By Andy Staples
October 11, 2011

It isn't safe for me to cover the Red River Shootout. Oklahoma and Texas play their annual game smack in the middle of the Texas State Fair, and the only thing remotely competitive about Saturday was the one-upsmanship going on at the deep-fryers outside the Cotton Bowl.

The carnies at the Texas fair will fry anything. Pop Tarts? Check. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Check. Ice cream? Check. Beer? Check. As someone who suffers from a slight addiction to comfort food, this did not bode well for my waistline or my cardiovascular system. Before the game, I tried a fried Snickers bar, which looks like something those Texas Tech pranksters might have smeared on Texas A&M's bus but tastes as if it were dropped directly from heaven.

When Oklahoma stretched its lead to 24 points shortly before halftime, I began dreaming of deep-fried treats. But since I'm a dedicated employee, I sat through the remainder of the blowout, dutifully catalogued the quotes of the participants and filed my column before heading back to the midway to see what else could be improved by dipping it in boiling oil.

I tried chicken-fried bacon next. In the day's only upset, it was merely OK. Texans assured me the fried bacon at Sodolak's Original Country Inn in Snook, Texas, will change my mind on this dish, so I'll table my verdict until the next time I cover a Texas A&M home game. I also ate deep fried Oreos. In the oil, the chocolate cookies fuse with the cream filling and morph into an entirely new food organism. Nabisco needs to begin mass-producing this immediately. I skipped the fried gum because it wasn't really gum; it was a fried marshmallow. I also skipped the fried butter. I've tasted butter melted into fried batter before in dozens of other dishes. The only reason to spend $5.50 on a few buttered batter balls is the shock value of telling friends you ate fried butter.

The true piece de resistance sold a few stalls over from the fried butter. It was a Twinkie, deep-fried and covered with chocolate sauce and powdered sugar. It was more than a gut grenade. It was sugary, batter-smothered proof that the terrorists will never, ever win.

Can't get to Dallas? Fear not. You probably live somewhere near one of this week's Top 25 teams. As a public service, my colleagues and I have eaten our way through the Top 25 to bring you the ultimate college football dining list.

NCAA Football Power Rankings
1 LSU Tigers
Last Week: 1
LSU Tigers (6-0)
The Chimes in Baton Rouge, La.: After you polish off an andouille-encrusted oyster po-boy and wash it down with something brewed in Abita Springs, La., at this spot on the edge of LSU's campus, your friendly server will offer you a slice of the fried cheesecake of the day. Does cheesecake need to be fried? Of course not. But excess has never been a problem at LSU, where the Tigers' defensive dominance is getting nothing short of excessive. Depending on the severity of Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray's thumb injury, LSU could be facing a backup quarterback for the second consecutive week. That's like putting a hive full of larvae in front of a honey badger. Speaking of Tigers cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, he had another interception against Florida. Also, while I realize it makes for good talk radio to debate whether the Jarrett Lee/Jordan Jefferson quarterback dynamic will ultimately be LSU's undoing, the Tigers have shown no fissures in the two games since Jefferson returned. Remember, neither one of these guys has proven himself to be a star, and they've split time in some fashion for their entire LSU careers.
Last game: Beat Florida, 41-11
Next game: Saturday at Tennessee
2 Alabama Crimson Tide
Last Week: 2
Archibald's in Northport, Ala.: There are two barbecue joints in the greater Tuscaloosa area that have the word Archibald in their name. Archibald's is the one with America's best ribs. It's six stools, a pit and a few picnic tables. If they're out of the perfect pork spareribs with thin, vinegary sauce, too bad. You might be able to go back in six hours and get some. Where exactly are these ribs? I'm not telling you, because the people of Tuscaloosa are already mad enough at me for even revealing the name of the best place in town. They would prefer all the tourists eat their ribs at Dreamland. If you can't figure it out from the clues I've offered, you deserve to eat inferior ribs. I don't want to get shut out at Archibald's. Speaking of shutouts, Alabama hasn't allowed a point in seven quarters. The Crimson Tide play at Ole Miss on Saturday, so unless there is a special teams breakdown or a score on Alabama's backups in garbage time, that streak is quite likely headed to 11 quarters.
