Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Sorry about no postings last week folks.  We had a death in the family and it took a lot of time to get sorted out, so I just decided to let the week go, rather than rush through something that would be half done.

Weeks four and  five certainly gave us more surprises and more things to consider as the Top 25 bounces around and down and off the wall.  We’re seeing some teams exit and re-enter the list over periods of weeks just because their performance is wavering.  You might make a good case to just leave them out, but now we begin to have to look at record in addition to performance and it’s hard to leave a 1-loss team out of the mix just because they have one bad game.  Anyway, here’s the week’s Top 25 as we see it.  We’re also including the analysis here  in one post because there is a significant T25 game on Thursday night (Nebraska – Missouri).

#1 Florida (4-0) was idle. This week: At #4 LSU (5-0).

The Gator’s big showdown comes this week in Baton Rouge as they play the Bayou Bengals for quite possibly a shot at the National Title. A win by Florida would cement a title shot, seeing that they host the Razorbacks and Bulldogs later in the season and its really hard to beat Florida at home.  LSU will need to muster lots and lots of offense, which it’s just not been able to do.  LSU just escaped a mediocre Tennessee team last month, but put Kentucky in their place handily.  A win by the Tigers would certainly propel them into the top 3 and then set the showdown in three weeks with Alabama.  The big question will be if Florida QB Tim Tebow is able to start. He was back at practice on Monday and Tuesday, but has not been cleared to play on Saturday as of yet. He’s had 10 days to recover, more than enough time, and was in full pads and running options. Chances are coach Urban Meyer will keep Tebow’s condition  under wraps as long as he can.  Our guess will be he’ll not only play but it would probably take a small army to keep him from playing.  We’re thinking this game has great marquee value, but really should be just a significant bump for Florida.  With Tebow at the helm, this is a convincing 10-14 point victory for the Gators. Without him, it could be very interesting, but we’d still lean toward the Gators.  Florida by 12.

#2 Texas (4-0) was idle. This week: Colorado (1-3) at home.

There’s not a lot to say right now about the Longhorns, other than the fact that they are winning and winning well.  Colt McCoy’s only bad game this year came against Texas Tech, and they still won by 10.  They ace-in-the-hole is the Longhorn Defense.   Colorado won’t offer much resistance on Saturday, especially at Royal-Memorial.  The Buffs are slow on offense and defense, and have yet to muster any kind of consistent play.  The question could be if Texas will be so complacent that they might get ambushed.  OU is next and certainly there may be a tendency to de-emphasize Colorado.  We think this won’t make much difference.  Texas by 35.

#3 Alabama (5-0) defeated Kentucky (2-2) 38-20 at Kentucky.  This week: At #16 Mississippi (3-1).

Alabama proved its worthiness on the road against the Wildcats last week getting off to a 21-6 halftime lead and playing mostly defense in the second half. They were aided by a 45 yard fumble recovery for a TD. Alabama RB Mark Ingram ran for 140 yards and 2 TDs, but the Bama Defense gave up over 300 yards of total offense.  Mississippi is enduring talk of being overrated after a less than stellar performance over their first four games, including the loss to South Carolina.  Jevan Sneed just hasn’t lived up to the hype yet and has been, at best, inconsistent.  The Ole Miss defense hasn’t been at all bad, but because the offense has, it has put much more pressure on a Defense that  has to play more than it needs to.  We could see an upset, but everything would just have to come together for the Rebels for that to happen.  Alabama might have a harder time scoring, and their defense can be suspect.  We’re still figuring the Tide should prevail however, perhaps in a low scoring game.  Bama by 8.

#4 LSU (5-0) defeated Georgia (3-2) 20-13 at Georgia. This week: #1 Florida at home.

For most of the day, it was a defensive struggle. Then, with the clock winding down, LSU and Georgia started trading touchdowns as though the defenses weren’t even on the field.  A last minute interception sealed an hard fought victory for the Tigers. The Bulldogs had virtually no running game, allowing only 45 years, but gave up 229 yards in the air.  They’ll need that same rushing defense if they are to pull the upset of Florida on Saturday.  See the analysis above.  Florida by 12.

#5 Virginia Tech (4-1)  defeated Duke (2-3) 34-26 at Duke. This week: Boston College (4-1).

Duke had this game in hand except that it’s offense stalled three times inside the VT 30.  The Blue Devils also had an extremely unbalanced offense rushing for only 38 yards, but torching the VT defense for 359.   VT Junior QB Tyrod Taylor turned in an excellent performance, however, going 17/22 for 327 yards and 2 TDs.  BC can get on an offensive roll, but their offense has been suspect of late.  Going against a solid VT D, and the fact that the Hokies are at home, give a definite slant towards Tech. Hokies by 14.

#6 USC (4-1) defeated California (3-2) 30-3 at Cal.  This week: Idle.

In week one the USC-Cal game looked to be a real test for both teams, but the Trojans dominated the Bears  from the start, and defensively pressured the Cal offense all night long. Number one on USC’s list was to shut down Jahvid Best and the running game, which they did in spades allowing him only 47 yards on 14 carries, 14 of which came on one run.  That means outside of the one scamper they held him to 2.5 yards/carry.  The Trojans held Cal QB Kevin Riley to a 37.5% completion rate. In the meantime, USC QB Matt Barkley went 20/35 for 283 yards and a TD and Joe McKnight added 119 yards on the ground. The Trojans will get the week off to prepare for their big road game to South Bend on the 17th.

#7 Cincinnati (5-0) defeated Miami (OH) (0-5) 37-13 in Ohio.  This week: At #18 South Florida (5-0) (Thursday).

It was an easy game of sorts for Cincinnati against the cellar dweller in the MAC, and they took care of business. They jumped out to a 23-7 lead then banged the end zone twice in the final quarter to lock it away. RB Jacob Ramsey ran for 103 yards and three touchdowns, while QB Tony Pike threw for 270 yards and 2 TDs.  The Bearcats travel to South Florida on a short week, to take on the undefeated Bulls.  It should be a contrast of styles offensively. Cincinnati ranks 7th in the country in passing yards per game, while South Florida leans on its rushing game averaging 60 more yards per game than Cincy.  The key to the game will be the strength of the Bulls passing defense, which could be the Achilles heel.  In their previous two games against Florida State and Syracuse, South Florida has been tough against the run, but torched in the secondary, giving up  well over 250 yards to  both opponents.   We don’t see this as much different.  A note here, though, QB Tony Pike’s stock in the Heisman race has grown in the past weeks.  A big win, with big numbers would not only move Cincy up in the top 10, but would capture more mindshare. Cincy by 18.

#8 Boise State (5-0) defeated UC Davis (1-3) 34-16 at home. This week: Idle.

The Broncos earn a break until next Wednesday night by getting by UC Davis, an FCS team that put up a pretty spirited fight, staying within earshot most of the night.   They were only down by 10 in the 3rd quarter, before Austin Pettis scored with a little over 3 minutes left.  BSU’s last score was cosmetic with 38 seconds left, so the game wasn’t near as indicative as the score might show.  We’re not as excited about Boise State being in the top 5 as many pollsters, and they’ll suffer long term due to a weak schedule.  They’ll lace ‘em up again next Wednesday when they travel to Tulsa.

#9 Iowa (5-0) defeated Arkansas State (1-3) 24-21 at home. This week: Michigan (4-1) at home.

The Hawkeyes are off to their best start in 14 years — no matter how ugly it’s often been. QB Ricky Stanzi threw for a season-high 296 yards and three touchdowns, but somehow Sun Belt based Arkansas State hung around and made a late charge, down 21-7 to give Iowa a little consternation.  But their road win against Penn State showed they had the moxy to play hard and tough.  At home against Michigan, Iowa will need to rely on defense, and hope that Wolverine QB Tate Forcier has a Freshman-like day.  We’re pretty sure he’ll be pressure cooked most of the day.  Iowa by 11.

#10 Ohio State (4-1) defeated Indiana (3-2) 33-14 in Indiana. This week: Wisconsin (5-0) at home.

The Buckeyes had six possessions and score on four of them in the first half, building a 24-7 lead from which the Hoosiers could never recover. Ohio State’s sophomore signal-caller Terrelle Pryor came up big, throwing for 159 yards and 3 TDs and scrambling for 63 and another score. OSU’s defense only allowed 18 yards of rushing offense.  The Buckeyes will have a much tougher test this Saturday taking on the Badgers who, at 5-0, have gone largely undetected. They’ve disposed of Big-10 foes Michigan State and Minnesota, the last on the road.  If Wisconsin up and kicks OSU around and wins, they’ll certain be entering the Top 25 with two quality road wins back to back and a 6-0 record. By the way, take a snapshot now…Iowa and Wisconsin lead the Big-10 5 weeks in.   The line on the game is OSU by 16, but we’re thinking it’s going to be closer, and maybe even a possible upset.  OSU by 7.

#11 TCU (4-0) defeated SMU (2-2)  39-14 at home. This week: At Air Force (3-2).

The Horned Frogs are for real, as they continue to execute much more consistently on offense in addition to having a very stingy defense.  Against SMU, we’ll give the Game ball  to Jeremy Kerley, TCU’s junior WR  who returned a punt for a TD, rushed for another and led the team with four catches for 48 yards. TCU amassed over 400 yards total offense, while the defense destroyed SMU’s running game, posting a -16 yards.  The Mountain West heats up this weekend where Air Force hosts the Frogs, with both teams undefeated in conference play. Air Force will do it on the ground as the 2nd ranked team in the country in rushing offense (averaging almost 300 yards per game). TCU’s defense has held 3 of 4 opponents this year to under 60 yards of total rushing yards.  We’ll go with the Frogs in this one.  TCU by 12.

#12 Penn State (4-1) defeated Illinois (1-3) 35-17 at Illinois.  This week: Eastern Illinois (4-1) (FCS)  at home.

The Nittany Lions come off a solid rebound effort after their loss to Iowa. It was primary on the ground for PSU, with Stephon Green running for 120 yards and Evan Royster adding another 105. All in all, the PSU rushing attack gained 338 yards, 208 of which were in the 3rd quarter.  They’ll catch a breather this week facing FCS opponent Eastern Illinois of the Ohio Valley Conference.  The Panthers have allowed 2.7 yards per carry in its first five games, but the No. 25 team in the Sports Network’s FCS poll won’t have the luxury of facing another lower-tier opponent this week, so we’re pretty certain PSU gets a nice relaxed home victory.  PSU by 33.

#13 Miami (FL) (3-1) defeated #20 Oklahoma (2-2) 21-20 at home. This week: Florida A&M (4-0) at home.

We’re really perplexed at Miami’s inconsistent behavior, but when they play like the did against OU this past weekend, we’re convinced they are for real.  Consider that the Hurricane’s have played four games and all four were against ranked teams in the top 25, and they’ve won 3 of the 4.  If QB Jacory Harris can steer Miami the rest of the way, especially into the top 10, he has to be at least mentioned for the Heisman. Against a fast OU defense he threw for over 200 yards and 3 touchdowns. RB Javarris James ran roughshod over the Sooner defense for 150 yards on 15 carries.  Like Penn State, the Hurricanes will get a breather with a decent FCS team in the Florida A&M Rattlers. Miami’s defensive focus Saturday will be on Florida A&M quarterback Curtis Pulley, who is having an outstanding senior season.

Pulley threw for 315 yards and two TDs to lead the Rattlers to a 31-12 victory over Tennessee State on Sept. 26. He has passed for 846 yards, seven touchdowns and one INT while leading the team with 291 yards rushing. Miami should easily rule this one in their home stadium though.  Hurricanes by 24.

#14 Oregon (4-1) defeated Washington State (1-4) 52-6 at home. This week: At UCLA (3-1).

Way back in week one, the Ducks looked as if they might as well fold for the season they looked so bad against Boise State.  Since then, they’ve run off four straight wins, two over ranked opponents, destroyed at that time a #6 Cal 42-3.  Their defense is allowing an average of 11 points in their last 3 outings, the last two of which were in single digits.  Against WSU, Oregon rushed for over 300 yards and added almost 200 in the air, and got three turnovers.  UCLA hosts the Ducks this year, and offensively puts a very balance squad on the field. Senior QB Kevin Craft is more stable and consistent this year, but we don’t think he’ll be able to carry them past the Ducks this week.  Oregon by 13.

#15 Brigham Young (4-1) defeated Utah State (1-3) 35-17 at home. This week: At UNLV (2-3).

BYU has been somewhat of a paradox, like many schools in the Top 25.  They have played consistently great except for that ONE game.  Their nemesis was  Florida State that crushed them 54-28 in week three.  Last week though,  RB Harvey Unga helped himself to 118 yards on 21 carries and the defense caused two costly turnovers in Utah State’s end of the field to help the Cougars to victory.  The real trouble spot has been QB Max Hall’s tendency to throw interceptions, though.  Her threw 2 INTs in the game, and has thrown 2 or more in four of the five games played.  UNLV hosts the game this week, but defensively they must play above themselves. The Rebels gave up 773 yards in a 63-28 loss at Nevada last Saturday. It was the worst defensive performance by a Division I team this season, eclipsing the 663 yards Troy surrendered against top-ranked Florida on Sept. 12. This bodes no good for any chance of an upset. BYU by 21.

#16 Mississippi (3-1) defeated Vanderbilt (2-3) 23-7 at Vandy. This week: #3 Alabama (5-0) at home.

As alluded to earlier, Mississippi has been somewhat of a disappointed this year.  After a strong finish last year and a convincing thumping of Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl, hopes were so high that it earned them a pre-season top 10 ranking. But they have failed to impress.  They have struggled to win, and then lost their SEC opener on National TV against South Carolina. While the Rebs  defeated Vanderbilt handily, Jevan Sneed was again a mixed blessing.  He threw for 237 yards and three TDs, but also threw three picks. They’ll need to be MUCH better against #3 Alabama who brings the #2 defense in the country to town.  If Jevan Sneed can put together a consistent offensive game with no mistakes this one could be competitive, as Ole Miss does have a stellar defensive unit. But we’re thinking it won’t happen. Bama by 8.

#17 Oklahoma State (3-1) as idle. This week: At Texas A&M (3-1).

The Cowboys travel to College Station to take on an enigmatic Aggie team that showed last week that when they tried to put on the big boy pants, they didn’t fit. It’s the Big 12 opener for both Oklahoma State and Texas A&M when the teams meet at Kyle Field. Oklahoma State is 3-10 against Texas A&M since the Big 12 began play in 1996, including a 1-5 record in College Station. Texas A&M has lost 12 of its last 15 games at home against ranked opponents. So equally bad trends are going head on.  Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett, a sophomore transfer from Michigan who won a high school title in Texas in 2006, finished 17-of-27 for 271 yards and an interception, while throwing touchdowns to four receivers against a woeful A&M defense.  The Aggies were not without good performances however.  QB Jerrod Johnson was 30-of-58 for 345 yards and two touchdowns, with most of the numbers piled up mostly after the Aggies fell way behind. He also had two fumbles — one that was returned 85 yards for a touchdown (turning a potential go-ahead drive into a 21-10 deficit) and another in the closing seconds. OSU has major key players in QB Zac Robinson who sports a 155.33 QB rating and has thrown for over 7,000 yards and 57 TDs in his career, and WR Dez Bryant who is averaging 19 yards per catch this year.  The Cowboys also bring a potent running game with Senior RB Keith Toston (6.1 yds/carry) and Jeremy Smith (10.1 yds/carry).  We think this could potentially be a good game, with Johnson having the potential to torch a vulnerable OSU secondary much like Houston did so we’re putting this one on Upset Alert.  OSU by 4.

#18 South Florida (5-0) defeated Syracuse (2-3) 34-20 at Syracuse. This week: #8 Cincinnati at home.

South Florida keeps quietly building a solid program year after year, and this year is no different. The Bulls disposed of Syracuse last week with backup QB B.J. Daniels went 12/20 for 208 yards and two TD’s.  The Bulls defense held the Orangemen to just 75 yards rushing, and captured a whopping 5 interceptions.  As discussed above, they’ll need to be way on top of their game  when the Bearcats invade. Look for Cincy QB Tony Pike to have a field day if the Bulls can’t put pressure on him. Cincy by 18.

#19 Georgia Tech (4-1) defeated Mississippi State (2-3) 42-31 at MSU. This week: At Florida State (2-3).

Georgia Tech used an uncharacteristic balanced offensive attack of 469 yards to topple MSU last week.  The Yellow Jackets had 266 yards passing and 213 yards rushing. GT QB Josh Nesbitt completed 79 percent of his passes and finished with 1 TD and 322 total yards. We might be tempted to bill this one as the battle of the inconsistents. Both teams have impressed, but also disappointed. Tech’s running game is 6th in the country, while FSU’s passing game is 15th, so we’re stymied in thought.  This one will depend on which team on both sides will show up to play. We flipped a coin and took Georgia Tech.  Yellow Jackets by 3.

