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Last year, in 2007, the upsets began the first week of November and continued through to the end of the season.  It looks as if we are in for another down to the wire run again this year too. Everything is getting bunched up early and its for sure that the BCS system will again come under fire when all is said and done.

Week 10 of 2008 will go down as a week of great games and great performances. It started early with Florida’s impressive, unexpected, 49-19 blowout of Georgia. It has seemed now for a few weeks that Florida was emerging as one of the best 1-loss team in the nation and they proved it.  Northwestern intercepted a pass with time running out, to snatch a victory over a recently charging Minnesota.  Georgia Tech did the same against Florida State, and even some non T25 games were thrilling, such as last minute wins by Purdue over Michigan and Illinois over Iowa.

Of course the game of the week, was the shootout in Lubbock between two undefeated Big-12 teams, #1 Texas and #5 Texas Tech. We’ll own up to the fact we thought this game was way overhyped, but we and most of the world had no idea that TTU’s defense would play the game of their lives, and Texas would totally underperform.  The win by Tech will most certainly get them to the top 3 in the country, and from there, they are in control of their destiny. The variations on just the Big-12 South are unbelievable.  There are scenarios that could see three teams be 11-1 at the end of the regular season. We aren’t even exactly sure how they break that tie, but four Big-12 South Teams all have shots at not only a BCS Bowl Game but also a National Championship.

A handful of games seem to point the way to the remainder of the season.  Texas Tech has Oklahoma State and Oklahoma on it schedule the next 2 weeks. If they run the table, there’s a compelling case for title bid, since they would have beat, in succession #23, #1, #8 and # 4.   We don’t know how the pollsters or BCS computers could keep them out of a title bid if they also beat Missouri in the Big-12 championship. However things could shape up to be very scrambled, should TTU beat Oklahoma State and lose to OU (and beat Baylor), and both OU and Texas win out.  That would put 3 Big-12 South teams at 11-1. Or consider if OU beats Tech, and loses to Oklahoma State?  The mind boggles!

Penn State and Michigan State will lock up in a few weeks, that could position the Nittany Lions for a Title invitation, but chances are, they’d need some help to get there, even if they were undefeated, due to their non-competitive schedule. Florida, Texas Tech, and probably Alabama would all have to lose for PSU to be considered for a title bid. Not out of the question, however.

Florida, after trouncing Georgia, now has clear sailing to the SEC Championship from the East side, while Alabama has some work to do against LSU in Baton Rouge next week and then Mississippi State and Auburn.  If Alabama runs the table (including the SEC Championship) there’s no one going to keep them out of a title bid.

Oklahoma and Texas both have paths to BCS Bowls, with possible title game hopes. OU gets Texas Tech in Norman. However they must end with Oklahoma State in Stillwater, and anything could happen there. Because of the prior loss to Texas, OU would need for Texas to lose once more, which is unlikely against very mediocre teams. So, Texas has the easiest freeway to the Big-12 Championship against Missouri.

So with all the hubbub, let’s take a stab at the new rankings.

#1 Alabama (9-0). Defeated Arkansas State (4-4) 35-0 at home. Next week: At #13 LSU (6-2). On a day that saw most all the top 10 teams perform well, the Tide did their job in workman-like manner. Alabama improved to 9-0 for the second time in the last four years (2005). Dating back to their bowl game last season, the Crimson Tide has won 10 straight games. It is the 21st double-digit winning streak for Alabama, an NCAA record. Alabama freshman RB Mark Ingram rushed for 113 yards on just 12 carries, his first career 100-yard game. Freshman RB Mark Ingram rushed for 113 yards on just 12 carries, his first career 100-yard game.

#2 Texas Tech (9-0). Defeated #6 Texas (8-1) 39-33 at home. Next week: #8 Oklahoma State (8-1). Tech gets to 9-0 for the first time since 1938 on the strength of a brutal defense in the first half, and riding the Harrell-Crabtree train in the final 1:29. The numbers in the game were staggering on both sides, as 854 yards of offense were put up.  Harrell ended up 36/53 for 474 yards and 2 TD, while Michael Crabtree had 10 receptions for 127 yards and the game winning TD. Special recogntion goes to Texas WR Malcolm Williams who had 4 receptions for 182 yards and a 91-yard TD. The Tech running duo of Shannon Woods and Baron Batch accounted for 122 yards rushing. The Tech defense had better put equal effort next week against OSU.

#3 Penn State (9-0). Did not play. Next week: At Iowa (5-4). Playing in a weak conference with no conference championship game will hurt the Nittany Lions down the road, even if they finish undefeated. Probably just as hurtful was their non-conference schedule. Too many other teams, if successful, will keep PSU out of any title hopes barring some freakish circumstances.

#4 Oklahoma (8-1). Defeated Nebraska (5-4) 62-28 at home. Next week: At Texas A&M (4-5). Despite his defensive prowess at LSU, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini must be wondering what his team can do to show up against ranked opponents.  OU put up 14 points inside the first 3 minutes of the game on the way to a 35-point 1st quarter, and never looked back. QB Sam Bradford put up 311 yards and 5 TDs. OU has a narrow path to a title bid, but they would need to run the table (against 2 Top 10 teams) and hope that Texas loses. Best bet for them is a BCS bowl game, but thats only guaranteed if they win out.

#5 Florida (7-1). Defeated #15 Georgia (7-2) 49-10 at Georgia. Next week: At Vanderbilt (5-3). Any other day in college ball, the Gators would be headed upward. Clearly we have a log jam of 1-loss teams now that could easily be ranked in all 6 possible permutations.  Florida, however, has to be playing the best overall and improves more each week. Heisman winner Tim Tebow accounted for 5 TDs (3 Passing, 2 Running), and the Gator defense just hounded Georgia all day.  Florida does have a problem down the stretch, playing very marginal opponents, so the BCS system won’t be kind to them. However, it looks more and more like an Alabama-Florida SEC Championship, the winner, going to the National Title game.

#6 Texas (8-1). Lost to #3 Texas Tech (9-0) 39-33 in Lubbock. Next week: Baylor (3-6) at home. The road gets much easier for Texas now, who could be in the driver’s seat while they stand back and watch OU, Tech and Oklahoma State beat up on each other the next few weeks.

#7 USC (7-1). Defeated Washington (0-8) 56-0 at home. Next week: California (6-2) at home. It wasn’t a great miracle that the Trojans rolled over the Huskies, but the fact is that they did win big, which was vital to their possible title hopes. Like Penn State, they are a victim of a weak conference, and as such, will have a tough time moving up unless they put lots and lots of points up against the weaklings. SC did the job against Washington mostly on the ground, using 7 different backs to rush for 297 of their 485 yards of offense. C.J. Gables lead the way with 108 yards and 2 TDs. By the way, don’t look now, but the Trojans have recorded shutouts in 3 of the last 4 games.  That’s a pretty impressive stat. They look Rose Bowl bound.

#8 Oklahoma State (8-1). Defeated Iowa State (2-7) 59-17 at home. Next week: At #3 Texas Tech (9-0). the Cowboys took a 28-10 halftime lead and rode that to an easy victory. QB Zac Robinson had 395 yards passing and 5 TDs on the night, while RB Kendall Hunter ran for 104 yards on 13 carries. OSU stll can get to a Big-12 Championship, but it wont be easy.  They’ve alrady lost to Texas, so if both win out, Texas gets the nod. So, OSU must win out to go 11-1, then they must hope that Texas loses. A pretty remote possibility. However, if they DO win out (over TTU and OU) they’ll probably get a BCS bid.

#9 Ohio State (7-2). Did not play. Next week: At Northwestern (7-2). We might be the only rankings that place OSU ahead of a a few non-BCS teams, but we’re still pretty sure that Ohio State has what it takes to finish out in a good position for a bowl bid.  Keep in mind that Penn State must still get by Iowa and Michigan State to get to the Rose Bowl. So, things aren’t over yet in the Big-10.

#10 TCU (9-1). Defeated UNLV (3-6) 44-14 at UNLV. Next week: At #12 Utah (9-0). Again we break with tradition here and put the 1-loss Frogs ahead of a couple of undefeated teams. We simply think that TCU is just a better overall team than BSU and Utah, but we’ll see next week. In the meantime, TCU  used its powerful running game and stifling defense to easily tame the Rebels. Next week’s game v. Utah could be the biggest game of TCU’s history, and a ticket to a BCS bowl, but probably only if the pollsters somehow fall out of love with Boise State.  However, a Frog win over a ranked Utah team, might bolster them in the BCS rankings enough to get by, as BSU has no ranked teams remaining on their schedule.

#11 Boise State (8-0). Defeated New Mexico State (3-5) 49-0 in Las Cruces, NM. Next week: Utah State (2-7) at home. BSU keeps on track for a bowl bid, and perhaps even a BCS bowl, if Utah and TCU both fail down the stretch.  QB Kellen Moore threw for 246 yards and 3 TDs.

#12 Utah (9-0). Defeated New Mexico (4-6) 13-10 at NM. Next week: #10 TCU (9-1) at home. This week was a good example as to why we still don’t get on board the Ute bandwagon. Were it not for a last minute tackle to end a driving New Mexico, Utah could easily have come to an abrupt end. However, that being said, there’s little doubt that next week’s game against TCU will be a BCS bowl-qualifier for one of the two teams.

#13 LSU (6-2). Defeated Tulane (2-6) 35-10 at home. Next week: #1 Alabama (9-0) at home. The Tigers pretty much walked their way to a victory over their cross-town rival.  LSU generated almost 2/3rds of their offense on the ground, with RB Charles Scott running for 114 yards on 12 carries, but highlighting the continual problems with their QB situation.  Defense was solid, but after getting torched by Georgia and Florida for over 50+ each, an improvement was in order!  We’re wondering if Alabama will hang 50 on LSU next week?

#14 Missouri (7-2). Defeated Baylor (3-6) 31-28 in Waco. Next week: Kansas State (4-5) at home. Perhaps one of the tragic stories of the year. The Tigers will probably win the Big-12 North, but only because they play in a division that’s the weakest of any teams in the country.  They are now 1-2 against their South opponents, and had a tough time getting by an ever-improving Baylor Bear team. The Tigers needed a late FG, and a good defensive effort to thwart a comeback. Once Heisman worthy Chase Daniels threw for over 300 yards, and 3 TDs, but keeping with recent trends, had 2 interceptions. Mercifully, Missouri has a breeze schedule to get to the Big-12 Championship game against either Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech or Oklahoma State. Ouch.

#15 Georgia (7-2). Lost to Florida (7-1) 49-10 at home. Next week: At Kentucky (6-3). It was a nightmare come true for the Bulldogs.  It was clear from post-game comments, that the little (very little) stunt last year that Georgia coach Mark Richt orchestrated by having his entire team storm the field after their 1st TD, was remembered and remembered with a vengeance. There’s no place in College Football for a no-class organization, and Urban Meyer’s group went to Georgia, laid them in ruins like Sherman did. Maybe Richt will think twice about the shenanigans and concentrate on trying to get his team to avoid choking, as they’ve done the last two years.

#16 Brigham Young (8-1). Defeated Colorado State (4-5) 45-42 in Colorado. Next week: San Diego State (1-8) at home. The Cougars again had to rally with a 17 yard TD to Dennis Pitta with 22 seconds left to beat the Rams, again showing some signs of vulnerability as they did when TCU took them to the woodshed 3 weeks ago. However, this one turned out a bit different. QB Max Hall had a huge night, going 28/35 for 389 yards and 5 TDs.

