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Archive for September, 2007

(Note: Somehow my week 5 results post got deleted from the blog, so I have had to recreate it here – sorry if you read the previous version that was online for like 24 hours and this one seems different. I normally keep a duplicate of my posting on my MySpace, but hadn’t gotten around to copying it there.)

The greatest thing about college football, is that you just never know what might happen from week to week. This year has been the greatest example of the increasing parity being exhibited in the game.

No fewer that 5 of the top 10 teams LOST this week, 8 of the top 25. and a couple of more had significant problems. These result is a massive shift in the Top 25 this week, causing some very interesting future matchups!

I’d also like to say that this week was the week of the terrible officiating. I dont think I’ve seen any game worse than the USC- Washington game, but the Florida-Auburn game was almost as bad. Ridiculous that you call 25 penalties in any game much less not knowing rules regarding fair-catch interference and when a ball goes 20 yards over someone’s head and you still call defensive interference. Very bad.

Also, Kirk Herbstreet – bite me. Moving LSU up to #1 just because USC beats Washington by 3 is just foolish. Where were you last week, when Florida struggled in their victory? You certainly didn’t talk about moving THEM down. Be consisitent or shut up. Otherwise, we will just get the idea that you are saying what you do, to get a rise out of us true fans of the game.

With that I try to reconcile all this with a new Top 25. Believe me this is really hard with all the losses!

1. USC (4-0). Defeated Washington 27-24. Next week: Stanford at home.
Let’s see what changed since week 4 -USC won and so did LSU. USC played a real opponent on the road and won by 3. LSU beat a nobody at home. Why does this justify any movement?

2. LSU (5-0). Defeated Tulane 34-9. Next Week: Florida at home.
I’m sorry, Tiger fans, but just because you beat Tulane by 25 at home, that doesn’t gain you additional cool points. You needed a trick play to beat So. Carolina. Let’s see how things go against a REAL opponent this week. Then we’ll see.

3. California (5-0). Defeated Oregon 31-24. Next Week: Oregon St. at home
Both Cal and Oregon played an outstanding football game. What for a somewhat close call at the end of the game to nullify a TD, Oregon ties or wins. They are evenly matched, but with all the losses in the top 10, they move up.

4. Ohio State (5-0). Defeated Minnesota 30-7. Next Week: At Purdue.
Quietly and steadily, the Buckeyes improve and dominate each week. Their first real test comes this week against the Boilermakers to break a logjam in the Big 10.

5. Wisconsin (5-0). Defeated Mich St. 37-34. Next Week: At Illinois.
It wasn’t easy for the Badgers against MSU, and doesn’t get easier this week either. Wisconsin reminds me a little of Texas, in that I don’t think they have played to their potential yet. They need to put it all together to beat a good Illinois team.

6. Boston College (5-0). Defeated UMass 24-14. Next Week: Bowling Green at home.
The Eagles have beat both Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, but that’s the extent of it. So I worry a little bit about them being up in the top 10 right now. Upcoming with Va Tech will tell the truth.

7. South Florida (4-0). Defeated W Virginia 21-13. Next Week: At FAU.
Big time for the Bulls. Second year in a row to beat the Mountaineers. Granted WVU was without their starting QB for most of the game. The Bulls should stay around a while here, but still on the schedule are Rutgers, Louisville and Cincy. The road to the Big East Championship is still wide open.

8. Oregon (4-1). Lost to Cal 31-24. Next Week: Idle.
I am sure that the polls will drop Oregon down, but they went toe to toe with Cal and for all intents and purposes they came out even. I see great things for the Ducks, and perhaps some upsets.

9. Florida (4-1). Lost to Auburn 27-24. Next Week: At LSU.
Well I really can’t in all honesty drop the Gators out of the top 10. After all, this is supposed to represent the best teams in the country and even with a slip up, the Gators are one of them.

10. Kentucky (5-0). Defeated FAU 45-17. Next Week: At So Carolina.
Like the Buckeyes, the Wildcats here are quietly performing at a high level every week. This could be the most underrated teams in the country. But, a true test will be how they perform this week on the road playing a tough Gamecock team.

11. Georgia (4-1). Defeated Ole Miss 45-17. Next Week: At Tennessee.
The Bulldogs seem to have overcome the heartbreaking loss to So. Carolina in week 2, and playing at a dominant level. Competition in the SEC this year is brutal!

12. Oklahoma (4-1). Lost to Colorado 27-24. Next Week: Texas at Dallas.
The Sooners rolled up big point against high-school caliber opponents the first four weeks, but when a real team showed up, they proved who they were. Maybe they will try to schedule a bit more challenging opponents in the future. In any case, they’ll go against another week 5 loser, Texas, who couldn’t cope with Kansas State. The Red River shootout went from gold to pewter in a single day.

13. So. Carolina (4-1). Defeated Miss St 38-21. Next Week: Kentucky at home.
Spurrier must buckle down this week against a Kentucky team that has found that the oval ball can be just as fun as the round one. The Gamecocks can’t afford to lose another SEC game.

14. West Virginia (4-1). Lost to So Florida 21-13. Next Week: At Syracuse.
Shame that Steve Slayton couldn’t rise up and help the Mountaineers after Pat White went down, but thats footbal for ya. Hopefully, with a healthy Pat White, they’ll get back on a winning track, but remember that the Orange beat Louisville earlier this year (their only win of the season thus far).

15. Hawaii (5-0). Defeated Idaho 48-20. Next Week: Utah State at home.
When your team is averaging 54 points per games and 531 yards of offense per week. Something is right. But unlike one-dimensional teams such as Texas Tech and Lousville, the Warriors only allow 18 points per game in defense. Considering that these games are long, that’s an amazing stat.

16. Va Tech (4-1). Defeated No Carolina 17-10. Next Week: At Clemson.
The Hokies have arisen after their nationally televised dismantling at the hand of LSU. They are now tied for the ACC Coastal lead with none other than their state rival Virginia and another Phoenix rising from the ashes, Miami. Clemson is also 4-1, and its always tough playing there. Should be a good ballgame if Va Tech can find an offense.Only 17 points against UNC is a bit anemic.

