Welcome back, Big Ten. It didn't seem like a season without you. Not sure it will be a season with you, actually. You see, 76 teams have a seven-week head start.
Don't look now, but Oklahoma State is a College Football Playoff contender. If you had not decided to play this fall Liberty -- Liberty! -- might have made it to the Power Rankings this week at 5-0.
Appreciate whatever place you're slotted . Five conferences have slogged through these first weeks dodging COVID-19 along with related postponements, rescheduling and upsets. Oh, the upsets. There will be those too, Big Ten. Don't think your nine-week dash is going to hold to form.
Five Big Ten teams make their debut with Ohio State (no surprise) head, shoulders and skyscrapers above everyone in the league at No. 4. Penn State slots in next as the Big Ten's second-best team followed by Big Ten West contenders Minnesota and Wisconsin. No surprise but Michigan rounds out conference's five selections.
Let's take a look at this week's complete Power Rankings, which also feature the first appearance by a Pac-12 team this season.
Editor's note: Teams from the five conferences not yet playing in the 2020 college football season are eligible for the Power Rankings beginning this week. There will be 127 FBS teams playing this season, all but New Mexico State, Old Dominion and UConn.
|Largest margin of victory in an ACC game (66). Opened the season scoring at least 37 points in the first five games for the first time in history. Trevor Lawrence is 30-1 as a starter, now with his first 400-yard passing game. His 365 passes without an interception was the second-longest streak in ACC history.||--||9-3|
|For the 161st time, Nick Saban won; for the 22nd consecutive time, Saban beat a former assistant; for the fifth time in six tries, he beat Georgia while at Alabama. It was emotional after Saban's false positive COVID-19 test. But in the end, it was more of the same. In the Kirby Smart era, Alabama has outscored Georgia in the second half and overtime 71-17. On Saturday, it was 21-0 in the second half.||1||11-1|
|It's hard to drop the Bulldogs after they smacked the Crimson Tide in the mouth, at least for a half. Georgia's defense can still look itself in the mirror. The Dawgs still look like the SEC East frontrunners, and as of right now, should win the rest of their games. Stetson Bennett IV needs to clean up his judgement. The secondary can feel relieved. It won't face another group of receivers like Alabama's until a possible SEC Championship Game rematch.||1||12-0|
|Another example of what 2020 has done to college football, it's elevated a team that has yet to kick off into playoff contention in late October. We all know why. The Big Ten doesn't begin until Friday, and the Buckeyes are the runaway favorites to win it again. Their coach, Ryan Day, is 16-1 with a conference title and CFP appearance going into his second full season.||NR||10-2|
|Still can't figure out Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish had to flex their defensive muscles after trailing Louisville well into the third quarter. Sophomore Kyren Williams has emerged as the ACC's second-leading rusher. The defense is one of only 11 allowing less than 300 yards per game. We'll soon know more. The Clemson game is three weeks away.||1||11-1|
|Idle. This ranking screams for the return of the Big Ten. I can't believe Oklahoma State is one of the top six teams in the country. For now, it's the best team in the Big 12, but this ranking is a function of only 76 teams to rank and the Cowboys still being undefeated and not having played since Oct. 3.||--||11-1|
|Idle. Not a good week all around for the Gators. The LSU and Missouri games were moved because of COVID-19. Coach Dan Mullen tested positive, along with at least 21 players. Before the week began, Mullen suggested The Swamp be filled to capacity. No, not a good week at all.||--||6-6|
|The Nittany Lions are missing their best player as linebacker Micah Parsons has opted out. Nevertheless, Penn State is Ohio State's most significant challenger in the Big Ten East. We'll know quickly how the division is going to go. The Nittany Lions get the Buckeyes on Halloween.||NR||7-5|
|An impressive comeback win at Houston on Friday leaves BYU in line for a New Year's Six berth. Zach Wilson is now officially a Heisman Trophy candidate after a career-best 400 passing yards against Houston. The nation's most accurate passer is also the second-rated quarterback behind Mac Jones.||1||10-2|