#17 Michigan State (8-2). Defeated Wisconsin (4-5) 25-24 at home. Next week: Purdue (3-6) at home. Spartan kicker Brett Swenson kicked a 44-yard field goal with 7 seconds left to give the Spartans a come from behind win in a thriller. Wisconsin out-offensed MSU, but sheer determination won this game for MSU. WR Blair White had the big day with 7 receptions for 164 yards.  Javon Ringer was held to 54 yards, but scored twice.

#18 Ball State (8-0).  Did not play. Next week: Northern Illinois (5-3) at home.

#19 North Carolina (6-2). Did not Play. Next week: #23 Georgia Tech (7-2) at home.

#20 Maryland (6-2). Did not Play. Next week: At Virginia Tech (5-3).

#21 West Virginia (6-2). Defeated Connecticut (6-3) 35-13. Next week: Cincinnati (6-2) at home. Its taken a while, but the Mountaineers came up with a great game against the Huskies, and are vying for the Big East Title again. QB Pat White ran for two TDs (109 rushing yards) and threw for one (121 passing yards).

#22 California (6-2). Defeated Oregon (6-3) 26-16. Next week: At USC (7-1). Nate Longshore was the star of the game going 13-for-27, 136 yards and a TD, and filled in for the injured Kevin Riley. With a driving rainstorm prevailing most of the game, it was a slop-fest where there were a combined 8 turnovers.

#23 Georgia Tech (7-2). Defeated Florida State (6-2) 31-28 at home. Next week: At #19 North Carolina (6-2). In another thriller, the Yellow Jackets snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, when  FSU’s Marcus Sims fumbled on second-and-goal and the ball was recovered by Tech in the end zone with 0:45 left. GT will have a bit of a showdown next week against NC for possibly a trip to the ACC Title game representing the Coastal division.

#24 Northwestern (7-2). Defeated Minnesota (7-2) 24-17 in Minnesota. Next week: #9 Ohio State at home. Another thrilling ending to go along with many this weekend. Minnesota had controlled the game, but Northwestern fought back to tie. As the clock wound down in regulation, Northwestern’s Brendan Smith returned an interception 48 yards for a TD with 12 seconds remaining to give the Wildcats the win. Give the game ball, tho, to NU’s backup QB, Mike Kafka who ran for 217 yards and threw for 143 yards and 2 TDs.

#25 Pittsburgh (6-2). Defeated Notre Dame (5-3) 36-33 in 4 overtimes at South Bend. Next week: Louisville (5-3) at home. In still another nailbiter, the Panthers took 4 OT’s to beat an inspired Notre Dame team that lead most of the game.  RB LeSean McCoy had 169 yards rushing on the night and a TD. The Panthers won, despite committing 3 turnovers.

Dropped out: Oregon, Connecticut, Minnesota, Tulsa, Florida State

On the Bubble: Florida State, Kansas, Minnesota.

Most Impressive:  Texas Tech, Florida.

Least Impressive: Missouri, Georgia.

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

Personal Authors Notes:  The ACU Wildcats haven’t been able to lay claim to a Lone Star Conference championship in football since 1977. Saturday night in Javelina Stadium, the second-ranked Wildcats won at least a share of the title with a 42-17 win over Texas A&M-Kingsville.  The Wildcats are now 9-0 overall for the first time since 1950, but more importantly improved to 8-0 in the LSC and 5-0 in the LSC South Division.

The Wildcats – ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division II Super Region Four – can clinch the program’s first outright LSC football championship since 1973 next Saturday when they close out the regular season at 2 p.m. at home against Midwestern State.  ACU can win the title with a win over the Mustangs or a Tarleton State win over West Texas A&M.

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Week 9 will be our first make or break week of the season. While we’ve had some key games already, this week tends to be a conglomeration of alot of pivotal games that quite literally could shape the rest of the season for all of CFB, as well as some teams.

So, lets get after it:

#1 Texas (7-0) hosting #9 Oklahoma State (7-0). After OKST “upset” Missouri, they turned alot of heads. We had pegged the Cowboys to be spoilers at least in the B12 this year, and they’ve certainly done that.  Now they’ll try to be even more  It’s safe to say that if OKST can beat Texas, that throws the whole B12-South into a mess. However, we don’t see this happening.  Why?  Well, all the things that went wrong for Missouri, just arent apt to happen at Texas. Colt McCoy isnt likely to be throwing 3 interceptions, and the Texas defensive line is apt to play a bit more havoc than Missouri’s did.  However, it might now be a runaway for once, and how Texas handles this aspect, could be interesting.  Texas does have a very vulnerable secondary that can be exploited.  The question is whether Zac Robinson will have time to throw.  OKST also relies on its running game to complement the pass, and Texas has good strong tackles to stop that. We look for a tight game, but in Austin, it’s nearly impossible to win in a close conference game.  Texas by 8.

#2 Alabama (7-0) at Tennessee (3-4). On paper this doesn’t look like much of a test for the Tide.  Nick Saban’s bunch has a habit of buckling down and winning, even if its not all that compelling. One thing we just hate though, is that Alabama is making a habit of playing down to the level of competition.  We’d like to think that Tennessee has a complete game in them somewhere, but they just haven’t proved it yet.  When the defense plays over its head, the offense just misfires and vice versa. So, we can’t really see much of a scenario of the Vols being competitive here, unless Tennessee plays the game of their life, and Bama is looking two weeks ahead to LSU…doubtful.  Alabama by 17.

#3 Oklahoma (6-1) at Kansas State (4-3). The Sooners have some issues to get by to get where they need to be.  The least of which is their special teams performance of late allowing WAY to many yards. The second, is the replacement of their LB Ryan Reynolds who fell victim to an season-ending knee injury. Thirdly, the team needs to get back to running the ball effectively, which they have failed to do in their last two outings. Lastly, they need to shore up what seems to be a very porous pass defense. Despite these things, OU has the talent and speed to contend. but they have to rely on two Texas losses between now and the end of the season…not likely. K-State has the capability to put up big numbers in the passing game with Freshman sensation Josh Freeman, but at the same time their defense gives up more than the offense scores. This isnt a real good situation, and should lead to an easy day for Bob Stoops’ crew.  Oklahoma by 24.

#4 Penn State (8-0) at Ohio State (7-1). Perhaps the game of the year with regard to bowl implications so far.  Penn State has been playing at a fairly high level all season, and performed up to expectations, if not exceeding them. However, this week’s game is without a doubt their toughest test. Ohio State has steadily improved each week since their thrashing by USC early on. Tyrelle Pryor has taken over the offense there and with a healthy Beanie Wells at RB, forged a very productive offense. However, at times they have been erractic…having to come from behind at the last minute to beat an underachieving Wisconsin, and only putting up 16 against a less than impressive Purdue. But then hanging 45 on a pretty good Michigan State team. The Nittany Lions lead with QB Daryll Clark who passes and runs effectively, and then pile on with RB Evan Royster.  They have a very balanced offense, and a really stubborn defense.  Its hard for us to pick one here, but with OSU #9 and PSU #2, we’re VERY comfortable to put this one on Upset Watch, tho we’re not sure that qualifies for the term.  Whoever wins this probably wins the Big-10 and at LEAST a trip to Rose Bowl. For Penn State, a victory could help them run the table to a possible title match. So what decides it?  Perhaps tradition? The Nittany Lions are looking to snap a 10-game road losing streak against ranked opponents and beat OSU in Columbus for the first time since 1978. The Buckeyes have won 12 of their last 13 conference home games against ranked opponents. With that on their side, we are edging toward the Buckeyes. Ohio State by 3.

#5 USC (4-1) at Arizona (5-2). The Trojans seem to have found their level against after their disastrous defeat at Oregon State. This is a top notch defensive team, but prone to allowing big runners to dominate them. The Trojans have outscored their opponents 141-10 since falling to Oregon State, while the Wildcats are riding high after taking out Cal last week. USC has won six straight over Arizona also.  We think this probably would be a rout if played in the Colliseum, but in Arizona, it might be another story. Against Cal. the Wildcat defense allowed 315 yards passing with simlar numbers in other games this year.  One thing that Arizona will try to do, is make USC one dimensional by stopping their running game, which they HAVE done well this year.  This game might be closer than everyone thinks, but we still like USC.  Trojans by 10.

#6 Texas Tech (7-0) at #20 Kansas (5-2). Heres maybe the biggest trap game for TTU this year. Next week they host Texas in what will probably decide the Big-12 South, so it might be easy to look past a #20 team. However, TTU has lots of problems that could come home to roost this week.  First, the defense has been allowing way to much yardage. They were much better last week against A&M, but turned the ball over twice and gave the Aggies 10 points. Secondly, the Tech defense must find a way to rush Todd Reesing or this game degenerates into an air show. What may decide the game is the kicking.  The Raiders have perhaps the worst T25 kicker, and maybe the worst in the country. Just this week Coach Leach actually pulled the winner of a kicking contest in for a tryout and decided to start HIM instead of his two scholarship players. Kansas has a very potent offense and an improving defense.  This one for SURE goes on Upset Watch, and we actually lean towards that upset. But, we’re hoping that the Raiders will prevail to set up the showdown with Texas.  Texas Tech by 7.

#7 Florida (5-1) hosting Kentucky (5-2). As much as we’d like to think this could be interesting, it probably wont. The Gators aim to continue their dominance of Kentucky and its at home in the Swamp. Florida, who comes off a bye week, has won 21 straight against the Wildcats. Kentucky, which is 3-24 in this series when the Gators are ranked, has not defeated a top-10 opponent on the road since beating No. 4 Penn State 24-20 in 1977. That kind of record bodes no good.  Gators by 18.

#8 Ohio State (7-1) hosting #4 Penn State (8-0). See above analysis.  Buckeyes by 3.

#9 Oklahoma State (7-0) at #1 Texas (7-0). See above analysis.  Texas by 8.

#10 Georgia (6-1) at #11 LSU (5-1). Here’s another huge game for both teams.  Both unexpectedly lost earlier in the season, and both humiliated.  Georgia has bounced back from the Alabama game, but LSU looks to find some face after being humbled by Florida two weeks ago. LSU has struggled all season with a consistent offense while Georgia has gradually improved. The loser of this game has a really tough hill to climb but certainly not out of it. A loss for LSU would be more catatrophic seing that Alabama is undefeated. Playing in Baton Rouge may make a difference, but we think that Georgia has too good an offense, and LSU doesn’t.  Edge to the Dawgs. Georgia by 9.

#11 LSU (5-1) hosting Georgia (6-1). See above analysis.  Georgia by 9.

#12 TCU (7-1) hosting Wyoming (2-5). Quite simply this is very good Horned Frog team, both offensively against a really bad Wyoming teams that averages less than 10 pts a game.  After TCU destroyed BYU last week, we can’t imagine what they’ll do against Wyoming.  Frogs by 31.

#13 Utah (8-0) does not play.

#14 Boise State (6-0) at San Jose State (5-2). BSU still is the cream of the WAC and they should have very little trouble disposing of SJS even though the Spartans are enjoying a very successful year. The key here will be defense. Points could be hard to come by for SJSU as they rank 94th in the country in scoring, while the Broncos rank 2nd in scoring defense.  Ouch.  Boise State by 17.