Last game: Beat Vanderbilt, 34-0
Next game: Saturday at Ole Miss
3 Oklahoma Sooners
Last Week: 3
Van's Pig Stand in Norman, Okla.: The original Pig Stand opened in 1930, and the Shawnee, Okla., store has been in its location since 1935. Van's expanded to Norman in 1994. The ribs are the stars here. I had originally hoped to use a different Norman eatery, but the Subway where Oklahoma walk-on tailback Dominique Whaley worked during his first season with the Sooners has been torn down. Whaley is the newest star on a loaded team, and you can read more about him in this week's Sports Illustrated: Dead Tree Edition. It almost seems unfair that the Sooners would have a freakishly fast and athletic walk-on drop into their laps; they already have an embarrassment of talent. If Oklahoma keeps playing the way it did Saturday against Texas, I may have to reconsider my decision to drop the Sooners behind the SEC's fearsome twosome.
Last game: Beat Texas, 55-17
Next game: Saturday at Kansas
4 Wisconsin Badgers
Last Week: 4
State Street Brats in Madison, Wis.: There should be a federal law that requires a bar that serves brats and soft pretzels to be within walking distance of every major state university in America. When my lobbying is through, State Street Brats will serve as the template. (My pork barrel politics will continue with a rider to my proposed bill that would require every college town to have a bar like Wando's, which serves free bacon every Tuesday.) Sound a little heavy? That's OK. Sweat it off with the Bucky Badger Workout. Wisconsin's mascot has to do a push-up for each Wisconsin point scored. For example, in the Nebraska win, Bucky did 190 push-ups. With Indiana on the schedule Saturday, Bucky may need to devour some double-red brats to power him through all the push-ups that quarterback Russell Wilson and tailbacks Montee Ball and James White will force him to endure if the Hoosiers keep going three-and-out in their hurry-up offense.
Last game: Beat Nebraska, 48-17
Next game: Saturday vs. Indiana
5 Stanford Cardinal
Last Week: 5
Evvia in Palo Alto, Calif.: The great Bruce Feldman of recommends this Greek spot two miles from Stanford's campus. Evvia does all the Greek favorites (stuffed grape leaves, stuffed phyllo, braised lamb, lemon-oregano chicken) well, but the most enthusiastic reviews are for the braised goat, which appears only semi-regularly as a special. Also, Evvia has been known to serve rotisserie goat, which is a huge hit among the local Greek community. There are no goats among the Cardinal, who continue to steamroll opponents behind quarterback Andrew Luck and a defense that has allowed an average of 10.6 points. Of course, Stanford's vanquished opponents have a combined record of 10-19. The Cardinal will have to prove themselves against better competition to show they truly belong on the same elite level as the SEC powers, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. After Washington State on Saturday, Stanford begins a four-week stretch that includes games against Washington, USC and Oregon. That should provide more insight into whether this Cardinal team is merely good or the GOAT: the Greatest (Stanford team) Of All Time.
Last game: Beat Colorado, 48-7
Next game: Saturday at Washington State
6 Boise St. Broncos
Last Week: 6
Westside Drive In, Boise, Idaho: The menu, like Boise State's offense, is incredibly diverse. Peanut ginger chicken has a place alongside Pepsi-soaked ribs. But, like Boise State's offense, Westside is great because it gets the basics right. The burgers are delicious, and so are the shakes. Anyone who watched former Broncos offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin's Texas unit struggle Saturday against Oklahoma's defense should understand now that it isn't the trick plays that make the Broncos so good. It's the fact that the line opens holes, and Doug Martin doesn't go down on first contact. It's the fact that the receivers know how to find holes in a zone, and Kellen Moore knows how to deliver the ball as soon as they hit an open patch. Remember last week when some Star Wars geek suggested Moore needed to bullseye more Womp Rats? Moore took full advantage of Boise State's final ESPN appearance of the season, completing 23-of-31 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns.