#20  Oklahoma (2-2) lost to #13 Miami (3-1) 21-20 in Miami.  This week: Baylor (3-1) at home.

For a team that lost its Heisman-winning QB, the Sooners have been impressive, despite their 2-2 record.   But at the same time,  we’re thinking that they have no more losses left to stay in the top 25. They have faltered twice against ranked teams this year, and the trend has to turn.  In the Miami game, they played well enough to win but couldn’t push the ball down the field in the closing moments to cash in.  With Baylor’s outstanding The Sooner D has to improve.  Though the unit ranks fourth in the nation allowing 8.7 points per contest and 10th by giving up 253.0 yards per game, the Sooners yielded 21 straight points against Miami. Baylor has lost 18 consecutive games against Top 25 opponents dating to a 35-34 overtime win over then-No. 16 Texas A&M on Oct. 30, 2004. They are also without their star QB Robert Griffin who is nursing a knee injury.  Playing at home, OU may want to make a statement, and it may mark the return of Sam Bradford.  Sooners by 27.

#21 Nebraska (3-1) was idle.  This week: At #25 Missouri (4-0).

It will be a battle for supremacy and the upper-hand in the Big-12 North when the Cornhuskers visit Missouri Thursday night in a nationally televised game.  Nebraska’s only blemish was  the result of a blown coverage at the end of the Virginia Tech game that allowed the Hokies to steal a 16-15 win in a game otherwise dominated by the Red and White. The Huskers and Tigers have been sizzling on offense, both ranking in the top 20 in total yards and points scored. Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert is yet to throw an interception this season. Nebraska has had little trouble shutting down opponents, while Missouri has been scoring with ease. Those trends seem unlikely to continue as the teams begin Big 12 play for keeps.  This one could go either way, but we’ll lean slightly toward Nebraska.  Cornhuskers by 3.

#22 Auburn (5-0) defeated Tennessee (2-3) 26-22 at Tennessee. This week: At Arkansas (2-2).

Very quietly, the Tigers have been going about their business disposing of opponents and waiting for people to notice.  Well, we did. Auburn met some resistance early from Tennessee’s defense last week, but slowly wore it down as they held the ball nearly 10 minutes longer than the Vols. Auburn’s third-ranked offense racked up 459 yards. This week, they travel to Arkansas who has a lot of talent, if they can keep from beating themselves.  They annihilated and undefeated Texas A&M team last week, but have been plagued with inconsistent play on both sides of the ball. Was last week a turning point?  Perhaps, but they’ll need a full effort to derail Auburn, which we feel isn’t likely.  Oh yeah. Home field advantage for the Razorbacks isn’t. The Tigers have won three straight at Fayetteville. Tigers by 6.

#23 South Carolina (4-1) defeated So. Carolina State (3-1) (FCS) 38-14 at home. This week: Kentucky (2-2) at home.

Steve Spurrier should probably be at least considered for Coach of the Year for what he’s putting together this year. His team’s only loss was to a ranked Georgia team by 4 points late in the game. QB Stephen Garcia threw two touchdowns, rushed for another score and South Carolina matched to its best start in the last five seasons.  Kentucky will bring a team that’s always capable of putting points on the board, but historically hasn’t fared well against the Gamecocks. Spurrier is 17-0 against the Wildcats spanning his 5 years at SC and 12 years prior.   This probably won’t change. Gamecocks by 13.

#24 Stanford (4-1)  defeated UCLA (3-1) 24-16 at home. This week: At Oregon State (3-2)

The Cardinal have been another team, like Auburn, running under the radar, and now take advantage of a topsy-turvy football year to sneak into the Top 25. They surfaced with a then surprise win over Washington the week after the Huskies knocked off USC.  Last week against then undefeated UCLA,  RB Toby Gerhart ran for three touchdowns (130 yards) and QB Andrew Luck passed for 198 yards and Stanford snapped a five-game losing streak to UCLA with a 24-16 victory Saturday to keep its hold on first place in the Pac-10.  That’s right FIRST PLACE.   However, a bit of a challenge is in store as Stanford must travel to Corvallis to face the Beavers. Stanford sports the 12th best rushing offense in the nation at over 220 yards per game, but Oregon State is putting up an average of over 270 yards passing per game with Senior QB Sean Canfield (134 QB rating).  We’re leaning toward Stanford, but this could easily go the other way with the Beavers at home.  So let’s put this one on Upset Alert.  Stanford by 2.

#25 Missouri (4-0) was idle.  This week: #21 Nebraska at home.

See above analysis. Nebraska by 3.

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Here are your week 4 round up and predictions!

#1 Florida (3-0)  at  Kentucky (2-0)

The Gators have been hit with the flu-bug this week causing key people to miss practices. Urban Meyer is downplaying it but it’s a real issue among teams right now. Last year Florida trounced the Wildcats 63-5, but this is a better Kentucky team this year. It’s hard to think that this will be the rout it was last year, and in fact, at home, Kentucky will want to show something extra. However, it shouldn’t be close, unless all the Gators have the flu on game day.  Gators by 21.

#2 Texas (3-0) hosts UTEP (1-2)

Colt McCoy’s subpar performance last week against Texas Tech, might partly have been explained by the fact that he had the flu.  Fully recovered now, a more focused Longhorn team will set its sites on dominating another non-conference opponent. UTEP got its first win of the season last Saturday, scoring the first 31 points in a 38-12 rout of New Mexico State. Donald Buckram rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns, and Vernon Frazier also ran for two scores as the Miners compiled 14 more points than they had in their first two games combined. But they’ll need pretty much of a miracle to make any difference this Saturday.  Longhorns by 36.

#3 Alabama (3-0) hosts  Arkansas (1-1)

Bama comes off of a gimme win against North Texas, while the Razorbacks come off of a well-fought loss against Georgia. Arkansas allowed GA QB Joe Cox to throw for 375 yards, so firming up a pass defense should be at the top of their list.  Conversely,  Arkansas passed for over 400 against a pretty decent Georgia defense, so the Tide will have their hands full.  However, we think that Bama offers too broad of an offensive punch, much more than Georgia, to make this too close.  However, the Razorbacks have been known to put it all together for a top 10 game, so if they jump up and beat Bama, don’t say we didn’t warn you.  Bama by 17.

#4 Penn State (3-0) hosts Iowa (3-0)

This will be the first important Big-10 showdown of the young 2009 season.  PSU has played creampuffs, but showed an excellent defense as well as a balance offense.  There has been a tendency to let up off the gas as the game has gone on however. A loss to the Hawkeyes spoiled Penn State’s otherwise perfect regular season in 2008,  so motivation shouldn’t be a factor.   On the other hand, Iowa hasn’t lost since it beat PSU last year, and as usual, they’ll do it with defense. Bad statistic here:  The Nittany Lions have lost six of their last seven games against the Hawkeyes.  We’re putting this one on Upset Alert, but  we’ll lean to the Happy Valley boys this time.  Penn State by 8.

#5 Mississippi (3-0) At South Carolina (2-1)

A key SEC matchup here, and the Rebels need to find a way to gel quickly. In their first three outings they’ve looked shaky and confused at times, especially in the passing game where Jevan Sneed has thrown for  5 TDs but 2 Interceptions. They will be trying to win their first SEC opener since 2003.  The Gamecocks, however, have shown good solid defense, but and inconsistent, error-prone offense.  This one might be closer than it should be.  Mississippi by 4.

#6 California (3-0) At Oregon (2-1)

Cal has certainly proven itself worthy of its ranking early in the 2009 campaign boasting a brutal running attack led by Jahvid Best and a more than adequate passing game led by Kevin Riley who is sporting a QB rating of 117.5. Oregon has improved two straight since their opening night loss to Boise State. It’s hard to think that the Ducks will find enough defense to hold either attack in check, so we’ll tilt this one significantly in favor of the Golden Bears.  Cal by 10.

#7 LSU (3-0) At Mississippi State (2-1)

On the surface this looks to be walk in the park for the Tigers, but not so fast. LSU is still struggling offensively as QB Jordan Jefferson seeks to raise his game.  One thing he has done is increased his accuracy (now in the mid to high 60s) and in 74 attempts he’s thrown only 1 pick and 5 TDs.  So they are going in the right direction.  The defense has given up only 12 points in the last two games.  Miss State has other hurdles. Coach Dan Mullen, who was the offensive coordinator for the Gators’ last two national title teams, has Mississippi State off to a strong start after going 4-8 last year and finishing at the bottom of the SEC West with a 2-6 mark. The Bulldogs won again last Saturday, surprising the Commodores 15-3 on the road as they allowed 157 yards — 33 on the ground.  Look for this to be tight early then LSU pulling away late in a relatively low scoring affair.  LSU by 13.

#8 Boise State (3-0) at Bowling Green (1-2)

We’ve sung accolades for the Broncos in the past touting their remarkable success in the WAC.  But that’s just it…it’s the WAC.  They don’t do themselves any favors this week going up against  a MAC-based Bowling Green. Boise State running back D.J. Harper likely will miss the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He is one of two tailbacks who share carries. However, this probably will make little difference.  Bowling Green is probably a play or two away from a 3-0 start. But notching that second win and the fifth upset of a nationally-ranked team ever in the school’s history won’t be easy against a Boise State team that averaging 39.3 points per game and has won its games by an average of 25.3 points.   Broncos by 17.

#9 Oklahoma (2-1) is Idle.

#10 Miami (2-0) At  #11 Virginia Tech (2-1)

The marquee matchup of the weekend takes place in Blacksburg where  both teams head into the game ranked for the first time since 2005. Miami is averaging 35.5 points and leads the ACC with 465.0 yards of total offense per game. The Canes are looking to win three consecutive games against Top 25 opponents for the first time since 2001. VTech has shown its schizophrenic offensive play under QB Tyrod Taylor, so its hard to judge exactly what’s going to happen with them on any given Saturday. The key here will be the continuation of the wide receiver play for Miami. The game could swing on a special teams play, but we think that the speed and versatility of Miami wins out.  Hurricanes by 6.

#11 Virginia Tech (2-1) hosts #10 Miami (2-0)  – see above.

#12 USC (2-1) hosts Washington State (1-2)

USC aims to rebound after falling in its Pac-10 opener against Washington when it hosts Washington State.  They fell last year to Oregon State in Corvallis, but still managed to put together an impressive season and a Rose Bowl berth. The Trojans will be trying to avoid losing consecutive games for the first time since dropping four straight in 2001. Washington State is 8-56-4 in the series, including 4-37-2 in Los Angeles.  No matter who the QB starter for USC will be, this one is a lock for USC.  The line is USC by 45, but we think that might be overzealous.  USC by 27.

#13 Ohio State (2-1) hosts Illinois (1-1)

QB Terrell Pryor came to life last week against Toledo throwing for 262 yards and pacing a 522 total yard day for the Buckeyes.   The OSU defense is also playing exceptionally well. The Buckeyes have outscored their opponents 151-40 in winning four straight conference openers, and have won four of the past five overall against Illinois. Starting Illinois LB Montez Wilson is out for the season with a herniated disk in his neck. Not much of a contest here. Buckeyes by 18.

#14 Cincinnati (3-0) hosts Fresno State (1-2)

Say what you want about Fresno State, but they play a tough schedule.  This will be the Bulldogs third top 25 team in a row and on the road to boot this week. Cincy has done nothing but just go out an annihilate their opponents by a combined score of 145-36 in three games. QB Tony Pike threw for over 330 yards in his last game alone. This one could turn into a shootout with both teams ranked in the top 10 in total offense. The Bulldogs are led by the nation’s leading rusher, Ryan Mathew, but have never beaten a top 15 opponent.  Chances are, that continues Saturday.  Bearcats by 17.

#15 TCU (2-0) at Clemson (2-1)

If you have access to this game on TV Saturday, tune in, it should be a heck of a contest. TCU looks to go 2-0 against the ACC when the Horned Frogs take a trip to Clemson. TCU already won easily at Virginia two weeks ago. After falling to Georgia Tech in its ACC opener, the Tigers bounced back with a win over Boston College. These teams haven’t met since Clemson won 3-0 in Death Valley in 1965, the Tigers’ second victory in three all-time matchups. TCU will most likely rely on its running attack, since Clemson allowed over 300 yards rushing against GT.  Statistically, it’s all in TCU’s favor, but don’t count on that.  We like the upset here. Clemson by 3.

#16 Oklahoma State (2-1) hosts Grambling State (2-1)

This is the first meeting of these two teams, as the Cowboys play host to FCS Grambling State.  We’re not really sure how to make this sound competitive, but to say that Grambling State has won its last two games after a narrow defeat in its season opener. The Tigers took a 20-3 lead into halftime of their 27-17 victory over Jackson State last Saturday,  OKST would nearly have to collapse to make this one even close. Cowboys by 40.

#17 Florida State (2-1) hosts South Florida (3-0)

South Florida isn’t the team it was a couple of years ago, but they still can make some noise.  They’ll be on the road at Florida State but it’ll feel like a home game for  Bulls QB B.J. Daniels, who starts his first game for the injured Matt Grothe, as he is from Tallahassee. The Seminoles are coming off their best game of the season, thrashing then-No. 7 BYU 54-28.  The Seminoles are a bit schizophrenic this year, but if QB Christian Ponder gets in a groove, this could get ugly, but in the past this has been competitive.  Florida State by 17.

#18 Georgia (2-1) hosts Arizona State (2-0)

Another cross-conference battle that could prove interesting. After scoring just 10 points in its opener, Georgia has rebounded nicely with 41- and 52-point performances in two SEC games. The Dawgs take a break from the SEC, but won’t get a breather this week when they host Arizona State. The Sun Devils rank No. 1 in the nation in total defense. ASU QB Danny Sullivan boasts a QB rating of 120.79, and that could play havoc with the Georgia pass defense.  Look for this one to be close, but then the Dawgs pull away.  Georgia by 13.

#19 Brigham Young (2-1) hosts Colorado State (3-0)

The Cougars were shocked last week when visited by Florida State and got ambushed by speed and a hot QB. This week the Cougars will have to rebound against Mountain West foe Colorado State, which is off to its best start in 15 years. BYU, which has won 12 consecutive conference games at LaVell Edwards Stadium, has won five straight over the Rams. The Rams are susceptible to the run, allowing 169 yards in last Saturday’s 35-20 win over Nevada.  Although Colorado State had trouble stopping the run, it forced five turnovers, setting up 28 points to help the Rams open a season with three straight wins for the first time since starting 7-0 in 1994. Still, we look for BYU to come back strong this week.  Cougars by 20.

#20 North Carolina (3-0) at Georgia Tech (2-1)

The Yellow Jackets fell out of the Top 25 last week with their poor showing against Miami, so they’ll be looking for redemption against a North Carolina team that is looking for offensive consistency. Georgia Tech’s triple-option spread offense ranks 16th in the country in rushing while the Tar Heels’ run defense checks in at No. 7. Something will give at Bobby Dodd Stadium, where the Tar Heels have lost five straight. The Yellow Jackets have won nine of the past 11 meetings with the Tar Heels. We like the upset here.  Ga Tech by 3.

#21 Kansas (3-0) hosts Southern Miss (3-0)

Quietly, the Jayhawks keep winning, despite a very suspect pass defense.  QB Todd Reesing is consistently throwing well guiding a high power offense, which it needs to make up for its defense. The Jayhawks are looking for their 20th consecutive nonconference home victory, but they’ll face a Golden Eagles team riding the nation’s second-longest winning streak. Kansas is third in total yards on offense, but the Golden Eagles are sixth in run defense. Perhaps more troubling for Kansas Golden Eagles sophomore quarterback Austin Davis has not thrown an interception in his last 128 passes. This actually has some upset potential, but we’re thinking that Kansas might have enough offense to run away.  Jayhawks by 14.

#22 Michigan (3-0) hosts Indiana (3-0)

The Wolverines will be looking for more poise and consistency from  freshman QB Tate Forcier this week as they host the Hoosiers. Michigan is 50-9 all-time against the Hoosiers and 34-7 at Ann Arbor. Indiana finished last in the Big Ten in 2008 with one win in conference play. The Hoosiers averaged 14.5 points against Big Ten opponents while giving up a league-high 41.0 points. They haven’t beaten a ranked team on the road in 6 years. This might be too much to overcome.  Michigan by 22.