17. Missouri (4-0). Defeated Illinois St 38-17. Next Week: Nebraska at home.
QB Chase Daniels has matured into quite a solid QB and effectively moving a good Tiger offense averaging over 42 points per game and 544 yards. The scary part is their defense which is giving up 25 points per game putting alot of pressure on that offense. This might bode no good against the Cornhuskers.

18. Texas (4-1). Lost to Kansas State 41-21. Next Week: Oklahoma at Dallas.
I warned you that the Longhorns were showing up poorly. This week I drop them from 8th to 18th because well, they deserve it for almost losing to everyone else and finally getting smashed by K-State. They’ll need to muster some fortitude to get through the B12 South this year, beginning with a big loss to OU this week.

19. Rutgers (4-1). Lost to Maryland 34-24. Next Week: Cincinnati at home.
Another bad loss for the Big East throwing the whole thing wide open. They will need to get the offense on track this week against an undefeated Cincy team. Where did THEY come from by the way?

20. Purdue (5-0). Defeated Notre Dame 33-19. Next Week: Ohio St at home.
Its crunch time for the Boilermakers. They are off to a terrific start and tied for the lead in the B10. But the Buckeyes come to town with a very effective O and stingy D. Put up time for Purdue. Great game??

21. UCLA (4-1). Defeated Oregon St. 40-14. Next Week: Notre Dame at home.
The Bruins show that their 3rd week lapse against Utah wasnt permanent. I like the team, and it does seem to operate just as well with a backup QB. So you gotta respect that!

22. Clemson (4-1). Lost to Ga Tech 13-3. Next Week: Va Tech at home.
Hard to figure out what happened against Georgia Tech, except both teams played an extremely tough defensive battle. I dont know what happened to the offense though. They’ll need to find it by game time this week to hope to beat Va Tech who has a defense of their own!

23. Nebraska (4-1). Defeated Iowa St 35-17. Next Week: At Missouri.
The Cornhuskers have brushed off the Trojanizing, and shown that they can compete each week, though they almost lost it against Ball State, hence their low ranking here. They will need to beat Missouri this week or the B12-North Championship will be all but gone.

24. Arizona St (5-0). Defeated Stanford 41-3. Next Week: At Washington St.
The Sun Devils have a bit of a hard time gaining respect in a conference with USC, UCLA, California, and Oregon, but they deserve some note. Can’t imagine them sneaking up much unless they beat one of the above.

25. Illinois (4-1). Defeated Penn State 27-20. Next Week: Wisconsin at home.
Nothing like a little pressure. Crack the top 25 for the 1st time this year, but now have to play a top 5 team to stay there. But watch out. They could do it.

On The Bubble:
Miami
Michigan State
Auburn
Kansas

Most Impressive teams: California, Kentucky, So Florida

Least Impressive teams: USC, West Virginia, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, Clemson

Have a great week!!

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Week five of the college football season is upon us and proves to be interesting only because two top ten teams face major challenges from top 25 teams trying to take it to the next step.  Oddly enough, this week sees the top 4 teams in the nation on the road. Anything can happen. Most other games offer only token interest, so lets review games in the top 10 and maybe couple of others.

#1 USC (3-0)  at  Washington (2-2)
The Trojans have certainly played the perfect #1 so far. Defeating opponents soundly enough to  prove dominance, without pouring it on ala Oklahoma style (something I truly hate about Bob Stoopes).  USC seems to be able to morph to being whatever they need to be: pass centric one week, run-centric last week against Wash St. If any weakness can be found, its the same ol USC complaint of a too bendy defense.  But they average around 460 yards of offense per game and give up around 6.  Not too bad.  Washington on the other hand is characterized by the Jake Locker show. There’s something weird when your QB is also your leading rusher.  In order to beat USC, you have to play flawless footbal and about 15% above yourself, while USC has to have a complete meltdown.  I think this doesnt happen too often. USC wins this one comfortably, but maybe not in a huge blowout.

#2 LSU (4-0)  at  Tulane (1-2)
Well any other week I’d say this would be a major blowout, and it still may be, but let me offer a little hunch. LSU wasn’t particularly impressive last week against South Carolina, needing a trick play to blow the game open, and it was a tough game too. Next week LSU has Florida for a potentially HUGE game with National Championship implications. So if you’re looking for a trap week this could very well be it. Now that means that LSU needs to be very flat and Tulane needs to be very hot.  But witness Syracuse last week against Lousiville,  and I rest my case.  However, LSU still has one of the best defenses in the country, and I think they certainly win this game probably more than comfortably.

#3 Oklahoma (4-0)  at  Colorado (2-2)
Oklahoma may go undefeated this season and still not make it to the National Championship. The Sooners have perhaps the easiest schedule of the top 10 teamsm and it wont serve them well. Outside Texas, they have only #19 Missouri on their schedule. Contrast this to USC or LSU’s schedule. So the huge score deficits mean very little when you are playing Our Lady of the Redeeming Albino College of the Southnorthwest. The stagecoach goes west to Colorado to probably romp again, which will mean nothing, again.  Colorado might have a reasonably decent defense but their offense has only managed token effectiveness.  I dont see the Buffaloes able to stop OU, nor outscore them.

#4 West Virginia (4-0)  at #19 South Florida (4-0) 
Kelly Clarkson once sung that “people wait a lifetime for a moment like this”, and such is the case for the Bulls of South Florida.  They have been gradually building their program much like their Big East opponent, and stand poised to challenge the heavyweight.  I’ve made no bones about the fact that this team is one of my favorites to watch, and after making a huge statement last year beating this same team. This year they are a ranked team trying to do the same. For WVU, they’ll need a concerted defensive effort. I dont look for this to be a blowout, and if I was to pick a big upset, this would be it.  Look for South Florida to be leading the Big East on Saturday.