Last game: Beat Fresno State, 57-7
Next game: Saturday at Colorado State
7 Oklahoma St. Cowboys
Last Week: 8
Eskimo Joe's in Stillwater, Okla.: Stillwater's Jumpin' Little Juke Joint has grown into an institution, but it is more famous for its T-shirts than its food. The smiling Eskimo has been spotted in just about every civilized country. Last year, Oklahoma State had its own "been-there, done-that, bought-the-T-shirt" experience when it beat Texas in Austin for the first time since 1944. This year, thanks to a scheduling quirk caused by the departures of Nebraska and Colorado from the Big 12, the Cowboys will head back to Austin. It won't be as easy this year. While Oklahoma completely dominated the Longhorns in Dallas this past Saturday, Oklahoma State doesn't have the defense to shut down the Texas offense. Fortunately for the Cowboys, the Texas defense proved unable to stop a strong-armed quarterback who releases the ball quickly to excellent receivers. The point total should be high for both teams, but Oklahoma State should still win.
Last game: Beat Kansas, 70-28
Next game: Saturday at Texas
8 Clemson Tigers
Last Week: 7
The Esso Club in Clemson, S.C.: Some restaurants are tucked into a gas station. Some, like the Esso Club, used to be a gas station. Esso is one of the brand names the Standard Oil Company used before 1973, when it changed all its gas brand names to Exxon. The closest restaurant to Death Valley serves standard bar fare, including "Famous Wangs" that cling to the building's roots by getting tossed in Unleaded, Premium or Diesel sauce. (It also serves $1 Natty Light bottles on Friday.) The Tigers seem fueled by Diesel this year, but it appeared their season might be in danger of breaking down when quarterback Tajh Boyd was carted off the field Saturday against Boston College. Clemson coaches said Boyd's injury is a strained hip, and Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris said Monday he would be surprised if Boyd didn't play Saturday against Maryland. If Boyd doesn't play, Cole Stoudt, the son of former NFL quarterback Cliff and brother of Ole Miss quarterback Zack, will take his place.
Last game: Beat Boston College, 36-14
Next game: Saturday at Maryland
9 Oregon Ducks
Last Week: 9
Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Ore., and Eugene, Ore.: The Eugene store isn't the original, but the best doughnuts in America shouldn't be limited to one city. If you can handle near-toxic levels of salty and sweet, try the maple bacon bar. Otherwise, try the ODB. Those down with the Wu-Tang should comprehend the acronym. Those who aren't should just enjoy the raised doughnut covered in chocolate frosting, Oreos and peanut butter. Also try the O' Captain, My Captain (vanilla frosting and Cap'n Crunch) and the signature Voodoo Doll (a chocolate-frosted, doll-shaped raised doughnut filled with raspberry jelly and stabbed through the heart with a pretzel stake). Visitors to Eugene on Saturday should have plenty of time to load up at Voodoo. The Arizona State game doesn't start until 7:21 p.m. local time. Those who aren't wiped out from a plummeting glycemic index will see the Ducks face the likely winner of the Pac-12 South Division. LaMichael James is a tough son of a gun -- not many people would pop in their dislocated elbow on the field, then give a post-game interview later -- but the Ducks will have to win without him Saturday. Kenjon Barner and DeAnthony Thomas provide the same elite speed, but it will be interesting to see how well Oregon moves the chains without James, who is shockingly good at gaining yards after contact.
Last game: Beat Cal, 43-15
Next game: Saturday vs. Arizona State
10 Arkansas Razorbacks
Last Week: 10
The Catfish Hole in Fayetteville, Ark.: College classmate Robbie Neiswanger, who covers the Razorbacks for Stephens Media's Arkansas News Bureau, recommends this local house of fried goodness. For $13.99, you can get a Captain's Catch of catfish steaks on the bones (as the good lord intended). Those too lazy to clean their meat off the bones must pay an extra $2. Even better, all-you-can-eat frog legs are $23.99. Parties of up to 90 people can take their meal in the Razorback Room. Woo Catfish Sooie. The actual Razorbacks are off this week after an impressive win against Auburn. In the meantime, check out Dan Wetzel's fantastic story about Darrell Brown, who was honored by the school this past Saturday for his attempts to integrate the football team all by himself.