#15 Tulsa (7-0) hosting Central Florida (2-4). Tulsa quietly is building quite a name for itself this year. The game promises to be a contrast in offenses as Tulsa is No. 1 in the country at 56.6 ppg and UCF is No. 108 at 17.7. Tulsa QB David Johnson has one of the best passing rating in the country at 212.82 (266.5 last week against UTEP!) and 31 TDs this year!  Though UCF won twice last year, we’re pretty sure that won’t happen this year.  Tulsa by 14.

#16 Missouri (5-2) hosting Colorado (4-2). Two humbling losses by Oklahoma State and Texas have pretty much put Missouri out of any title chases, but they are still the name of the game in the Big-12 North. A loss to Colorado would necessiate drastic actions, but Colorado is only one game out.  Playing at home, its hard to think that the Tigers cant’ outscore an underperforming, inconsistent offense in Colorado. We like Missouri to get back on track this week, perhaps in a big way.  Tigers by 24.

#17 South Florida (6-1) at Louisville (4-2). This is a big game in the Big East. The Bulls’ only loss came at the hand of Pittsburgh, but both have 1 loss. UConn, Louisville, and West Virginia are all two-loss teams so USF doesnt want a part of that group right now. Playing in Louisville could certainly make things harder also since Papa John’s isn’t very cozy to visiting teams. The Bulls lead the all-time series with the Cardinals 3-2, winning the most recent matchup 55-17 at home Nov. 17. Both of South Florida’s losses to Louisville, however, have come on the road. These are the Big-East’s two best offenses, but we think that So Florida has the better defense.  Bulls by 6.

#18 Brigham Young (6-1) hosting UNLV (3-4). After being humiliated by TCU, the Cougars have to be feeling a bit down and out.  Fact was, they had been underperforming for a couple of weeks, and you could almost see the fall coming. Even so, there wont be much resistance when the Rebs come to town.  Look for BYU QB Max Hall to have a big day.  Cougars by 24.

#19 Florida State (5-1) hosting #23 Virginia Tech (5-2). Another pretty pivotal game at this point of the season. The ACC is the weakest we’ve seen in years, and to say these two teams make up the best might be close to true, but its hard to tell.  To be truthful, these two teams could switch place in the rankings and it might be just as right. FSU’s lone loss was to a now unranked Wake Forest, which VT has loses against ECU (remember them?) and last week at Boston College. So its anyone’s guess.  Last season the Hokies blew out the Seminoles, ending Bobby Bowden’s 15-0 run against Virginia Tech. The Seminoles lead the all-time series with the Hokies 21-11-1. We like FSU’s chances this year, but are putting this game on Upset Watch.  Seminoles by 4.

#20 Kansas (5-2) hosting #6 Texas Tech. See above (#6) for our analysis. Texas Tech by 7.

#21 Pittsburgh (5-1) hosting Rutgers (2-5). Pitt looks to strengthen their Big East standing by hosting the Scarlet Knights, in what should be a rather easy test.  Rutgers, from the git-go this season, just hasn’t found the success as in previous years.  They sorely miss a good running game and the defense has been humbled in almost every game.  There’s not much more to say.  Pitt by 21.

#22 Georgia Tech (6-1) hosting Virginia (4-3). GT has had a rejuvenation over the past few weeks and quietly here they are a 1-loss team leading the ACC Coastal. Virignia has no problem getting up for games and if they can play as well as the last three weeks (one of which was a 31-0 shutout of Maryland) then the Yellow Jackets will have their hands full.  This game also goes on the Upset Watch list, with us edging toward GT.  Georgia Tech by 3.

#23 Virginia Tech (5-2) at # 19 Florida State (5-1). See analysis above. FSU by 4.

#24 Michigan State (6-2) at Michigan (2-5). We can’t figure out why both polls dropped MSU in favor of unproven teams. They did get dominated by OSU, but dropping them out seems a bit ridiculous. Now going to Ann Arbor, won’t be a walk in the park, but MSU has plenty enough talent to take care of the Wolverines, unless there is a total breakdown somewhere. Michigan has been vulnerable against the run all year and with Javon Ringer doing those honors, this could mean a long day for Michigan.  Spartans by 10.

#25 Ball State (7-0) hosting Eastern Michigan (2-6). The Cardinals are led by QB Nate Davis, the nation’s 9th-leading passer. Eastern Michigan is 0-3 versus Top 25 squads since 2002. We’ll take Ball State in a runaway.  Cardinals by 18.

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Well, it just goes to show you that you have to play em all. The top 10 (and the top 25) turned itself on end this week with some very impressive performances as well as some important upsets. Lack of performance by others added to the mix.

In the marquee game, Texas and Oklahoma battled hard offensively, producing the most points scored in the series. Texas, however, pulled away late, being able to take advantage of a late Sam Bradford interception. As far as OU is concerned, their defense dropped off perceptibly after their MLB went out with a season-ending knee injury.  It’s hard to tell if the sub will be fine in the long run (likely) or if their defense is permanently reduced to merely above average.  We certainly never envisioned Texas putting up 45 on ‘em.  McCoy played probably the best game of his life at just the right time.  OU could find themselves in that odd position Kansas did last year; a one loss-top ten team but not even in the conference title game.

The Mizzou outcome surprised us, though we knew their defense scared no one.  We had expected the Tigers to win a 48-35 kind of game, kinda like Texas-OU turned out. But kudos to Coach Gundy and his QB Zac Robinson for exploting the Tiger defense where Illinois couldn’t in week one, and forcing Chase Daniel into a gunslinger mode, rather than the calm, cool Heisman candidate.

In another key matchup, Penn State did take care of business in Wisconsin, winning a critical road game over the Badgers to get to 7-0. Coach Paterno, even from the booth seems to still have it goin on!. Interesting to note that in his first 18 games, Coach Bielema was 17-1; since then he’s 7-7.  That has all the earmarks of not being able to sustain the recruiting level.  He’ll finish out this year, and probably be fine next year as well, but if he keeps coaching .500 ball after that, it’s gonna get uncomfortable in Madison.

Where did MissSt muster enough offense to score 17?  LSU got a wake up call.  While one of their DE’s stayed home with injury, the rest of the defense was there & held Tebow in check from a running standpoint.  But Fla finally got enough contributions from others to bust out offensively, limited the turnovers, and revealed the Bayou Bengal offense to be…well…merely above average.  That’s one trend you can’t tell about by getting to see them once or twice a year; their defense quite often gives them a short field, so you don’t know if the offense can regularly sustain long drives.  Turns out they can’t, at least against a really good defense.

Oh, and while they aren’t anyone’s idea of a Top 25 threat, note that Ol’ Miss upset a Top 25 team for the second consecutive week.  Houston Nutt continues to convert new disciples to the Rebel cause, while Razorback fans spend yet another week trying to remember what it was about him they didn’t like.

On a bit of a somber note, Cinderella-would-be Vanderbilt was unable to go 6-0 for the first time since 1928, as they lost to Mississippi State.

So, on to the new rankings. When so many things happen in one week, it causes all of us pollsters to give a thought about the state of things overall, and re-evaluate. We are sure that many of you will have a couple of eyebrows curl, but keep in mind that when so much happens in one week, and the BCS rankings iminent, its time for everyone to re-evaluate and re-rank according to where we are right now.

#1 Texas (6-0). Defeated #4 Oklahoma (5-1) 45-35 in Dallas. Next week: #11 Missouri at home. We’ll admit that the Longhorns are much better than we ever thought they’d be this year. We’ll also admit that we must begin to think of the combo of Colt McCoy, Quan Cosby and Jordan Shipley, might be superior to anything that Missouri or Texas Tech or anyone else can put up. Credit also the Texas Defense in rising to the occasion when it had to. Too many losses in the top 5 make Texas’ ascension natural.

#2 Alabama (6-0). Did not play. Next week: Mississippi (3-3) at home. Well, with the implosion by Missouri, the Crimson Tide can stay here for another week, but we’re still skeptical.

#3 Penn State (7-0). Defeated Wisconsin (3-3) 48-7 in Wisconsin. Next week: Michigan (2-4) at home. for those of you (and you know who you are) that have been waiting for the Nittany Lions to play a tough team on the road, I wonder if this might qualify? While we don’t think that Wisconsin is anywhere near a top 25 team, they were ranked high earlier, and with P.J. Hill, always are a threat. In this game however, it was perhaps one of the most impressive performances overall by a top 10 team we’ve seen this year. Daryll Clark was 16/25 for 244 yards and a TD, and added two more rushing TDs.

#4 Oklahoma (5-1). Lost to Texas (6-0) 45-35 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Next week: #15 Kansas at home. Despite a 387-yard passing day by Sam Bradford, the Sooners can’t stop Texas. The OU Defense needs much improvement. This is still a very dominant team, and good enough to get to the title game despite the loss.

#5 Brigham Young (6-0). Defeated New Mexico (3-4) 21-3 at home. Next week: At #22 TCU (6-1). BYU was business-like in disposing of New Mexico, with QB Max Hall going 22/34 for 258 yards. Slightly underachieving by the Cougars, but there was never any doubt in the game.

#6 USC (4-1). Defeated Arizona State (2-4) 28-0 at home. Next week: At Washington State (1-5). In a game marred by 9 turnovers (5 by USC), the Trojans dominated and throttled the Sun Devils in every possible way. All in all it was a bit of a lackluster performance, but ASU has fallen so far, it was not only a poor game, it was a low energy game also. Sanchez, who was questionable for most of the week, was 13/26 for 179 yards but three interceptions. The Stars of the game were the USC defense who perhaps played the best game of their year.

#7 Florida (5-1). Defeated #12 LSU (4-1) 51-21 at home. Next week: Bye. The Gator offense finally erupted, and did so in a major way against an inept LSU Tiger team. The once defensive juggernaut of LSU had no answer to the vicious assault of a well balance offensive attack. Tebow pulled a modest 14/21 for 210 yards, while Freshman RB Jeffrey Demps ran for 129 yards and scored on a 42-yd run. With a rejuvenated offense, and Kentucky and Georgia still on the schedule, who would have thought that the Gators could still make a run at the SEC East and perhaps a title.

#8 Texas Tech (6-0). Defeated Nebraska (3-3) 37-31 in overtime at home. Next week: Texas A&M (2-4) at home. The Raiders move down, yes down, following what we thought was a pure lucky win, and a scary defense that merits their drop more. The pure magnitude of how Nebraska dominated the Tech defense was remarkable. The Raiders, giving up 471 yards of offense, had no defensive answers, except a gimme interception in overtime that sealed the win. Graham Harrell was 20/25 for 284 yards (we can’t remember the last time he threw for less than 300) and Michael Crabtree had 89 yards receiving and 2 TDs.  We think that Coach Leach needs to teach his high-power offense how to be a defensive weapon by staying on the field longer so that his D won’t be gassed at the end of the game. One thing is for sure, however, if Tech doesn’t find a defense, they’ll finish 4th in the Big-12 South and way out of the top 25. Oh by the way, get rid of Corona…easily the worst kicker in the country.

#9 Ohio State (6-1). Defeated Purdue (2-4) 16-3 at home. Next week: At #17 Michigan State (6-1). OSU had a hit and miss offense, but the defense was solid and special teams got a blocked punt returned for a touchdown to allow the Buckeyes

#10 Georgia (5-1). Defeated Tennessee (2-4) 26-14 at home. Next week: #23 Vanderbilt (5-1) at home. The Bulldogs generated over 450 yards of total offense, and though the Volunteers defense got 2 interceptions of Matt Stafford, the Georgia offense was too much. The Dawg defense held Tenn to 209 total yards.