#23 Nebraska (2-1) hosts Louisiana-Lafayette (2-1)

Nebraska’s game against Louisiana-Lafayette will mark Memorial Stadium’s NCAA-record 300th consecutive sellout. The next longest streak is Notre Dame’s 207. Nebraska faces its third Sun Belt Conference opponent of the season, both of which were obliterated.  Nebraska had all but beat Virginia Tech until a late  defensive lapse on one play allowed Tech to win the game. The Cornhuskers will have much to prove and would love to send the home crowd into a frenzy.  They probably will.  Cornhuskers by 30.

#24 Houston (2-0) hosts Texas Tech (2-1)

The scoreboard operator could be working overtime when Houston hosts Texas Tech. The Cougars are No. 1 in the nation in scoring, and the Red Raiders are 19th. Both teams have budding stars at QB. Tech’s Taylor Potts is No. 1 in passing yards per game and Houston’s Case Keenum is No. 3. Houston defeated a similar style team in then #5 Oklahoma State with good pass defense.  This is likely to be a close game, with both teams in the mid thirties, so in such games, Tech is  12-10 while Houston is a paltry  6-13.  We’re going to lean on the upset here, but either team could blow this wide open.   Red Raiders by 2.

#25 Washington (2-1) at Stanford (2-1)

Washington is off it’s biggest upset in years taking down a crippled USC team last week, which is significant seeing that last year the Huskies didn’t win a single game. QB Jake Locker sports rating of 138.69,  five TDs and only 1 interception.  The Cardinal won last year in Seattle, but QB Andrew Luck is overachieving with a rating of  153.44 and passing accuracy in the mid 70s.  This one is hard to call, as its hard to know whether Washington is real or not.  The line has Stanford by 7, but we’re tempted to buck that, giving coach Sarkesian the benefit of the doubt. Huskies by 4.

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Week three saw a few upsets, but to be honest, it’s still early in the season to be thinking that they could make that much difference.

Both USC and BYU went down this week, but those of you that following college football know that it’s not real unusual to see USC lose to a Pac-10 opponent early in the year, recover and make the Rose Bowl.  However, USC certainly is in a rebuilding phase this year and Cal looks poised to make that a really competitive race.

BYU’s collapse (5 turnovers) against Florida State really was a bit of a surprise, and perhaps could have permanently hurt their chances for any BCS activity this year.  Anything can happen, but BYU’s schedule doesn’t look to be conducive to helping them out.

The big dogs won and that’s all that was really needed.  The top 10 is a bit rearranged and here comes Oklahoma charging back.  Texas showed vulnerability even in winning.  Thus we have our new Top 25.

#1 Florida (3-0) defeated Tennessee (1-2) 23-13 at home. Next week: At Kentucky (2-0)

Tebow had a rough day passing, and his string of 30 straight games with a TD pass came to an end, but it was a Gator rushing game that racked up over 200 yards that was the difference.  Tennessee managed only 93 yards passing and 115 rushing, a testament to the stingy Florida defense who finally gave up a TD with a little over 8 minutes remaining in the game.  One TD in 12 quarters ain’t bad folks.

#2 Texas (3-0) defeated Texas Tech (2-1) 34-24 at home. Next week:  UTEP (1-2) at home.

Texas again underperformed, and had it not been for a Taylor Potts fumble and generally poor coaching and discipline (14 penalties for 108 yards) on the Tech side of the ball, the Longhorns might have had to work a miracle. The Texas defense gave up 420 yards passing, which is to be expected, but held the Red Raiders to -6 yards rushing. It wasn’t one of Colt McCoy’s better efforts throwing for a little over 200 yards, but he had 2 interceptions.  Texas looked vulnerable, and Tech beat the spread.

#3 Alabama (3-0) defeated North Texas (1-2) 53-7 at home. Next week: Arkansas (1-1) at home.

Always nice to have a gimme game at home, but you have to put away those gimme games too.  The Crimson Tide did just that, throwing up 30 unanswered points in the first half alone.  Bama’s defense held UNT to under 200 total yards, while the offense rolled up 523.

#4 Penn State (3-0) defeated Temple (1-1) 31-6 at home.  Next week: Iowa (3-0) at home.

Another work-man type week for the Nittany Lions,  sporting a balanced offense of 186 yards rushing and 173 yards passing, combined with a smothering defense that held Temple to only 46 yards rushing and 2 field goals. PSU RB Evan Royster carried the ball 19 times for 134 yards and a TD.  Things get harder…much harder next week though.

#5 Mississippi (3-0) defeated SE Louisiana (2-1) 52-6 at home. Next week: At South Carolina (2-1).

QB Jevan Sneed finally got in a groove, going 15/28 for 209 yards passing and 3 TDs to pace a 500 yard offensive effort in the rout of the Lions.  The Rebel defense still looked vulnerably against the pass, however, allowing 216 yards.  The Lions turned the ball over 5 times, however, which pretty much dooms any team to a miserable night.

#6 California (3-0) defeated Minnesota (2-1) 35-21 in Minneapolis. Next week: At Oregon (2-1).

It was pretty much the Jahvid Best show on Saturday as he accounted for all 5 of the Golden Bears’ touchdowns while rushing for 131 yards on 26 carries. QB Kevin Riley was 16/25 for 252 yards.  The Golden Gophers made a game of it keeping the game tied at 21 mid-way in the final quarter, before Best  scored twice within 5 minutes to lock the game away.

#7 LSU (3-0) defeated Louisiana-Lafayette (2-1) 31-3 at home. Next week: At Mississippi State (2-1).

A good solid game for the Tigers all the way around.  The star was DB Chad Jones who had two interceptions, helping a dominating defense overwhelm the Ragin’ Cajuns. LSU has defeated Louisiana-Lafayette 22 times in as many meetings with a combined score of 988-25. Almost isn’t fair is it?

#8 Boise State (3-0) defeated Fresno State (1-2) 51-34 at Fresno.  Next week: At Bowling Green (1-2).

The Broncos needed all four quarters to put away a very pesky Bulldog team. The BSU defense gave up over 500 yards of offense to Fresno State (320 yards of that was on the ground), but used a couple of turnovers to gain the momentum they needed. It was a game of big plays. Jeremy Avery had three plays of  longer than 60 yards, while Fresno State had TD runs of 69, 60 and 68.  All told,  987 yards of total offense was generated by both teams.

#9 Oklahoma (2-1) defeated Tulsa (2-0) 45-0 at home. Next week: Idle.

Look out folks, OU fans are beginning to care less and less about Sam Bradford after a surprise blow out of Tulsa.   We had predicted that this might be a scary game for OU because of their susceptible pass defense, but that wasn’t the case at all.  It’s hard to say “backup” QB Landry Jones now, especially since he set a school record throwing six TD passes on his way to a 336 yard day, while the OU pass defense only allowed 153 yards in the air.

#10 Miami (2-0) defeated Georgia Tech (2-1) 33-17 at home. Next week: At #11 Virginia Tech (2-1).

Georgia Tech found that an option offense has to be able to do more than run if it is to survive and strong defensive front and fast secondary.  Miami’s Jacory Harris is emerging as a QB to watch now, after throwing for 270 yards and three TDs. Miami controlled the game through out and put it away late in the 3rd quarter and coasted in. The Hurricanes are for real, and they will get a chance to prove to everyone in the next two weeks when they go against top 25 opponent Virginia Tech and Oklahoma.

#11 Virginia Tech (2-1) defeated #23 Nebraska (2-1) 16-15 at home. Next week: #10 Miami (2-0) at home.

Credit the Hokies for just never giving up.  Their defense held Nebraska to only 5 field goals all day, and then QB Tyrod Taylor (12/27/192) found Danny Coale streaking down the right sideline for an 80-yard TD pass with 1:11 remaining to set up the winning TD moments later.  Nebraska QB Zac Lee threw two costly interceptions.

12 USC (2-1) lost to Washington (2-1) 16-13 in Washington.  Next week: Washington State (1-2) at home.

The Trojans passed for 110 yards,  the fewest by a USC team in the Pete Carroll era, due to the injury to starting QB Matt Barkley.  Washington QB Jake Locker was 21/35 for 237 yards and engineered a final game-winning drive using Chris Polk, who had 71 rushing and 22 receiving yards. He was instrumental in leading UW into FG range on the final drive.

#13  Ohio State (2-1) defeated Toledo (1-2) 38-0 at Toledo. Next week: Illinois (1-1) at home.

The game ball here goes to QB Terrelle Pryor who threw for a career-high 262 yards (17-of-28) and ran for 110 yards on the way to a 522 total offense day.  The Buckeye defense held Toledo to only 13 rushing yards. Enough said.

#14 Cincinnati (3-0) defeated Oregon State (2-1) 28-18 at Corvallis, OR.  Next week: Fresno State (1-2) at home.

QB Tony Pike completed 31 of 49 passes for 332 yards and two touchdowns, while also running for a TD. The Bearcat defense held down the Oregon State prolific running game to only 104 yards en route to the victory. Cincy snapped Oregon State’s streak of 26 straight nonconference victories at Reser Stadium, dating back to a 67-28 win over Northern Illinois on Nov. 16, 1996.

#15 TCU (2-0) defeated Texas State (1-1) 56-21 at home. Next week: At Clemson (2-1).

RB Joseph Turner ran for 129 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries and Jerry Hughes had three sacks as the Horned Frogs won their home opener. A 21 point fourth quarter by the Frogs expanded14 point lead. The TCU defense held the Bobcats to a mere 30 yards rushing.\

#16 Oklahoma State (2-1) defeated Rice (0-3) 41-24 at home. Next week: Grambling State (2-1) at home.\

QB Zac Robinson was 14/20 for 227 yards and 2 TDs, becoming the QB with the most passing TDs in the team’s history. However, OSU’s passing defense is still a major concerned as it allowed 301 yards in the air. Also, the offense was a very meager 2/9 on third down conversions in the game.\

#17 Florida State (2-1) defeated #19 Brigham Young (2-1) 54-28 in Salt Lake City, UT. Next week: South Florida (3-0) at home.\

The Seminoles were far too fast for the Cougars in this game and scored every time they got inside the 20.  They also forced five turnovers crushing BYU’s BCS hopes.  QB Christian Ponder went 21-of-25 for 195 yards and two touchdowns and ran the ball for 76 yards on 11 carries and a TD. FSU’s offense had the ball 10 minutes longer than the Cougars, making the victory complete.

#18 Georgia (2-1) defeated Arkansas (1-1) 52-41 at Arkansas.  Next week: Arizona State (2-0) at home.

QB Joe Cox threw five touchdown passes, tying a school mark and leading the Bulldogs to a wild victory. Georgia turned the ball over three times in the first half but moved the ball at will in the second.  Arkansas QB Ryan Mallet had a big night also,  going 21/39 for 408 yards and 5 TDs, setting two school records.

#19 Brigham Young (2-1) lost to Florida State (2-1) 54-28 at home.  Next week: Colorado State (3-0) at home.

See above # 17 Florida State.

#20 North Carolina (3-0) defeated East Carolina (1-2) 31-17 at home. Next week: At Georgia Tech (2-1).

Erik Highsmith had six catches for 113 yards and a touchdown while Jheranie Boyd hauled in a 59-yard TD in the second quarter to pace a 433-yard offensive effort. Ryan Houston also ran for a pair of touchdowns, part of a balanced day from a young offense that had been plagued by dropped passes and bad blocking in its earlier games.

#21 Kansas (3-0) defeated Duke (1-2) 44-16 at home. Next week: Southern Miss (3-0 at home.

The star for KU was Dezmon Briscoe who had six catches for 117 yards and a 14-yard touchdown reception. QB Todd Reesing was 28/41 for 338 yards and three TDs.  The Jayhawk defense, however, allowed almost 300 yards passing, which needs addressing pronto considering the likes of Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas and Missouri are all on the schedule.

#22 Michigan (3-0) defeated Eastern Michigan (0-3) 45-17 at home. Next week: Indiana (3-0) at home.

After an amazing game against Notre Dame last week, freshman QB Tate Forcier had a typical freshman outing(7/13 for 68 yards) but got help in the running game from Carlos Brown who ran wild for 187 yards on 13 carries and 2 TDs, including a 90-yard run for TD in the second quarter. The Michigan offense was out possessed by twenty minutes in the game.

#23 Nebraska (2-1) lost to #11 Virginia Tech (2-1) 16-15 at Blacksburg, VA. Next week: Louisiana-Lafayette (2-1) at home.

See # 11 Virginia Tech.

#24 Houston (2-0)  was idle.

#25 Washington (2-1) defeated #12 USC (2-1) 16-13 at home. Next week: At Stanford (2-1).

See # 12 USC above.

Dropped from the T25: Georgia Tech, Utah, Oregon State

On the Bubble: Missouri, Auburn, Pittsburgh

Most Impressive: Cal, Oklahoma, Miami, Florida State.

Least Impressive: USC, BYU, Nebraska

Top 25 Composition: SEC: 5; Big-12: 5; ACC: 4;  Pac-10: 3;  Big-10: 3; MWAC: 2; Big East: 1; WAC: 1; C-USA: 1

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For some, the season starts in earnest this week, as several top 25 teams begin conference play. Still, most of these match-ups aren’t particularly interesting.  But a couple of games could tell the difference in how early conference races may shape up.

Here is our week 3 analysis and predictions:

#1 Florida (2-0) hosts Tennessee (1-1).

Allegations of recruiting violations and big talk from Vols coach Lane Kiffin aside, Tennessee hasn’t won against the Gators since 2004, the year before Urban Meyer became head coach. Kiffin’s group lost last Saturday to UCLA, a team that went 4-8 last year.  Florida is a better team than last year’s National Champion version.  They won 30-6 last year in Knoxville, so we figure a bit more is in order.  Gators by 31.

#2 Texas (2-0) hosts Texas Tech (2-0).

Everyone knows the history here.  Texas is on their way to a National Championship and gets side tracked when Blake Gideon misses a sure interception and Michael Crabtree makes the catch of his life.  That was in Lubbock.  This year’s Longhorn team is better on both sides of the ball, and they are playing in Austin. Not to mention the payback factor. TTU QB Taylor Potts seems like the real thing and has a competent receiving core, but their unbalanced attack will probably prove the death blow.  The key is the Tech Defense and if they’ll be able to stop the Longhorn running game without having to dedicate secondary help to do so.  We doubt it.  This will allow Colt McCoy to  hone his passing  game. We’re being conservative, thinking that Tech might play well in the first half, but this could be really ugly.  Texas by 28.

#3 USC (2-0) at Washington (1-1)

The big news here is that Freshman QB Matt Barkley may miss the game due to a shoulder injury suffered in the Ohio State game.  That determination will be made later in the week, but Coach Carroll indicated that Aaron Corp will take most of the practice snaps. Corp was top on the QB list until he fractured a cracked fibula in camp.  Even with Corp, USC should be ok.  Wash QB Jake Locker looked poor against LSU in Week 1, but better in Week 2 against Idaho. The Washington D however, gave up 349 passing yards last week which seems foreboding.  Trojans by 24.

#4 Alabama (2-0) hosts North Texas (1-1).

We’re guessing that UNT must need some facilities upgrades so they scheduled a big cashed check going to play the Crimson Tide. Bama destroyed FIU 41-14 last week and we can’t see any possible reason it’s any better this week.  Bama by 40.

#5 Penn State (2-0) hosts Temple (1-0).

The only problem I’ve found with PSU this year is that they seem to have no desire to put teams away.  Not that any team has been close, but I keep forgetting that Joe Pa just doesn’t play the big numbers game.  Temple just can’t fire enough weapons and doesn’t have the sheer manpower on defense to stop the Nittany Lion offensive attack.  Penn State by 30.

#6 Mississippi (1-0) hosts SE Louisiana (2-0) at home.

With more than 30 players suffering from flu-like symptoms, Mississippi used its bye week to focus on getting healthy ( over 400 were affected on campus). Southeastern Louisiana is off to its best start in five years but hasn’t played an FBS opponent. The Lions opened with a 41-7 win over Division II Texas A&M-Commerce on Sept. 5 and followed with a 69-20 victory over NAIA-ranked Union (Ky.) College on Sept. 10. Even a pretty sick Mississippi team should cruise this week.  Ole Miss by 40.

#7 Brigham Young (2-0) hosts Florida State (1-1)

BYU will get another big test this week as the Seminoles come to town.  Bowden’s group is fighting underachievement of the worst kind, getting surprised by Miami in week one, and then struggling to get by lowly Jacksonville State last week.  The FSU secondary was torched for 386 yards passing the first week and almost 300 the second.  This doesn’t seem to be a good potion to bring against BYU QB Max Hall who has already toppled OU from the ranks of the unbeaten. We’re thinking that Coach Bobby will need some BC Powder on the plane ride home.  Cougars by 22.