Last game: Beat Auburn, 38-14
Next game: Oct. 22 at Ole Miss
11 Kansas St. Wildcats
Last Week: 17
The So Long Saloon in Manhattan, Kan.: Former Kansas State beat writer Jeff Martin, who now writes for the Houston Chronicle, nominated the Little Apple's funkiest burger and sandwich joint. When I clicked on the menu, my attention naturally drifted to the Cowboy Challenge. Between the halves of a bun are the following 10 layers: 1) American cheese, 2) bacon, 3) a fried egg, 4) ground beef, 5) Texas toast, 6) more American cheese, 7) bacon, 8) another fried egg, 9) more ground beef and 10) mayo. Diners who can pound all that and a side of fries win a T-shirt. Hey, it's better than a Power Towel, which might be the lasting memory -- other than the shady buyout clause -- of the Ron Prince era. Now, coach Bill Snyder has K-State fans reminiscing about the first Bill Snyder era. These Wildcats also are winning with defense. Against Missouri, safety Ty Zimmerman intercepted James Franklin's first pass, and the Wildcats held the Tigers to zero yards in the first quarter.
Last game: Beat Missouri, 24-17
Next game: Saturday at Texas Tech
12 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Last Week: 12
The Silver Skillet in Atlanta, Ga.: The Varsity is a tourist trap -- and your intestines couldn't take the strain of a pregame meal there -- and Fox Brothers BBQ is too far away. At the Silver Skillet, a fan can devour Atlanta's best biscuits (and possibly a piece of lemon ice-box pie) and stagger to Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field to watch some ACC slobberknocking. Not nearly enough slobbers were knocked this past Saturday for Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson's tastes. Tech gained a season-low 386 yards as it jumped to a 21-3 lead and then held on for dear life against a Maryland team that dressed like Iowa and then almost played defense the way Iowa did against Tech in the 2010 Orange Bowl. Johnson does not like to hold on for dear life. "We didn't do very many good things today," Johnson said. "It was like popcorn trying to get it fixed." I'm not entirely sure what that means, but it fits just fine in a food-themed Top 25.
Last game: Beat Maryland, 21-16
Next game: Saturday at Virginia
13 West Virginia Mountaineers
Last Week: 19
Tudor's Biscuit World in Morgantown, W.Va.: The morning of the LSU-West Virginia game in Morgantown, I received this tweet from intrepid college football blogger Holly Anderson. That is an actual biscuit from Tudor's Biscuit World in Morgantown. At Tudor's, they will stuff the following items between two halves of a biscuit -- possibly all at once: egg, bacon, sausage, cheese, hash browns, pepperoni, shaved ham, Canadian bacon and fried apple. The biscuits look just fluffy enough to sop up the tears of Connecticut's defensive backs after Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith torched them for 450 yards and four touchdowns Saturday.
Last game: Beat Connecticut, 43-16
Next game: Oct. 21 at Syracuse
14 Michigan Wolverines
Last Week: 20
Maize and Blue Deli/Zingerman's in Ann Arbor, Mich.: Ann Arbor has two excellent delis. Maize and Blue is decidedly downscale; a few years ago, you might have caught Michael Phelps at one of the rickety tables scarfing down a tasty 16-inch sandwich. Zingerman's is locally sourced, thoughtfully stocked and home to a seemingly endless array of delights. If your wallet is thick enough, you'll be in heaven. Each place appeals to its own crowd, and each delivers the goods. The same can't be said of the two distinct versions of Michigan's football team that have popped up this year. One looks like a new team, confident on offense and stout on defense. The other looks quite similar to last year's team, which started hot and fizzled down the stretch. In the first three quarters of the Notre Dame game and in the first half of the Northwestern game, that 2010 specter reared its head. Fortunately for the Wolverines, the ghost of last year was vanquished when it mattered most in those games. Saturday's comeback against Northwestern was especially encouraging because Michigan's defense stopped late drives with an interception, a fumble recovery and a turnover on downs. Last year's Michigan defense would have allowed scores on at least two of those possessions. This week, the new Michigan will have to show up for four quarters against Michigan State if the Wolverines don't want to lose a fourth consecutive game to the Spartans.