#11 Missouri (5-1). Lost to #12 Oklahoma State (6-0) 28-23 at home. Next week: At #1 Texas. Watching this game was truly painful. We’ve been harping on the fact that in week 1 Illinois exposed a very vulnerable Missouri defense. Each week, Missouri has been scoring enough to win, but this was the first quality opponent since the Illini, and our doubts still aren’t allayed. Cowboy QB Zac Robinson used a variety of receivers to pick apart the Mizzou defense. Chase Daniels had a statistically significant night going 39/52 for 390 yards, but had three interceptions.

#12 Oklahoma State (6-0). Defeated #11Missouri (5-1) 28-23 in Columbus. Next week: Baylor (3-3) at home. We commented above on the game above, and we’ll see which team goes up in the next few weeks

#13 LSU (4-1). Lost to #8 Florida (5-1) 51-21. Next week: At South Carolina (5-2). See above under #8 Florida. Not a great night for LSU.

#14 Utah (7-0). Defeated Wyoming (2-5) 40-7 at Wyoming. Next week: Colorado State (3-3) at home. The Cowboys came into the game averaging 9 points per game, and they underachieved. Utah was perhaps one of the few top 25 teams to do exactly what was expected. Statistically it was a draw however, with the Cowboys actually out gaining the Utes in total offense. However, they gave up 2 fumbles and 3 interceptions that helped the runaway Ute train.

#15 Kansas (5-1). Defeated Colorado (3-3) 30-14 at home. Next week: At #4 Oklahoma (5-1). Todd Reesing again had to rally the Jayhawks from an early deficit. However, this one was much less (7 points). The KU QB was 27/34 for 256 yards, a TD and no interceptions. Jayhawk RB Jake Sharp had 119 yards on 31 carries and 3 TDs.

#16 Boise State (5-0). Defeated Southern Mississippi (2-4) 24-7 at So Miss. Next week: Hawaii at home (Friday). BSU QB Kellen Moore threw three touchdown passes leading the Broncos to an easy win, with a scoring flurry in the second quarter. There’s not alor more to say, except that Southern Mississippi fell to 1-8 all-time at home against ranked teams.

#17 Michigan State (6-1). Defeated Northwestern (5-1) 37-20 at Northwestern. Next week:#10 Ohio State (6-1). Despite 459 yards of total yards by the previously undefeated Northwestern Wildcats, MSU took advantage of 3 turnovers and a 124 yard performance by Javon Ringer (2 TDs) to pace the victory.

#18 Virginia Tech (5-1). Did not play. Next week: At Boston College (4-1).

#19 South Florida (5-1). Did not play. Next week: Syracuse (1-5) at home.

#20 North Carolina (5-1). Defeated Notre Dame (4-2) 29-24 at home. Next week: At Virginia (3-3). We can only say that this was an epic win for NC over a much improved Notre Dame team. The Tar Heels had to rally from a 17-9 halftime deficit, and then survive a last minute drive that came down to a recovered fumble to end the game. Quan Sturdivant had the momentum-changing 32-yard interception return to start the third quarter, only to be answered by a TD by the Irish. NC scored the winning TD at the beginning of the 4th quarter and their defense held on.

#21 Wake Forest (4-1). Defeated Clemson (3-3) 12-7 at home. Next week: At Maryland (4-2). There was a thought in putting the Demon Deacons into the top 25 last week, but we just couldn’t do that on a loss. The fact is that WF has played solidly every week and sports a mean, fast defense. QB Riley Skinner has had his ups and downs, but certainly his 4th quarter leadership and TD makes up for alot of ills. We’re still not seein a clear cut leader in the ACC, but at least defensively the Deacons have got to be at the top.

#22 TCU (6-1). Defeated Colorado State (3-3) 13-7 in Fort Collins. Next week: #5 Brigham Young (6-0) at home. In a less than inspiring performance, TCU found a way to put up 317 yards of total offense and only 13 points. Turnovers seemed to keep the game score low (2 for TCU and 3 for CSU).

#23 Vanderbilt (5-1). Lost to Mississippi State (2-4) 17-14 in Starkville, MS. Next Week: At #10 Georgia. As previously mentioned, the Commodores couldn’t snuff the 80 year old curse and go 6-0. This was a game where Vandy could only manage 107 yards of total offense, and MSU still only won by three. Two costly interceptions hurt scoring efforts.

#24 California (4-1). Did not play. Next week: At Arizona (4-2).

#25 Tulsa (6-0). Did not play. Next week: UTEP (3-3) at home. With the drop out of a couple of teams, its gotten down to looking for teams to fill the lower places, and Tulsa has it locked here.  We like the Golden Hurricanes a bit more than Pitt (4-1) and Ball State (7-0) right now, though that could change in a heartbeat.

Dropped from Top 25: Auburn, Wisconsin.

On the Bubble: Pitt (4-1), Ball State (7-0), Minnesota (6-1).

Most impressive: Texas, Florida, Oklahoma State

Least impressive: Texas Tech, LSU

Top 25 Composition: Big-12 (6), SEC (5), Big-10 (3), ACC (3), MWAC (3), Pac-10 (2), WAC (1), Big East (1), C-USA (1).

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For those of you wondering where the weekly post has been, we do apologize for the inconvenience.  Last Friday Korky came down with a rather nasty bout of pneumonia and was put in the hospital for 5 days.  Not to fear, he’s out and writing again.  My thanks to my great friend Steve for visiting and keeping his spirits high during the downtime.

Enough of that. Since we are already a bit late on this, we’re going to combine the weekly posts. Usually we have one post just announcing the results and ranking, then another around Wednesday to predict the following weeks’ games. So we’ll just combine the two here this week.

Week 6 ended up almost exactly the way we thought it would, except for the lackluster performance of South Florida, who seems to be repeating their nose-dive act of 2007. Maybe we’ll all learn not to run them up to the top 10 so soon….oh wait, we do that with Georgia every year too don’t we. But as for general comments we have a few regarding this week’s rankings.

Since Florida State seems to have settled on a QB they look a lot better, but we’ll wait for them them to win another game at least before ranking.  The ACC and Pac 10 are causing most of the heartburn this year it seems.  The former is nearly flat lining this year, and the latter is so topsy-turvy you never know who’s gonna beat whom any week.  Plus, the Big 10 has become the Big 2 again, but not the ones we usually think of.  PSU has replaced Michigan and Wisconsin has taken over the occasional interloper role Iowa and Michigan State shared for decades.

And because of the change in who the power teams are in some of those conferences, several schedules are back-loaded this year, even though they’re playing the same schools on the same weeks as in years past.  You’d think some would be easy, like OSU-Mich not being for all the marbles this year, but USC thought the same last year vs. a mediocre UCLA, and that didn’t turn out so well.  So some of those year end rivalry games can still have an impact.  Auburn is perfectly capable of biting ‘Bama in the backside, though I don’t see A&M beating Texas no matter what.  And keep in mind that OU has struggled with the Stillwater crowd in recent years.

In any case, there were some minor surprises but nothing that we didn’t allude to.  We did mention that we were high on the Vandy-Auburn game and sure enough the Tigers did fold under the pressure. We were a bit disappointed in Fresno State not taking care of business against Hawaii too.  So, here we go…the new Kathman-Patton Top 25 with a look toward some pretty important games here in Week 7 that may prove to disrupt the list rather drastically next week.

#1 Oklahoma (5-0). Defeated Baylor (2-3) 49-17. This week: #5 Texas (5-0) in Dallas. Oklahoma pretty much did what they were supposed to do against Baylor, seeing that the Bears haven’t had a winning season since perhaps Mike Singletary was an All-American there.  Needless to say this week’s Red River Rivalry with Texas will take on a special importance with both in the top 5. The real facts are here, that neither team has played a gamely opponent yet. OU’s opponents are a combined 12-15 on the season while Texas’ are 11-16. OU has outscored their opponents 248-69 (avg 49.6 – 13,8) while Texas has outscored their opponents 236-57 (avg 47.2 to 11.4), so hardly a demanding schedule so far. But, of course that all changes on Saturday. This will be the 10th time that this matchup has seen two top-5 teams contesting for supremacy, with Oklahoma winning the last 3 times both were ranked in the top 5. We dont see this changing much.  Texas has been able to easily overwhelm their opponents with an oversized defensive line that stops the running game and then eventually drowns the opposing QB.  However against the OU offensive line, they’ll have no such luck. Sooner QB Sam Bradford, one of the most accurate and highly ranked QB’s in the country, should have a field day against a very inexperienced Texas secondary that has given up HUGE passing yardage (over 300 against Rice and over 400 against UTEP).  On the flip side, OU’s defense is very fast, and the secondary has been outstanding. The OU defense allowed only  36 total yards against Chattanooga, and not a single 300 yard passing day.  With OU tending toward big first quarters (over 100 pts of their 248 came in the 1st) its possible that this game could be over fast.  Sooners by 17.

#2 Missouri (5-0). Defeated Nebraska (2-3) 52-17. This week: #17 Oklahoma State (5-0) at home. We must admit that the Mizzou-Nebraska was a disappointment.  After being the staunch defensive coach at LSU, everyone was expecting more from the Nebraska D which averaged well over 40 pts/game last year. Such was not the case. Missouri scored at will, and easily all night long. So we credit a great Missouri offense, but perhaps not as much as a really bad Nebraska defense, and almost inept offense.  We think that the Tigers are in for a much tougher game this week with Oklahoma State. With the Mizzou defense still somewhat suspect from a pass defense standpoint, this could be a perfect storm with Cowboy QB Zac Robinson riding into town. Robinson very simply is one of the top ranking QB’s in the nation with a 72% efficiency and with a 204.58 passing rating (compare this to OU’s Sam Bradford at 204.97 and Tiger QB Chase Daniels at 196.28). Robinson also can add an extra dimension by running the ball as he did last week against Texas A&M when he ran for 66 yards and 2 touchdowns.  All in all OKST averages 530 yards per game and about 53 points, so you do the math (yes 1 point per 10 yards gained), which is pretty phenomenal. We think both defenses could get a workout.  This is definitely an upset watch game for us this week, but we’ll edge with the home team. Missouri by 4.

#3 LSU (4-0). Did not play last week. This week: At #12 Florida (4-1). It’s been 18 years since there has been a meeting of the former two national champions, so in the first of many SEC showdowns, this one should go a long way to help clear up some lingering doubts on both teams. To say that Florida has been an enigma this year would be an understatement. Last year’s Heisman winner, Gator QB Tim Tebow has been a bit throttled this year in efforts by Coach Urban Meyer to reduce his hits (he had well over 200 last year).  As such, Tebow has been somewhat relegated to more of a pocket passer, with some escapism allowed on rare occasions.  WR Percy Harvin has also had some injury issues.  However, Florida DID put a nice game together this past week in dominating a mediocre Arkansas team. LSU is in its familiar setting, atop the SEC West along with Alabama (while Florida sits a game behind Vanderbilt and tied with Georgia). But LSU relies on its defense, and its a very good one.  The offense has had its ups and downs this year as Coach Les Miles seems to have finally settled on Sophomore QB Jarrett Lee who has been impressive in his last two games. LSU has won 4 of the last 6 meetings between the two ball clubs, and in the battle of “former” champions, the home team has never lost.  While we’re not always so respectful of such stats, in this kind of battle you can’t ignore them either. LSU by 6.