Auburn (2-2)  at  #5 Florida (4-0) 
Florida is one of those teams that keeps getting better, and I can’t see that taking a U-turn this week.  Auburn has been a major disappointment so far, but here’s another trap week. Florida plays LSU next week, and could catch Auburn wanting to make a statement. This might be an upset watch all day, so dont be surprised if Florida has to do some heroics to pull this one out.

#6 California (4-0)  at  #10 Oregon (4-0)
Maybe the most interesting and most fun game of the week. This seems to be a very equal matchup, both sporting outstanding quarterbacks and running games.  Oregon QB Dennis Dixon has thrown for almost 1000 yards and run for almost 300. His mobility and capability to make big plays will be the target of the Golden Bear defense That offense averages 49 points per game and over 530 yds per game.  So formidable indeed.  While averging around only 430 yds per game, the Cal offense under Nate Longshore is averaging 41 points per game, so this game could be a whoever is left standing game. The special teams might play a huge role in this game, so watch DeSean Jackson on kickoffs and punt returns. I’m leaning toward Oregon in this one, but only because I think the Ducks have a slightly better defense. This one can go either way and dont miss it!

#7 Ohio State (4-0)  at  Minnesota (1-3)
Let’s dont beat around the bush. The Buckeyes just might be the best in the Big 10 this year. Certainly they are playing like it, and they seem to be the most consistent.  They will be way too much for the Gophers. This one is a blowout.

Kansas State (2-1)   at  #8 Texas (4-0)
The only thing good I can really say about Texas at this time is that the really good teams always find a way to win even when they play badly. K-State probably has enough moxy to give the Longhorns a fight, but cant really see a reason why the Longhorns wont, still again, find a way to win this one. I doubt it will be pretty. Look for Texas to pull away late.

Michigan State (4-0)  at #9 Wisconsin (4-0)
The Badgers are doing their impression of the Longhorns finding ways to win even though you arent on your game. Wisconsin is undefeatedm but they just dont feel or look like it.  The get a feisty, spirited bunch from unranked Michigan State thats managed to be comfortably undefeated yet unheralded.   I hope this game is available cuz I think it will be a really good one. I’m going to stick my neck out and go green with the upset, late in the game.

Illinois (3-1)  at  #22 Penn State (3-1)
Penn State just didnt get it done against Michigan as I predicted last week, so now they are looking at almost every game being a must win. That starts with the Illini, who sport a very similar team. Inconsistent offense with decent defense.  Morelli has to show some maturity and start taking control of the offense so their defense isnt worn out by the fourth quarter. I think they have more defense than Illinois so the Nittany Lions will eek out the victory, but watch out for a surprise.

Thats the roundup…enjoy the weekend!

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Week 4: Hangovers and Parity

Those of you that know me well enough know that I admire solid fundamental football with solid defense. The more we get into this season, the more I think my philosophy plays true. And I’m sick and tired of teams that get promoted in the polls, without playing good fundamentals. Pollsters seems to just vote on final score, and now they just look stupid.

Case in point… When will people learn that having a high powered offense wont win you a) a National Championship, and b) keep you anywhere near the top 25 for very long. Louisville and Texas Tech both are articles in this example. Both quarterback threw for unheard of yardage (550 for Brohm and over 650 for Harrell) and both teams LOST. Some day Mike Leach will find out you will be stuck in 2nd gear for the rest of your sorry life until you decide that Defense wins championships. Same with the Cardinals. Throw all you want but what counts is the final score and you have to keep the OTHER guys from scoring more than you do…end of story.

However, for the most part the GOOD teams got it done the way they should. The top 25 moves around a little, but not really much in the upper tier. Hence today’s results, and new Kathman Top 25:

1. USC (3-0). Defeated Wash State 47-14. Next Week: At Washington.
The Trojans took care of business the way they should. They are beginning to look more and more like the juggernaut that you would expect to be a #1.

2. LSU (4-0). Defeated So. Carolina 28-16. Next Week: At Tulane.
For the first time, the Tigers had a real opponent, and as such, looked a bit more mortal. Actually were it not for a ridiculously funny fake field goal that put them ahead, this game is much closer. Gap closes between OU and LSU.

3. Oklahoma (4-0). Defeated Tulsa 62-12. Next Week: At Colorado.
Really hard to tell about OU seeing that their first 4 opponents really have been not much more than high school quality. Colorado might be a bit tougher, but not much. Texas looks to be the next reasonable opponent.

4. West Virginia (4-0). Defeated E. Carolina 48-7. Next Week: At So. Florida (Fri).
Solid performance both offensively and defensively against an ECU team that is tough and hard nosed. A push up for their efforts! Muchos puntos for the Mountaineers this week.

5. Florida (4-0). Defeated Ole Miss 30-24. Next Week: Auburn at home.
Disappointing in victory for the Gators. I expected a blow out here, and instead, Florida had to scratch to win the game, and they were uninspired. So, we punish you a rank for a lackluster performance.

6. California (4-0). Defeated Arizona 45-27. Next Week: At Oregon.
Cal is looking like a force that USC will need to deal with. Quietly they are showing each week that they can stand up to any opponent.

7. Ohio State (4-0). Defeated Northwestern 58-7. Next Week: At Minnesota.
Must give the Buckeyes a significant boost up. Wisconsin had problems with Iowa and I just think that OSU is a better team than Texas right now. Clearly the class in the Big 10 right now in consistency.

8. Texas (4-0). Defeated Rice 58-14. Next Week: Kansas St. at home.
Doo dah – you beat Rice. OK, Congratulations, you can stay put.

9. Wisconsin (4-0). Defeated Iowa 17-13. Next Week: Michigan St. at home.
Unimpressive victory and effort by the Badgers. A few weeks ago they looked to be the cream of the B10, but not now.