Last game: Beat Northwestern, 42-24
Next game: Saturday at Michigan State
15 Nebraska Cornhuskers
Last Week: 16
Phat Jack's in Lincoln, Neb.: When I visited Phat Jack's last year, I arrived too late to order the burnt ends, which typically run out not long after noon. I still had a delicious meal of ribs, brisket and cornbread, but I couldn't help but be a little disappointed that I missed out on the burnt ends. That must be how the Cornhuskers feel at the moment. They mounted a fantastic comeback to beat Ohio State, and quarterback Taylor Martinez quieted a lot of his doubters in the process. Still, Nebraska allowed a team without much of an offensive identity to build a 21-point lead, which eliminated the possibility of thoroughly drubbing the Buckeyes to wash out the taste of the loss at Wisconsin. It was still a great meal, but I should have gotten there in time to eat those burnt ends. It was still a great game, but the Cornhuskers should have been able to hammer Ohio State.
Last game: Beat Ohio State, 34-27
Next game: Oct. 22 at Minnesota
16 Texas A&M Aggies
Last Week: 15
Snow's Barbecue in Lexington, Texas: Snow's is open Saturday mornings because owner Kerry Bexley and pitmaster Miss Tootsie Tomanetz still have day jobs. The tiny joint, located about 50 miles west of College Station, was named the best barbecue in Texas by Texas Monthly in 2008, and the barbecue tourists have flocked to the tiny farmer's market town every Saturday since. On Oct. 24, the same day Holly tried mocking me with biscuit porn on Twitter, I left my hotel at 6:45 a.m. and found myself second in line. I feasted on otherworldly brisket -- how Miss Tootsie can make it so tender and so juicy at once is one of life's great mysteries -- succulent ribs and perfect chicken. I also bought enough for lunch and downed it in the Texas A&M press box. Snow's is only open one day a week. For a stretch, it seemed the Aggies had determined they would play only one half a week. They were a little more consistent Saturday in Lubbock, but they still allowed Texas Tech to make the score dangerously close in the fourth quarter. In terms of sheer athletic talent, Texas A&M is probably second in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma and fourth in the nation behind LSU, Alabama and Oklahoma. But the Aggies need to get more out of that talent. Texas A&M should be blowing out opponents, but it isn't. Don't expect that to change Saturday when Robert Griffin III leads Baylor onto Kyle Field.
Last game: Beat Texas Tech, 45-40
Next game: Saturday vs. Baylor
17 Auburn Tigers
Last Week: 13
Momma Goldberg's Deli in Auburn, Ala.: Momma G's is one of those college-town institutions that makes sandwiches that tasted a lot better when you were an undergraduate -- and possibly intoxicated -- but that shouldn't taint the memories. Yes, the famous nachos are just Doritos covered in hot pepper cheese, but that's part of the charm. The Momma's Love (roast beef, ham, smoked turkey and muenster on a hoagie roll) still hits the spot, and a few minutes in the old building on Magnolia Avenue in the shadow of Jordan-Hare Stadium will transport you back to a time -- regardless of your alma mater -- when that sandwich would have been the start of a night that might have ended with you passed out in a lawn chair in front of a stranger's apartment. (Totally fictional scenario, by the way.) Momma G's should draw a huge crowd Saturday as Auburn and Florida try to figure out which program is further along in its rebuilding process. This might be a matchup of top 15 teams in Gainesville next year, but for now it's Florida starting a true freshman quarterback against an Auburn defense that got blasted by Arkansas last week and Auburn trying to find its scoring mojo after two tough offensive weeks. Auburn ran the ball well against the Razorbacks, but three interceptions will break the back of any team. If the Tigers can take care of the ball, they should be able to handle the Gators.
