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Posts Tagged ‘West Virginia’

As expected, week 13 had earth shattering effects on the BCS and the bowl post season.

Texas Tech proved to be a not-ready-for-primetime player as they were completely dominated by a truly National Title contender Oklahoma. Utah and Penn State both dominated their opponents also, assuring their presence in the BCS season.

The way it sits right now, it surely looks like the BCS ranking will MORE than determine the teams to the National Championship.  There are for all practical purposes, 4 teams in play according to the BCS: Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, and Florida.  With the final regular season week coming up,  you’d think thats what it would all be about.  But there are a few more teams that might have a say in it.

Just this week, Oklahoma must get by Oklahoma State in Stillwater, which historically has been a real bloodbath for OU. Texas must get by Texas A&M, which any other year would be a toss up. Let’s not forget that Alabama plays Auburn this week also, which again, you can throw the records of the two teams out. Finally Florida hosts a very much improved Florida State, which could easily throw a wrench in the works.

Any slip ups of these could dash national title hopes.

Example:  If Oklahoma were to lose to Oklahoma State, Texas Tech would move on to the Big-12 Championship (at #7) and play Missouri (at #13), the winner of which goes to a BCS bowl. Not to mention the fact that OU would drop in the standings.

Let’s assume that all four teams do their job and win. It now puts the choice of not only the national title teams in the hands of the BCS, but also the Big-12 Championship.  That’s right. Currently Texas and OU are separated by 0.0084 in the standings. So if both teams win against their opponents, Oklahoma would most likely get the nod to move up because they would be playing a ranked team (#12 Oklahoma State).  It seems just a little bit tacky that all this doesn’t get settled on the field, but thats the way the Big-12 rules read for tiebreakers.  Even though, officially, Texas, TTU, and OU would be co-champions.

We’re not done.  Let’s say after this week, its Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas and Florida in the BCS. We now move into Championship week. We now need to look at what possibly could happen as a result of the Big-12 and SEC Championships.  there are only 4 possible results of the two games, and as such each has its corresponding effect on the BCS:

Alabama and Oklahoma Win:  This would be the easy scenario.  They would play for the National Title.

Alabama and Missouri Win:  Possible BCS result?  Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, Florida? Alabama-Texas for the National Title.

Florida and Oklahoma Win:  Would this result in Oklahoma, Florida, Texas, Alabama?? Probably.  That gets us OU-Florida.

Florida and Missouri Win:  Easy.. that gets you Florida – Texas.

Well enough of hypothesizing.  Let’s take a look at OUR new rankings:

#1 Alabama (11-0). Did not play. Next week: Auburn (5-6) at home. Bama still must take care of business this Saturday against an underachieving Auburn to make their date with Florida in the SEC Championship a National Title Qualifier game.  All bets are off with this rivalry!

#2 Florida (10-1). Defeated The Citadel (4-8) 70-19 at home. Next week: #20 Florida State at home. As predicted this was no contest. Tim Tebow, who may now be the leading Heisman candidate, threw for 201 yards and three TDs.  The Gator offense generated over 700 yards of offense, 394 yards of it on the ground. RB Chris Rainey had  142 yards on 7 carries while Emanuel Moody had 13 carries and 116 yards.

#3 Texas (10-1). Did not play. Next week: Texas A&M (4-7)  at home. We give the benefit of the doubt here to Texas above Oklahoma, seeing that they beat OU soundly earlier in the year. Depending on the next two games, this could change.

#4 Oklahoma (10-1). Defeated #7 Texas Tech (10-1) 65-21 in Norman. Next week: #11 Oklahoma State (9-2) in Stillwater. There certainly was no doubt of the better team in Normal this past week end, as the OU rushing attack exposed a not-so-improved Texas Tech defense.  Add with this the fact that the Raiders couldm’t execute on offense, it added up to a complete domination by the Sooners. OU QB Sam Bradford was 14/19 for 304 yards while RB DeMarco Murray ran for 125 yards and two TDs

#5 USC (9-1) Did not play. Next week: Notre Dame (6-5) at home. The Trojans fate is in the hands of Oregon State, even if they win out. If Oregon State beats Oregon this weekend, USC will go to the Fiesta Bowl probably against either Texas or OU (whoever doesnt go to the national title).