#8 California (2-0) at Minnesota (2-0)

The Jahvid Best show goes on the road to the Gophers new stadium and it might not be a pleasing night in Minneapolis.  Cal has outscored their opponents 111-20 in the first two weeks, with big numbers in the running game (6th in the nation). Minnesota is averaging only 21 points per game so you have to wonder where they’ll find the defense to stop Cal, or an offense to keep up?  Nowhere.  Golden Bears by 28.

#9 LSU (2-0) hosts Louisiana – Lafayette (2-0).

LSU is beginning to find an offense with new QB Jordan Jefferson, but they’re still struggling  for consistency, getting into the red zone five times last week and scoring only 2 TDs.  The Tigers DO have a good defense however and are getting better each week. Louisiana-Lafayette has dropped 10 in a row to ranked opponents, so it’s hard to see this going any differently.  Tigers by 24.

#10 Boise State (2-0) at Fresno State (1-1) Friday night.

BSU will get its first WAC test this weekend, and it won’t be easy.  The Bulldogs took Wisconsin to overtime before losing by a field goal. And hung 468 yards of offense on them. Boise State is heavily favored to take the WAC again after outscoring opponents by an average of 31.1 points in winning all eight league games last year. They’ll rely on QB Kellen Moore who threw for over 300 yards last week in just three quarters.  This one could be really close.  Broncos by 10.

#11 Oklahoma (1-1) hosts Tulsa (2-0)

Even though OU never loses in their own stadium (well almost never) they will have their hands full this week against Tulsa. The Golden Hurricanes led the nation in total offense each of the past two seasons and is one of only 11 teams with at least 10 wins in both of those years, so this is no Idaho State coming to town. Tulsa has allowed only 23 points in two games also.  OU wins, but remember that last week a C-USA knocked another team from Oklahoma from the top 5.  Sooners by 15.

#12 Ohio State (1-1) at Toledo (1-1)

Here’s another one that we can’t take too lightly.  The Buckeyes concern should be a Rockets’ offense that’s scored 85 points in its first two games behind Aaron Opelt. The senior quarterback is third in the nation with 742 passing yards and has thrown seven touchdowns passes. Four of those came last Friday against Colorado in a 54-38 win. However, OSU did play the #3 team in the nation to within 3 points, moved the ball reasonably well and played stingy defense. Plus OSU still rules in Ohio.  Buckeyes by 18.

#13 Georgia Tech (2-0) at #22 Miami (1-0)  Thursday night.

Compared to a year ago, the ACC has quite a crowd in the Top 25 and two of them square off this week.  The Yellow Jackets jumped out to a sizeable lead last week against Clemson, but had to step up the defense to hold off a Tiger rally. Miami had the week off after knocking Florida State out of the Top 25 the first week.  As with most teams in the ACC, consistency seems to be the key.  GT seems to have it though, while we’re just not sure about Miami yet. QB Josh Nesbitt completed only 21% of his passes against Clemson last week, and that won’t cut it against GT. Miami has lost four straight against Georgia Tech, matching its longest skid in the series.  This probably won’t change.  Georgia Tech by 15.

#14 Virginia Tech (1-1) hosts #17 Nebraska.

This inter-conference game should be a fun one to watch.  Virginia Tech is the epitome of schizophrenia depending on the performance of its enigmatic  QB Tyrod Taylor. The last two years he’s at times been brilliant both  running and passing, but other times just plain awful.  Nebraska QB Zac Lee completed 27 of 35 passes for 340 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in the Cornhuskers’ 38-9 win over Arkansas State last Saturday after throwing for 213 yards and two TDs in a season-opening 49-3 victory over Florida Atlantic. Virginia Tech has a  home winning streak over non-conference opponents of 31.  We’re picking an underdog win here.  Nebraska by 6.

#15 TCU (1-0) hosts Texas State (1-0)

TCU fields one of the pre-eminent defenses in the country each year and this year is no exception They held Virginia to only7 first downs and 177 yards of total offense last week, and a bunch of those came late in the game when the contest was decided. Texas State represents an FCS opponent that is still trying to establish their program. The Bobcats defeated Angelo State 48-28 at home in its opener Sept. 5. Bradley George threw for 328 yards and three touchdowns, while wide receiver Cedric Alexander scored on a 10-yard reverse and added a 48-yard TD reception.  The biggest question in this game will be how many points TCU will choose to put up.  Horned Frogs by 28.

#16 Utah (2-0) at Oregon (1-1)

Oregon started the year as a preseason Top 20 team in most polls and proceeded to drop off after dropped their season opener to Boise State in which they were held to their lowest yardage total in nearly 15 years. RB LeGarrette Blount was suspended for the year the next day for punching a BSU player in a post-game altercation. However,  they bounced back to beat Purdue 38-36 last Saturday, totaling 356 yards and stopping the Boilermakers’ two-point conversion with 1:01 left. Utah struggled last week, but extended its winning streak to 16 in a row, the longest such streak in the nation, and they still sport a tough, stingy defense.  Oregon seems poised to make this a game, especially playing at home.  Utah QB Terrance Cain and RB Matt Asiata will want to pound the ball at the Duck Defense which has been good against the run.  We’ll tip this slightly toward the Utes but this one is ripe for an upset.  Utah by 2.

#17 Nebraska at #14 Virginia Tech

See analysis above.  Nebraska by 6.

#18 Oklahoma State (1-1) hosts Rice (0-2)

After playing a stellar game on prime time TV against Georgia  in week 1, the Cowboys threw one away last week against Houston.  The OSU secondary must be giving Coach Gundy all kinds of heartburn allowing almost 400 yards against the Cougars.  Rice is in a re-building year and lost badly to unranked Texas Tech 55-10 last week allowing over 500 yards passing.  The OSU offense isn’t similarly suited to run those kinds of numbers, but using a decent running game along with the Xac Robinson to Dez Bryant combo, should allow OSU to get back on the winning track.  Look for this one to get ugly at the end.   Cowboys by 33.

#19 Georgia (1-1) at Arkansas (1-0)

It’s been a real struggle for Mark Richt’s  Bulldogs the first couple of weeks.  They lose to Oklahoma State then have to rely on a last second defensive tip to hold on and beat South Carolina. Georgia’s defense gave up 427 yards but stiffened in the red zone after allowing two first-quarter touchdowns. That was despite an exhausting day in which the Gamecocks ran 30 more plays than the Bulldogs. the Razorbacks, who set a team mark with 447 passing yards in a 48-10 victory over Missouri State on Sept. 5. Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett, who sat out last season after transferring from Michigan, completed 17 of 22 passes for 309 yards and a TD  and backup Tyler Wilson threw for 138 yards and two TDs. The Razorbacks’ 591 yards marked their highest total since they had 651 in a win over South Carolina on Nov. 3, 2007.  With a vulnerable defense, this could be another long night for the Dawgs.  We’re looking for the upset.  Razorbacks by 4.

#20 Cincinnati (2-0) at #25 Oregon State (2-0)

The Bearcats keep showing us some really good stuff, which makes it hard to place them in the Top 25 right now. Arguably we could have put them as high as 14th, but we need to see how they perform against another Top 25 opponent, and they get that chance this week against a good Oregon State team lead by RB Jacquizz Rogers. Rogers ran for 166 yards last week against UNLV and paced the Beaver offense to over 400 total yards.  Cincinnati though has been solid so far in their first two weeks scoring 117 points while giving up only 18. This won’t be a cakewalk, but seeing that Cincy has given up only a little more that 100 yards rushing in two games, we lean that way.  Bearcats by 10.

#21 North Carolina (2-0) hosts East Carolina (1-1)

The Tar Heels really had a tough time last week against UConn, needing a 4th quarter comeback to snatch a victory, relying on a 233 yard passing game.  The defense is for real however. C-USA opponent East Carolina has built a solid program under Skip Holtz, but the defense is suspect.  While this game makes for good rhetoric, North Carolina looks to have a big game.  Tar Heels by 20.

#22 Miami (1-0) hosts #13 Georgia Tech (2-0)

See above. Georgia Tech by 15.

#23 Kansas (2-0) hosts Duke (1-1).

Kansas has shown that its offense can certainly generate the yards, just as it did last year.   Last week against UTEP the Jayhawks generated 576 yards of total offense and almost half was on the ground.  The week before, they generated 528 and 328 of it was on the ground. With a quality QB like Todd Reesing, this seems really  odd, but this year’s version of the Jayhawk offense could be better than previous years.  Duke, known for its roundball and Medical School, and for not offering Reesing a scholarship, doesn’t look to have much of anything that can throttle the their opponent’s high-power offense.  Kansas by 35.

#24 Michigan (2-0) hosts Eastern Michigan (0-2)

Michigan QB Tate Forcier is coming of age quickly, showing play beyond his years in the upset of Notre Dame last week. He threw for 240 yards and 2 TDs against the ND defense, the last TD winning the game with 11 seconds left. The Wolverine defense has been bend-not-break in its first two games. Eastern Michigan scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to tie Northwestern last week with 2:40 left, but the Wildcats kicked a 49-yard field goal to escape with a 27-24 win. Barring a huge hangover from last week, this looks to be another Michigan win.  Wolverines by 22.

#25 Oregon State (2-0) hosts #20 Cincinnati (2-0)

See above.  Cincinnati by 10.

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The Marquee game of the week was USC and Ohio State and it didn’t disappoint.  The game turned out to be much more of a defensive affair than anyone thought, but USC put together an outstanding drive at  the end of the game to pull the victory.  They did show, however, that they are mortal and certainly have a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball. However this will most certainly come.

Of particular note were two key upsets.  Houston went on the road to Stillwater and  toppled Oklahoma State soundly.  We had made a comment that it had been hard to tell if that OKST secondary had proved when the Cowboys beat Georgia last week.  Apparently it has not.  This certainly doesn’t bode well for them when they take on the likes of Texas and Texas Tech.

Michigan, coming off spirited win last week, showed both character and poise in their defeat of Notre Dame.  Despite what Lou Holtz was expounding on ESPN,  the Irish weren’t about to play for the National Championship, but now they’ll be out of the top 25 perhaps when the new polls are released.

Outside those little nuances, everything was mostly in line.

#1 Florida (2-0) defeated Troy (0-2) 56-6 at home.  Next week: Tennessee (1-1) at home.

No real surprise here. Florida managed to show up at their stadium and worse, so did Troy. The hosts took it easy in the first quarter, only leading 7-3, but then poured on 28 unanswered points and never looked back. Gators QB Tim Tebow threw four touchdowns and ran for another — the 45th rushing touchdown of his career, tying him for third in SEC history. Another day in the office.

#2 Texas (2-0) defeated Wyoming (1-1) 41-10 at home. Next week: Texas Tech (2-0) at home.

The was a bit of a surprise if you consider that the Longhorns led only 13-10 at halftime. But then, the Cowboys never scored another point. Colt McCoy got the offense in gear in the second half then finished 21/29 for 317 yards and two touchdowns. Jordan Shipley had another big week with 8 catches for 180 yards.  It’s pretty hard to see where Texas is going to lose a game this year.

#3 USC (2-0) defeated #12 Ohio State (1-1) 18-15 in Columbus. Next week: At Washington (1-1).

As mentioned above, this game was everything it was billed to be, except more defensively than anyone thought. USC drove 86 yards for  TD and got the two-point conversion with 1:05 remaining, then held OSU to gain the W.  A lot of kudos go to freshman QB Matt Barkley who merely went on the road to Columbus, fought through a shoulder injury and led the team in a come-from-behind win. The USC defense allowed only 88 total rushing yards to OSU.

#4 Alabama (2-0) defeated Florida International (0-1) 41-14 at home. Next week: North Texas (1-1) at home.

Not a lot to say here really.  FIU isn’t exactly the premier level football team, but Alabama struggled in the first quarter. They got on track behind QB Greg McElroy (18/24 for 241 yards and 1 TD) and RB Trent Richardson (15 carries/ 118 yards 2 TDs). The Tide Defense allowed ONE  yes UNO  yard rushing by FIU all night.

#5 Penn State (2-0) defeated Syracuse (0-2) 28-7 at home. Next week: Temple (1-0) at home.

Business as usual for the Nittany Lions, but somewhat unimpressive, even though they scored one TD in every quarter and held Syracuse to just 65 yards rushing and 200 overall. QB Daryll Clark paced a passing attack that was 20/31 for 240 yards and 3 TDs. However PSU again turned the ball over three times,  up one from last week. That’s a trend that they need to stop.

#6 Mississippi (1-0) was idle.  Next week: SE Louisiana (2-0) at home.

#7 Brigham Young (2-0) defeated  Tulane (0-2) 54-3 at the Superdome. Next week: Florida State (1-1) at home.

The Cougars ran and passed for 527 yards of offense while holding the Green Wave to 162 total yards. QB Max Hall was 24/32 for 309 yards, 2 TDs and 1 Interception. BYU took advantage of Tulane’s 3 fumbles and 1 interception to run away in the second half.

#8 California (2-0) defeated Eastern Washington (1-1) 59-7 at home. Next week: At Minnesota (2-0).

Division II teams don’t often match up well to their Div 1 opponents, and this was no exception. Cal used RB Jahvid Best (17 carries, 144 yards) to pace a 342 yard ground game. The Golden Bear defense limited the Eagles to just 14 yards rushing.

9 LSU (2-0) defeated Vanderbilt (1-1) 23-9 at home. Next week: Louisiana-Lafayette (2-0) at home.

The Tiger’s needed a late TD to put away a stubborn Vandy, but played outstanding defense holding them to 122 rushing and 88 passing yards on the game. The LSU offense was consistent, balanced and  had the ball 13 minutes more than the Commodores.

#10 Boise State (2-0) defeated Miami (OH) (0-2) 48-0 at home.  Next week: At Fresno State (1-1) (Friday night)

The Broncos never let the Red Hawks into the game running up 441 yards of total offense, paced by  QB Kellen Moore’s 16/26 for 207 yards and 4 TDs.  WR Austin Pettis was the leading receiver posting four catches for 115 yards and a TD.

#11 Oklahoma (1-1) defeated Idaho State (0-2) 64-0 in Norman.  Next week: Tulsa (2-0) at home.

After getting embarrassed on prime time TV by BYU and losing their starting QB, the Sooners reminded us that they have plenty of depth. The OU defense only allowed 6 first downs all night, while Oklahoma’s backup quarterback Landry Jones looked sharp in his debut, going 18-of-32 for 286 yards and three scores.  The telling statistic? Idaho had negative yardage on the ground and only 44 total yards of offense.

#12 Ohio State (1-1) lost to #3 USC (2-0) 18-15 at home. Next week: At Toledo (1-1).

For the Buckeyes, it was another big-game disappointment, maybe the toughest one yet. Ohio State has now lost six straight against top-five teams, including two national title games and last season’s 35-3 loss to USC in Los Angeles.

#13 Georgia Tech (2-0) defeated Clemson (1-1) 30-27 at home.  Next week: At #22 Miami (1-0) (Thursday).

Credit Clemson for a tough, hard fought game, which we should have remembered.  The last few games of this series have been very close and this one was no different. Yellow Jacket kicker Scott Blair threw a 34-yard TD pass in the first quarter, but his last-minute clinching field goal was what sealed the win for Tech. RB Anthony Allen rand for 127 yards on 5 carries, including an 82-yard TD in the first quarter.

#14 Virginia Tech (1-1) defeated Marshall (1-1) 52-10 at home. Next week: #17 Nebraska (2-0) at home.

VT literally ran away with this one chalking up 444 yards of their 605 on the ground. For the first time in school history, two Hokies rushed for 160 or more yards as Ryan Williams (169 yards) and David Wilson (160 yards) led the Virginia Tech rushing attack. Tyrod Taylor, largely ineffective the week before against Alabama, had a much better night going 9/16 for 161 yards and 2 TDs.  But it was hardly needed.

#15 TCU (1-0) defeated Virginia (0-2) 30-14  at Charlottesville, NC.  Next week: Texas State (1-0) at home.

TCU scored 30 unanswered points, while letting their defense dominate. Virginia managed just seven first downs,  three of them coming in the final quarter, and two on long touchdown passes after the outcome had long been decided. The Cavaliers finished with just 177 yards of total offense, and 83 of those came on Jameel Sewell’s late TD passes.

#16 Utah (2-0) defeated San Jose State (0-2) 24-14 at San Jose. Next week: At Oregon.

The Spartans, who lost badly in their season opener to USC 56-3, played much better and gave the Utes all they could handle. This game was knotted at 7-7 going into the final quarter, but two TDs within 4 minutes sealed the outcome for Utah. The Utes offense was impeccably balanced (251 rushing, 248 passing) but repeatedly had trouble finishing drives until the 4th.

