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

Here’s our top 25 for the12th week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dropped Out: Florida State, Tulsa, South Carolina

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

Most Impressive Teams: Florida, Miami

Least Impressive Teams: Florida State, North Carolina

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

BCS Bowl Projections This Week:

National Title: Florida vs. Texas Tech

Rose Bowl: Penn State vs. USC

Fiesta Bowl:  Utah vs. Texas

Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Boise State

Orange Bowl: Pittsburgh  vs.  Maryland

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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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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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Surprise surprise the pollsters didn’t take long to change their minds on their number one did they? They have anointed USC for that this week. We (my good buddy Steve and I) weren’t quite ready to do so, even after they beat Virginia. Its true that Virginia was a bowl team last year and had quite the defense.  Operative word here – HAD.  It seems that our national pollsters might not have delved under the covers on the Cavaliers. They lost too many players, including their two top defensive studs, one to the NFL and one to academic violations. Their O-line was devastated and they lost their starting QB to academics also.  Add to that a few that left for undisclosed reasons, and you have a team rebuilding.  So the trouncing by USC was of no huge surprise to us, and did not warrant a jump to #1.

While week one might have given a couple of insights on teams this year, don’t look for week two to offer much more. For the most part, it should business as usual, but as we all know…thats where things can get mighty uneasy sometimes.

#1 Ohio State (1-0) v. Ohio U (0-1)  at home. Well, with or without Chris Wells (probably without) the Buckeyes should have little problem with the Bobcats. Look for the 1st team to exit early. We’d be surprised if Beanie Wells suits up.  OSU by 40.

#2 Florida (1-0)  v.  Miami (FL) at home. Now here’s an interesting game. The Hurricanes look all revved up after trouncing Charleston-Southern 52-7 (no great feat we admit), and the Gators were equally impressive dispatching an equally unimpressive Hawaii 52-10. Tebow will at least see a decent defense this week. The Gator defense might also have to play a few more quarters.  Florida by 10.

#3 Oklahoma (1-0) v. Cincinnati (1-0) at home. On the surface this looks like another walk in the park for the Sooners, especially being at home. The Bearcats dismantled Eastern Kentucky 40-7 last week while the Sooners were 50-0 at halftime against something a little less than a Texas high school football team in Chattanooga.  I think this game at least makes Oklahoma break a sweat. If they’re up 50-0 at halftime against Cincy, then we’ll anoint them #1 next week. Sooners by 21.

#4 Georgia (1-0) v. Central Michigan (1-0) at home. The Bulldogs have to be madder than a Michael Vick Pit Bull that they dropped to #2 in the national polls, after shellacking Georgia Southern. And Central Michigan is in the way this week.  I think the Dawgs do everything they can to run up the score, since USC has the week off. Bulldogs by 40.

#5 USC (1-0) off this week. The Trojans earn a week off before having to host the Buckeyes in 2 weeks. Isn’t that fortunate! We’ll have no problems shooting USC to #1 if they beat OSU. But hey, that gives the media a week to hype it!

#6 LSU (1-0) v. Troy (1-0) at home. Late news here is that this game will be postponed until Nov 15, so the Tigers get a bye this week.

#7 Missouri (1-0) v. Southeast Missouri State (1-0) at home. The Redhawks must have gotten a huge payout to get this humiliated. Look for Jeremy Maclin to take the week off, and Chase Daniel to be listening to his iPod by half time. It would be BAD if the Missou defense allows a big passing day. Missouri by 50.

#8 West Virginia (1-0) v. East Carolina (1-0) at ECU. The Pirates outplayed and finally beat Virginia Tech last week, on sheer tenacity. ECU had just as good a defense, and moved the ball well against a pretty good VT defense. But lets not confuse VT’s offense with West Virginia’s either. ECU will make this close early, but physically I think the sheer athleticism and flexibility of the WV offense pulls away late.  West Virginia by 17.

#9 Auburn (1-0) v. Southern Miss (1-0) at home. Both teams are coming off a good offensive outing, and Auburn is prone to relax against some lesser opponents. The Golden Eagles had well over 600 yards of offense last week, so the Tigers do have their work cut out for them. We think that this might be a good pick for an upset, but we aren’t going that way.  Tigers by 10.