#6 Penn State (11-1) Defeated  #20 Michigan State 49-18 at home. Next week: Idle. If there was any doubt about who should win the Big-10, it was laid to rest in Happy Valley.  The PSU defense throttled Javon Ringer and harassed Brian Hoyer all night long, while QB Daryll Clark threw for 341 yards and 4 TDs. Yeah that ought do it.  Rose Bowl bound!

#7 Texas Tech (10-1) Lost to #4 Oklahoma (10-1) 65-21. Next week: Baylor (4-7). See above.  The Red Raiders are on their way, most likely, to the Cotton Bowl against Mississippi unless Oklahoma loses. Then who knows.

#8 Utah (12-0) Defeated #17 Brigham Young (10-2) 48-24 at home. Next week: Idle. The Utes came to play on Saturday and play they did. QB Brian Johnson was 30/36 for 303 and four TDs, while the Utah defense sparked 6 Cougar turnovers. Ouch!  Utah is probably on the way to the Sugar Bowl against the loser of the SEC Championship.

#9 Ohio State (10-2) defeated Michigan (3-9) 42-7 at home. Next week: Idle. It used to be you could always count on a great game between these two, even if one or the other was having an off year. This, however was no contest and was almost like a controlled scrimmage.  Beanie Wells had 134 yards rushing to pace the 434 total offensive yards for the Buckeyes. Next stop, perhaps the Capital One Bowl vs Georgia.

#10 Boise State (11-0) defeated Nevada (6-5) 41-34 at Nevada. Next week: Fresno State (7-4) at home. The broncos needed the whole game to get the victory as a last minute hail mary was batted down. The star of the game was BSU’s Austin Pettis who had 9 receptions for 126 yards and 2 TDs. QB Kellen Moore threw for 414 yards. You gotta feel for the Broncos, probably an undefeated season, and no better than the Humanitarian Bowl agianst maybe a Maryland or Wake Forest team with 3 losses.

#11 Oklahoma State (9-2) did not play. Next week: #4 Oklahoma (10-1) at home. The whole world’s watching this battle next week, because the ramifications could be profound.

#12 Missouri (9-2) did not play. Next week: Kansas (6-5) at Arrohead Stadium. The traditional end to the season is a bit of a moot point.  Missouri is going to the Big-12 Championship against well, either OU or Texas Tech depending on the OU-Oklahoma State game.

#13 Georgia (9-2) did not play. Next week: #22 Georgia Tech (8-3) at home. The Bulldogs look like prime candidates for the Capital One Bowl probably against Ohio State.

#14 TCU (10-2) defeated Air Force (8-4) 44-10 at home. Next week: Idle. The Horned Frogs held Air Force to just seven first downs and 161 yards of total offense, whilethey amassed 504 yards of total offense in the rout. TCU will probably get a bid to the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl possibly against Arizona.

#15 Ball State (11-0) defeated Central Michigan (8-3) 31-24 at C. Mich. Next week: Western Michigan (9-2) at home (Tuesday). It’s an early week season finale for the Cardinals against Western Michigan, coming off their come from behind win over Central Michigan. MiQuale Lewis was the leader of the Cards in this game rushing for 177 yards.  A victory over Western Michigan sends Ball State to the MAC Championship against Buffalo.

#16 Cincinnati (9-2) defeated #25 Pittsburgh (7-3) 28-21 at home. Next week: Syracuse (3-8) at home. Despite all adversity this year, the Bearcats find themselves one win away from a BCS bowl game. Their home victory over Pittsburgh puts them a game up on West Virginia, who they defeated earlier this year. QB Tony Pike threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns.

#17 Brigham Young (10-2) Lost to #8 Utah (12-0) 48-24 at Utah. Next week: Idle. See above.  The Cougars are likely headed to the Armed Forces or Poinsettia Bowl.