#17 Nebraska (2-0) defeated Arkansas State (1-1) 38-9 at home.  Next week:  At #14 Virginia Tech.

Nebraska jumped out to a 24-6 lead in the first half and never looked back. The Huskers’ D allowed Arkansas State just one field goal in the second half. QB Zac Lee went 27-of-35 by spreading out the offense to 11 receivers. He threw for 340 yards and four touchdowns.

#18 Oklahoma State (1-1) lost to Houston (1-1) 45-35 at home. Next week: Rice at home.

After a brilliant first week performance that saw the Cowboy defense control Georgia’s running game, that same defense showed the same vulnerabilities it did in 2008. Despite a very decent 18/31 for 240 yards by Zac Robinson,  the defense allowed unranked Houston to pile up 512 yards of total offense, mostly in the air (366 yards). Baylor and Texas Tech could be licking their chops.

#19 Georgia (1-1) defeated South Carolina (1-1) 41-37 at home. Next week: At Arkansas.

LB Rennie Curran broke up Gamecock QB Stephen Garcia fourth-down pass from the 7-yard line with 22 seconds remaining, and the Bulldogs got away with the narrowest of victories. Georgia QB Joe Cox completed 70 percent of his passes for 201 yards and two scores. Oddly enough SC controlled the ball for nearly 10 more minutes and picked up 10 more first downs than the Dawgs.

#20 Cincinnati (2-0) defeated SE Missouri State (1-1) 70-3 at home. Next week:  At  #25 Oregon State (2-0)

What’s to say other than when Cincinnati was left off the preseason Top 25 polls, they might have been really upset.  The Bearcats have taken it out on their opponents, outscoring them 117-18 in two games. The offense racked up 578 yards of offense and the defense allowed 54 yards of rushing and 7 first downs. Ouch!

#21 North Carolina (2-0) defeated Connecticut (1-1) 12-10 at East Harford, CT. Next week: East Carolina (1-1)  at home.

Behind most of the game, the Tar Heels, Connecticut’s Dan Ryan was flagged for holding defensive end Robert Quinn in the end zone with 1:32 left in the game giving the No. 19 Tar Heels a safety and a 12-10 comeback win over the Huskies. The Huskies had led 10-0 going into the final quarter. North Carolina’s offense recorded 233 passing yards, compared to a mere 35 rushing yards.

#22 Miami (1-0) was idle.  Next week: #13 Georgia Tech (2-0) at home (Friday).

#23 Kansas (2-0) defeated UTEP (0-2) 34-7  at El Paso, TX.  Next week:  Duke (1-1) at home.

The Jayhawks accumulated 576 yards of offense, but what was surprising was that 255 of it was on the ground. QB Todd Reesing had his normal outstanding day going 25/41 for 260 yards and a TD, but RB Jake Sharp ran for 104 yards and scored three touchdowns. They also got two big punt returns from Daymond Patterson. UTEP managed only 4 yards rushing on the night.

#24 Michigan (2-0) defeated Notre Dame (1-1) 38-34 at home. Next week: Eastern Michigan (0-2) at home.

The Wolverines waited until the last possible second to put away the Irish. QB Tate Forcier’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Greg Mathews with 11 seconds left capped a game-winning drive that thwarted a 4th quarter comeback by Notre Dame.  Forcier was 23/33 for 240 yards and 2 TDs while RB Brandon Minor ran for 106 yards on 16 carries and a TD.

#25 Oregon State (2-0) defeated UNLV (1-1) 23-21 in Las Vegas. Next week: #20 Cincinnati (2-0) at home.

Beaver RB Jacquizz Rogers ran for 166 yards on 26 carries as Oregon State snuck by a pesky UNLV team. The Beaver offense generated almost 400 total yards, but the defense gave away 310.  Justin Kahut’s 33 yard FG with 0:07 on the clock completed the come back win.

Most impressive: USC, BYU, Cal, Cincinnati

Least impressive: Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, North Carolina.

Dropping out: Notre Dame, Missouri

On the Bubble: Missouri, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh

Top 25 Composition: SEC: 5, Big-12: 5; ACC: 4; Pac-10: 3; Big-10: 3; MWAC: 3; Big East: 1; WAC: 1.

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Not much to get too excited about in Week 2.  An early season showdown will pit USC and Ohio State in Columbus, but plenty of time for either team to falter or recover no matter what the result.  LSU- Vanderbilt could be interesting seeing that LSU wasn’t exactly convincing in their opening game. Georgia-Tech- Clemson on Thursday night should be an early tell for the their respective ACC divisons.

Other than that, most teams in the T25 are either idle or have pretty easy opponents.

#1 Florida (1-0) hosting Troy (0-1).

Another scrimmage game for the Gators who dominated Charleston Southern last week.  Troy is a better team than  Charleston, but not by much. The Trojans have dropped eight straight against ranked opponents, and it will take a near miracle for that streak not to jump to nine. Gators by 45.

#2 Texas (1-0) At Wyoming (1-0).

Colt McCoy was 21/29 for 317 yards and 2TDs, while Jordan Shipley caught 8 passes for 180 yards against La-Monroe last week. The Longhorn running game added another 199.  It just works that way.  Which one will be established first is immaterial. The Cowboys’ offense sports a new, no-huddle spread that could present a challenge to the Horns’  D, but we seriously doubt it.  Texas by 40.

#3 Alabama (1-0)  hosts  Florida International (0-0)  at home.

The Tide’s offense was just good enough to beat Va Tech last week but will be much more than enough to take on Florida International.  Alabama wasn’t perfect last week by any stretch, but FIU won’t provide much threat. Look for the Bama D to want a good solid game after giving up plays to VT to keep them in the game.  It won’t take much.  Alabama by 32.

#4 USC (1-0) At #8 Ohio State (1-0).

Ohio State will definitely need to be better defensively than they were last week against Navy The Navy OL pushed the Buckeyes around the field all day long.  If it was that bad against Navy, it could be downright scary against USC. OSU will have to decide whether to put 8 in the box to stop McKnight and his fellow stable of RBs, and leave QB Matt Barkley to throw all day, or drop back and cover the pass, and see  USC do another Navy.  Barring major mistakes, this one could get out of hand. USC by 18.

#5 Oklahoma State hosts Houston (1-0) .

The Cowboys used a balanced offensive attack  and a stingy defense to dominate the Georgia last week.   But Houston amassed 538 yards of total offense last week, 447 of that was in the air.  OSU has a fast defense, but last year their secondary  was pretty suspect. They didn’t get much of a chance to show anything against ground-based Georgia team.  This shouldn’t be close, but watch out!  Cowboys by 24.

#6 Mississippi (1-0)  Idle.

#7 Penn State (1-0)  hosts  Syracuse (0-1).

The Nittany Lions didn’t get a lot of a test of their team against a pretty mediocre QB and defense at home against Akron.  They scored all their points in the first half and then cruised, in fact.  That might be a bit troubling.  Syracuse will be a better test.  They hung in all the way to overtime before losing to a pretty good Minnesota team by a FG.  Daryll Clark and company will have a tougher test this week.  PSU by 14.

#8 Ohio State (1-0) hosts #4 USC (1-0).

See above analysis.  USC by 18.

#9 California (1-0) hosts Eastern Washington (1-0).

California beat up Maryland in its season opener, and the Bears expect to do the same against Eastern Washington. The game will give Jahvid Best & Co. an opportunity to pad their stats before Cal’s conference schedule begins. Cal by 42.

#10. Brigham Young (1-0) At Tulane (0-1).

After upsetting Oklahoma last week, BYU’s biggest challenge in Week 2 will be avoiding the victory’s hangover.  If the offense can move the ball without turnovers, the Cougars’ defense shouldn’t have problems with a Tulane offense that managed just 16.7 points per game last season. BYU by 31.

#11 Boise State (1-0) hosts Miami (OH) (0-1).

Boise State survived the toughest part of its schedule, defeating Oregon 19-8 in Week 1 in an exceptional defensive effort. Miami (Ohio) was shut out by Kentucky 42-0. It doesn’t get easier for Mike Haywood’s team, as Boise State boasts the ninth-ranked rushing defense in the country. Broncos by 32.

#12 Oklahoma (0-1) hosts Idaho State (0-1).

Sam Bradford or no Sam Bradford, this should be a laugher.  Idaho State lost its first 11 games of 2008 before capping the season with a win over Sacramento State. It opened the 2009 campaign with a 50-3 loss at Arizona State last Saturday, committing five turnovers and managing 37 yards — zero in the first half.  That defeat was Idaho State’s 16th straight on the road. Oklahoma, meanwhile, has the nation’s longest active home winning streak at 24. The Sooners are one home win shy of the team record, a run that ended with a season-opening loss to Notre Dame in 1953.

#13 TCU (0-0) At Virginia (0-1).

After losing to William & Mary in Week 1, Virginia is looking to save face (W&M isn’t Div I). The good news is that the Cavs play at home. The bad news is that they’re hosting TCU in its season opener. The Horned Frogs have won their past six games and didn’t give up a touchdown in their past two.  Ouch.  TCU by 21.

#14 LSU (1-0) hosts Vanderbilt (1-0) .

LSU begins its SEC schedule by playing host to Vanderbilt.  LSU gave Tiger fans hope last week after showing signs of having an offense.  After finishing worse than .500 in conference play last season,  LSU hopes to make a statement. Vandy, on the other hand, had no offensive woes, running up 620 total yard in their season opening against Western Carolina, and their defense held them to only 115 total yards.  This might be a tough game with possible upset in the making.  LSU by 8.

#15 Notre Dame (1-0) At Michigan (1-0).

Both teams lived up to the hype against their less-than-stellar Week 1 opponents. The true test comes in this week. Irish QB Jimmy Clausen needs to show that he can throw 315 yards against a real defense like he did against Nevada. Michigan will need a solid offensive effort and a tighter defense.  The Wolverines gave up 301 total yards against Western Michigan.  Irish by 17.

#16 Utah (1-0) At San Jose State (0-1).

The nation’s longest winning streak is on the line at San Jose State, as the Utes go for victory No. 16.  The Utes showed a balanced offensive last week led by Matt Asiata’s  156 yards on 36 carries.  San Jose State on the other hand, was demolished by USC. Utah should have a relatively easy week.  Utes by 31.

#17 North Carolina (1-0) At Connecticut (1-0).

North Carolina beat up on The Citadel in Week 1, and if the Tar Heels’ defense plays as well against UConn, it could be a long day in East Hartford. The Huskies won their opener against Ohio, but the offense was ground oriented 259 yards of the 386. If UConn has any chance at an upset, it will need an improved performance from QB Zach Frazer. Tar Heels by 20.

#18 Virginia Tech (0-1) hosts Marshall (1-0) .

The Hokies offense was  pitiful against Bama last week managing only 155 total offensive yards. Herd QB Brian Anderson made a statement in Marshall’s win against Southern Illinois, completing 75 percent of his passes.  Marshall may make this one competitive, but Tyrod Taylor should have an easier defense to work against. Hokies by 18.

#19 Nebraska (1-0) hosts Arkansas State (1-0) at home.

Suspect for the Cornhuskers, was the fact that they gave up 358 yards of offense against Florida Atlantic. The Red Wolves posted a 61-0 victory over Mississippi Valley State, scoring 40 points in the first half, so Nebraska may have to work at not being embarrassed.  Huskers by 20.

#20 Georgia Tech (1-0) hosts  Clemson (1-0) Thursday.

After a sloppy performance against Jacksonville State that included five fumbles, Georgia Tech looks to prove it has the mental toughness to compete for a division title. With C.J. Spiller back in the lineup for Clemson, the Yellow Jackets’ defense will have to contribute.  Georgia Tech by 13.

#21 Kansas (1-0) At UTEP (0-1).

Todd Reesing was a one-man show  going 13/20 for 208 yards (2 TDS)  and carried the ball 13 times for 79 yards and 2 TDs.  UTEP will just have no answer for anything that Kansas does.  This one truly could get nasty. Jayhawks by 40.

#22 Cincinnati (1-0)  hosts Missouri State  (1-0).

With a  564 yards of total offense on the road at Rutgers, Cincy proved that they were ready to establish that they are the team to beat in the Big East.  Don’t look for Missouri State to even be a speed bump here.  Bearcats by 38.

#23 Georgia (0-1) hosts South Carolina (1-0).

In losing to Oklahoma State,  the Bulldogs managed only 95 rushing yards on the day. That’s going to have to change really fast.  SC’s defense is fast, but there isn’t much offensive punch.   Look for Georgia to establish the run, and get substantially more than 95 yards in their home opener.  Dawgs by 10.

#24 Miami (Fla) (1-0) Idle.

#25 Missouri (1-0)  hosts Bowling Green (1-0) at home.

Missouri trounced Illinois in Week 1, and the young Tigers shouldn’t have any problems with Bowling Green. Missouri is very young, but if sophomore quarterback Blaine Gabbert continues to manage the game well, the Tigers should even the series with the Falcons. Tigers by 21.

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Week one of the 2009 campaign, resulted in a few interesting turns of  events, but it was largely punctuated by predictable wins (even predictable upsets), terrible officiating and some really bad broadcasting. I’m not sure if I’m just getting more critical in my old age, but my goodness, if you work for someone like ESPN you should be expected to speak distinctly, comment on games without using a list of clichés, and for heaven’s sake ask intelligent halftime questions to coaches! I digress…

Obviously the biggest story out of week one was the injury to Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford’s shoulder. Much speculation was going around about how serious it was and how long he would be out. ESPN was reporting that similar injuries called for 3-4 weeks of rest. The fact is that as of 9:00am Wednesday its unknown other than the fact that its a 2nd or 3rd degree sprain. Or so they are saying. What is known, is that Sam Bradford’s exit from the game was hardly a factor. While he WAS in the game the OU offense put up a whopping seven points. After his departure, they put up six… so…OU fans, quit whining.

Florida, Texas, USC, Penn State and Cal all had impressive first week wins, but only in the sense that they did what they were supposed to do. There were a few top 25 matchups and their results really don’t’ change things that much. A few disappointments and surprises dropped out a couple and we added a couple…such is the way of college football!

#1 Florida (1-0) defeated Charleston Southern (0-1) 62-3 at home. Next week: Troy (0-1) at home.

This one was over the moment that the Gators were allowed to take the field. They amassed 624 yards of total offense, 255 in the air and 369 on the ground. Florida ran by committee with eight different rushers carried the ball. The Gator D only allowed 228 total yards.

#2 Texas (1-0) defeated Louisiana-Monroe (0-1) 59-20 at home. Next week: At Wyoming (1-0).

Colt McCoy was 21/29 for 317 yards and 2TDs, while Jordan Shipley caught 8 passes for 180 yards. The Longhorn running game added another 199. Both teams were somewhat sloppy, committing 3 turnovers each, but, like Florida, this one was decided early.

#3 Alabama (1-0) defeated #18 Virginia Tech (0-1) 34-24 in Atlanta. Next week: Florida International (0-0) at home.

The Crimson Tide showed just enough offense to win, but the story of the game was the lack of same from Va Tech. The Hokies maintained a 17-16 lead into the 4th quarter but the Alabama running game took over. Mark Ingram had 150 yards rushing on 26 carries, while QB Greg McElroy was a respectable 15/30 for 230.

#4 USC (1-0) defeated San Jose St. (0-1) 56-3 at home. Next week: At #8 Ohio State (1-0).

For those that were wondering how Freshman QB Matt Barkley would do, the stats pretty much say it all: 620 yards of total offense, 15/19 for 233 yards, 1 TD, no interceptions. USC started slow, but kicked in into gear in the second quarter and never looked back. Joe McKnight had 145 yards on 14 carries.

#5 Oklahoma State (1-0) defeated #23 Georgia (0-1) 24-10 at home. Next week: Houston (1-0) at home.

The Cowboys used a balanced offensive attack (135 rushing / 172 passing), and a stingy defense to dominate the Bulldogs. OKST used their trio of Zac Robinson (11/22 for 135 and 2 TDs), Dez Bryant (3 catches, 76 yds and 2 TDs), and Kendall Hunter to keep Georgia’s offense off the field.

#6 Mississippi (1-0) defeated Memphis (0-1) 45-14 at Memphis. Next week: Idle.

For more than three quarters, Memphis kept it close, down only 24-14 with a little more than nine minutes to play. The Rebel defense was the key to the game, holding Memphis to 14 points and getting three interceptions. Jevan Sneed had a tough game going 12/22 for 175 yards and 2 TDs but also 2 INTs.