Last game: Lost to Arkansas, 38-14
Next game: Saturday vs. Florida
18 South Carolina Gamecocks
Last Week: 21
Sweatman's Barbecue in Holly Hill, S.C.: Holly Hill is a map dot about 75 minutes southeast of Columbia, but it's well worth the drive if you happen to be in town on a Friday or a Saturday -- because those are the only two days Sweatman's is open. Sweatman's only smokes whole hogs using pits fueled by wood employees chop themselves. The meat gets pulled and tossed on the buffet alongside the ribs. Meanwhile, some pork goes into a hash that can be poured over rice -- also on the buffet. Everything on the buffet is unlimited except the skin, which would disappear almost immediately if not for a sign kindly asking diners to limit themselves to a few pieces. The barbecue sauce is mustard based, and pitchers of sweet tea sit ready in multiple locations for easy, frequent refills. For less than a buck, a diner can procure a Styrofoam cup of banana pudding from the fridge behind the register. It's likely quite a few cups of banana pudding were consumed this past Saturday to celebrate a successful start from Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw, who replaced the controversial Stephen Garcia. Shaw, who stunk it up when he started the season opener against East Carolina, buzzed the Wildcats for 311 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. But before the citizens of the Palmetto State get too excited, remember that it was only Kentucky. The Wildcats can make just about any offense look good. Shaw still needs to prove himself against better competition.
Last game: Beat Kentucky, 54-3
Next game: Saturday at Mississippi State
19 Virginia Tech Hokies
Last Week: 22
Lefty's Main Street Grille in Blacksburg, Va.: A Blacksburg insider nominated this purveyor of scratch-made everything -- Lefty's even makes its own tortilla and potato chips -- that honors Southpaws everywhere. The walls at Lefty's are covered with photos of famous lefties. The burgers and sandwiches are designed to be eaten with either hand. The other hand can be left free to either fist-pump or pound the table, depending on which Hokies show up on which day. Against Miami, Virginia Tech's offense awoke from a Clemson-induced slumber, but the defense took a step back. The Hokies can still win the Virginia Tech Conference, but they'll have to be more consistent. If either unit decides to take the day off against Wake Forest -- which has won four in a row -- I might have to start calling the league the ACC again.
Last game: Beat Miami, 38-35
Next game: Saturday at Wake Forest
20 Illinois Fighting Illini
Last Week: 23
Fat Sandwich Company in Champaign, Ill.: I asked ESPN Big Ten aficionado Adam Rittenberg for suggestions in Champaign. He responded with a personal favorite, then wrote "I think you want something like this" and pasted a link to Fat Sandwich Company's website. Adam knows me all too well. The Illini need to keep winning, because I can see myself prepping to cover their Leaders Division showdown with Wisconsin on Nov. 19 by taking the Big Fat Ugly Challenge. What's that? Consume a Big Fat Ugly sandwich in 15 minutes, and it's free. What's a Big Fat Ugly? Only two rolls filled with four cheeseburgers, double cheesesteak, chicken cheesesteak, gyro meat, grilled chicken, bacon, sausage, mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, chicken nuggets, mac-n-cheese bites, fried mushrooms, jalapeño poppers, pizza bites, onion rings, hash browns, mini corndogs, American cheese, mayo, ketchup poppers, hash browns and ketchup. Those less hungry can try the Fat WalkOfShame (cheesesteak, bacon, egg, mayo, ketchup) or the Fat Sanchez (cheesesteak, jalapeño poppers, bacon, hot sauce, ranch). So what must Illinois do to make my artery-clogging dream a reality? Beat Ohio State, Purdue, Penn State and Michigan. In recent years, the thought would be laughable. But now? The possibility is so realistic I can taste it.
Last game: Beat Indiana, 41-20
Next game: Saturday vs. Ohio State

21 Arizona St. Sun Devils
Last Week: 24
Tee Pee in Phoenix, Ariz.: The Tee Pee is a Mexican joint favored by visiting sportswriters and the occasional president. The experience at Tee Pee rarely varies from visit to visit. The décor is kitschy, the bartenders are friendly, the cerveza is cold, the salsa is homemade and the fajitas are quite good. Arizona State is finally finding that kind of consistency. If not for a close loss to Illinois -- which also is quite good -- the Sun Devils might be ranked in the top 15. The win against Utah on Saturday gave Arizona State a prohibitive lead in the Pac-12 South Division race. This week, we'll see where Arizona State belongs in the overall conference and national races when it visits Oregon. If the Sun Devils can force turnovers the way they did in Saturday's third quarter, they have an excellent chance of pulling the upset. Utah led 14-13 when linebacker Shelly Lyons forced a fumble that led to an Arizona State touchdown drive. On Utah's next possession, safety Clint Floyd intercepted a pass to set up another touchdown drive.
