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Posts Tagged ‘Vanderbilt’

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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As we always have said, well that’s why you play ’em!

Upsets this week were so abundant that we’ll hardly even know the top 25.  Just in the top ten, USC, Florida, Georgia and Wisconsin all lost, and all except Georgia to an unranked team!   Navy even got in the act by knocking off #18 Wake Forest. The last time Navy beat an ranked team was 1985.

Alot of teams in the Top 25 didn’t play, so its hard to know what the writers and coaches polls will do, but most assuredly, those idle teams will find themselves jumped by other teams that did play well. So all in all it was a topsy turvy weekend, that could put Oklahoma in the driver’s seat for good.

Last comment here.. We try NOT to look at the national polls before we do ours.  Occasionally it does happen that they come out before we can write and publish.  Today was one of those situations, and find yet again the typical East Coast bias from the AP Writers.  Who can explain them jumping Penn State 6 slots for beating Illinois?  Well we might buy this a little. But NO ONE can explain why magically BYU jumps OVER Texas Tech when both teams didn’t play this week.  What?? Did BYU sleep and enjoy the weekend better than Tech?  This, friends, is why no one trusts the AP writers, why the system is terrifically flawed, and why  we need to get them completely out of the equation when choosing lineups. OK off the soapbox and on to the REAL, RATIONAL Top 25.

#1 Oklahoma (5-0) defeated TCU (4-1) 35-10 at Norman, OK. Next week: At Baylor (2-2). It was a complete domination by OU who led 21-3 after the first quarter. Sam Bradford keeps up his candidacy for the Heisman with 411 yards passing, 4 touchdowns and ZERO interceptions  WR Manuel Johnson had 5 receptions for 206 yards. The Sooners are an offensive juggernaut that could be invincible.

#2 LSU (4-0) defeated Mississippi State (1-4) 34-24 at LSU. Next week: Bye. It wasn’t a particularly pretty victory by LSU, but by virtue of 3 of the top 5 teams dropping out, the Tigers move up. As much as we clearly believe that the Sooner offense is incomparable, we also believe that the LSU defense is just as dominant. LSU chose a conservative run-based offense that allowed Senior tailback Charles Scott to gain 141 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns. The Tigers will get a week off before having to travel to the Swamp to play Florida.

#3 Missouri (4-0) did not play. Next week: At Nebraska (3-1). It won’t surprise us to see the pollsters push Alabama ahead of Missouri here. We’re still convinced that these Tigers are still deserving of #3.

#4 Alabama (5-0) defeated #12 Georgia (4-1) 41-30 at Georgia. Next week: Kentucky (4-0) at home. Alabama dominated the first half putting the game out of reach 31-0 at halftime.  Kudos to Mark Richt and his Dawgs tho for winning the second half of the game 30-10.  While this will be played up as a shocker, we’ll remind everyone that we weren’t that hot on Georgia to begin with, mainly because they historically perform exactly like they have…start high in the polls but lose focus in a pivotal game (last year it was Tennessee).  But at the same time, Alabama seems to be the real deal. Nick Saban was a winner everywhere he’s been and it seems that Bama is no different.

#5 Texas (4-0) defeated Arkansas (2-2) 52-10 in Austin. Next week: At Colorado (3-1). Let’s not read much into this lopsided victory. Arkansas was demolished last week by Alabama 49-14 also. so Texas still really hasn’t played any viable opponent.  That will all change next week, to an extent when they travel to Colorado to open Big-12 play.  Longhorn QB Colt McCoy threw for 3 TDs and ran for 2 more.

#6 Texas Tech (4-0) did not play. Next week: At Kansas State (3-1). The Red Raiders open Big-12 play net week. We’re almost sure the national pollsters won’t allow Tech to get this high, but the fact is that teams 6-15 could be shuffled in about any permutation and it could be justified.  Teams 1-5 are definitely way above. TTU must impress next week against KSU or they will risk dropping down with BYU having a blowout opportunity with Utah State. Tech has a major road ahead in staying this high.

#7 Penn State (5-0) defeated Illinois (2-2) 38-24 at home. Next week: At Purdue (2-2). The Nittany Lions did prove out the hype Saturday by putting Illinois (ranked in the national polls) in their place in their conference opener. PSU QB Daryll Clark threw for 181 yards and Evan Royster ran for 139 yards to spark a very balanced offensive attack. We don’t agree jumping PSU up so high considering they haven’t yet played a team higher than .500. But neither have alot of teams yet.

#8 Brigham Young (4-0) did not play. Next week: At Utah State (1-3). We absolutely don’t understand BYU jumping over TTU…except the writers and coaches have their usual bias.

#9 South Florida (5-0) defeated NC State (2-3) 41-10 at NC State. Next week: Pitt (3-1) at home (Thurs). The Bulls continue to be a bright spot in the Big East, conquering the Wolfpack in convincing fashion. QB Matt Grothe was 20/29 for 259 yards, and was one of three QBs that played for USF racking up over 500 yards of total offense on the road.

#10 USC (2-1) lost to Oregon State (2-2) 27-21 at Corvalis, OR. Next week: #24 Oregon (4-1) at home. There’s just not much you can say about USC in their loss to Oregon State.  The Trojans looked totally disinterested in the game, and lethargic.  They let a Freshman RB just dance around them all night (Jacquizz Rogers who had 186 yards and 2 TDs). The possible Rose Bowl bid could come to a quick end for USC next week if they can’t put it together against Oregon. We’re not willing to drop USC much lower because we know they are better than the teams below them.

#11 Ohio State (4-1) defeated Minnesota (4-1) 34-21 at home. Next week: At #13 Wisconsin (3-1). It seems that Beanie Well’s was the major spark that the Buckeyes needed.  I don’t think we’re quite ready to give them the nod for Big-10 power yet, but  they certainly looked like a different team with Wells contributing 106 yards on the ground. But it only gets harder for OSU from here.