10. Oregon (4-0). Defeated Stanford 55-31. Next Week: Oregon at home.
Scary for a while, but the Ducks overcome turnovers that kept Stanford in the game. Next week should be a doozy against Cal.

11. Rutgers (3-0). Idle. Next Week: Maryland at home.
The Scarlet Knights move up a spot, since Penn State chokes.

12. Boston College (4-0). Defeated Army 37-17. Next Week: UMass at home.
Decisive victory over a mediocre opponent doesn’t impress, but they get a bump up because of the Penn State loss.

13. Clemson (4-0). Defeated No. Carolina St 42-20. Next Week: At Georgia Tech
The Tigers are getting much more confident and playing better every week. ACC battle seems to be bubbling up between them and BC.

14. Hawaii (4-0). Defeated Charleston Southern 66-10 . Next Week: At Idaho.
Colt Brennan didnt even play in this game if you believe it. All that hoopla over the hava dance must have stoked the Warriors. Oh well, shoot Charleston Southern at least got a nice visit to the beach.

15. Virginia Tech (3-1). Defeated Wm & Mary 44-3. Next Week: No Carolina at home.
Hokies get very little competition and have no problem dominating.

16. Missouri (4-0). Defeated Illinois St. 38-17. Next Week: Idle.
Tigers rack up 581 yards of total offense and QB Chase Daniels throws for 3 touchdowns. Missouri looking like the class of the B12 North.

17. So. Carolina (3-1). Lost to LSU 28-16. Next Week: Mississippi St at home.
Gamecocks play a solid game against LSU. Please note that we DID NOT have So Carolina up at 12 like the clueless polsters prior to this game.

18. Georgia (3-1). Defeated Alabama 26-23 (OT). Next Week: Ole Miss at home.
The dawgs show up offensively and grind out a hard-nosed victory. If they can keep the offensive momentum, they could really make some noise.

19. South Florida (3-0). Defeated No. Carolina 37-10. Next Week: W. Virginia at home.
I really like this team a lot. Next week’s game hosting the Mountaineers could be the statement they are looking for.

20. Kentucky (4-0). Defeated Arkansas 42-29. Next Week: Florida Atlantic at home.
The Wildcats are quietly becoming a sensation in the SEC. They have a super offense and the defense held the Razorback offense in check. Perhaps they should be higher, but lets leave them here for now with a nice bump from last week.

21. Nebraska (3-1). Defeated Ball State 41-40. Next Week: Iowa State at home.
Are you kidding me? Cornhuskers have to score 13 in the 4th Quarter to rally to win. Hangover from their USC game perhaps? Another performance like this and they might be gone from the 25.

22. Penn State (3-1). Lost to Michigan 14-9. Next Week: At Illinois.
Ok you are the #10 team in the Nation, playing an unranked 1-2 team with a Freshman quarterback, and you lose? You’re lucky I dont drop your butt OUT of the top 25!

23. Alabama (3-1). Lost to Georgia 26-23 (OT). Next week: At Florida State.
I really expected a better showing at home. Not quite ready for prime time, but with Saban who knows?

24. UCLA (3-1). Defeated Washington 44-31. Next Week: At Oregon State.
Come on- your starting QB is on the bench, and your back up QB goes down, and you still manage to toughen up and win? Very good Bruins!

25. Purdue (4-0). Defeated Minnesota 45-31. Next Week: Notre Dame at home.
Ok so I changed my mind.  I moved Kansas out and Purdue in. Boilermakers look to be undefeated for a while, and playing really well.  Actually, I really thought about ASU here also, but I’m waiting a week to see.

On the Bubble:
Arizona State (4-0)
Kansas (4-0)
Cincinnati (4-0)
Texas A&M (3-1)

Dropping out: Louisville, Texas A&M.

Most impressive: USC, West Virginia, So. Florida, Cal, Ohio State
Least impressive: Florida, Penn State, Wisconsin, Nebraska

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Every once in a while you’ll get a week where there just isnt much going on.  Now that doesnt mean that teams dont have to win their games, but of course we’re always looking for the big rivalry games or the top 10 or 20 match up.  This week provides very few. Lets run down key games and review impacts (all rankings are my own).

Washington State (2-1) @  #1 USC (2-0)
State comes off back to back wins against rather hapless opponents, San Diego State and Idaho, but lost badly in their opener against Wisconsin.  I figure if they cant hang with my #7 team,  they wont be able to do much to be competitive against the #1.  USC should win comfortably.

#18 South Carolina (3-0) @  #2 LSU (3-0) 
The Gamecocks are spryly undefeated defeating Georgia 16-12 in the 2nd week in a great defensive battle.  SC has a balanced offensive attack, but must run the ball well to open the passing game.  LSU should shut this down early, and never look back.  Its the Tigers going 4-0 by a bunch.

#3 Oklahoma (3-0)  @ Tulsa (2-0)  (Friday)
This shouldnt even be played. Tulsa should just wave, and smile, then leave
the field before someone gets hurt. It will be Oklahoma in a merciless killing.

 #4 Florida (3-0)  @ Ole Miss (1-2)
Florida is the real thing, and they seem to improve each week. This is especially
bad news for Ole Miss, who probably will wish they were on a Florida beach
somewhere rather than playing this game. Florida by 27 or more.

East Carolina (1-2)  @ #5 West Virginia (3-0)
Another walk in the park for Pat White and Steve Slayton. E. Carolina might make this one tight early, but after about the 3rd possession, it shouldnt be close.  Look  for the Mountaineers to win big.

Arizona (1-2) @ #6 California (3-0)
Cal scares me at times, as they occasionally have a habit of losing focus and playing down to the level of their competition. Arizona, on the other hand, can sneak up on you. I still like Cal in this one, but I dunno, I have this odd hunch that it might not be comfortable.

Iowa (2-1) @ #7 Wisconsin (3-0)
OK so now follow me here.  This is will be close game, and it should be to toughen Wisconsin up. I think that the Hawkeyes will give the Badgers just about everything they can handle on Saturday, and make this a very close ballgame.  Iowa is going to want to get a win against a rival to pace their season and I think this will be it. Wisconsin should have enough character to pull through it, but I think it will be close.