#4 Alabama (6-0). Defeated Kentucky (4-1) 17-14 at home. This week: Bye. After coming off a mixed-view victory over Georgia the week before, the Crimson Tide almost let one slip away on the last play of the game. But, good teams find a way to win when they play below par, and so they did against Kentucky. It seemed that the Tide was playing the whole game the way it did in the second half against Georgia, showing defensive vulnerability in both run and pass.  The game was won when the Kentucky QB literally dropped the ball and it rolled into the end zone and was recovered for an Alabama TD.  Hence we still don’t buy into the #2 ranking that the AP writers seem to have magically manufactured.

#5 Texas (5-0). Defeated Colorado (3-2) 38-14 in Boulder. This week: #1 Oklahoma in Dallas. See analysis and prediction under Oklahoma. Sooners by 17.

#6 Penn State (6-0). Defeated Purdue (2-3) 20-6 at Purdue. This week: At #20 Wisconsin. PSU-Purdue is always a tough rivarlry, especially when played in Indiana. However, the Nittany Lions controlled the game in most every way. It was a typical PSU game, with a solid, tough defense leading the way so that an consistent offense could rack up yet another 400+ yard offensive day and put up points while eating the clock.  QB Daryll Clark posted 18/26 for 220 yards while RB Evan Royster ground out 141 yards on the ground. Wisconsin lost a heart breaker to Ohio State. The Badger defense allowed the Buckeyes to drive down the field with less than 2 minutes left, to hand over the victory.  All of a sudden, Wisconsin is sitting at 3-2 with back-to-back conference losses. With the shape of the Big-10 this year, the Badgers have to make a stand and it has to be THIS week against conference co-leader Penn State.  The bright spot for Wisconsin however is still that P.J. Hill is nearly unstoppable and the Offensive Line is reall stellar. We think the Nittany Lions could be in for a tough Saturday. However, with a questionable defense, the Badgers may just be in the same kind of matchup, if not worse, as they just had with Ohio State. Penn State by 10.

#7 Texas Tech (5-0). Defeated Kansas State (3-2) 58-28 at KSU. This week: Nebraska (3-2) at home. The Red Raiders had all cylinders clicking against the Wildcats in a showing that was worthy of their high ranking. Graham Harrell led the TTU offense to yet another 600+ yard offensive day going 38/51 for 454 yards and 6 touchdowns, two of which were to Michael Crabtree. Perhaps hidden under the gaudy passing numbers was the fact that the Red Raiders ran the ball for almost 140 yards again, with both Shannon Woods and Byron Batch sharing the load. The Tech defense gave up some significant yards on its first drive, but after that shut the Wildcats down to nil, until a blocked punt and a late TD made the score much higher than was actually endured.  We’ve already lamented Nebraska’s poor defensive performance against Mizzou (see above).  While we’re really sure that Nebraska couldn’t possibly be so bad two weeks in a row, we also remember that TTU went to Lincoln last year and hung 70 on the Cornhuskers. We’re pretty sure that won’t happen, but comfortable in saying that Tech rolls.  Red Raiders by 21.

#8 USC (3-1). Defeated Oregon (4-2) 44-10 at home. This week: Arizona State (2-3) at home. After a very tacky loss to Oregon State, the USC Trojans went home and apparently had a revitalization treatment, Pete Carroll style. The game started eerily familar, with the Ducks running game really taking it to the Trojan D. This didn’t last long however, as the USC offense was NOT comotose as it was against the Beavers. QB Mike Sanchez found seven different receivers for 341 yards and 3 TDs. The turning point was just prior to halftime when the USC offense/defense exploded for 19 point in the last 40 seconds to go up 27-10.  Arizona State is another team that has fallen from grace rather quickly having been originally a top 10 contender. Things just haven’t come together for ASU the way they had hoped, and after losing to Cal 24-14 (their third loss in a row) things don’t look promising. The Sun Devils have lost 4 in a row against USC and that string could be easily extended. USC might have to bring in backup QB Mitch Mustain since Mike Sanchez endured a bone bruise against Oregon. It shouldn’t matter tho.  Trojans by 13.

#9 Brigham Young (5-0). Defeated Utah State (1-4) 34-14 at Utah State. This Week: New Mexico (3-3) at home. We’re pretty sure that everyone in the country was looking for a blowout in the BYU-Utah State game, but it didn’t happen, unless you call a 20 point win a blowout.  While BYU had a solid game, Utah State had allowed 66, 58 and 42 hung on them in the previous 3 weeks by non-ranked teams. We expected much more from BYU, but perhaps they rested too much. BYU probably has one of the easier schedules of top 10 teams right now. TCU and perhaps Utah could be their only ranked opponent tests the rest of the year, so BYU must put pedal to the metal and annihilate their opponents if they look to advance. Once BCS rankings come out, we’re figuring the Cougars could drop a few spots. New Mexico will provide token resistance this week. Cougars by 24.

#10 Ohio State (5-1). Defeated #20 Wisconsin (3-2) 20-17 at Wisconsin.  This week: Purdue (2-3) at home. Watching last week’s OSU-Wisconsin game gave us the deja-vu that we were watching one of the classic Big-10 games of the past, except that the ball was in the air too much. But nevertheless, the Buckeyes showed some real character going down 17-13 late in the game when they gave up chunks of rushing yardage to P.J. Hill and the go ahead TD.  Terrelle Pryor took hold of the OSU offense and marched the length of the field for the go-ahead score with 1:08 left. The defense held the rest of the game. Chris (Beanie) Wells also had a big day rusing for 168 yards and a TD. With the maturation of Pryor and a healthy Wells, we’re sure that OSU can evolve into a contender in not only the Big-10, but also nationally. Purdue, on the other hand, looks to play the spoiler role.  They played well against Penn State, but lacked consistency against a tough defense. Purdue might find the going even tougher against OSU.  Buckeyes by 10.

#11 Georgia (4-1). Did not play last week. This week: Tennessee (2-3) at home. The Bulldogs have had an extra week to get rid of the bad taste of a 41-30 thumping by Alabama. They hopefully watched film of the second half of that game and if so, can draw tremendous confidence. The Georgia defense is as strong as any when they focus, and they’ll be at home. Tennessee has struggled against itself all season. The Vols can move the ball when they have to, but have been characterized with large-scale defensive lapses, and untimely offensive gaffes.  They played Auburn very well, but could never get things going offensively, though their defense was outstanding. A similar story occurred in the UCLA game earlier in the year.  If this game was being played in Tennessee, we’d be a bit more contemplative, but since its not, we don’t see much way that Georgia doesn’t bounce back with a vengeance.  Bulldogs by 24.

#12 Florida (4-1). Defeated Arkansas (2-3) 38-7 at Arkansas. This week: #3 LSU at home. See analysis under #3 LSU.  Tigers by 6.

#13 Vanderbilt (5-0). Defeated #22 Auburn (4-2) 14-13 at home. This week: At Mississippi State (1-4). There aren’t too many in the CFB community that would have thought that the Commodores would have been atop the SEC East six weeks into the season.  The fact of the matter, is that if Vanderbilt can beat Mississippi State on the road this weekend, they’ll be off to their best start in 80 years. They are already at their highest ranking in 50 years, so this team really has the impetus. To prove that, they lost their 1st string QB last week (Chris Nickson) so backup Mackenzi Adams stepped in and threw 13/23 for 153 and 2 Touchdowns against one of the stingiest defenses in the country. they also gave up two quick TD’s to Auburn and fought back to win. Hapless Mississippi State is yet again the cellar dweller in the SEC West, but they seem to be a team rebuilding.  Despite their 1-4 record they have averaged giving up only 21 points per game, and even lost to Auburn only 3-2.  The trouble is on the offensive side of the ball where they are averaging only 16 points/game.  That could be a bad sign against a very tough Vandy defense. We think this might be closer than alot of people think, because the Commodores are coming off a tremendously emotional victory, so its normal to play down a little. We still think its definable for them tho. Vanderbilt by 13.

#14 Utah (6-0). Defeated Oregon State (2-3) 31-28 at home. This week: At Wyoming (2-4). Utah has been consistently good this year, and proved it by rallying with 8 points in the final 89 seconds to beat Oregon State just one week after the Beavers had upset USC.  While the Utes seemed to move the ball, their defense was plagued all day, giving up over 400 yards of total offense to the Beavers  However, against Wyoming this shouldn’t matter much. Wyoming’s offense is averging only 9 points per game. Utes by 28.

#15 Kansas (4-1). Defeated Iowa State (2-3) 35-33 at Ames, IA. This Week: Colorado (3-2) at home. Kansas has struggled all year despite great efforts by Todd Reesing and his offense. However, they had to rally from 20 points down to win last week, and that begins to be a warning sign.  Kudos to the Jayhawks to come back from that deficit, but whoa did they get exploited early on. Reesing and company generated 436 yards of offense but gave up 4 turnovers,including 1 interception.  Colorado seemed poise to make a stand against Texas but found themselves out of their league. Kansas isn’t in the same league, but they’re certainly higher than the Buffaloes.  Jayhawks by 10.

#16 Boise State (4-0). Defeated La Tech (2-2) 38-3 at home. This week: At Southern Miss (2-3). Let’s not kid ourselves, BSU is a force to be reckoned with and are a near shoe-in to win the WAC this year. The Broncos generated 564 yards of total offense in obliterating Louisiana Tech, led by Kellen Moore who threw for 2 TDs and D.J. Harper who ran for 2 more. Up next is Southern Miss, who comes off of a tough 40-37 overtime loss to UTEP. Look for the Broncos to score at will. Boise State by 23.

#17 Oklahoma State (5-0). Defeated Texas A&M (2-3) 56-28. This week: At #2 Missouri (5-0). Actually we think that this game could be one of the key matchups of the week. Read about it under #2 Missouri. Tigers by 4.

#18 Michigan State (5-1). Defeated Iowa (3-3) 16-13 at home.  This week: At Northwestern (5-0). It does seem a bit weird ranking a 5-1 MSU and not ranking the 5-0 Northwestern Wildcats but we can either declare our brilliance or wallow in our humility at the end of this game. Save for a comeback that stalled against Cal in week one, we’d be having two undefeateds here, but such is not the case. MSU continues to make some noise worthy of a ranking while Northwestern just pretty much gotten fat on some easy pickings. Both teams disposed of a common foe, Iowa the last two weeks, MSU winning 16-13  and Northwestern winning 22-17. MSU sports the better offense with RB Javon Ringer, while Northwestern has a great defense (allowing only around 12 points per game. We think that the Spartans should be able to push the Wildcats around and work for a methodic offensive win Michigan State by 11.

#19 Virginia Tech (5-1). defeated Western Kentucky (2-4) 27-13 at home. This week: Bye. The Hokies are beginning to play the kind of ball that everyone hoped they would. They’ve always been characterized by a strong defense, outstanding special teams, but a rather mediocre offense that spun games away at times. Now firmly entrenched Sophomore QB Tyrod Taylor has lead his team to four straight victories after being humiliated by East Carolina in week 1.  The interesting thing is that Taylor has settled in the last few weeks at around a 60-62% accuracy and 170+ yards, which is what is expected of the offense for Tech. He’s even put QB ratings in the high 150’s, which is darned good.  Watch for a rise from VT as they seem to be emerging as the team to beat in the ACC.