#10 Wisconsin (1-0) v. Marshall (1-0) at home. Wisconsin running back P.J. Hill single handedly won the game last week, and will go up against a Thundering Herd defense that allowed less than 100 yards rushing last week.  Still, we’re reasonably sure that the Badgers are a bit bigger and stronger than Illinois State.  Wisconsin by 31.

#11. Brigham Young (1-0)  v.  Washington (0-1) in Washington. Poor Washington looks to have a pretty long year, and BYU will be glad to help that along. Last week against Oregon, the Huskies gave up almost 500 yards of total offense. Lord knows BYU can do that in a half probably. Cougars by 35.

#12. Texas (1-0)  v. UTEP (0-1) in El Paso. UTEP lost miserably against Buffalo last week, 42-17, so its really hard to believe that they’ll improve astronomically to give the Longhorns a good game. We think that Texas at #10 is way over rated by the way. Longhorns by 45.

#13. Texas Tech (1-0) v. Nevada (1-0) in Nevada. TTU’s offense was in decent form but their defense was very confused and sloppy in the home opener. Nevada’s offense last week against Grambling rushed for 426 yards and added another 209 in the air. That kind of offense against a confused TTU defense either means a long, high-scoring game, or an early loss for the Red Raiders. Watch out for the upset here!  TTU by 8.

#14 Kansas (1-0) v. Louisiana Tech (1-0) at home. Kansas looked solid last week, and Reesing didnt seem to have missed a beat. La Tech triumphed over a tougher opponent Miss State, so this might be a sleeper that could surprise some people. Well, maybe not. Kansas by 28.

#15 Arizona State (1-0) v. Stanford (1-0) at home. A home game and a conference game. I can’t see ASU approaching this game flippantly. Stanford won their opener last week, and will be high as a kite with hopes of upsetting a top 20 team. It could happen, but we don’t think so this year.  Sun Devils by 18.

#16. Alabama (1-0) v. Tulane (0-0) at home. Alabama sure looked real last week in their domination of Clemson, so we sure don’t see much of anything that Tulane can bring to be a threat.  Alabama by 38.

#17 South Florida (1-0) v. Univ Central Florida (1-0) at UCF. Interstate games are always interesting and hard to call, especially early in the year when anything can happen. The Bulls should dominate in sheer physicality tho, and come away with a solid win. Bulls by 24.

#18 Oregon (1-0)  v.  Utah State (0-1) at home. The Ducks had a solid game last week, even with all the turmoil at QB. Justin Roper should be back at the helm for Oregon so they should have little problem with the the Aggies who have lost 19 straight games against ranked teams.  Ducks by 35.

#19 Penn State (1-0)  v.  Oregon State (0-1) at home. While the Beavers might feel at home in Beaver Stadium in State College, PA, they’ll surely not be accomplishing much against Paterno’s bunch. PSU is 22-11 against Pac-10 opponents in their history. Make that 23-11.  Penn State by 22.

#20 Illinois (0-1)  v. Eastern Illinois (0-1) at home. You have to give Juice Williams credit against Missouri in a losing cause, and we think he romps big against the state rival Panthers. Eastern Illinois is 4-22 against FBS teams.  Illinois by 32.

#21 Clemson (0-1)  v.  The Citadel (1-0) at home. If ever there is a team that would need a kick in the pants it was Clemson. Not only did they lose to Alabama, they looked totally disinterested.  Look for Coach Tommy Bowden to shake things up, and win huge, even though the Bulldogs ran dominant in a lop sided win last week. Tigers by 28.

#22 Fresno State (1-0)  has a bye week. They’ll be tuning up for the big cross country trip to Wisconsin in two weeks.

#23 South Carolina (1-0)  v.  Vanderbilt (1-0) at Vandy. (Thurs game). The Gamecocks struggled but pulled away late when last years QB Chris Smelly was reinstated. He’ll start this week. Last year, when South Carolina was ranked #6, they lost to Vanderbilt, so there may be some motivation for revenge.  They should get it too. Gamecocks by 14.

#24 Utah (1-0) v. UNLV (1-0) at home. Last year the Utes were shutout by UNLV, but after an inspiring performance against Big-10 Michigan, they’ll definitely have the momentum. Look for Utah to come out fast and finish strong.  Utes by 20.