Rice (0-3)  @  #8 Texas (3-0) 
The Longhorns haven’t played well yet.  At least this week they’ll look like they
did. Rice players should stay in the chemistry labs.  Texas wins by 28+ ( or should)

Northwestern (2-1)  @  #9 Ohio State (3-0)
Ohio State is another team, like Floriday, that seems to be getting better every week. I look for this game to be initially pretty close, maybe through the half. The Buckeyes, however, should pull away late and win comfortably, but not in a high scoring kind of way.

 #10 Penn State (3-0)  @  Michigan (1-2)
The Nittany Lions are looking sharp initially, but against some pretty week opponents. Both teams crushed Notre Dame, so now it really is suck it up time for the Wolverines. All is not lost for them. Remember that neither team here has played a conference game yet. So, as far as Michigan is concerned they need to consider themselves 0-0 and playing for a conference title RIGHT NOW. Similarly, Penn State better not be comparing TOO much. They need to have the same philosophy.  I actually think Michigan rises up and wins in this game, being propelled by a resurgent offense, and finding enough defense to pressure Morelli.  But just as easily, I could see State winning big.  This could be the best game on TV this weekend.

#11 Oregon (3-0)  @ Stanford (1-1)
Quickly – this wont be a contest. Oregon by a bunch. End of story.

 #22 Georgia (2-1)  @  #21 Alabama (3-0)
This is a very important SEC matchup featuring geographic neighbors playing in different divsions of the SEC.  Alabama is undefeated and showed especially well against Arkansas dominating the game more than the score indicated (41-38). Georgia sports more defense but a very sporadic, inconsistent offense. Alabama is much the same, but really got it in gear last week offensively racking up 450 yards of total offense. Since they are at home, I like Alabama in this one, but if the Georgia offense shows up, watch out.

The rest of the games around the country are pretty much mismatches and things should go as planned, but of course they wont.  We’ll be back on Saturday night to analyze any major disturbances in the Force.

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Each week in college football, you just never can be sure what is going to happen. Sure, you can make some pretty logical guesses, and those guesses in some cases are safer than others – but all in all its still a guess. But three games into the season, some things DO start gelling. Others are still question marks.

Take USC for instance. I got a huge kick out of the sports media putting so much emphasis on LSU’s “big” win over Virginia Tech, when very honestly the Hokies didn’t deserve a 9 ranking. So “big” did this win get inflated, that many hapless, perhaps drunk, coaches and writers removed first place votes from USC, as if they had somehow shown badly, when in fact, by luck of no one in particular, had a bye. Well, hopefully, these same drunkards will notice the USC trounced (the score wasn’t indicative of the game) Nebraska 49-31. In actuality, without the USC 2nd and 3rd teams in at the end of the game, this might have been much worse.

Impressive as the Trojans were, there were those that continued to disappoint, and one in particular that downright followed its path into collapse. Texas, had to hold on for dear life to beat a charging Central Florida team, and Louisville proved that sure enough, offense ISNT enough to win games, especially when the other team has as many guns as you do. Arkansas also proved that it isnt nearly as good as they thought, and that their road through the SEC just might be alot more disappointing.

So with all this, we offer up the new Kathman Top 25:

1. USC (2-0) . Defeated Nebraska 49-31. Next week Washington St. at home.
The Men of Troy silence the critics in a game that showed, again, the Pete Carroll is the master of the halftime adjustment. By all practicals, this was 49-21, but for late scores on 2d and 3d USC teams.

2. LSU (3-0). Defeated Mid Tenn State 44-0. Next week: South Carolina at home.
The Tigers do what Louisville should have done. Matt Flynn throws for over 340 yds and 2 TDs, and of course, there’s the defense. Better not let down next week!

3. Oklahoma (3-0) Defeated Utah St. 54-3. Next Week: At Tulsa (Friday)
Oklahoma hasn’t really been tested yet, and wont be next week either. However, they continue to dominate on both sides of the ball. OU offense averaging 565 yards per game.

4. Florida (3-0) Defeated Tennessee 59-20. Next week: At Ole Miss.
The Gators show big and defense kicks it up a notch in the rout of the Vols. Tom Tebow throws for 2 touchdowns and runs for 2 more. Not a bad night.

5. West Virginia (3-0) Defeated Maryland 31-14. Next week : E Carolina at home.
Maryland looked tough early, but so did Marshall. WVU shows some decent defense this go-round. WVU gradually falling out of the National title hopes, with perceived distance between 4 and 5.

6. California (3-0) Defeated La. Tech 42-12. Next week: Arizona at home.
La Tech is a good solid team, and offered very little against a solid Golden Bear team that racked up 447 yards of offense. Longshore had 238 yards and 2 TDs. This is the Cal team that needs to show up every week

7. Wisconsin (3-0) Defeated The Citadel 45-31. Next week: Iowa at home.
Another tough game for the Badgers, but this time they played like a top 25 team. Still I get the idea they haven’t played their best yet. They’d better get it together before next week.

8. Texas (3-0) Defeated Central Florida 35-32. Next week: Rice at home.
Longhorns drop again in my poll, as they must scramble at the end to avoid an upset. Right now, Texas’ hasn’t got a chance against OU in a few weeks, so get ready to see them nose dive.

9. Ohio State (3-0) Defeated Washington 33-14. Next week: Northwestern at home.
Another consistent, solid performance. The Buckeyes are rapidly becoming a quiet force and in a toss-up Big-10 this year, that could be very good. Rose Bowl inside track?

10. Penn State (3-0) Defeated Buffalo 45-24. Next week: At Michigan.
The Nittany Lions started slow, but really dominated the remainder of the game. Defense looks really solid, while the offense seems to be roller coaster. With revival of Michigan this week (beating Notre Dame 38-0), next week looms HUGE for Joe Pa’s team.