#20 Wisconsin (3-2). Lost to Ohio State (5-1) 20-17.  This week: #6 Penn State at home. Read analysis under #6 Penn State.  Last stand for Wisconsin before being labeled a “spoiler”.  PSU by 20.

#21 South Florida (5-1). Lost to Pittsburgh (4-1) 26-21. This week: Bye. To say that the Bulls were uninspired and disappointing would be an understatement. They’ll need to buck up quickly so that don’t repeat their 2007 dive.

#22 Auburn (4-2). Lost to Vanderbilt (5-0) 14-13 at Vanderbilt. This week: Arkansas (2-3) at home. Poor Tommy Tubberville. He’s got to be thinking how long does it take to learn a new offense?  But thats just what’s going on.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Tiger Defense, but we imagine push came to shove when Offensive Coordinator Tony Franklin was fired because his offense was 104th in the nation. So, maybe this is a good move.  We’ll see as an underachieving Arkansas comes calling. Arkansas just doesnt seem to have all the pieces in the right spots right now.  QB Casy Dick is making all kinds of mistakes, and most have been terribly costly. The truth is though, that if the Razorbacks could have ONE good game it could be interesting. It’s very hard for us to predict this one, but our hunch is that Arkansas won’t be able to do anything against the Auburn defense, and that the AU offense, in whatever mode, should be able to capitalize.  Auburn by 8.

#23 TCU (5-1). Defeated San Diego State (1-4) 41-7 at home. This week: At Colorado State (3-3). Don’t look now, but here’s comes TCU again. After getting dumped hard by Oklahoma a few weeks ago, TCU didn’t let that settle in. They have managed to pick up the pieces and move on with the same tough defense. On the offensive side of the ball, TCU does it mostly on the ground. For instance in their drubbing of SDSU, backup QB Marcus Jackson threw for 115 yards and a TD, but also ran for 131 yards and 3 TDs. Their opponent this week, Colorado State, comes off an impressive victory over UNLV where their offense generated over 500 yards of offense. QB Billy Ferris was 15/21 for 294 yards and a TD, while RB Gartrell Johnson steamrolled through the UNLV defense for 191 yards and 3 TDs.  So what we seem to have is two very good offenses going at one another. TCU might have the upper hand in defense which could make the difference.  Horned Frogs by 8.

#24 North Carolina (4-1). Defeated UConn (5-1) 38-12 at home.  This week: Notre Dame (4-1) at home. In a conference that’s certainly not impressing anyone this year, North Carolina somehow has found a way to make things exciting. In last week’s game they kept sending a linebacker at the punter, kept handing off to a former safety and somehow put its bulky defensive tackle in position to intercept a pass. The Tar Heels’ defense got offensive — and for that matter, so did the offense and special teams — and that led to a statement victory. They’ll host a rebuilding, but much better Fighting Irish team that seems to be playing better each week. The Irish have an identical record at 4-1 but aren’t ranked, the first time in 28 occasions the Irish have started a season with only one loss through five games and still been unranked. This game proves to be season maker or breaker for North Carolina though, much more so than for ND.  As such we wonder if Butch Davis’ team is up to the challenge.  We’re putting this one on upset watch, and giving the edge to the Irish.  Notre Dame by 6.

#25 California (4-1). Defeated Arizona State (2-3) 24-14 at home. This week: Bye. The Bears round up the top 25 this week and enter after a pretty nice win over ASU. Cal has gradually seemed to emerge as at least a player in the Pac-10 now. They can put lots of points on the board (over 40 in two of their last 4 games) or they can grind out victories as they did over the Sun Devils. QB Nate Longshore was 17/28 for 198 yards and 3 TDs last week for instance. Of note tho, the Cal defense forced 3 turnovers that fueled the overal victory.

Dropping out: Oregon, Connecticut, Fresno State

On the Bubble: Northwestern, Florida State

Most Impressive: Missouri, Penn State, Texas Tech, USC

Least Impressive:  South Florida, Auburn

Top 25 Composition: Big-12 (6), SEC (6), Big-10 (4), MWAC (3), ACC (2), PAC-10 (2), WAC (1), Big-East (1)

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Understandably we expect the first couple of weeks of the season to be a testing period. Most teams have to tune up against token opponents to be ready to start showing their true personality and potential beginning in weeks 3 or 4. Week 3 indeed showed the true potential of some teams, and warning signs for others.

One of the things we are beginning to see is some definite stratifying of teams. After this week we see perhaps 3 top teams that seem to have a free pass to the post season, USC, Oklahoma and Missouri, followed by a tier of very good teams such as Florida, LSU, Georgia, Wisconsin. Then there seems to be quite a fall over to a another tier of a few teams, and then the stragglers toward the bottom. Our thinking is that as teams begin conference play in earnest this week or next, this stratification will probably become more definitive, barring another 2007 where there was a significant upset or 4 every week.

We also are beginning to deduce that conference play is going to be brutal this year. The Big-10, recently decided on the last game of their season between Ohio State and Michigan, seems to be somewhat wide open with OSU, Wisconsin, Penn State, Illinois and Purdue all in the hunt. The Big East seems a bit wider open with the apparent weaknesses in Rutgers and West Virginia. With top 25 teams Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, and Texas Tech, the Big-12 could be up for grabs (not to mention how Oklahoma State could be a spoiler). While USC seems invinceable, Oregon and Arizona State might have something to say (not to mention the Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde-like UCLA). The SEC has power written all over it (Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, LSU) while the ACC seems similar, though much weaker.

As for Week 3 results, some key losses, and poor performances, move alot of teams up that we might not have fathomed in weeks 1 and 2. With losses by Ohio State, Kansas and Arizona State (#5, #11 and #12 respectively), and a poor performance by Auburn, we see Alabama and Texas Tech moving up this week, despite expected performances. So here’s the top 25:

#1 USC (2-0) defeated #5 Ohio State (2-1) 35-3 at home. Next week: Bye. We hate to say we saw this coming, but we did. However we didn’t expect such a dominant performance by SC and such a disappointing performance by the OSU defense. And please don’t talk to us about OSU not having Beanie Wells. IF one player was responsible for a 32 point thumping, then we’re pretty sure that said team shouldn’t be in the top 10 to begin with. If USC can manage not to have a mental slip up, they would be favored to be one of the title participants in Miami.

#2 Oklahoma (3-0) defeated Washington (0-3) 55-14 at Washington. Next week: Bye. Not really much to report here. OU was up 34-0 at halftime, and cruised with almost 600 yards of total offense, relatively balanced between the pass and run. We cant see anyone to challenge OU with the possible exception of Missouri in a theoretical Big-12 Championship.

#3 Missouri (3-0) defeated Nevada (1-2) 69-17 at home. Next week: Buffalo (2-1) at home. We were plenty pleased to see the Missou defense rise to the occasion this week after not showing much the first two weeks of the season. QB Chase Daniels had a big day going 23 of 28 for 415 yards and 4 TDs. Jeremy Maclin was the prime target, as he turned in a 6 reception/172 yard/3TD performance.

#4. LSU (2-0) defeated North Texas (0-3) 41-3 at home. Next week: At Auburn (3-0). LSU improved to 16-0 in non-conference games under Les Miles, and 32-0 all-time against current members of the Sun Belt conference. LSU continues to have a powerful running offense, but we are beginning to be concerned about the lack of a passing game for the Tigers. Eventhough this week the attack was balanced among the 415 yards, the somewhat anaemic passing game could be of particular importance as LSU begins conference play next week against Auburn.

#5 Florida (2-0). Did not play. Next week: At Tennessee (1-1). The Gators and Tigers are in a virtual tie in our minds, both certainly in the right place with regard to the top 10, and clearly at the top of what we consider to be our second tier teams. The Gators needs to show us, and everyone else, that they can really put a game together offensively, with some semblance to last year. We appreciate Coach Meyer’s concern that Tebow can’t get hit 200+ times, but its clear that their offense isn’t hitting on all cylinders yet.

#6 Georgia (3-0) defeated South Carolina (1-2) 14-7 at Columbia, SC. Next week: At Arizona State (2-1). While we are pretty comfortable with the Bulldog Defense, we continue to be disappointed at their offense. For a team that boasted two Heisman candidates on offense (Stafford and Moreno), they should have done much better against a pretty mediocre South Carolina defense, but didn’t. In fact, the SC offense outperformed them by almost 40 yards. However, we know this is a pretty tough rivalry too.  Two critical turnovers by the Gamecocks literally handed the victory to the Dogs. They’d better find some offense before next week against the Sun Devils.

#7 Wisconsin (3-0) defeated #25 Fresno State (1-2) 13-10 in Fresno. Next week: Bye. Wisconsin looks and feels each week like a Big Ten team of the 70s. This was a tough victory by the Badgers, on the road against an amazingly talented team that is MUCH better than the 1-2 record they sport. Both defenses were extremely good, despite giving up over 300 yards, but Fresno State fumbled the game away. The best that can be said is that Wisconsin does find a way to win, but its P.J. Hill driven. If he goes down for any time this year, like last year, the Badgers could be in big trouble.

#8 Texas (3-0) did not play due to Hurricane Ike. Next week: Rice (2-1) at home. Hard to really see what the Longhorns can do since they’ve played pretty much a powder puff schedule. This week’s opponent, Rice, however, who has a pretty potent offense, could give a decent test to the Longhorn defense. We might could extrapolate a little bit next week.

#9 Alabama (3-0) defeated Western Kentucky (1-2) 41-7 at home. Next week: At Arkansas (2-0). There certainly wasn’t anything wrong with Alabama this week, running up 557 yards of total offense and allowing only 158. Granted it was against Western Kentucky, but we expect good solid, expected performances by top 10 teams. Interestingly, three different Crimson Tide backs rushed for at least 50 yards, as Bama ran for 282 yards as a team.

#10 Texas Tech (3-0) defeated SMU (1-2) 43-7 at home. Next week: UMass (2-1) at home. QB Graham Harrell and WR Michael Crabtree kept up with their conference rivals Daniels-Maclin by leading the Tech offense to 693 yards of total offense. Harrell was 31 of 48 for 418 yards and 5 TDs. Crabtree had 8 receptions for 164 yards and 3 TDs. Now here was the surprising stat: Tech had 180 yards on the ground, something that could cause some opponents grief later on this season. Kudos to the Tech defense playing a bend but not break defense against the spread offense of SMU.

#11 Ohio State (2-1) lost to #1 USC (2-0) 35-3 at USC. Next week: Troy (2-1) at home. Let’s put some things in perspective here. The Buckeyes were never in the game against USC on Saturday, true. OSU seems to have no running game without Beanie Wells, but that wouldn’t have made a difference against USC. However, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. The Buckeyes could still be the best team in the Big-10, which we’ll see in a couple of weeks when they open against Minnesota. Now, look down below this #10 spot. Would you pick OSU as the underdog? Yeah we didn’t think so either.

#12 Auburn (3-0) defeated Mississippi State (1-2) 3-2 at Starkville, MS. Next week: At #4 LSU (2-0). This seems to be a recurring theme with Auburn…we’re disappointed. The Tigers generated 315 yards of offense against a pretty mediocre MSU, and only got 3 points to show for it. The good (or sad) news was that it was enough to win. Every week, Auburn seems to underwhelm, and at some point, we just have to drop them until they can do something. We’ll bet next week won’t be it against LSU.