#25 Wake Forest (1-0) v. Mississippi (1-0) at home. This could be a nice little matchup The Demon Deacons won on the road against Baylor last week (doo dah), and Mississippi took out Memphis 41-24. The WF defense should be the key to the game, and provide the margin of victory. Wake Forest by 7.

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Just when I think a weekend is going to be boring, it turns out to be anything but. Games that I thought might be sleepers, turned the top 25 on end, yet again. With this year, I should know better.

Ohio State proved that they were anything but invincible as an inspired Illinois team, led by QB Juice Williams, humbled the Buckeyes in their own house. Barring some superhuman fluke (which could occur), this drops OSU out of the National Championship race, and sets up next week their showdown with Michigan (who also lost to an upstart Wisconsin team) for a trip to the Rose Bowl. What it also did was put LSU and Oregon in the driver’s seat for the top 2 slots. But the season is winding down and lots of things can happen.

By the way, Boston College lost again this week, this time to lowly Maryland, proving yet again that the East Coast writer block failed to assess talent as they should when they voted them in the top 5 and top 10. Now they will be in the bottom 10. Here’s the way I see them now:

1. LSU (9-1). Defeated La. Tech 58-10. Next Week: At Ole Miss.
These Tigers must have been pretty fired up after seeing Ohio State lose, and therefore took care of business properly so there would be NO decision on who should be #1. In my mind, Oregon gets a little bit hurt this week because they didn’t play. LSU still doesnt have a cake walk tho. They must beat a surprising Ole Miss team next week, then finish against Arkansas, before taking on (likely) Georgia for the SEC Championship. My advice to Les Miles, look at this year and don’t get comfy at this spot.

2. Oregon (8-1). Idle this week. Next Week: At Arizona (Thurs)
The timing really couldn’t have been worse for the Ducks, as they had an off week when #1 falls and LSU rolls. Still, the Ducks are in a most advantageous driver’s seat. They have a decent final schedule (at Arizona, at UCLA, home against Oregon State) which pits them against 3 unranked teams. Its true that 2 are on the road, but also in their favor there’s no Pac-10 championship game, so if they can win out, they could be sitting at #1. But lots of things could happen between now and then before they punch a ticket to New Orleans.

3. Oklahoma (9-1). Defeated Baylor 52-21. Next Week: At Texas Tech.
The Sooners find themselves in a similar predicament as LSU, but perhaps a little more difficult. OU must win out against two very high scoring teams in Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, which gets them to the Big 12 Championship game against either Missouri or Kansas. The BCS then goes to work for them if that happens. Figure that Mizzou or Kansas will be in the top 5 when one of them goes to the Big 12 Champioship game in San Antonio, and that pits #3 against #4 0r 5. The Sooners win that game, the BCS computers might just reward them with a trip to the National Championship.

4. West Virginia (8-1). Defeated Louisville 38-31. Next Week: At Cincinnati.
The Mountaineers have a real tough road ahead to hope to vie for a National Title, and it will take alot of luck as well as work. First, they must travel to Cincy and beat a Bearcat team thats on a roll after demolishing both South Florida and UConn. Then they get back-to-back home games against UConn and Pitt to win the Big East and an automatic BCS bid. Thats doable and within the range of this high powered offense. However, the writers dont seem to be very cordial to WVU, ranking them 6th or 7th last week. They’ll likely move up a spot with the OSU loss, but still undefeated Kansas and possibly even Mizzou might garner more “puter-points”. WVU needs for alot of things to happen ahead of them to get them in the mix, but first they have to take care of business.

5. Georgia (8-2). Defeated Auburn 45-20. Next Week: Kentucky at home.
Yep you dont need to do a double take. I raised the Dawgs up after their VERY impressive showing against Auburn. I was all ready to push these guyz down, as I thought Auburn might upset, but Georgia would have NONE of that. The Dawgs aren’t home free yet by any stretch of the imagination. They must play Kentucky next week, then on the road to finish against Georgia Tech. Keep in mind that one of Georgia’s two losses was to Tennessee, who is only one game behind them in the SEC East. That means ONE slip up by the Dawgs and they go from SEC Championship to a tier 2 bowl game. Now a fantasy scenario for them is that they do win out, beat LSU in the SEC Championship and get help above them to get to a possible National Championship. Thats pretty much to ask tho.

