Will Alabama and Oregon roll to a national title tilt or fade?

Full disclosure, college football fans, I'm feeling very pessimistic today. Wait, check that. I just found $5 in the laundry and now my mood is very optimistic.

At times, your mood about a college football team can change just as quickly.

Let's take a closer look at the top five teams in the country and why you should be excited — or nervous — moving forward.

Alabama


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Why you should be optimistic: Ever since winning its highly anticipated rematch with Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M on Sept. 14, Alabama has grown stronger each week. The Tide has allowed 26 total points while averaging more than 40 points per game on offense.

Why you should be pessimistic: Alabama may be the most boring top-ranked team in the history of college football. Parity has hit the SEC, meaning an upset would likely knock the Tide out of the national title game. Tough tests against LSU and Auburn still loom.

Oregon

Why you should be optimistic: Once again, the Ducks have one of the most explosive offenses in the country — second in the nation with 632.1 yards and 55.6 points per game — thanks to quarterback Marcus Mariota. He is currently the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.

Why you should be pessimistic: Despite the strong start to the season, the Ducks landed third in the inaugural Bowl Championship Series rankings thanks to a poor showing in the computer polls. Oregon should move up if it remains undefeated, but the Ducks still need the Pac-12's top teams to remain competitive the rest of the season.

Florida State

Why you should be optimistic: Jameis Winston passed for 292 yards and three touchdowns during a 49-17 win over the Wolfpack. The Seminoles' big-play ability has helped them win by an average of close to 40 points per game while the defense has been stellar.

Why you should be pessimistic: Florida State needs the rest of the top teams on its schedule to get on the same page. Weak showings by Miami — which needed a last-minute touchdown to beat Wake ForestClemson, Maryland, Pittsburgh and Florida won't help the Seminoles chances of playing for a national title even if the team posts an undefeated record.

Ohio State

Why you should be optimistic: Ohio State won its nation's-best 20th game Saturday night, delivering an impressive 63-14 victory over Penn State. Braxton Miller paced the Buckeyes with 320 total yards of offense and five total touchdowns on a night when OSU racked up more than 680 yards of total offense.

Why you should be pessimistic: While Urban Meyer's bunch continues to just win games, the Buckeyes still face a perception problem. The Big Ten is horrible again this season, with Michigan State, Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin all battling to finish second. Ohio State must win out and hope at least two teams stumble ahead of them in the polls to play for a national title.

Stanford

Why you should be optimistic: Stanford was ranked fourth in most of the preseason rankings and despite a inexplicable loss to Utah, the Cardinal is still within close proximity of a trip to the national championship game. Wins in consecutive weeks over UCLA and Oregon State have helped, but a key Nov. 7 showdown with Oregon looms large.

Why you should be pessimistic: While the computers seem to have forgotten that loss to the Utes, the human voters haven't been as generous. Stanford was sixth and seventh in both the coaches and Harris polls. A win over Oregon would do wonders, but there are several other teams — FSU and Ohio State, in particular — ready to step into the national title game if the Ducks falter.

For the rest of the top 10, visit Orlandosentinel.com/collegegridiron. mmurschel@tribune.com.

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