#7 Penn State (1-0) defeated Akron (0-1) 31-7 at home. Next week: Syracuse (0-1) at home.

If you left at half time, you didn’t miss much since all the scoring for PSU was done then. It was disappointing to see the Nittany Lions not finish the game out, but there was more than enough points to go around. QB Daryll Clark was 29/40 for 353 yards, 3 Yds and 1 INT. Evan Royster added another 61 on the ground. The defense held Akron to under 200 total yards.

#8 Ohio State (1-0) defeated Navy (0-1) 31-28 at home. Next week: #4 USC (1-0) at home.

It was touch and go for the Buckeyes against a Navy team that just didn’t know the meaning of the word quit. The game wasn’t decided until Brian Rolle intercepted a two point Navy try that would have tied the game. Disturbing was the OSU defense that gave up 342 yards of offense. Navy turned the ball over 3 times, otherwise, this might have been very bad for OSU.

#9 California (1-0) defeated Maryland (0-1) 52-13 at home. Next week: Eastern Washington (1-0) at home.

Jahvid Best ran for 137 yards on 10 carries and 2 TDs, while QB Kevin Riley threw 17/26 for 298 yards and four TDs. They amassed 542 yards of total offense helped along by WR Marvin Jones (3 catches/74 yards).

#10. Brigham Young (1-0) defeated #12 Oklahoma (0-1) 14-13 in Dallas. Next week: At Tulane (0-1).

In maybe the biggest shocker of the week, not only does BYU beat the then #3 in the rankings, but they knock out Heisman QB Sam Bradford for a few weeks with a sprained AC-joint. BYU did it mostly on the strength of its defense. Sam DID play the first half and managed to get only 7 points. This is the same offense that put up over 700 last year, an NCAA record. BYU QB Max Hall over came 2 INTs to finish 26/38 for 329 yards including the game-winning TD with 3:03 remaining.

#11 Boise State (1-0) defeated Oregon (0-1) 19-8 at home. Next week: Miami (OH) (0-1) at home.

It was a low scoring game, but the Broncos’ defense limited Oregon to 151 total yards and 6 first downs, while the offense played ball control, possessing the ball over 42 minutes of the 60 total minutes of  the game. Oregon RB LeGarrette Blount was suspended by the university for the rest of the season for throwing a post-game punch at a Boise State player.

#12 Oklahoma (0-1) lost to #10 Brigham Young 14-13 in Dallas. Next week: Idaho State (0-1) at home.

There was little to be happy about going back to Norman after losing to BYU. A Sam Bradford offense generated 7 points, then he’s knocked out of the game and his replacement leads them to 6. The pass defense looks worse than it did last year, which is saying something, and your tight end is out now for an unknown period of time. Holding BYU to 14 points might be something to build on, but giving up 329 yards passing is something to be scared of when you have to play Texas, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.

#13 TCU (0-0) Did not play. Next week: At Virginia (0-1).

#14 LSU (1-0) defeated Washington (0-1) 31-23 at Seattle. Next Week: Vanderbilt (1-0) at home.

It wasn’t the run away that most thought it would be, but a road win is a road win for Les Miles’ crew. For a first game, LSU does show some sign of QB life with Jordan Jefferson going 11/19 for 172yds and 3 TDs. WR Terrance Tolliver was the star receiver picking up 4 receptions for 172 yards. Troubling for LSU was the fact that the defense gave up 321 passing yards. This bodes no good for SEC play.

#15 Notre Dame (1-0) defeated Nevada (0-1) 35-0 at home. Next week: At Michigan (1-0).

The Irish recorded their first shutout in seven years taking advantage of a uninspired Nevada team. QB Jimmy Clausen finally looks like the real thing going 15/18 for 315 yards and 4 TDs. WR Michael Floyd finished with 4 carries and 189 yards and 3 TDs. The ND defense also picked off 3 INTs on the day.

#16 Utah (1-0) defeated Utah State (0-1) 35-17 at home. Next week: At San Jose State (0-1).

This vintage of Ute football started with a balanced offensive punch of 286 yards in the air and 233 yards on the ground. Matt Asiata ran for 156 yards on an astonishing 36 carries. Of particular concern tho: three turnovers made this game closer than it should have been.

#17 North Carolina (1-0) defeated The Citadel (0-1) 40-6 at home. Next week: At Connecticut (1-0).

RB Shaun Draughn rushed for 118 yards on 20 carries while QB T. J. Yates threw for 2 TDs to lead the Tar Heels in their home opener. The Defense looked impressive holding The Citadel to 156 total offensive yards, 8 first downs and only 30 yards rushing.

#18 Virginia Tech (0-1) lost to Alabama (1-0) 34-24 in Atlanta. Next week: Marshall (1-0) at home.

Stat of the game: 498-155. The Crimson Tide ended the night with 498 total yards compared to the Hokies’ 155. QB Tyrod Taylor looked like he hadn’t learned much over the off-season going 9/20 for 91 yards.

#19 Nebraska (1-0) defeated Florida Atlantic (0-1) 49-3 at home. Next week: Arkansas State (1-0) at home.

It was a good news – bad news game for the Cornhuskers. Good news was that they open with a lopsided win at home where QB Zac Lee went 15/22 for 213 yards and 2 TDs. RB Roy Helu, Jr. rushed for 152 yards on 16 carries and 3 TDs. The bad news was the hopefully-improved defense allowed 358 total yards, but got 2 INTs.

#20 Georgia Tech (1-0) defeated Jacksonville State 37-17 at home. Next week: Clemson (1-0) at home.

Georgia Tech rushed for 335 yards and totaled 497 yards en route to an easy win. Twelve different players ran the ball for Georgia Tech. RB Jonathan Dwyer rushed for 95 yards on seven carries for the Yellow Jackets. Seventy four of those yards came on a TD run in the first quarter.

#21 Kansas (1-0) defeated Northern Colorado (0-1) 49-3 at home. Next week: At UTEP (0-1).

The star of the show was Todd Reesing who was 13/20 for 208 yards and 2 TDs, but he also carried the ball 13 times for 79 yards and 2 TDs. We wished we had fantasy players like that! Nuff said.

#22 Cincinnati (1-0) defeated Rutgers (0-1) 47-15 at Rutgers. Next week: SE Missouri State (1-0) at home.

The Bearcats generated 564 yards of total offense on the road with QB Tony Pike going 27/34 for 362 yards and 3 TDs. The Cincy defense was tough on the ground game allowing the Scarlet Knights only 30 total rushing yards in the game.

#23 Georgia (0-1) lost to #5 Oklahoma State (1-0) 24-10 in Stillwater, OK. Next week: South Carolina (1-0) at home.

Georgia lost its second consecutive regular-season game (lost to Georgia Tech last November) and fell to 30-5 in true road games under Mark Richt. While QB Joe Cox had a reasonably decent day (15/30, 162 yds, 1 TD), the Bulldogs managed only 95 rushing yards on the day.

#24 Miami (Fla) (1-0) defeated Florida State (0-1) 38-34 at Gainesville. Next Week: Idle.

Probably the best game of week one in terms of pure competition and enjoyment. There were 7 lead changes and the game wasn’t decided until the last play of the game which was reviewed. The Canes and Noles combined for 43 first downs and 880 yards in the shootout. QB Jacory Harris was 21/34 for 386 yards and 2 TDs in the mild upset.

#25 Missouri (1-0) defeated Illinois (0-1) 37-9 in St. Louis. Next Week: Bowling Green (1-0) at home.

Blaine Gabbert threw for 319 yards and three touchdowns and ran for a fourth in a stellar starting debut to lead a rebuilding Missouri Tiger team over the Illini. Danario Alexander led Tiger receivers with 10 catches and 132 yards.

Dropped: Oregon, Iowa

On the Bubble: Oregon State, Iowa, Michigan State

Performances of the Week: BYU, Oklahoma State, Alabama,  Boise State, Miami

Disappointments of the Week: Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Oregon

T25 Composition: Big-12: 6, SEC: 5, ACC: 4; Big Ten: 2; Pac-10: 2, MWAC: 2; WAC: 2, Big East 1; Ind: 1

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As we alluded earlier this week, the 12th week games showed many teams either resting or playing under-achievers.  While there were some lackadaisical performances,  there were few things to get excited about. As per usual, the bottom tier teams jostled around a bit, but overall, not much has changed.  But whoa boy wait till next week!

Here’s our top 25 for the12th week:

#1 Alabama (11-0). Defeated Mississippi State (3-8) 32-7. Next week: Idle. While Miss State had one the last two against an ailing Bama team, this outing was much different. The game started slow, and State was actually up 7-5 at one point. But this Tide team is much to good, everywhere, to keep the lid on for too long.  Alabama lingered around at 12-7 until Javier Arena returned a punt 80 yards to start the runaway. While the Tide offense took the night off for the most part, the defense  gets the game ball by holding Mississippi State to just nine first downs and 167 yards of total offense, and only 1.6 yards average per rush.

#2 Texas Tech (10-0). Did not play.  Next week: At #4 Oklahoma (9-1).

#3 Florida (9-1). Defeated #24 South Carolina 56-6 at home. Next week: The Citadel (4-7) at home. We’re almost sure that Florida could easily be the #1 team in the nation, and will eventually get there after the SEC Championship game, where they will almost certainly beat Alabama by 3-4 touchdowns. But for now, we’re left with the memories of a total annihilation of Spurrier’s Gamecocks. For the most part this game was close until  South Carolina played stupid for about 3 minutes toward the end of the 1st quarter and found themselves down 21-0. Two interceptions and a dump kickoff lateral play did the trick. We’re disappointed with Spurrier. Florida’s Percy Harvin, who could jump into the Heisman race this week, rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries. Right now we can’t see anyone that can beat Florida.

#4 Oklahoma (9-1). Did not play. Next week: #2 Texas Tech (10-0) at home.

#5. Texas (9-1). Defeated Kansas (6-5) 35-7 at Kansas. Next week: Idle. Kansas has been such a let down this year after a phenomenal BCS year last year. The Longhorns were up 14 at half and blew the 3rd quarter open with 21 Texas QB Colt McCoy passed for 255 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 78 yards and a score.Texas’ fate is not in their control. They sit at #3 in the BCS Standings behind Alabama and Tech and just ahead of Florida. Texas must have a few complicated things happen if they are to get to a title game.  Tech has to lose to Oklahoma, and then OU must lose to Oklahoma State the following week, while Texas would need to beat A&M and then go to to Big-12 Championship and beat Missouri. Anything less probably punches their ticket to the Fiesta Bowl against Utah.

#6 USC (9-1). Defeated Stanford (5-6) 45-23 at Stanford. Next week: Idle. Well Stanford did their best to buck all the trends.  They scored 23, against a defense that has been averaging 4, and they stuck with the Trojans, mixing up their defense just enough to keep the SC offense sputtering. They were down only 24-17 going into the 4th Quarter, but by this time, the Cardinal defense was shot and tired. As such, the balanced USC offense kicked into gear for 21 4Q points to run away. Stafon Johnsons, USC RB  rushed 14 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score late in the third quarter. Stanley Havili caught a 50-yard TD pass from Mark Sanchez to give USC a 38-17 lead midway through the fourth quarter putting an un reconcilable distance between the Trojans and Stanford.  USC is in a unique situation that could get them to a National Championship, while losing the Pac-10.  If Oregon State wins out, and USC does also… and Texas, Oklahoma and Tech all lose, USC could possibly garner some points to get to the title game (its doubtful that this could happen tho, on many levels).

#7. Utah (11-0). Defeated San Diego State (1-10) 63-14 in San Diego. Next week: #15 Brigham Young (10-1) at home. This one was never in doubt, as we expected. Utah QB Brian Johnson threw for 283 yards and five touchdowns. Utah’s season is on the line against BYU next week.  A win by the Utes will get them, in all likelihood, to the Fiesta Bowl. A loss could throw the MWAC into a three way tie between Utah, BYU, and TCU.  This would really be disastrous for the MWAC, as most likely Boise State would get the non-BCS autobid, and then Ball State would be in line for a possible invitation to a BCS. All MWAC teams would go to thei respective bowl games (BYU to the Las Vegas Bowl, Utah to the Poinsettia Bowl, and TCU to the Armed Forces Bowl.  Ugh.

#8 Penn State (10-1). Defeated Indiana (3-8) 34-7 at home. Next week: #16 Michigan State (9-2) at home. As we predicted, the Nittany Lions were eager to get back home and put on a nice performance to prove that the Iowa loss was an irregularity. QB Daryll Clark passed for 240 yards and two touchdowns, while the PSU defense held Indiana to only six first downs. PSU needs only to beat Michigan State at home next week to seal a bid to the Rose Bowl. A loss, sends Ohio State.

#9 Ohio State (9-2). Defeated Illinois (5-6) 30-20 at Illinois.  Next week: Michigan (3-8) at home. Both Tyrellle Pryor and Beanie Wells ran for more than 100 yards in carrying the Buckeyes to an easy victory. Illinois scored a late TD to make the score more respectable.  OSU will be rooting for Michigan State next week in hopes of going to the Rose Bowl, otherwise, its probably the Capital One Bowl.

#10 Boise State (10-0). Defeated Idaho (2-9) 45-10 at Idaho. Next week: At Nevada (6-4). No problems, as expected against Idaho for Boise State. RB Jeremy Avery ran for 156 yards on 11 carries and 2 TDs.  BSU has Nevada and Fresno State, then waits to see what BCS Bowl they go to (Orange or Sugar most likely),

#11 Oklahoma State (9-2). Defeated Colorado (5-6) 30-17 in Colorado. Next week: Idle. The Cowboys come off their drubbing by Texas Tech, with a solid win over the Buffaloes on the road. QB Zac Robinson threw for 217 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 61 yards and another score. The win marked the first time the Cowboys have had 9 wins in a season since 2003.  Unless something very unusual happens, OSU is probably headed for the Alamo Bowl, perhaps against Michigan State.

#12 Missouri (9-2). Defeated Iowa State (2-2) 52-20 at Ames, IA.  Next week: Idle. QB Chase Daniels was 32-of-40 passing for 328 yards and two touchdowns. Daniel’s two touchdowns gave him 102 total TDs for his career (92 passing, 10 rushing), tying him with Brad Smith for the Tigers’ all-time record.  More importantly, the win locks the Big-12 North title for them. The Tigers end their season in two weeks against Kansas.  They’ll wait patiently to see who they’ll play for the Big-12 Championship.

#13 Georgia (9-2). Defeated Auburn (5-6) 17-13 at Auburn. Next week: Idle. The Bulldogs escaped a come back victory by Auburn by the skin of their teeth. Auburn QB Kodi Burns overthrew RB Ben Tate in the end zone with one second left to allow Georgia to escape. Georgia RB Knowshon Moreno torched the Tigers for 134 yards and caught a touchdown pass. The Bulldogs are going through the motions right now, ending their season in two weeks against Georgia Tech.  The ‘dogs are eying a possible Cotton Bowl bid.

#14 TCU (9-2). Did not play. Next week: Air Force (8-3) at home. TCU needs the win over AF and for Utah to lose, to have a choice in bowl games.

#15 Brigham Young (10-1). Defeated Air Force (8-3) 38-24 at Air Force Academy, Colorado. Next week: At #7 Utah. QB Max Hall was 28 of 37 for 354 yards and 2 TDs while RB Harvey Unga had another 88 yards and 2 TDs. BYU’s super bowl comes next week as they will attempt to derail Utah’s chance for a BCS bid.

#16 Michigan State (9-2) did not play. Next week: At Penn State (10-1). Unfortunately, the Spartans can’t really play for anything definitive next week when they travel to Happy Valley. One month ago, MSU lost badly to Ohio State 45-7 which hurt their chances for a possible Rose Bowl berth.  However, anything can happen MSU must win and hope for a Michigan upset of Ohio State to gain that berth now.

#17 Ball State (10-0). Defeated Miami (OH) (2-8) 31-16 at Oxford, OH. Next week: At Central Michigan (8-2). QB Nate Davis threw for 289 yards and a TD, while RB MiQuale Lewis had 216 all-purpose yards and 2 TDs.  The Cardinals end up the next two weeks against their closest foes in the MAC West, Central Michigan and Western Michigan.

#18 LSU (7-3). Defeated Troy (6-4) 40-31 at home. Next week: Ole Miss (6-4) at home. As the 3rd Quarter wound down to 2:00 left , the Tigers gazed at the scoreboard in disbelief, down to Troy 31-3. But Jarrett Lee, the much maligned QB led a 30 point 4th quarter comeback, taking advantage of a muffed punt and 3 turnovers along the way.  Lee, who was benhed in the first half, eventually went 20/34 for 216 yards and a TD. It was the largest come from behind victory at home for the Tigers in the history of the program.