#13 Penn State (3-0) defeated Syracuse (0-3) 55-13 at Syracuse. Next week: Temple (1-2) at home. We continue to be impressed with the Nittany Lion team that consistently plays at a high level. This week the offense generated 560 yards while allowing only 159. Is Penn State the best in the Big-10 at this point? Certainly they look more consistent, especially with Evan Royster performing at such a high level (he had 13 rushes for 101 yards). So we’re optimistic.

#14 BYU (3-0) defeated UCLA (1-1) 59-0 at home. Next week: Wyoming (2-1) at home. We were pretty upset last week that BYU barely edged out a win, but this week, they more than made up for it. The Cougars handed UCLA their worst defeat in 75 years. They led 42-0 a halftime, and cruised. BYU QB Max Hall was 27/35 for 271 yards and 7 TDs (yes seven).

#15 Oregon (3-0) defeated Purdue (1-1) 32-26 at Purdue. Next week: Boise State (2-0) at home. There was over 900 yards of total offense in this game, 500 of which belonged to Oregon, as they had to rally to win. RB LeGarrette Blount rushed for 120 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns. This was an impressive performance on the road for the Ducks, and we were pretty impressed with Purdue also.

#16 South Florida (3-0) defeated Kansas (2-1) 37-34 at home. Next week:At Florida International (0-2). We expected a pretty offensive game, and we got it. Both teams combined for almost 900 yards, which was what we thought might happen with Reesing (Kansas) vs. Grothe (South Florida). Its hard to gauge the overall performance, but we were impressed that the Bulls came back this week with a solid performance. However, the defense sure could use some shoring up.

#17 Illinois (2-1) defeated Louisiana Lafayette (0-2) 20-17 at home. Next week: Bye. Illinois seems to be doing what it takes to win, but not much more. Juice Williams had a good day throwing for 147 yards going 13 of 25. Game ball honors should go to RB Daniel Dufrene who had 19 carries for 126 yards. The first conference test for the Illini will come next week against Penn State.

#18 East Carolina (3-0) defeated Tulane (0-2) 28-24 in New Orleans. Next week At N. C. State (1-2). We’re beginning to think we should give Tulane some respect. They kept Alabama in check last week, and this week they play ECU tough. After beating Virginia Tech week 1, and dominating West Virginia last week, ECU needed all 4 quarters to win though (the score was 21-21 after 3). ECU QB Patrick Pinkney went 22 or 32 for 260 yards and 2 TDs. While we like the Pirates, we think they are a bit overstated in the national polls at the 14-15 slot. We’d like to see a bit more domination on a weak schedule to move up.

#19 Utah (3-0) defeated Utah State (0-3) 58-10 At Utah St. Next week: At Air Force. The Utes keep on winning, albeit against rather meager competition. QB Brian Johnson was 22/31 for 204 yards and 2 TDs, while the Utah defense only allowed a total of 116 yards total offense.

#20West Virginia (1-1) did not play. Next week: At Colorado (2-0). The Mountaineers need a good game against the Buffaloes to regain some respect and momentum. Colorado has a stiff defense so, WV might find themselves behind the 8-ball again.

#21 Wake Forest (2-0) did not play. Next week: At Florida State (2-0). Early season test for the Demon Deacons coming up next week against a rejuvenated Seminole team. It might a battle at this point of the best the ACC has to offer.

#22 Kansas (2-1) lost to #16 South Florida (3-0) 37-34 in Florida. Next week: Sam Houston State (1-0) at home. The Jayhawks played good, but not good enough. Kansas QB Todd Reesing was 34/51 for 373 yards and 3 TDs. Normally this would be a stellar afternoon, but the Jayhawk defense allowed 458 offensive yards to the Bulls, and they just didnt have it down the stretch.

#23 Arizona State (2-1) lost to UNLV (2-1) 23-20 at home. Next week: Georgia at home. This might have been the shocker of the week. Sun Devil QB Rudy Carpenter had a decent week going 13/23 for 242 and 2 TDs, but the Runnin Rebels exploited the ASU defense for 343 total yards. The differentiator was a blocked FG at the end of the game that would have tied it up. We aren’t going to give up on ASU quite yet tho. The game next week will be a huge game for both teams.

#24 Florida State (2-0) defeated Chattanooga (1-2) 46-7 at home. Next week: #21 Wake Forest at home. The Seminoles might just be the best the ACC has to offer early in the season. FSU racked up 484 yards of offense split fairly evenly between the pass and run. The balanced attack is impressive for a traditionally pass-oriented team. Next week they’ll get a solid challenge in Wake Forest.

#25 Clemson (2-1) defeated N.C. State (1-2) 27-9 at home. Next week: South Carolina State. The Tigers hang in here this week just edging out Fresno State for the last spot, mainly because we have an unwritten rule that we can’t drop a team out of the 25 when they win. Clemson still isnt impressing much, though. QB Cullen Harper is doing his part however, going 20/28 for 262 yards and 2 TDs. Don’t look now, but Harper has a 2008 QB rating of 142.29. Thats not bad considering the struggles that Clemson is going through.

Dropped out: Fresno State.

On the Bubble: Fresno State, TCU,  Oklahoma State, Boise State.

Most Impressive: USC, Missouri, Penn State.

Least Impressive: Auburn, Ohio State, Arizona State, Kansas

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Week Three’s games begin some interesting matchups that could have long term effects for some title hopefuls. There are three inter-Top25 battles that might at the very least give us a glimpse into the future, and at best could dictate who’s out early in the BCS title hunt. So without further ado, let’s how week three shapes up with the top 25.

#1 Oklahoma (2-0) at Washington (0-2). It’s pretty hard to think that the Huskies will be able to mount even a mild interference here. However, they have been known to rise up and give a good showing now and again. But we think that the Sooners would need to have an awfully flat week, and the Huskies would need to play the game of their life.  We’ll take the Sooners by 24.

#2. USC (1-0) home against #5 Ohio State (2-0).  The Buckeyes haven’t shown really well in two outings. Last week it was all they could do to get past lowly Ohio. It’s true that they were without their Heisman candidate Chris “Beanie” Wells, but it seemed to us there was something a bit more fundamentally off. With Wells back in the lineup this week, look for a good 20 carries from him unless USC just scores at will. USC will most certainly see a very fast defense, and a top notch linebacking corps. Look for both teams to make use of different looks and blitzes to keep the other’s quarterbacks off guard. Home field makes the difference: Trojans by 10.

#3 Georgia (2-0) at South Carolina (1-1). If Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks are going to make 2008 a breakthrough season, it needs to start this week against the Dawgs.   SC looked really good the first week but against Vanderbilt, just totally looked like another team. So, which team will show?  We think it really won’t matter in the end. Georgia should prevail on the road, and with plenty to spare.  Dawgs by 26.

#4 Florida (2-0). Bye. They’ll play the following Thursday against Tennessee.

#5 Ohio State (2-0) at #2 USC (1-0) – See above.

#6 LSU (1-0) home against North Texas (0-2). Oh my Lord who scheduled this masscre.  Folks this is a National Champion contender versus quite literally the 13th grade.  North Texas Coach Todd Dodge, former legendary 5A high school coach of National powerhouse Southlake, recruited all his players to come play for him in hopes of turning the NT program around.  There were alot of very idiotic people in Southlake that swore their football team could beat college teams.  Not LSU tho.  They may call this one  on some mercy rule, or on account of Hurricane Ike.  Tigers by 55, unless rain is so hard that no one can see.

#7. Missouri (2-0) home against Nevada (1-1). Missouri already is looking good, but defensively hasnt solidified, but then its still pre-season for them, Nevada is not to be taken lightly, however,  Both teams are consistenly in the top 5 in offense. The Wolfpack will be missing their starting RB Luke Lippincott who tore his ACL in the game against Texas Tech. Look for an easy Tiger win here, and perhaps look closely to see if the Missouri defense can put up a good effort.  Tigers by 24.

#8 Wisconsin (2-0) home against Fresno State (1-0). This should be a humdinger of a game. The Bulldogs are coming off a bye week after an impressive win against Rutgers. So another cross country trip for them to a much better team. Let’s dont write this one off too quickly. Fresno State stiffled a big O-line and traditionally good rushing game of Rutgers, and exploted their defense.  Wisconsin on the other hand has showed two teams..one that runs the ball all day long with P.J.Hill, and one that passes at will.  We’re a bit inclined to think that the versatility of Wisconsin’s offense could be trouble for Fresno State.  However, if the Badgers come in with anything but their “A” game watch out.  Wisconsin by 13.

#9. Auburn (2-0) at Mississippi State (1-1). Auburn keeps playing solid, ball-control offense with a very stingy defense, but hasn’t gone over the edge in overwhelming much lesser opponents. They should have another opportunity to overwhelm if they want to this week against Mississippi State. There’s not alot that can be done here, as long as Auburn shows up.  Tigers by 20.

#10 Texas (2-0) home against Arkansas (2-0). Due to a projected landfall for Hurricane Ike, this game has been moved to Sept 27, so the Longhorns get a week of rest.

#11 Kansas (2-0) at #19 South Florida (2-0) on Friday night. This should shape up to be the Kansas offense against the Bulls defense. Kansas QB Todd Reesing seems to be hitting on all cylinders, while the Jayhawk defense hasnt lost much.  South Florida stumbled a little last week but gutted it out in a tough interstate win against UCF.  I have alot of respect for tough games like that building some character. Matt Grothe will need to have a MUCH better outing to keep the Bulls in it.  Jayhawks by 14.

#12 Arizona State (2-0) at home against UNLV.(1-1). Its hard to see much of any scenario that doesn’t include a big night for ASU QB Rudy Carpenter. UNLV got thumped hard by Utah last week, and ASU is more diverse and powerful team.  Sun Devils by 22.

#13. Texas Tech (2-0) at home against SMU (0-2). While Tech hasnt quite gotten into their normal offensive groove, SMU is a bad team in transition, June Jones or not. Look for the Red Raiders to perhaps find the gear offensively, but really watch their defense to see if there is marked improvement. If not, TTU wont be long in the top 25.  Red Raiders by 27.

#14 Alabama (2–0) at home against Western Kentucky (1-1). In Alabama we have another split personality team. They practically destroyed Clemson the first week, but last week against a hapless Tulane team they struggled. The Hilltoppers can run the ball quite well, but traveling on the road to Alabam isnt going to help much. Tide by 26.

#15 Oregon (2-0) at Purdue (1-0). The Ducks looked downright invincible last week. Traveling cross country could be a little bit of a factor, but we see the Ducks prevailing here. Oregon by 18.

#16 Penn State (2-0) at Syracuse (0-2). The Nittany Lions have shown nothing but good solid footbal on both sides of the ball. Syracuse just won’t have anything to stop PSU.  Penn State by 24.

#17 East Carolina (2-0) at Tulane (0-1). The stories are still there. Could ECU be the BCS buster this year? Possibly. They should absolutely no problems with Tulane. However, Tulane played Alabama close last week. ECU has beaten #17 Virginia Tech and #8 West Virginia already.  They shouldn’t have much problem with the Green Wave. If they dispatch them convincingly, look for them to move up even more. Pirates by 21.

#18  Illinois (1-1) at home against Louisiana-Lafayette (0-1). Illinois is going to be working overtime to get themselves together agianst someone and so it might as well by La-Lafayette. Juice Williams should have a field day. Illinois by 17.

#19 South Florida (2-0) at Kansas (2-0) – See above.

#20 West Virginia (1-1) Bye. After than miserable showing against ECU, they need a week or 5 off.