6. Kansas (10-0). Defeated Oklahoma State 43-28. Next Week: Iowa State at home.
This KU team, I think, gets a little bit shortchanged, but I can see why. Here’s my take. First, I think right now its a toss up between KU and Mizzou for this spot, but the fact that KU did very well against a high-powered offense like Oklahoma State, makes me feel comfy giving them the edge. However, lets face it. While teams ranked 1-5 above have played formidable opponents, Kansas hasn’t play a single Top 25 tea. This makes me a bit suspicious if they should be ranked this high at all. However, they are one of only two undefeated teams (Hawaii is the other one), and that deserves some merit until they show us they dont belong. That test will be in 2 weeks against Mizzou. Could KU get to the Natiional Championship? Absolutely. The BCS has them at #4 last week and probably #3 this week. If they win out, which would mean beating OU, they might garner enought BCS points to push LSU or Oregon out.

7. Missouri (9-1). Defeated Texas A&M 40-26. Next Week: At Kansas State.
As discussed above, these Tigers are pretty much tied for #6. At leat Mizzou can boast playing not only a top 25, but a top 5 team (Oklahoma). They lost that contest by 10, mostly on turnovers. However, similarly, they havent beaten a top 25 yet either. More cause for worry. This all shakes out against Kansas in 2 weeks for the Big 12 North title, and a trip to San Antonio to most likely play OU for the Big 12 Championship. Mizzou would need lots of help to get to New Orleans tho.

8. Ohio State (10-1). Lost to Illinois 28-21. Next Week: At Michigan.
Enough said – the Buckeyes failed to keep their eyes on the prize and stumbled badly against Illinois. So what’s next? Probably a Rose Bowl bid, if they can beat Michigan on the road next week. Given past history, thats a good bet. I’ll doubt that the pollsters will put the Buckeyes this low, but they certainly deserve it.

9. Virginia Tech (8-2). Defeated Florida State 40-21. Next Week: Miami at home.
The Hokies got a big win over the Seminoles the week after FSU knocked off Boston College. Va Tech will need to dispose of Miami next week, then turn their sites on rival Virginia to win the ACC Coastal.

10. Arizona State (9-1). Defeated UCLA 24-20. Next Week: Idle.
The Sun Devils gutted it up against a formidable opponent this week, and this was a great character builder after losing a tough game last week to Oregon. Closing wins against USC and Arizona, will get them a very high non-BCS bowl game. But USC has re-emerged, so look for a tough game.

11. Hawaii (9-0). Defeated Fresno State 37-30. Next Week: At Nevada.
I expected a tough game here, and it started out as a cakewalk. The Warriors took a 21-0 lead and I thought that they would just run away with it. However, Fresno St hung in, and took advantage of an injury to Colt Brennan to get close. However, kudos to the Hawaii defense for rising up at the end. Hawaii suffers from the same fate as Kansas in that they just dont play anyone. However, Hawaii still has a very tough road game against Nevada, but then must finish at home against Boise State and Washington.

12. Boise State (9-1). Defeated Utah State 52-0. Next Week: Idaho at home.
Quietly, Boise State has put up some terrific numbers and look to be headed for a showdown with Hawaii for the WAC Title. We all remember the fireworks last year between Oklahoma and BSU, and who knows… a similar match up might be in a future bowl game.

13. Florida (7-3). Defeated South Carolina 51-31. Next Week: FAU at home.
The Gators took care of business this week, something they just haven’t decided to do this year much. I’m a little uncomfortable putting them this high with 3 losses, but a 3-loss SEC team might be as good or better than a 1 or 2 loss team anywhere else.

14. USC (8-2). Defeated California 24-17. Next Week: Idle.
The Trojans seem to be resurgent with John David Booty now healthy. Lest we forget that their two losses this year have been for a combined 8 points, this is still a very good team Assuming that Oregon can win out and go to the National Championship, USC’s next game against Arizona State on 11/22 could be for a Rose Bowl bid, and I wouldn’t count them out with those stakes in play.

15. Texas (9-2). Defeated Texas Tech 59-43. Next Week: Idle.
Texas seems to just find ways to win every week, and even though the Longhorn defense was shredded for almost 500 yards in passing by Graham Harrell, they still prevailed. Texas hasnt got many options really. They have a day after Thanksgiving date with A&M, and then on to a tier 2 bowl game.