Last game: Beat Utah, 35-14
Next game: Saturday at Oregon
22 Georgia Bulldogs
Last Week: 25
The Taco Stand in Athens, Ga.: Of course you're ordering the Herschel burrito. It's a (Georgia red) sun-dried tomato tortilla stuffed with pulled pork, barbecue sauce, black beans and red cabbage slaw. Speaking of outstanding Georgia freshman tailbacks, current frosh Isaiah Crowell didn't freight-train anyone in his first visit to Neyland Stadium the way Walker did, but Crowell did score two touchdowns against the Volunteers in a win that kept Georgia even with South Carolina in the loss column in the SEC East. Since the Gamecocks hold the head-to-head tiebreaker, the Bulldogs will need South Carolina to finish with one more SEC loss than them to win the division. That leaves Georgia little room for error, but the schedule is favorable, and Georgia seems to get a little better each week.
Last game: Beat Tennessee, 20-12
Next game: Saturday at Vanderbilt

23 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Last Week: --
Giannetto's in Mishawaka, Ind.: A friend from high school who graduated from Notre Dame introduced me to Gianetto's. Tucked almost underground, the place is tough to find but well worth the search. It serves stuffed deep dish pizza reminiscent of the much more famous Giordano's in Chicago. From the bottom up, that means dough, toppings, cheese, dough, sauce. I'm no pizza snob. I consider New York thin crust and Midwestern deep dish to be completely different food items, so save your e-mails about John's in Greenwich Village. As fabulous as the pizza is at Giannetto's, the bread sticks are even better. Imagine a Krispy Kreme doughnut straightened and covered with parmesan cheese instead of sugar frosting. That's a Giannetto's breadstick. If the Fighting Irish players feel like hitting up Giannetto's, this open week might be the time to do it. As you've read, the food is a tad heavy. Notre Dame has upgraded its speed lately -- evidenced by the results of the past few weeks -- but stuffed pizza and breadsticks would even slow down Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te'o.
Last game: Beat Air Force, 59-33
Next game: Oct. 22 vs. USC
24 Baylor Bears
Last Week: --
Heitmiller Steakhouse in Lacy Lakeview, Texas: I called on contributor and former Oklahoma beat writer George Schroeder to recall his days in the Big 12 for a recommendation in the greater Waco area. Schroeder didn't disappoint, pointing me toward Heitmiller, home of hand-cut steaks, homemade cream gravy and calf fries. What are calf fries? They are better known as Rocky Mountain Oysters. If you still don't know what they are, don't ask. The Bears showed off some big calf fries on Saturday with 395 rushing yards against Iowa State, including 200 yards and three touchdowns from tailback Terrance Ganaway. If the Bears can run as effectively against Texas A&M, they could rest their defense, which will help against Texas A&M's high-scoring offense.
Last game: Beat Iowa State, 49-26
Next game: Saturday at Texas A&M
25 Texas Longhorns
Last Week: 11
Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas: Six days a week, foodies stand vigil for at least an hour outside Franklin hoping for a taste of the world's finest brisket. It's good that Franklin is teaching the folks in Austin a little patience, because they'll need it with the Longhorns. Texas will be very, very good again. It won't take that long. But Oklahoma proved Saturday that Texas won't return to an elite level this year. Quarterbacks David Ash and Case McCoy need seasoning, and Texas needs to develop offensive linemen physical enough to run the more smashmouth portions of coordinator Harsin's offense. But the raw material is there. The Texas offense should have more success this week against Oklahoma State. The defense could be another story. Coordinator Manny Diaz shuffled the secondary during the Oklahoma game and got better results after moving Adrian Phillips to one cornerback and bringing in Christian Scott at one safety position. That group will have to play well for Texas to have a chance against Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden.
Last game: Lost to Oklahoma, 55-17
Next game: Saturday vs. Oklahoma State

Next five: Florida, North Carolina, Michigan State, Houston, Wake Forest

Andy Staples' Power Rankings also serve as his ballot in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

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