#21 BYU (2-0) at home against UCLA (1-0). This is another one you’ll wish you could watch.  UCLA showed alot of poise and talent in upsetting Tennessee, while BYU needed a lousy “excessive celebration” to steal their victory last week.  We might be dreaming, but we think this could be a very good game and it wouldn’t surprise us if UCLA pulls the upset. If they do, the PAC-10 all of a sudden looks pretty strong.. Cougars by 6.

#22 Wake Forest (2-0)  at Florida State (1-0). We probably think that WF is a better team than 22, but they havent played like it quite yet.  Here’s their chance. FSU debuted quite nicely and looked tough on defense.  We think that the home field advantage could make the difference.  Wake by 3.

#23 Clemson (1-1) at home against North Carolina State (1-1). Tommy Bowden’s Clemson Tigers better start acting like their mascot namesake. One of the polls already dropped them.  We aren’t so cruel.  The Tigers should find a way back into the list with a big victory here.  Tigers by 21.

#24 Fresno State (1-0) at #8 Wisconsin (2-0). See above at #8.

#25 Utah (2-0) at Utah State (0-2). The Aggies got annihilated by Oregon last week, and the Utes should have just as much to share. Utes by 30.

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There was a partial redemption by the ACC this week, but topping the surprises was the East Carolina Pirates taking down yet again, for the second week in a row, a top 20 opponent, this time, a top 10. Skip Holtz’s Pirates dominated Patrick White and the West Virginia Mountaineers 24-3. At some point don’t we have to think MAYBE these arent upsets?

Adding to the confusion were some very questionable performances by several top 25 contenders. For instance, the Ohio State Buckeyes were behind going into the 4th quarter, and were being outplayed by a spirited Ohio University Bobcat team. But for a couple of very good special team plays, the Buckeyes might have been alot sadder this evening. The same story goes for the Bulls of USF, who needed overtime to beat UCF 31-24. Florida, who probably should have rolled over state rival Miami, struggled also, along with lackluster performances from Auburn, Texas Tech, BYU, and South Florida. South Carolina drops out of the top 25 this week after being beat by Vanderbilt for the second year in a row.

Other top 25 teams had little or no problems with their opponents, but there will be some shift based on some uninspired performances. So, here’s the new Top 25 based on the weekend’s results.

#1 Oklahoma (2-0). Defeated Cincinnati (1-1) 52-26 at home. Next week: At Washington. The Sooners scored their first touchdown less than 2 minutes into the game, and built a rather formidable lead, before the Bearcats fought back bravely. At least this was a top 10 team playing something other than an Our Lady of the Redeeming Albino College.  Sooners are looking very fast, and very good.

#2 USC (1-0) Bye this week, Next week: Ohio State at home. The Trojans should be nice and rested when they take on the Buckeyes. They get moved up because of a lackluster Florida performance.

#3 Georgia (2-0). Defeated Central Michigan (1-1) 56-17 at home. Next week: At South Carolina. We predicted dawgs by 40 so we were close. Not much else to report here, other than Georgia was hitting on all cylinders. Matthew Stafford was 18 of 28 for 213 yards and 2 TDs. Knowshon Moreno, a legit Heisman candidate, had a great day running for 168 yards on 18 carries and 3 TDs.

#4 Florida (2-0). Defeated Miami (1-1) 26-3 at home. We weren’t overly impressed with this victory by the Gators. Tebow was off the mark quite a bit, and didnt really take control until late in the game. We’re impressed with the progress of the Hurricanes though. Gators are legit for sure, they should be concerned that they did not give a consistent offensive performance. However, Georgia needs to be scared.

#5 Ohio State (2-0). Defeated Ohio University (0-2) 26-14 at home. OSU had plenty of problems with the Bobcats at home. Their running game missed Beanie Wells, but we’re not sure he would have made a difference. Boeckman only through for 110 yards. Statistically the game was very close. Ohio converted 9 of 17 third downs against the Buckeye defense. A late punt return for 69 yards by OSU was the key in the game. They can’t play this way next week at USC and expect to win.

#6 LSU (1-0). Game with Troy was postponed to November 15 due to damage from Hurricane Gustav. Next week: North Texas at home.

#7 Missouri (2-0). Defeated SE Missouri (1-1) 52-13 at home. Next week: Nevada at home. As would be expected, the Tigers jumped out to a 42-0 halftime lead, and then coasted home. No surprises here. Chase Daniels threw for 245 yards and 3 TDs. Jeremy Maclin did play but had only 2 receptions for 20 yards. Consider this a bye week, since a decent Texas High School football team could beat SE Missouri.

#8 Wisconsin (2-0). Defeated Marshall (1-1) 51-14 at home. Next week: #22 Fresno State at home. The Badgers looked very balanced and impressive this week, and what with the demise of West Virginia, they move up. This week, P.J. Hill had only 57 yards (but 2 TDs), but the story was QB Allan Evridge who was 17 of 26 for 308 yards and 1 TD. They’ll get a stiff challenge next week when Fresno State visits.

#9 Auburn (2-0). Defeated So. Mississippi (1-1) 27-13 at home. Next Week: At Mississippi State. We expected this to be close, and had predicted the Tigers by 10, so they did a little better. In our hearts we were hoping for more, however to cement a top 10 ranking, but hey its ok. Junior QB Chris Todd had a good day throwing for 248 yards and the running game generated another 132.

#10 Texas (2-0). Defeated UTEP (0-2) 42-13 in El Paso. Next week: Arkansas at home. The score wasn’t indicative of Texas’ play, as much as indicative of an undisciplined, poorly coached UTEP team. Texas pulled another of its “let’s stay close and get a couple or more cheap TD’s at the end of the game” stunt. Forget the stats here, its a predictive win.

#11 Kansas (2-0). Defeated La. Tech (1-1) 29-0 at home. Next week: At #18 South Florida. The Jayhawks keep demonstrating that their program is for real, this time showing some pretty good defense as well as a versatile offense that generated 538 total yards. Todd Reesing was 32/38 for 412 yards and 3 TDs which is good in anyone’s book. Definitely a solid performance. Jawhawks get tested next week to see where they really are.

#12 Arizona State (2-0). Defeated Stanford (1-1) 41-17 at home. Next week: UNLV at home. ASU put in a solid performance, and better than expected (we predicted by 18). QB Rudy Carpenter was 22 of 28 for 388 yards and a TD.

#13 Texas Tech (2-0). Defeated Nevada (1-1) 35-19 in Nevada. Next week: SMU at home. Another disappointing performance from the TTU offense that really never clicked causes us to slip TTU a spot. Graham Harrell was far from Heisman cailber turning in a poor 19 of 46 for 297 yards, far below what we’re used to from the high octane Red Raider offense. A bright spot, however, was Michael Crabtree’s 7 catches for 158 yards, including an 82-yard TD reception.

#14 Alabama (2-0). Defeated Tulane (0-2) 20-6 at home. Next week: Western Kentucky at home. A two touchdown victory over a hapless team doesn’t do much for us. After the great victory over Clemson last week, we expected a blow out and what we got was a very unimpressive performance, perhaps a let down. Tulane generated lots more offense (318 to 172) than Alabama did which makes us wonder a little about what Nick Saban’s group was thinking.

#15 Oregon (2-0). Defeated Utah State (0-2) 66-24 at home. Next week: At Purdue. With 688 total offensive yards, and seven different Ducks rushing for at least 25 yards, 408 total yards rushing we’d say that this was complete domination. Oregon played three at QB accounting for another 280 passing yards.

#16 Penn State (2-0). Defeated Oregon State (0-2) 45-14 at home. Next week: At Syracuse. The Nittany Lions hit on all cylinders this day amassing 454 yards of total offense, sparked by Evan Royster’s 141 rushing yards and 3 TD’s. PSU has some defense work to do, however, allowing the Aggies to have 342 yards.

#17 East Carolina (2-0). Defeated West Virginia (1-1) 24-3 at home. Next week: At Tulane. We have to hand it to the Pirate’s head coach Skip Holtz (yes son of Lou). He has worked magic with his team in little over a year. Their win over then #17 Virginia Tech might had been interpreted as a hard fought game with a lucky break at the end. But not this game against West Virginia. We know what the Mountaineers are capable of. We know what Patrick White can do. And ECU shut it all down with a very good defense and a a consistent, ball-control offense that frustrated the Mountaineers all day.  What’s more…take a look at the ECU schedule and find a game where they WONT be the favored team the rest of the year.  Is this our Cinderella BCS buster?  Could be!

#18 Illinois (1-1). Defeated Eastern Illinois (0-2) 47-21 at home. Next week: La-Lafayette at home. After an excellent performance in a losing cause against Missouri last week, the Fighting Illini came roaring back against their state rival. Juice Williams and company amassed 533 yards of total offense, 399 of which was on the ground. Williams himself was a one-man wrecking machine, throwing for 124 and rushing for 174. Illinois will make its presence known the remainder of the season and could be a spoiler in the Big 10.

#19 So Florida (2-0). Defeated Central Florida (1-1) 31-24 in overtime at UCF. Next week: #11 Kansas at home. Another example of a rather lackluster performance. UCF fought valliantly, and more. However, we can not over look the fact that the Bulls generated over 500 yards of total offense, 346 of which generated by Matt Grothe’s passing efforts. We’ll chalk this up to a very good interstate rivalry, but we’d sure like to see a more consistent performance.

#20 West Virginia (1-1). Lost to #25 East Carolina (2-0) 24-3 in Greenville, NC. Next week: Bye. We haven’t lost complete faith in the Mountaineers. But on this day, ECU QB Patrick Pinkney torched WV for 236 yards, but it was their defense that was relentness. The Mountaineers’ title hopes are pretty much gone, but fortunately conference and bowl hopes are not.

#21 BYU (2-0). Defeated Washington (0-2) 28-27 at Washington. Next week: UCLA at home. BYU totally deserves to be dropped, as they win this game on a lousy, sticking “Excessive celebration” call. Washington scored the near-tying touchdown with :02 left, but then they were penalized. This is the lousiest directive that has ever been handed down by the NCAA. In any case, BYU didn’t deserve the game.

#22 Wake Forest (2-0). Defeated Mississippi (1-1) 30-28 at home. Next week: At Florida State. This was a hard fought game, and the ACC team this time came out on top.  Mississippi took the lead late but WF managed to get a game winning FG with 0:03 left in the game.  Give the game ball to Sam Swank who was 3-3 in field goals, including the game winner. He is the nation’s leader.

#23 Clemson (1-1). Defeated The Citadel (1-1) 45-17 at home. Next week: North Carolina at home. The Tigers rebounded with a solid performance offensively, generating 525 total yards. But perhaps equally as disappointing was the fact that they gave up 427 total yards. Fortunately they got 3 turnovers to counterbalance. However, if these Tigers are to live up to their pre-season expectations, much is left to be done.

#24 Fresno State (1-0). Bye. Next week: At #8 Wisconsin.

#25 Utah (2-0). Defeated UNLV (1-1) 42-21 at home. Next week: At Utah State. This game was quite competitive, being tied 14 at halftime. Utah QB Brian Johnson struggled early, but ended the game 15/24 for 183 yards and two touchdowns.


Dropped from the Top 25: South Carolina.

Bubble Teams: South Carolina, Georgia Tech, Air Force, California.

Most Impressive: East Carolina, Oklahoma, Penn State, Oregon.

Least Impressive: South Carolina, West Virginia, Ohio State, BYU.

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