#19 Pittsburgh (7-2). Did not play. Next week: At #20 Cincinnati. Show down time in the Big East next week. A win against Cincy next week would be the first step on a tough road to get the Big East Crown. They would still need to beat West Virginia and Connecticut in the following weeks.

#20 Cincinnati (8-2). Defeated Louisville (5-5) 28-20 at Louisville. Next week: #19 Pittsburgh (7-2) at home. We are constantly amazed how a team riddled with injuries can continue to flourish. The Bearcats get their 3rd conference win in a row by gutting out a 4th quarter TD with six minutes remaining.  Junior QB Tony Pike went 19/33 for 250 yards and  2 TDs as part of a 400+ yard offensive night. The Bearcats put it all on the line next week when then play Pittsburgh. A win there and win the following week against Syracuse, would hand Cincy the Big East Crown.

#21 Oregon (7-3). Defeated Arizona (6-4) 55-45 at home. Next week: Idle. The score looks close, but Oregon had a 45-17 halftime lead and cruised in the second half, though Arizona QB Willie Tuitama did his best to bring the Wildcats back, throwing for 2 TDs on a 328 yard night.  Oregon allowed Arizona 527 yards of total offense, but also put up 507 of its own. Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli threw for a career-high 298 yards and accounted for five Oregon touchdowns,  rushing for three touchdowns and throwing for two more, all in the first half. The Oregon-Oregon State finale could be a big one, should USC trip up and lose to either Notre Dame or UCLA.  That would put Oregon, Oregon State and USC at two losses.  A win by Oregon in the last week, would send them to the Rose Bowl under those circumstances.

#22 Miami (7-3). Defeated Virginia Tech (6-4) 16-14 at home. Next week: At Georgia Tech (7-3) Thursday. Randy Shannon’s team got a hard fought victory at home over the weekend, and in doing so, racked up their 5th straight win, 3 of which over conference opponents. Miami did the trick defensively, holding VT’s rushing game to a total of 77 yards, forcing them into an uncomfortable passing game. VT used both Glennon and Tyrod Taylor and still managed only 173 yards total for the game, Miami finishes with Georgia Tech and North Carolina State, the former of which will decide the ACC Coastal Division Champion.

#23 Oregon State (7-3). Defeated Cal (6-4) 34-21 at home. Next week: At Arizona (6-3). Cinderella Oregon State, who beat #6 USC early in the season, continues to roll on to a possible Rose Bowl bid. However, they will need lots more effort the last two weeks to do so. Getting by California this past week was a major step however. The Beavers did it on the ground, as they usually do. RB Jacquizz Rodgers chewed up 145 yards on the ground and got 1 TD.  The trouble facing Oregon State in the next 2 weeks is a road game to Arizona, and then home to Oregon, both teams playing well. Arizona has an excellent run defense, but not a particularly great passing defense. Oregon, has an amazing passing offense.  Both bode ominous for Oregon State.

#24 Maryland (7-3). Defeated #25 North Carolina (7-3)  17-15 at home. Next week: Florida State (7-3) at home. With the current condition of the ACC Atlantic, next week’s game with FSU should decide the division rep to the ACC Championship game. Both Florida State and Maryland have not been able to puta string of victories together. The Terps. however, scratched out a victory over previously favored NC through the gutsy play of QB Chris Turner who threw for only 141 yards but engineered a 19-play, 73-yard drive that led to the go-ahead field goal. By doing so, Maryland set a school record with its sixth consecutive win over a ranked opponent.

#25 Boston College (7-3). Defeated Florida State (7-3) 27-17 at FSU. Next week: At Wake Forest (6-4). Boston College gets into the T25 by virtue of beating Florida State. Well for right now. The Eagles intercepted FSU QB Christian Ponder three times, the fifth time this season they’ve forced at least three INTs in a game. BC back Montel Harris chewed up 121 yards on the ground to spark the Eagles offensive attack. By winning out against Wake and Maryland, the Eagles could really throw the Atlantic Division of the ACC  into a mess. Then it depends on what Florida State does.

Dropped Out: Florida State, Tulsa, South Carolina

On the Bubble: North Carolina (7-3), Florida State (7-3), Northwestern (8-3)

Most Impressive Teams: Florida, Miami

Least Impressive Teams: Florida State, North Carolina

Top 25 Composition: Big-12 (5), SEC (4), Big-10 (3), Pac-10 (3), ACC (3), MWAC (3), Big-East (2), MAC (1), WAC (1)

BCS Bowl Projections This Week:

National Title: Florida vs. Texas Tech

Rose Bowl: Penn State vs. USC

Fiesta Bowl:  Utah vs. Texas

Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Boise State

Orange Bowl: Pittsburgh  vs.  Maryland

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There will be a bit of a quiet knell in College Football as many teams have either played their pivotal games, or are off for the week. There is only one Top 25 match-up this week in fact, Florida v. South Carolina.

It’s very hard for young men to keep their eyes on the prize this time of year, and not be thinking ahead about a big rivalry game another week or two away.  Actually, they can concentrate fairly easily on the next opponent; but all their friends, classmates, media, etc, speculate endlessly, and the players themselves can’t escape it when it surrounds them.  Strange as it sounds, the practice field is the refuge of last resort, because that’s the only place where players are surrounded by coaches and teammates focused solely on the upcoming game, no matter the opponent.  We don’t always think about these things week to week, but as the season winds down, keep in mind that there are lots of things on their minds each week.

On to the games:

#1 Alabama (10-0) hosts Mississippi State (3-6). Suffice it to say, that if Bama can’t take care of business at home against M-state, well that could be real trouble for the BCS.  The Tide already has a date with Florida for the SEC Championship and a berth in the National Title game, so perhaps it might be easy to overlook such a lower opponent. However, Bama should be on guard. The Tide have lost to the Bulldogs in each of the past two seasons and have not scored an offensive TD in these teams’ past three games. That has to be a bit troubling if not in just thought.  LSU gave them all they could hope for last week, in an emotionally charged game where turnovers caused Alabama to protect itself for much of the time. Saban’s bunch should however, be able to defensively control  this game, and force turnovers. Look for Bama to pour it on, if given the chance. Crimson Tide by 17.

#2 Texas Tech (10-0) is idle.

#3 Florida (8-1) hosts #24 South Carolina (7-3). Florida, also, has a free pass to the SEC Championship, but like Alabama, can’t afford a cheap loss, especially at home. However, of the Gator’s remaining game, the Gamecocks could be the most challenging.  The game boasts two teams that are on a winning tear. Steve Spurrier returns to the Swamp, leading a team that has won six of its past seven games after a 1-2 start. Florida, meanwhile, has won five straight since losing to Ole Miss in September. So, there’s all the motivation in the world for both to play well.  SoCar has had trouble at time mustering enough offense to get ahead and stay ahead, while Florida’s offense of late has had no problems at all doing so.  We think that this game could be close at the outset, but Florida should run away in the 2nd half and hide.  Big question: if Florida wins big here, do they jump Texas Tech to #2? Maybe in the AP poll, but probably not in the BCS. Gators by 18.

#4 Oklahoma (9-1) is idle.

#5 Texas (9-1)  at Kansas (6-4). The Longhorns lie peacefully in wait for the showdown next week between OU and Texas Tech, rooting hard for the Sooners (competition makes strange bedfellows). Kansas has been a bit of an enigma this year, but has managed to keep their Big-12 North hopes alive with #12 Missouri. The Jayhawks are one game behind the Tigers, so a win against Texas would give them the opportunity to play for a Big-12 Championship spot the final week, so there is no lack of motivation.  Texas, on the other hand, also must win out, to have any Big-12 South hope, and for that matter, a trip to a BCS bowl. We think that Kansas can score against Texas, and score often, but at the same time, we question they can keep Texas under wraps.  This could be a rather high scoring game, with Texas emerging late, perhaps on turnovers.  Longhorns by 10.

#6 USC (8-1) at Stanford (5-5). In a nation full of lots of offense, the Trojans, uncharacteristically, have bucked that trend. Whatever the criticism of the Pac-10 competitiveness, USC has racked up six straight wins since losing to Oregon State early in the year. In those 6 games the Trojans defense has allowed a total of 23 points (avg of less than 4 points/game), and recorded 3 shutouts and only 1 offensive TD in the last 5 games.  We don’t care what conference you are in, that’s total defensive domination.  Unfortunately, USC’s offense has been sporadic, and “enough” to get by and outscore the opponents. There have been signs of the offense gelling of late, especially in the running game. Stanford on the other hand hasn’t had a bad season, and are 4-3 in conference play.  That may seem far out there, but this year, its not. We can’t see Stanford doing something that the other teams (such as Arizona, Arizona State and Cal) have been unable to do…score points.  We’ll stick with the Trojans.  USC by 14.

#7 Utah (10-0) at San Diego State (1-9). Not a lot of mystery here. San Diego State is averaging giving up 36 pts per game, while scoring only 17. Utah is almost exactly the opposite. This should be no contest. Utes by 24.

#8 Penn State (9-1) hosts Indiana (3-7). It was a tough week for PSU in losing to Iowa, but by all intents and purposes, there was very little hope for a National Title. They simply need to regroup, win their last two games against Indiana and Michigan State, and  they automatically get the Rose Bowl. Anything else sends Ohio State. The Nittany Lions need to worry about their offense of late, scoring only 36 pts total in the last two games. Defense can take you a long way, but Indiana can put points on the board, but unfortunately they give up alot of points too, like 55 to both Wisconsin and Illinois. We think that Clark and company get the O back on track this week to gain some momentum for the final championship game vs. Michigan State. Penn State by 20.

#9 Ohio State (8-2) at Illinois (5-5). The Buckeyes still have a lot of game in them, and if they don’t get to the Rose Bowl, they are probably headed for the Capital One Bowl. OSU needs to win out against Illinois and Michigan, both of whom can surprise on any given week. If they do, a Penn State lost puts them in the Rose.  The first order of duty is silencing and containing Juice Williams, the talented Illinois QB.  Illinois’ offense averages a Big Ten-best 438 yards/game, while Ohio State tops the league in total D (285 ypg). It may boil down to how well the OSU offense is operating that day. They’ve been inconsistent at best.  However, we’ll count that the Buckeyes can put their usual excellent defense together and hold down the Illini enough to where the O can prevail.  Ohio State by 8.

#10 Boise State (9-0) at Idaho (2-8). We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, BSU owns the WAC.  Idaho averages giving up 42 points per game while BSU averages giving up only 10.  This could be ugly.  Broncos by 28.

#11 Oklahoma State (8-2) at Colorado (5-5). It’s really not clear what happened to the Cowboys last week against Texas Tech, especially in light of the fact that they beat Missouri and played to within 4 of Texas. Losing 56-20 was something that no one expected. As a result, Oklahoma State is playing for pride now, and it starts this week against the Buffaloes, who can, at any time, put together a complete game. Colorado has lost its past three conference games against ranked teams by a margin of 126-28, and the Buffs have won four of the past six meetings with OSU, but the teams haven’t met since 2005. We think that OSU will get back on track, and beat Colorado to set up the showdown in the season finale against rival Oklahoma. Cowboys by 10.

#12 Missouri (8-2) at Iowa State (2-8). The Tigers have the Big-12 North title in their sights, and the Cyclones, who have lost 8 straight, seem to only be a small bump in the road. Chase Daniels should have a field day.  Tigers by 32.

#13 Georgia (8-2) at Auburn (5-5). The Bulldogs need to finish strong to possibly get a tier 2 bowl like the Cotton. Auburn has lost 4 of their last 5 games (they won last week against Tenn-Martin), and pretty much have looked bad in all cases. Georgia, still boasts a great defense and more than adequate offense. Matt Stafford is already weighing his options for NFL draft time (with the weak QB class this year he could easily go in the first 5 picks). A couple of great performances against Auburn and Georgia Tech woud look really good on his resume.  Thats alot of motivation.  Georgia by 24.

#14 TCU (9-2) is idle.

#15 Brigham Young (9-1) at Air Force (8-2). This should turn out to be one of the more enjoyable games of the day. There’s something about Air Force that brings out the best in BYU. The Cougars have won the past four meetings by an average margin of almost 21 points. BYU isnt any weaker this year, but Air Force is a stonger team.  Nevertheless, BYU’s loss to TCU ruined what could have been a BCS kind of year, so the Cougars are looking to look good late.  We think that should happen.  BYU by 18.

#16 Michigan State (9-2) is idle.

#17 LSU (6-3) hosts Troy (6-3). LSU is just going through a tough time this year. While the defense has been, for the most part, admirable, the offense just has been dismal. We keep reminding ourselves that Jarret Lee, the Sophomore QB from Brenham, TX, has had limited time behind the the LSU offense that lost so many talented players to the NFL.  But, the numbers sure dont favor Troy in the game. LSU has won 24 straight nonconference games in Tiger Stadium. It has also won 17 consecutive nonconference games overall. But, because of the LSU offense, we just have to pull back on our tendency to think this will be a run away.  LSU by 10.

#18 Ball State (10-0) defeated Miami (OH) (2-8) 31-16 in Ohio. In rare Tuesday night game, this game has already been played.  No surpise that Ball State won. They’ll play again next Wednesday against Central Michigan.

#19 North Carolina (7-2) at Maryland (6-3). NC has been up and down this year, but still has managed to work themselves to the top of the ACC Coastal Division, a game ahead of Virginia Tech. But all signs point to a possible upset.  The Terps have been tough at home this season with a perfect 5-0 mark, outscoring teams by a 153-82 margin. They’re also 3-0 against the Top 25. This bodes no good for the Tar Heels.  This game seems to be perfect for an Upset Watch game, and we’re going so far as to say Maryland pulls it off. Terps by 6.

#20 Pittsburgh (7-2) is idle.

#21 Florida State (7-2) hosts Boston College (6-3). Here’s another ACC showdown  FSU, like North Carolina, precariously finds itself at the top of its Atlantic Division only a game ahead of Wake Forest, Maryland and Boston College. A BC win here coupled with a Terp win, could reall hose things up really good for the ACC. The running game should decide this one. BC is allowing a shade less than 102 rushing ypg, but Florida State owns one of the nation’s best rushing offenses (205 ypg).  This one also goes on Upset Watch, but we’ll take the Seminoles and the home field.  Florida State by 4.

#22 Cincinnati (7-2) at Louisville (5-4). The Big East seems to be the conference of the also rans this year.  No team has managed to set a winning streak, with the possible exception of Pittsburgh lately. Now come the Bearcats and their lineup of the day charging into Papa John’s Park to face an ever unpredictable Louisville team that at any moment can nail an opponent to the wall like they did to South Florida. The Bearcats haven’t had much success against Louisville in recent seasons. The Cards have won nine of the past 10 meetings against Cincinnati, including five straight. Another Upset Watch game here where literally anything could happen.  Cincy by 4.

#23 Tulsa (8-1) at Houston (5-4). Tulsa won the C-USA’s West Division in 2005 and 2007, while the Cougars won it in 2006. The winner of this game should get the inside track to clinching the West. Tulsa is just playing better, and with the top rated offense in the country, should have little trouble with Cougars.  Tulsa by 17.

#24 South Carolina (7-3) at #3 Florida (8-1). See analysis above.  Florida by 18.

#25 Virginia Tech (6-3) at Miami (6-3). Its anyone’s guess how the ACC Coastal will go, with no fewer than four of the six teams are still in contention. The Hokies are playing much better ball here right now, despite losing 2 of their last 3.  Does that tell you how its going in the ACC-C ? Miami is on a 4-game winning streak including victories over Wake Forest and Virginia. It should turn out to be Miami’s passing game against VT’s rushing attack.  So would we put the Hokies in the T25 and pick against them the following week?  Yep.  Miami by 10.

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Week 11 Results and Analysis

Perhaps the 2008 campaign will prove out to be vastly different from the 2007 campaign, in that, for the most part, the top 10 pretty much did its job this week, with only one upset.  This differs  quite drastically from last year when each week was a nightmare for someone in the top 5!

The lone exception this week was Penn State’s gaffe at Iowa, losing on a last second FG to lose their first game of the season and pretty much eliminate any talk of a National title there. They were already on shaky ground anyway, taking into account their weak schedules compared to the other top 5 teams. But the loss pretty much assures no title game, and, in fact, makes the upcoming Michigan State-Penn State game even more important. More about this later.

Alabama pulled through by nipping a hard-fighting LSU Tiger team in Baton Rouge. LSU’s lack of QB was the key to their loss, as their defense played magnificently. Throwing an interception in overtime is inexcusable, and we can’t imagine this QB not having the sense to know this. However, we have to keep reminding ourselves that Lee is a freshman, and as such,  will do dumb things from time to time.  He’ll be back, but don’t be surprised if some HS hotshot we’re unaware of takes his starting job away next fall.