11. Oregon (3-0) Defeated Fresno State 52-21. Next week: At Stanford.
Forget Anaheim, these are the Mighty Ducks. Perhaps the hottest and most underrated team in college football. RB Jonathan Stewart runs for 165 yards, including an 88 yard TD run. Pac-10 looks like a 3 team race this year. Anything goes. Oregon can be anyone on the board I think.

12. Rutgers (3-0) Defeated Norfolk St 59-0. Next week: Idle.
The Scarlet Knights doing what they do best. Best defense in the Big East. Ray Rice runs for three touchdowns, while Mike Teel passes for 269 yards. Can they get by WVU this year? Quite possibly.

13. Boston College (3-0) Defeated Georgia Tech 24-10. Next week: Army at home.
Matt Ryan has a career high 30/44 for 435 against a previously stingy Georgia Tech defense. Surprisingly, three weeks in, its BC and Clemson owning the ACC Atlantic.

14. Clemson (3-0) Defeated Furman 38-10. Next week: At NC State.
Speaking of Clemson, they had a solid performance again, and consistency gets rewarded. Tigers could make it very interesting in the ACC Atlantic.

15. Hawaii (3-0) Defeated UNLV 49-14. Next week: Charleston Southern at home.
Colt Brennan goes 26/32 for 298, uncharacteristically low numbers in a lopsided win. Three games, over 1200 yards passing- you do the math.

16. Virginia Tech (2-1) Defated Ohio 28-7. Next week: Wm & Mary at home.
Good solid rebound by the Hokies, but they still are having offensive woes. Defense is still tough, but watch out.

17. Louisville (2-1) Lost to Kentucky 40-34. Next week: Syracuse at home.
This one got away from the Cardinals, but predictably we’ve said all season that they would be in trouble when a good O-team came to town. Indeed they were.

18. South Carolina (3-0) Defeated S Carolina St 38-3. Next week: At LSU.
I will admit I haven’t taken the Gamecocks seriously. But Spurrier is a dang good coach and upset Georgia last week. With a few dropping out, we move his bunch in. However, this could be short-lived considering they must encounter the LSU juggernaut next week.

19. Missouri (3-0) Defeated West. Michigan 52-24. Next week: Illinois St at home.
We’re pretty astonished that coaches and writers haven’t noticed these guys. After the Nebraska loss, the Tigers seem to be the cream of the B12 North. Chase Daniels has another good day going 27/46 for 328 and 2 touchdowns.

20. Nebraska (2-1) Lost to USC 49-31. Next week: Ball State at home.
Sam Keller threw for 389, but most of that against a 3d string USC defense. Cornhusker defense found out that a speed offense is sure different than anything in the Big 12. Still they are a good B12-North title choice.

21. Alabama (3-0) Defeated Arkansas 41-38. Next Week: Georgia at home.
The Tide show the true character of maybe an overrated Arkansas team. Razorbacks allow too much offense at the end of the game. Bama allows 195 to McFadden, but only allow 145 in the air. Tide mounts 450 yds of offense. Next week very key.

22. Georgia (2-1). Defeated W. Carolina 45-16. Next week: At Alabama.
Hard to gauge any year what the Bulldogs do week to week. They lose focus so easily. However a good bounce back after a heartbreak loss to S. Carolina last week puts them back in the T25 in my book.

23. Texas A&M (3-0) Defeated La-Monroe 54-14. Next Week: At Miami.
The Aggies sport a dynamic offense, but honestly haven’t yet been tested at all. The 1st 3 games are supposed to warm you up, but their first 3 opponents are barely out of high school. Let’s see how they do against the Hurricanes.

24. Kentucky (3-0) Defeated Louisville 40-34. Next week: At Arkansas.
Welcome to the top 25 Wildcats! Undefeated and knocked off a top ten opponent grants you exclusive rights . However, don’t get the big head. Razorbacks will be out for vengence next week and you’re in the way.

25. South Florida (2-0) Idle. Next week: North Carolina at home.
Bulls stay put here for at least another week.
Dropping out this week: UCLA, TCU, Arkansas, Tennessee, Ga Tech

On the Bubble:

Arkansas (2-1)
Georgia Tech (2-1)
Texas Tech (3-0)
UCLA (2-1)

Most Impressive: USC, Florida, Ohio State, Oregon, Boston College, Kentucky
Least Impressive: Texas, Louisville, Arkansas, UCLA, Ga Tech

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I just watched West Virginia make short order of Maryland 31-14, though the Terps did make it interesting early. Problem with that is, the game goes 60 minutes, 4 quarters and is many times decided by halftime adjustments (or lack of same). WVU certainly made the right ones.

Another team thats perhaps the best with those adjustments is the USC Trojans. Master coach Pete Carroll has made some remarkable adjustments over the years, coming from double digit deficits only to win going away. The men from Troy travel to the heartland Saturday to play an AP ranked #14 Nebraska team (we have them ranked #17) that blew away its opponent the first week, but hung on to win last week over a much less talented, crippled Wake Forest team.  So, it would seem that just by ranking span, this shouldn’t be much of a game, but a second look might give pause.

The USC juggernaut offense never seems to have any problems scoring. However, Nebraska sports a somewhat historically uncharacteristic, fast defense that could give the Trojans some problems.  On Offense, Sam Keller gets to start against his former Pac-10 foe, hoping that his performance wont be the nightmare it was last time. Coaching wise, you have two ex-NFL coaches, that have similar work ethics and similar approaches, so you have to wonder if this might be closer than it looks. Answer YES!

But what’s really at stake here? Last week, LSU, already a team with momentum, dismantled a top 10 team in Virginia Tech. Never mind they didnt deserve that #9 ranking, it was a dominant performance by the Tigers, one that created alot of momentum from sportswriters and coaches that shifted their votes from #2 to #1. Typically, these voters have not made such a huge swing, especially if the #1 team (USC) was idle. Yet, the gap closed between the Trojans and Tigers last week, and so anything other than a Trojan trouncing will give the writers all the impetus they need to push LSU to the top. Pete Carroll knows this, and so do the Trojans.

