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Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dropped out: Fresno State.

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

Most Impressive: USC, Missouri, Penn State.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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