name into the Heisman race -- at least my Heisman race -- after throwing six touchdowns against West Virginia. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Becoming the biggest surprise in the Big 12.
19Stanford (13)
Overall: 4-2
Conference: 2-1
Brave effort by Stanford defense at Notre Dame. The Cardinal's two losses have been by a total of 11 points, both on the road, one in overtime. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Beating USC, No. 2 at the time. Remaining highly competitive despite losing Andrew Luck and rotating three true freshmen on the offensive line.
20Boise State (20)
Overall: 5-1
Conference: 2-0
The Milk Can Trophy stays with the Broncos after beating Fresno State. Of course you knew that. You also knew that Chris Petersen has turned into Idaho Bo (Schembechler). D.J. Harper and Jay Ajayi combined for 223 yards rushing. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Doing little to damage its reputation as the Big East's flagship program beginning in 2013.
21Texas A&M (22)
Overall: 5-1
Conference: 2-1
The Aggies do know this is the SEC, right? Alabama has given up 45 points all season. A&M gave up 57 to Louisiana Tech -- and won. This is getting good. That LSU defense that saved the Tigers' season is about to face its biggest challenge of the season -- Johnny Football. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Being the competitive one among SEC expansion teams. (Talking to you, Missouri.)
22Louisville (NR)
Overall: 6-0
Conference: 1-0
I just want Senorise Perry to play in a BCS bowl because I want to hear someone say his name for 3 hours. The Big Senorise scored four times in a comeback win against Pittsburgh. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Great sign -- Midnight Madness has passed and football is still unbeaten at Louisville.
23Western Kentucky (23)
Overall: 5-1
Conference: 2-0
Big road win at Troy gives the Hilltoppers their best start (5-1) since moving to FBS in 2009. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Willie Taggart has beaten more SEC teams this season than Auburn, Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee combined!
24Cincinnati (NR)
Overall: 5-0
Conference: 1-0
You beat Fordham on Saturday? Really, Bearcats? What, Savannah State wasn't available? Biggest first-half accomplishment: Forget strength of schedule, how about three Big East teams in the Power Poll?
25Ohio (NR)
Overall: 7-0
Conference: 3-0
Tyler Tettleton threw, caught and ran for a touchdown in the Bobcats' win over Akron. Lookie here: The two teams with the best records in FBS both reside in the same state. Ohio State and Ohio, both 7-0. Biggest first-half accomplishment: Beating Penn State in the opener. Bobcats are on the clock as the best-looking BCS buster in the second half.

Anyone in need of a credential from all the BCS title games? Dennis Dodd has them. In three decades in the business, he's covered everything from the Olympics to Stanley Cup to conference realignment. Just get him on campus in a press box in the fall. His heart lies with college football.
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