16. Virginia (9-2). Defeated Miami 48-0. Next Week: Idle.
The Cavaliers certainly continue to impress week after week, but they havent played a top 25 team this year yet, and wont until their matchup with Virginia Tech on 11/24 for the ACC Coastal title and a possible trip to the ACC Championship. The road victory against Miami this week was a good show of power that’s got to give the Hokies alot to worry about.

17. Boston College (8-2). Lost to Maryland 42-35. Next Week: At Clemson.
This week was disgraceful for the Golden Eagles, to be honest. I think I might be being too nice to them ranking them this high. A really good character team would have bounced back after the tough loss to FSU, and dominated a mediocre 4-5 (now 5-5) team like Maryland. Instead BC wimps out for a second week in a row. They need to really gut check this week against Clemson, as this will most likely be for the ACC Atlantic title and a trip to the ACC Championship to play Viriginia, or Va Tech, both of which are playing better than BC right now.

18. Michigan (8-3). Lost to Wisconsin 37-21. Next Week: Ohio State at home.
This loss to Wisconsin just is an enigma. Chad Henne starts the game, but leaves early. Mike Hart never enters. Most writers are writing off the Wolverines, but I’m not ready to do that quite yet. They mounted a heck of a come back in the 4th Quarter without the heart and soul of the team, so it shows me they haven’t given up. If Henne and Hart can get healthy for the last game, I think they have a chance, otherwise a Rose Bowl berth isnt likely.

19. Clemson (8-2). Defeated Wake Forest 44-10. Next Week: Boston College at home
These Tigers roll off 4 victories to open the season, then lose back-to-back against Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, but have since gone on a 4-0 run again. With Clemson playing better, and Boston College on a downslide, this could be a very interesting matchup for, presumably, the ACC Atlantic Title and a trip to the ACC Championship game.

20. Tennessee (7-3). Defeated Arkansas 34-13. Next Week: Vanderbilt at home.
The Vols continue to hang in the SEC East race with Georgia, and in fact, remain a threat to drail them since they have defeated them earlier this year. Any slip up by Georgia, and Tennessee goes to the SEC Championship – well, if they can close out against Vandy and Kentucky (no small feat).

21. Cincinnati (8-2). Defeated UConn 27-3. Next Week: West Virginia at home.
Suddenly Cincy is looking at a possible automatic BCS berth. Yes you read that right. It’s as simple as defeating the Mountaineers at home – well if you can call keeping Pat White, Steve Slayton, et al in check. But the goal is clear and defined. There’s no dependence on anyone else – they are in control.

22. Illinois (8-3). Defeated Ohio State 28-21. Next Week: Northwestern at home.
Ron Zook and his team made the definitive statement over the weekend, defeating the #1 team in the nation and killing the Buckeyes’ hopes for a National Championship. At stake now is a 9-win season, and a trip to a very nice bowl game if they can prevail over Northwestern.

23. UConn (8-2). Lost to Cincinnati 27-3. Next Week: Syracuse at home.
The Huskie Big East hopes went down the tube with their underwhelming performance against Cincy. However, the Huskies will probably get a decent bowl bid if they can defeat Syracuse this week and play West Virginia close at the end.

24. Penn State (8-3). Defeated Temple 31-0. Next Week: At Michigan State.
The Nittany Lions, but for a few lapses this year, could be in the mix in the Big 10, but such has not been their destiny. However, a final win against MSU will give them a very respectable 9 win season and a good post season bowl game.

25. Wisconsin (8-3). Defeated Michigan 37-21. Next Week: At Minnesota.
The Badgers just have some of the best character of any team I’ve seen this year. Banged up and without All-American RB P.J. Hill, they battle Michigan and hold off a 4Q charge to win – thats just great character. A final win against Minnesota gives the Badgers, like Penn State and Illinois, a 9 win season, and a reasonable bowl game.

Dropped Out: Florida State, Alabama, Auburn

On the Bubble: BYU (7-2), South Florida (7-3)

Most Impressive Teams This Week: LSU, Georgia, Illinois, Va Tech, Cincinnati

Least Impressive Teams This Week: Ohio State, Boston College, UConn

Have a Great Week – we’ll be back on Wednesday to preview Week 12.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thats the roundup…enjoy the weekend!

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