Consider also the observation that Oklahoma, has roared to #3  in the AP poll, nipping at the heels of both LSU and USC.  There is a very good chance that Oklahoma can go undefeated (they need to get by Texas and Nebraska).  USC and LSU have much harder roads ahead against Pac-10 and SEC opponents, respectively, thats its not hard to see either of them be a 1 loss team at the end of the year. So, blowouts are much more important early against these mid-teen teams, because losing to one, will cause you to be punished in the polls. Lets not forget West Virignia in this mix either.

On the line for Nebraska is just plain passage and validation as a worthy football program again. Beat the Trojans in Lincoln, you move up, close to the top 10, if not in it. Lose big and you are scratching for which lower tier bowl you’ll play before Christmas.

Florida, too, has validation work to do this week against AP #22 Tennessee.  In another big rank split,  the Gators face a big challenge. At risk here is losing momentum early to keep you in the top 5.  A USC loss and a Florida blowout, moves Florida back into National Title hopes.  And its more likely, since they are at home. Tennessee looked good in losing against Cal in week one, and took care of business against Southern Miss last week.  But going to the swamp and having to play Florida, will be a tough assignment. But Tennessee loves playing spoiler, and the Florida defense looks very shaky (for heaven’s sake they gave up 31 points to Troy last week). Tennessee can muster the offense, and they have a more than adequate defense, so this looks to be a much more competitive game than what it might seem.

So a look at this week key games:

Mid Tennesse State at LSU – Say what you will but the Blue Raiders gave Louisville all it could handle last week…but ok lets get serious.  Louisville has no defense, and LSU has more than their share.  This gets ugly early and the Tigers feast all day, winning big.

Utah St at Oklahoma – What can I say, its  a bye week for the Sooners. Stoopes grabs a lopsider in Norman, that means nothing.

Louisville at Kentucky –  The Cardinals better not take this game lightly. Kentucky sports a powerful offensive machine with QB Andre Woodsen going 35/51 last week for 468 yards and 5 touchdowns. Their running back, Rafael Little lit it up with 237 yards rushing on 25 carries, while Keenan Burton caught 12 passes for 158 yards.  And, Kentucky has a decent defense.  Louisville needs to find some defense in this game or they might find themselves in a dogfight of a high scoring game.

Louisiana Tech at Cal – This also could be a stumbling block for the  Golden Bears if they take Tech too lightly. Lets put this in perspective…the Bulldogs lost to Hawaii 45-44, and lead most of the game.  Cal will have to muster up some defense to stop a powerful offense. This smells like an upset if Cal doesnt focus.

Ohio State at Washington – Washington is always tough at home. The Buckeyes have a very stingy defense and all of a sudden can feel a gap forming between them and conference foes Penn State and Wisconsin. OSU cant afford to lose this one.

Notre Dame at Michigan – Its hard to think that this game wont mean crap, when at the first of the year, it seemed this would be a launching point for a bug Wolverine year.  Instead the loser of this game will be 0-3.  Whew.  Both teams look really bad, and the Maize and Blue are without Senior QB Chad Henne (not that he’s helped them alot in the 1st two games).  So this game will be a battle of freshman quarterbacks against poor defenses. Michigan has the better offensive play makers, but can they muster enough defense to keep the Irish from scoring? Sad to say that most people are saying “Who cares?”

Boston College at Georgia Tech – #21 v #15 according to the AP.  These are two really good teams battling for what could be a precursor to the ACC championship later.  The Jackets are punishing people on defense and rolling up points on offense (they are 102-17 after 2 games). BC on the other hand, have done what it takes to win, but it hasnt been easy (75-45). Their defense tho, is their strength, and they’ll need alot of it in the form of turnovers this Saturday.

Arkansas at Alabama – Im eager just to see what Alabama can do. Silently they are 2-0 hosting a more touted Razorback team.   This will be the Nick Saban’s first big test as a coach of the Tide, to see how his team will defensively stack up. Alabama hasnt had a hard time scoring point (76 in 2 games)  and has played exemplary defense holding they 2 game opponents to 16 points.  This smells like an upset, especially since they are in Tuscaloosa.

In other games Wisconsin, Texas, UCLA, Penn State, and Rutgers are all up against minor opponents and should win handly.

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Week two of NCAA Football proved to be a day of games where teams began defining themselves for the rest of the year.  Two, Notre Dame and Michigan, clearly proved that their poor showing in week one wasn’t a fluke; that indeed the wheels are off and serious rework is in the offing.  Others such as Georgia Tech and LSU validated their wins in impressive manners.

Clearly the early story this year is the dominance of LSU. The so-called “Showdown in the Bayou” between Virginia Tech and LSU, that was touted as THE game of the early season, turned out to be a lopsided affair. While Vegas was predicting an over/under of 38, we’re proud that we predicted that LSU would romp over VT ( though we did insinuate that VT wouldn’t score – our apologies).

There were also several teams that looked much weaker that orignally thought.  West Virigina and Louisville both exhibited their explosive offenses and respective Heisman Hopefuls, but their story was a severe lack of Defense, something that MIGHT affect them later on.  Texas outlasted TCU, but was offensively inert until TCU was worm out. Indeed Oklahoma might have emerged this week as the cream of the Big12. A glance at their schedule shows that if they can get past Texas (and they surely can), they could go undefeated as there isnt much in the road to avoid. This would put them on a collision course  for champion-hopefuls USC or LSU.

All in all there were wholesale changes to the top 25 this week, as we lost several, but added others. Heres the list with brief remarks:

1. USC (1-0) Idle. Next week at Nebraska.
Fortunately the Trojans stay here because they didn’t play. However, they need to make a statement next week against the Cornhuskers or they may find themselves out of the #1 spot.