#12 Georgia (4-1) lost to Alabama (5-0) 41-30 at home. Next week: Bye. The Dawgs coudn’t get anything going the first half offensively, and committed some very costly penalties that led the Bama 1st half romp  Its possible these guys could meet again in the SEC Championship.

#13 Wisconsin (3-1) lost to Michigan (2-2) 27-25 in Ann Arbor. Next week: #8 Ohio State at home.
Yes the Badgers lost, and yes they shouldn’t have.  A silly mental error by a flanker costs Wisconsin the game.  We were impressed that the Badgers never gave up and were able to EASILY go down the field at the end of the game.  This team will be in the hunt.

#14 Auburn (4-1) defeated Tennessee (1-3) 14-12 at home.  Next week: At #18 Vanderbilt (4-0). Auburn didn’t set the house on fire offensively, and certainly Tennessee didnt either In short, this game was all about defense, and Auburn was just a little better, getting a fumble recovery in the end zone that ends up being the winner. Auburn will have to find some offense soon, and probably before next week’s battle with the Commodores.

#15 Florida (3-1) lost to Ole Miss (3-2) 31-30 at home.  Next week: At Arkansas (2-2). Here’s another blunder that certainly cost the Gator dearly in terms of ranking.  Ole Miss shredded Florida for 325 yards and more importantly got 3 fumbles. Florida missed an extra point but managed to get the ball back, but Tebow was sacked  on a 4th and 1 to seal the game for the Rebels.  Its tough sleddin ahead for the Gators.

#16 Fresno State (3-1) defeated UCLA (1-3) 36-31 at UCLA. Next week: Hawaii (1-3) at home. The Bulldogs traded scores back and forth with UCLA but took over the game late in the 3rd quarter.  FSU QB Tom Brandstater was 21/30 for 236 yards and 3 TDs, while RB Ryan Matthews added 166 yards on the ground.

#17 Kansas (3-1) did not play. Next week: At Iowa State (2-2).

#18 Vanderbilt (4-0) did not play. Next week: #12 Auburn (4-1) at home. FYI. Peek at the SEC East and you’ll see an unlikely duo at the top… Vanderbilt and Kentucky!

#19 Utah (5-0) defeated Weber State (3-2) 37-21 at home. Next week: Oregon State at home. The Utes continue to present big offensive output numbers each week.  Against Weber State they had 450 yards of total offense, with the passing game leading the way. Brian Johnson was 18/22 194 yards and 2 TDs. However, the fly in the ointment for Utah- Pass Defense. Weber State QB  Cmeron Higgins was 24/38 for a whopping 303 yards and 3 TDs.  This does not bode well for Utah later on when BYU comes calling.

#20 Boise State (3-0) did not play. Next week: Louisiana Tech (2-1) Wednesday.

#21 Virginia Tech (4-1) defeated Nebraska (4-1) 35-30 at home. Next week: Western Kentucky (2-3) at home. Once Tyrod Taylor was finally installed at QB, the Hokies have definitely been a better team.  THe offense was very balanced and the defense was able to get a fumble and an interception.  Also of note here was that the Hokie defense held the Nebraska ground game to just 55 yards. It gave up 278 in the air tho.

#22 Connecticut (5-0) defeated Louisville (2-2) 26-21 at Louisville. Next week: At North Carolina (3-1). It’s always tough going into Papa John’s Stadium and playing Louisville, but UConn held off a late burst from the Cardnals and won to now lead the Big East along with South Florida. This could have turned out differently however, but the Huskies got 3 turnovers ( 2 INTs and a fumble).  The game ball goes Huskie RB Donald Brown who carried the ball  33 times for 190 yards.

#23 Oklahoma State (4-0) defeated Troy (2-2) 55-24 at home. Next week: Texas A&M (2-2) at home. We welcome OK State this week into the top 25.  They’ve been flirting for a while, so they get their chance after some significant drop outs. The Cowboy racked up 612 yards of total offense against Troy, with QB Zac Robinson throwing for 254 yards and 3 TDs.  OSU also had two rushers, Kendall Hunter and Keith Toston that ran for more than 100 yards.  We’re absolutely positive that Oklahoma State will be a spoiler in the Big-12 this year.

#24 Oregon (4-1) defeated Washington State (1-4) 63-14 at WSU. Next week: At #14 USC (2-1). The Ducks put up over 500 yards of total offense, but if you look at the stats its an odd assortment. Sophomore QB Jeremiah Masoli, a backup backup QB (or something like that) threw for 161 yards and 2 TDs. But no fewer than 8 team members touched the ball to run, accounting for 346 yards. Next week should prove pivotal in the Pac 10, as they travel to USC.

#25 Michigan State (4-1) defeated Indiana (2-2) 42-29 at Indiana. Next week: Iowa (3-2) at home. We had to go looking for a suitable new entry, and looked at the likes of Maryland, Northwestern, Colorado and  perhaps Notre Dame. but we’re sold on the Spartans this week. We can’t remember the last time that MSU could put up total offensive numbers near 500 yards, but that’s what they did behind Senior QB Brian Hoyer who threw for 261 yards and 2 TDs. RB Javon Ringer was no slouch either, rushing a whopping 44 times for 198 yards.

Dropping out of the Top 25: Clemson, Wake Forest, TCU

On the Bubble: Colorado (3-1), Northwestern (5-0), Maryland (4-1), Wake Forest (4-1)

Most Impressive: Alabama, South Florida, Michigan State

Least Impressive: USC, Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin

Composition of the Top 25: Big-12 (6), SEC (6), Big-10 (4), Big East (2), Pac-10 (2), WAC (2), ACC (1)

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