#18 Oregon State (8-3) defeated Arizona (6-5) 19-17 at Arizona. Next week: #19 Oregon (8-3) at home. The Beavers needed a last second, literally, field goal to beat Arizona, and to keep their dream season alive.  Justin Kahut’s 24-yard field goal won the game and allowed him to get redemption after missing an earlier extra point that would have tied the game. OSU needs only to beat Oregon next week to get an invitation to the Rose Bowl against #6 Penn State. Hmm #18 vs #6 or #5 vs #6. We wonder who the Rose Bowl is rooting for?

#19 Oregon (8-3) did not play. Next week: At #18 Oregon State (8-3). See above.

#20 Florida State (8-3) defeated Maryland 37-3 at Maryland. Next week: At #2 Florida (10-1). The Seminoles’ offense had almost 12 minutes more possession time, which allowed the defense to hold Maryland to 252 yards of total offense. Maryland turned the ball over 4 times, which usually spells defeat for most teams. A loss by FSU this weekend against Florida opens the door for Boston College to win the ACC Atlantic if they can beat Maryland.

#21 Michigan State (9-3) Lost to #6 Penn State (11-1) 49-18 at State College, PA. Next Week: Idle. See above.  The Spartans are probably looking at an Outback Bowl appearance against South Carolina.

#22 Boston College (8-3) defeated Wake Forest (6-5) 24-21 at Wake. Next Week: Maryland (7-4) at home. DeLeon Gause picked off Christian Ponder in the end zone in the fourth quarter with BC leading 24-17 which sealed the game late for the Golden Eagles. Montel Harris rushed 25 times for 121 yards and a touchdown, while the defense picked Chris Ponder off 3 times. BC needs to beat Maryland next week for the ACC Atlantic title.

#23 Georgia Tech (8-3) defeated Miami (7-4) 41-23 at home. Next week: At Georgia (9-2). Just when we thought Miami was the thing, up pops the GT offense for 518 yards and puts the Hurricanes in their place. The Jackets rushed for 472 yards in the game, the most that Miami has ever allowed. Even though GT is done, they must wait for the winner of the Virginia-Virginia Tech game to see their fate.  A win by VT gets them to the ACC Championship, otherwise the Jackets go.

#24 Northwestern (9-3) did not play. Next week: Idle. Northwestern had a most successful year, and is most likely on their way to the Alamo Bowl (probably against Oklahoma State).

#25 West Virginia (7-3) defeated Louisville (5-6) 35-21 at Louisville. Next week: At Pittsburgh (7-3). QB Pat White was a one man army, rushing for 200 yards on 21 carries amd three touchdowns. He also threw for another 122 and 2 touchdowns.  West Virginia still has a bowl shot but its a long one, as Cincinnati would need to lose to Syracuse, and the Mountaineers would need to beat both Pittsburgh and South Florida.

WORTH NOTING: The Abilene Christian Wildcats beat West Texas A&M 93-68 in Division II qualifying play.  Yes folks, thats a football score. ACU running back Bernard Scott ran for 292 yards while Quarterback Billy Malone threw over 400 yards in the record setting event (47 records were surpassed at the NCAA D1 and D2 levels). The Wildcats generated 810 yards of offense. Next up for ACU is NW Missouri State who ACU defeated earlier in the season 44-27.

Dropping out: Miami, Maryland

On the bubble: Mississippi, Iowa

Most Impressive: Oklahoma, Penn State, Utah, Florida State

Least Impressive: Texas Tech

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

BCS Bowl Projections:

National Title:  Florida  v.  Oklahoma

Rose Bowl: Oregon State  v. Penn State

Sugar Bowl:  Utah v. Alabama

Orange Bowl:  Cincinnati v. Florida State

Fiesta Bowl: USC v. Texas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the Bubble: Florida State, Kansas, Minnesota.

Most Impressive:  Texas Tech, Florida.

Least Impressive: Missouri, Georgia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dropped out: Fresno State.

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

Most Impressive: USC, Missouri, Penn State.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dropped from the Top 25: South Carolina.

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

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

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

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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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