|Mario Cristobal loves his team. He should after a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin. The Ducks remain the Pac-12 favorite despite losing five players who opted out. That list includes Outland Trophy winner Penei Sewell, the best left tackle in the game. Going into Cristobal's third season, the Ducks are the Pac-12's best program and top playoff candidate.||NR||10-2|
|Nice bounce back against Pittsburgh after being bounced around by Clemson. "Pitt, they make everything hard," Manny Diaz said after a 31-19 win. The Hurricanes aren't back, but at the halfway point of the season, they are 4-1. That's something.||1||7-5|
|My upset pick for the Big Ten West. P.J. Fleck had the Golden Gophers in playoff contention into mid-November last season. Wide receiver Rashod Bateman opted out, then returned when the Big Ten did. Combine Bateman with the Big Ten's leading returning passer in Tanner Morgan and Minnesota is just getting started after an 11-win season.||NR||8-4|
|Florida State couldn't be this bad. Turns out North Carolina isn't this good. Sam Howell rallied the Tar Heels back from a 31-7 to within three points at the end. There is a lot still left. Javonte Williams and Michael Carter are still the best 1-2 rushers in the ACC.||8||6-6|
|Jack Coan begins the season out with a foot injury. That means redshirt freshman Graham Mertz will get his first meaningful playing time. For years, the only thing holding back the Badgers from playoff contention was difference-making quarterback play. Mertz might be that guy. Wisconsin opens the Big Ten's season Friday.||NR||8-4|
|Idle. The Sunflower Showdown looms. K-State would set a series record with their 12th consecutive win over Kansas. The Wildcats go into Week 7 with true freshman Will Howard at quarterback.||7||7-5|
|The Aggies have found themselves a bit. They've settled on being a run-first team. Running back Isaiah Spiller has carried 55 times the last two games. Coming into this season, the school had paid Jimbo Fisher an average of $882,000 for each of his 17 wins. Worth it?||5||8-4|
|A COVID-19 outbreak postponed Saturday's game against Tulsa. The Bearcats will have plenty of time to prepare for this week's showdown at SMU. Cincinnati has won three of the four meetings, all going back to 2013.||8||12-0|
|Jim Harbaugh gets his chance to break through in Year 6. It hasn't happened yet despite Harbs averaging 9.4 wins per year and signing highly-rated recruiting classes. Ohio State has proven there is still a team speed issue at Michigan -- at least when it comes to Ohio State. The Wolverines open against Minnesota.||NR||11-1|
|Idle. If Ames were Ann Arbor or Columbus or L.A., running back Breece Hall would be a legit Heisman candidate. As it stands, the sophomore is leading the Big 12 in rushing and is second nationally averaging over 132 yards per game.||5||7-5|
|For the first time since the death penalty days, the Mustangs have opened 5-0 in consecutive years. They survived 37-34 in overtime last week at Tulane. The last time SMU was 5-0 in back-to-back seasons was 1983. There was a reason for that. The NCAA took care of it four years later with the death penalty. Shane Buechle is second nationally with 1,710 passing yards.||5||8-4|
|Idle. Showdown this week at TCU. OU has won the last six and 15 out of 20 overall. Spencer Rattler tries to build on his comeback heroics against Texas.||4||10-2|
|It took 30 years, but the Tigers finally beat UCF. They rallied from down three touchdowns in the third quarter. The teams combined for more than 1,500 yards, the most in AAC history. Both quarterbacks -- Brady White and Dillon Gabriel -- threw for at least 450 yards and five touchdowns.||NR||6-6|
|Idle. The Golden Hurricane have yet to play at home after having Saturday's homecoming game against Cincinnati cancelled. Tulsa isn't scheduled to play at home until Oct. 30.||4||6-6|
|Dave Doeren had been 0-30 when trailing teams by double digits. Look at the Wolfpack, now 4-1 after a gutty win against Duke. What a jolt, though, losing quarterback Devin Leary to a broken fibula for 4-8 weeks.||2||9-3|
|There are only 11 unbeaten teams in the country. The Chanticleers are one of them after taking down Louisiana. They were rewarded with their first AP Top 25 ranking program history. Hey, we've had them here for a couple weeks.||--||10-2|
Dropped out: Auburn, Boston College, Louisiana, LSU, Marshall, Tennessee, UCF