Texas Tech didn’t struggle with top ten Oklahoma State, rolling to a 56-20 shellacking. Heisman front-runner Graham Harrell took center stage and showed the nation, yet again, why Tech should be ranked as high as they are. Just as a matter of note, there is the possibility that the Big-12 South could end in a 3-way tie, if Tech is unable to beat OU in 2 weeks, and then TTU, OU, and UT win the last week.  In that case, the winner of the South is determined by who would have the highest BCS ranking. Our researcher, Jason Kathman, tells us that it would most likely be Oklahoma getting the boost from beating a #2 team, as opposed to Texas, even though UT beat OU earlier in the season.  In that case, if OU went on to beat Missouri for the Big-12 title, we’d most likely see an OU-Florida National Championship, and both Texas and Texas Tech would be up for a BCS bowl game. Most likely it would be Texas, and Tech would get the Holiday Bowl against the runner up in the Pac-10 (USC or Oregon State). But there is absolutely no telling as to what might happen.

Florida continued its winning ways, and combined with the victory of Alabama over LSU, set the SEC Championship game as early in the season as we can remember. Florida is hitting on all cylinders, both offensively and defensively, and could be playing as good or better than most any team in the nation now. But just to show you how convoluted things could get, consider this. The Florida-Alabama SEC title game is shaping up to be a blockbuster, and just as the SEC and their TV partners envisioned it, as a truly pinnacle end-of-season performance. But, the Big 12 is holding a series of title games, all among 4 B-12S schools.  A kind of round robin title format.  Though the Cowboys are on the outside looking in, they can still have a direct impact on the championship picture.  Even if OU beats TTU, if they are ambushed again in Stillwater, TTU gets to the B12 title game.  If Florida beats Alabama, OU gets TTU but is whacked by OkSt., we still have PSU, USC, Florida, Alabama, Texas, and Tech with a single loss.  So the national championship game becomes Utah vs who? Probably Fl by virtue of their (presumed) win over #1 ‘Bama, but remember, Tech owns a win over then #1 Tex, and their loss would be to Top 5 OU rather than unranked Ol’ Miss. However, remember also, pollsters have a VERY short memory.

So, with that synopsis, let’s get to the rankings!

#1 Alabama (10-0). Defeated #17 LSU (6-3) 27-21 in overtime at Baton Rouge. Next week: Mississippi State (3-6) at home. It wasn’t a particularly pretty game for Alabama, but considering the Saban-return dynamic, playing on the road in Baton Rouge, and that LSU overachieved, we’re willing to keep the Tide where they are at #1 this week. QB John Parker Wilson threw for 214 yards and rushed for two scores. Alabama intercepted Jarrett Lee four times with Rashad Johnson picking off three passes himself, including one in the end zone on LSU’s opening drive in overtime. Right now Bama is #1, but we are skeptical they’ll be there at the end of the season.

#2 Texas Tech (10-0), Defeated #11 Oklahoma State (8-2) 56-20  at home. Next week: Bye. Fresh off their last second heroics in beating #1 Texas last week, there was skepticism, whether Tech just lucked out.  Even Lee Corso predicted the Raiders would lose “big” against OSU. As he often is, Lee was dead wrong.  Tech bobbled a snap in their first series, giving up a quick TD. They they proceded to run off seven, yes seven straight touchdown drives. The only thing that stopped them was the band at halftime. Graham Harrell was 40/50 for 456 yards and 6 TDs. OSU, one of the best defensive teams in the country allowing an average of just over 320 yards per game, had allowed over that in the first half. In the end, they would allow 629 yards against the Raiders.  Tech now has an off week, before traveling to Norman for the game of their lifetime. Tech’s path is pretty clear, if they beat OU and Baylor, then win the Big-12 Championship, no one keeps them from the National Title game. Any thing less, and they don’t even get a BCS bowl game without OU or Texas losing the final game of their season.

#3 Florida (8-1). Defeated Vanderbilt (5-4) 42-14 at Vanderbilt. Next week: South Carolina (7-3) at home. One time darling Vanderbilt, just couldn’t stay on the same field with so much speed and talent. We have to give the game ball to QB Tim Tebow who rushed for 88 yards and two TDs and passed for 171 yards and three TDs, which seemed to us more like his Heisman-winning stats from a  year ago. Florida ends up with SC, Citadel and non-conference Florida State.  There are some hard games in there, not the least of which will be next week (but SC goes to Talahassee), and then FSU is always a toughie. However, we can sure begin to see a National title invitation being written to Urban Meyer’s group in a few weeks if they beat Alabama in the SEC Championship game.

#4 Oklahoma (9-1). Defeated Texas A&M (4-6) 66-28 at College Station. Next week: Bye. This was pretty much expected, seeing that OU’s pass offense is as prolific as Texas Tech’s and A&M’s passing defense is, well, non-existant.  QB Sam Bradford found four different receivers for touchdowns and passed for 320 yards and generated 653 yards of total offense. We can only shutter as to what happens in two weeks when Tech comes to town.

#5 Texas (9-1). Defeated Baylor (3-7) 45-21 in Austin. Next week: At Kansas (6-4). The Bears became the target of vengeance this week, as the Longhorns battered Baylor to get the bad taste out of their mouths resulting from the previous week’s last second loss to Tech. Colt McCoy overcame two first-half interceptions to end up with 5 TDs and 300 yards passing. Texas may find it hard to cheer for OU or Texas Tech in the next few weeks, but they may have to. Side note here, Bears are showing signs of becoming competitive.  In a couple of more years for Baylor and A&M to grow up,  the Big 12 South will be a bloodbath like even the SEC isn’t!

#6 USC (8-1). Defeated California (6-3) 17-3 at home. Next week: At Stanford (5-5). Without a doubt, USC has the best defense in the country, and against proved it Saturday holding the Cal Bears to 3 points and only 165 total yards of offense. This now makes a total of 13 points allowed in the last 5 weeks. Unlike LSU, however, USC does have enough ball-control offense to win. Mark Sanchez was 18/29 for 238 yards, 2 TDs and no interceptions. USC still has Notre Dame and UCLA at the end of their schedule, and still has to wait for Oregon State to lose to seal the Rose Bowl bid. The Beavers still have the hardest part of their schedule left:  California at home, at Arizona, and Oregon at home.

#7 Utah (10-0). Defeated #12 TCU (9-2) 13-10. Next week: At San Diego State (1-9). So ok, we give up.  Utah is better than TCU, although, not by much.  Actually we shouldn’t move Utah up so much, as move TCU down, but that would be unfair.  TCU can’t kick a field goal. Plain and simple. Two attempts went left and right that should have, at the very least, sent the game to OT. Credit a fiesty Utah defense however. Utah QB Brian Johnson passed for 230 yards and threw the game-winning TD with 47 seconds left. Projecting that Utah will probably be in the Fiesta Bowl, we can’t think of any BCS team that wont outscore Utah 3-4 TDs in that game.

#8 Penn State (9-1). Lost to Iowa (6-4) 24-23 at Iowa. Next week: Indiana (3-7) at home. Penn State’s promising season derailed on Saturday in an uncharacteristically sloppy performance against Iowa.  We talk alot about how good teams dont lose focus against mediocre teams (ala Georgia).  The Nittany Lions did just that.  They tried to walk through the game, and ended up on the wrong end of the score, eliminating them from title contention.  Now they’ll need every ounce of effort to get to the Rose Bowl, by beating Michigan State in a few weeks. Daryll Clark perhaps was the biggest bust, going only 9/23 for 86 yards and an interception. whew. All four of the Hawkeye’s losses to date were by a total of 12 pts, so if the passing attack showed any signs of life, Iowa had a chance, and that’s exactly what happened.

#9 Ohio State (8-2). Defeated Northwestern (7-3) 45-10 at NW. Next week: At Illinois (5-5). We kinda wonder what this noise is about putting Boise State above several teams here. Again, we think that the pollsters many times are on drugs, or never watch any games. Ohio State may right now be the best Big-10 team, yes even better than PSU who beat them by a TD just 1 week ago. Terrelle Pryor, the OSU freshman QB has to get the game ball after giving the Buckeyes a confidence booster with a huge rebound from last week’s painful loss to Penn State. Right now we’re not sure if PSU can get by MSU, so guess who is in the driver’s seat?  If MSU beats PSU, Ohio State goes to the Rose Bowl, if they win out, by virtue of the Buckeyes 45-7 win over MSU on 10/18.

#10 Boise State (9-0). Defeated Utah State (2-8) 49-14 at home. Next week: At Idaho (2-8). The Broncos have a chance to get to a BCS Bowl as an at-large bid, if they can continue to dominate their conference. The Utah State Aggies were no hurdle as BSU QB Kellen Moore was 27/36 for 362 yards and 2 TDs. The Bronco defense caused 6 Aggie turnovers also. BSU ends up with Idaho, Nevada and Fresno State.

#11 Oklahoma State (8-2). Lost to #2 Texas Tech (10-0) 56-20 in Lubbock. Next week: At Colorado (5-5). See above.  The Cowboys could still play a spoiler when they play Oklahoma the last week of the regular season.

#12 Missouri (8-2). Defeated Kansas State (4-6) 41-24 at home. Next week: At Iowa State (2-8). Despite a mediocre night for Chase Daniels (24/36, 271 yards, 2 TDs. 2 INTs), the team racked up 511 yards of total offense against KSU. Missouri no longer can just sit back and relax. The season ender with Kansas could result in the Big-12 North Champion.  Whoever that is, they’ll be at least a double-digit underdog to ANY Big-12 South opponent.

#13 Georgia (8-2). Defeated Kentucky (6-4) 42-38 at KY. Next week: At Auburn (5-5). The Bulldogs, yet again, lost focus, but this time were able to pull out a come-back victory with a last minute TD and then subsequent INT.  It was the big three that came through in the clutch for Georgia: QB Matthew Stafford threw for a career-high 376 yards, Mohamed Massaquoi had a career-high eight catches for 191 yards and a score and Knowshon Moreno ran for 123 yards and three TDs. Georgia can only really affect anything, by playing spoiler in a couple of weeks against rival Georgia Tech.

#14 TCU (9-2). Lost to #7 Utah (10-0) 13-10. Next week: Bye. See above. TCU lost its chance to get to a BCS, unless  BSU or Utah stumbles. Even then it would be climb.

#15 Brigham Young (9-1). Defeated San Diego State (1-9) 41-12 at home. Next week: At Air Force (8-2). There just isn’t much BYU can do at this point except try to win out and get a good post-season bowl game.  They could definitely play spoiler in the MWAC if they were to beat Utah in the last game of the season, though. This week however, it was no surprise, QB Max Hall who completed 25 of 30 passes for 317 yards and three TDs. Three SDSU fumbles and an interception didn’t help either.

#16 Michigan State (9-2). Defeated Purdue (3-7) 21-7 at home.  Next week: Bye. We were impressed with the Spartans against Purdue, even though it was a home game. Purdue, even despite its record, has played everyone very tough, especially defensively.  While MSU isn’t going to really knock you over with offense, their defense in this game was admirable allowing less than 200 total yards. Javon Ringer played the power back and accumulated 121 yards on 31 carries and 2 TDs. MSU gets its chance in two weeks against Penn State. How much passing offense can MSU generate to loosen up PSU’s run defense?  If they can’t do something like what Iowa did, Ringer will have an 80 yd day and MSU ends 9-3.

#17 LSU (6-3). Lost to #1 Alabama (10-0) 27-21 in overtime at Baton Rouge.  Next week: Troy (6-3) at home. See above.  A valiant effort, but with no Quarterback, LSU is doomed this year.

#18 Ball State (9-0).  Defeated Northern Illinois (5-4) 45-14 at home. Next week: At Miami (OH) (2-7). The Cardinals keep rolling on toward a end of season showdown with Central Michigan for the Mac West in two weeks. Junior QB Nate Davis was 18/22 for 300 yards and 4 TDs.

#19 North Carolina (7-2). Defeated Georgia Tech (7-3) 28-7. Next week: At Maryland (6-3). And we now come to the highest ranked ACC team. We can’t remember that a BCS Conference had its leading team ranked so low. Of course this opens the door for such teams as Utah and Boise State.  However, this was an impressive and somewhat surprising win by the Tar Heels. Three fourth-quarter TDs sealed the Tar Heels’ seventh win, the first time they’ve reach that mark since 2001. Georgia Tech seemed to have no answer, and continues to be week to week.

#20 Pitt (7-2). Defeated Louisville (5-4) 41-7 at home. Next week: Bye. The Panthers put it all together this week in crushing Louisville, breaking the Heinz Field curse. Pitt exploded on defense causing 5 Cardinal turnovers (3 fumbles 2 interceptions) and had a big 21-point 4th quarter to run away. Pitt’s path to the Big East Championship starts big in 2 weeks when they travel to Cincinnati to play the Bearcats.  The end of the season against West Virginia and Connecticut, could come into play depending on how other games go.

#21 Florida State (7-2). Defeated Clemson (4-5) 41-27 at home. Next week: Boston College (6-3) at home. The Seminoles are precariously atop the ACC Atlantic, but can’t afford a slip up.  In this game it was the FSU running game that was the spotlight, as five different backs accounted for 266 yards on the ground (shades of USC).  With an earlier loss to Wake Forest, and an upcoming game against Maryland, FSU can’t afford even the slightest of let downs, but the road is tough… Boston College at home, and at Maryland will decide their fate.

#22 Cincinnati (7-2). Defeated West Virginia (6-3) 26-23 in OT at WV. Next week: At Louisville (5-4). The Bearcats keep surprising many people, playing well despite a bevvy of injuries that would have derailed most any other team. Cincy went out early in this game and held a 20-7 lead until 1:11 left in the game, when they ran out the back of the end zone for a safety (20-9). On the ensuing West Virgina possession, they scored and got a 2pt conversion with 19 seconds remaining (20-17). An onside kick was recovered, and WV kicked a tying FG with no time remaining to send it into overtime, at which time Cincy got the TD after WV got a FG.  Cincy’s destiny is in its own hands, with games against Louisville, Pittsburgh and Syracuse. Winning out would get them a BCS Bowl as the Big East Champion.

#23 Tulsa (8-1). Did not play.  Next week: At Houston (5-4). Tulsa sports the #1 offense in the country, yes ahead of Texas Tech. QB David Johnson has an overall rating of 198.25, and has thrown for almost 3000 yards and 33 touchdowns (comparatively, Graham Harrell has thrown for 4,077 yards, 36 touchdowns and has a rating of 169.18).  The Golden Hurricane ran into difficulty last week against Arkansas and lost by a TD. However, they are still on track to win the C-USA west if they can get by Houston this week, then Tulane and Marshall.

#24 South Carolina (7-3). Defeated Arkansas (4-6) 34-21 at home. Next week: At #3 Florida. Very systematically, the ‘Ol Ball Coach has built a great program at South Carolina winning 6 of the last 7 games. We’ll remind everyone that the Gamecocks have lost to Georgia, Vanderbilt and LSU by only 7 points each time. So we’re not talking a fluke here.  The Gamecock defense picked 3 interceptions in the Arkansas game and outscored the Razorbacks 14-7 in the 4th quarter to hold on to the victory. The game against Florida shouldn’t be taken lightly, even tho its in the Swamp.

#25 Virginia Tech (6-3). Defeated Maryland (6-3) 23-13 at home. Next week: At Miami (6-3). In and out of the T25 all year, the Hokies do seem to be playing their best team football right now. They entered the game averaging 280 yards per game,  but exploded for 400, mostly behind RB Darren Evans who ran for a school-record 253 yards and a TD.  The road is easy for VT…if they win out against Miami, Duke and Virginia they win the ACC Coastal by virtue of the fact they beat North Carolina earlier in the year.

Dropped out: Maryland, Ga Tech, Northwestern, West Virginia. California

Bubble: Kansas Minnesota, Wake Forest

Most Impressive: Texas Tech, Ohio State, Pitt

Least Impressive: Penn State, TCU, LSU

Top 25 Composition: Big-12 (5), SEC (5), Big-10 (3), ACC (3), MWAC (3), Big East (2), Pac-10 (1), WAC (1), C-USA (1), MAC (1)

This weeks Projected BCS Bowl Games:

National Championship:  Florida vs. Oklahoma

Rose Bowl:  USC  vs. Penn State

Fiesta Bowl:  Texas  vs.  Utah

Sugar Bowl: Boise State vs. Alabama

Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs Pittsburgh

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