2. LSU (2-0) Defeated Va Tech 48-7. Next week Mid Tenn State at home.
Cant make them #1 yet because USC didn’t play this week and that would be unfair. But lets face it, who can beat them? It’s very hard to imagine this team losing to anyone.

3. Oklahoma (2-0) Defeated Miami 59-13. Next week Utah St. at home.
We’re moving the Sooners up after dominating Miami, but the Hurricanes arent the same team they have been in the past. However, its hard to see OU losing a game this year if they are as good as they were today and get better.

4. West Virginia (2-0) Defeated Marshall 48-23. Next week at Maryland.
Marshall hung in all all day long against the Mountaineers, but just couldnt finish the game. WVU looked very vulnerable at times, but Pat White pulls it out. Defense needs work, or Louisville will eat em alive.

5. Florida (2-0) Defeated Troy 59-31. Next week Tennessee at home.
Florida looks good again, but their defense really looks a bit suspect. Giving up 31 to Troy shouldn’t have happened. SEC wont allow for that kind of shabby play. Vols provide first real test next week.
6. Texas (2-0) Defeated TCU 34-13. Next week at Central Florida.
Longhorns struggled early and the offense looked confused. The difference in this game was late so the score isnt indicative of the level of play. TCU had no offense and gave the ball up. Cent Florida wont provide a challenge.

7. Louisville (2-0) Defeated Mid Tenn St 58-42. Next week at Kentucky.
Brohm throws for 401, but the Cards give up 42 points and 550+ yards of offense. Where’s the defense in the Big East?

8. California (2-0) Defeated Colorado St. 34-28. Next week La. Tech at home.
Longshore had a very mediocre day, and Cal had to weather a furious Ram comeback at the end of the game to hold on to the 6 point victory. Guys its gonna get worse in the Pac-10 than this!

9. Wisconsin (2-0) Defeated UNLV 20-13. Next week The Citadel at home.
The Badgers score late to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Defense looked very vulnerable giving up 260yds passing. A disappointment.

10. UCLA (2-0) Defeated BYU 27-17. Next week at Utah.
Good hard fought effort, holding off a charge by BYU. Good defensive character.

11. Penn State (2-0) Defeated Notre Dame 31-10. Next week Buffalo at home.
Not as much a fabulous game for PSU, but ND just doesn’t have much on offense. PSU Defense looked characteristically mean and fast. Rose Bowl hopes?

12. Ohio State (2-0) Defeated Akron 20-2 Next week at Washington.
Terrific defensive effort, but offense really looked spooky. Must play better next week against Washington. All of a sudden its OSU-PSU for B10 royalty.

13. Rutgers (2-0) Defeated Navy 41-24. Next week Norfolk St at home.
Ray Rice scores 3 TDs and defense is strong enough to keep the Midshipmen at bay. The Scarlet Knights might have the best defense in the Big East which could be a major asset!

14. Georgia Tech (1-0) Defeated Samford 69-14. Next week Boston College at home.
Not that Samford is a great team, but GT dominates like they should. The big test is next week with BC at home and that should tell how good they are. They sure have a dominant running game.

15. Virginia Tech (1-1) Lost to LSU 48-7. Next week Ohio at home.
As I predicted, the “Showdown” was overrated as the Hokies were way outclassed. However they should bounce back. They arent as bad as they looked, but offense does need work.

16. Arkansas (1-0) Idle. Next week at Alabama.
Razorbacks look to make a legit statement against Alabama – we’ll see!

17. Nebraska (1-0) Defeated Wake Forest 20-17. Next week at USC.
The Cornhuskers had just enough to get buy an ailing Demon Deacon team. Sam Keller had a good day, but at times seemed not to be able to handle pressure. A trip west to the Trojans will show what kind of character this team really has.

18. Oregon (2-0) Defeated Michigan 39-7. Next week: Fresno State at home.
Not a huge surprise that they won, but a thoroughly dominating performance in the Big House, that has everyone taking note (including Cal, UCLA and USC!)

19. Hawaii (2-0) Defeated La. Tech 45-44. Next week at UNLV.
This game was just as close as it seems. Hawaii had to fight back from a 14-0 deficit. Colt Brennan was 34/40 for 416 yards and 6 TDs, a typical day in the office for him.

20. Clemson (2-0) Defeated La Monroe 49-26. Next week Furman at home.
Lookie who’s making noise! Two very good weeks against decent opponents and all of a sudden the Tigers are up with Maryland and BC for the ACC Atlantic Division lead.

21. Tennessee (1-1) Defeated So. Miss 39-19. Next week at Florida.
The Vols put together a solid effort with good D and 275 yards passing from Eric Ainge. Might be interesting next week in the swamp.

22. TCU (1-1) Lost to Texas 34-13. Next week at Air Force (Thu).
Frogs were in this one early with their D, but they must show improvement on offense. The Defense is top notch, but it gets worn out being on the field so much because the offense cannot move the ball.

23. Missouri (2-0) Defeated Ole Miss 38-25. Next week Western Michigan at home.
Chase Daniel is 37/54 for 359 with 3 touchdowns as Tigers seem to be making known their intentions in the B12 North.

24. Boston College (2-0) Defeated No Carolina St 37-17. Next week: at Georgia Tech.
Well they could be for real, and we’ll give them a chance. big game next week will tell how good they are.

25. South Florida (2-0) Defeated Auburn 26-23. Next week: Idle.
Maybe Im crazy for not putting Georgia or Washington here, but last year the Bulls were threats to upset but never did. This year they knock off an SEC ranked team in their house. That’s more worthy in my book than losing miserably.

Dropping out this week: Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Boise State, Auburn

On the bubble:

Alabama (2-0)
Texas A&M (2-0)
South Florida (2-0)
Washington (2-0)
Georgia (1-1)

Most Impressive: LSU, Oklahoma, Ga Tech, Penn State, Oregon
Least Impressive: Wisconsin, TCU

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