The Ohio Bobcats are 6-0 and became the first eligible bowl team on Saturday. It’s hard to believe that we are coming down to the half-way point in the season already, but it’s great because we are finding out more and more each week who the elites, scrubs, and everyone else in between are. Nah Nah Nah Nah Boo Boo, I was right about LSU Who. Okay, enough pettiness, let’s get to this weeks rankings.
25 Texas A & M Aggies (4-1) This is me coping out since they play Louisiana Tech this week. Northwestern and Texas Tech both proved me wrong by putting them in the rankings. The #25 spot in the rankings is just a formality, saying, “nice job, you aren’t completely worthless, but we’ll see how good you can really be.” We’ll find that out this weekend.
24 Louisiana Tech (5-0) What in the world is going on with Louisiana Tech’s offense? They can run. They can pass. They can do everything on offense as one of the most explosive units in the country right now and they are sitting at 5-0. I dropped Texas A & M to #25 in the rankings this week in favor of Louisiana Tech simply because they play this weekend and I can make a real judgment after that game is played. Yes Louisiana Tech doesn’t play defense, but it’s practically like they are the poor man’s West Virginia or Oregon. If you score 50 you can win by 3. Tech has done that very well so far. Lots will be learned Saturday.
23 Baylor Bears (3-1) A 3-2 Michigan Wolverines team got back into the top 25 this week after exposing Purdue. Baylor and Ohio get left out, even though the Bobcats sit at 6-0 and Baylor sits at 3-1 with its only loss coming to what is proving to be a true Big 12 title contender in West Virginia and that show starring Geno Smith. Baylor has a nice Quarterback in Nick Florence who has shown good leadership after RGIII left for the NFL and their offense has been potent. A big part of Florence’s success has been the fact that Terrance Williams has emerged as a candidate for the NFL with his receiving numbers so far. Baylor may not play defense very well, but they are playing at a high level. Insert comment about how tough its schedule is coming up here.
22 Ohio Bobcats (6-0)The Bobcats are one of only 3 teams that are bowl eligible at 6-0, excluding the Buckeyes who can’t be. It’s not that Ohio has been overly impressive by slaughtering opponents like is expected of the Boise State’s of the world every
year, but Ohio sits at undefeated and in a great position to take a MAC title. With a nice victory over Penn State in week 1, which is actually proving to be just that, Ohio has been able to propel themselves to the next level on the wheels of JR RB Beau Blankenship. Ohio has what appears to be the inside track in the conference with no Toledo and no Northern Illinois on the slate going forward. If they can get past Kent State the final week they should be sitting pretty with a nice shot at a MAC title.
21 Stanford Cardinal (4-1) Stanford was suspect last week after losing to Washington, and even more so now after taking overtime to beat Rich Rodriguez’s Arizona Wildcats at home. Arizona is much improved, but for them to have Stanford on the ropes like they did on Saturday, it would take a mad man to put Stanford in the top 20. Or the Associated Press. All will be forgotten if they can rally this week and pull off the upset of Notre Dame in South Bend, but if they roll over in that game, Stanford is in danger of extreme disappointment after a huge victory against USC earlier in the season.
20 Cincinnati Bearcats (4-0) Here’s the first time the Bearcats have had any recognition to me this year because they haven’t played a world beater schedule by any means. Extremely impressive win Saturday against Miami(OH) puts them in a good spot to start 5-0 with a game against Fordham coming up this week. Things get tougher after that with a good Toledo team, Louisville, Temple, and Rutgers all on the way, but Cincy is in a nice spot to get used to winning. That is what Brian Kelly preached before he decided that he was not different than all the other slime ball coaches a few years back. Nothing on offense jumps off the paper at you with Cincinnati, but the defense has been smothering and they could surprise a lot of teams with that.
19 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (5-0) I spoke highly of Rutgers defense last week. I’ll reiterate those points yet again. Yes, UConn is one of the worst in the land at scoring offense, but Rutgers did a nice job yet again. They have had issue getting stops on 3rd down, but that comes with confidence and they will continue to grow and get better. Still my favorite to win the Big East and with Cincy and Louisville both on the schedule they will have as good a shot as anybody to claim that title.
18 Mississippi State Bulldogs (5-0) They won’t lose. Rough start out against Kentucky, but the Bulldogs righted the ship and now they take an undefeated mark into the game against Rocky Top who is coming off the heart-breaking loss against Georgia and a bye week. The defense that has been solid for Miss St. will be tested heavily by Tyler Bray and Tennessee and it should be a hard fought SEC battle in Mississippi. At this stage in the season, they are the most mysterious team of them all because they sit at 5-0, in the SEC, but they haven’t played a tough schedule really. The Auburn win would look nice if Auburn wasn’t so terrible. The jury is out, but should be giving us a verdict on Mississippi State soon.
17 Louisville Cardinals (5-0) No tie this week for Louisville. They had a bye so there isn’t much to be said about this team that hasn’t already been beat to death. They are a team who wins, but doesn’t win convincingly. Each of its next 4 games come against formidable conference opponents and if the Cardinals can come away with a 9-0 tick or even an 8-1 mark, then it’s safe to say that we can be sold on them.
16 Oklahoma Sooners (3-1) So much for that intense Texas Tech defense eh? 380 yards of total offense, with Landry Jones having a field day. The Sooners proved against Tech two things. The first of those things being that Oklahoma can respond after a loss in a redemption game. The second is that Texas Tech’s defense could have very well of been a fluke in the first few games. Oklahoma has an opportunity to make a nice big jump Saturday by beating Texas, but there’s a lot of work to be done still in Norman. That being said, don’t count these Sooners out yet. This whole losing thing doesn’t bode well for Bob Stoops and company and they could continue to respond very well to it as they did last week.
15 LSU Tigers (4-1) Things aren’t good in Baton Rouge for LSU. Losing in Gainesville is acceptable because Florida is a very strong opponent. Turning the ball over 3 times and not being able to hold on to the ball for more than 23 minutes is not acceptable. LSU is built around defense and creating opportunities with its defense. I never though I’d actually be the one saying this, but the Tigers miss Tyrann Mathieu and maybe even more so Morris Claiborne. The defense is still very good as it has been, but Florida came into this game banged up and still managed to dominate LSU. The score may not indicate it, but LSU’s offense is horrendous. I’m not sure what anybody sees in Zach Mettenberger, but all I see if a mistake-ridden QB who can’t figure out which team he’s actually on. LSU is not very good and I am calling for them to get taken for a ride this weekend against an emerging South Carolina team. LSU may need that victory more than any team in the land needs one this weekend.
14 Florida State Seminoles (5-1) The Seminoles have an awesome Quarterback in EJ Manuel. I am always perplexed when the “experts” pick FSU to end up in the National Title game or running away with the ACC. Florida State, Georgia, Clemson, and South Carolina are 4 programs that are all ranked in the top 15 this week that ar notorious for collapsing mid-season or later. Florida State was the first to do just that with Georgia close behind them. The loss to NC State is not the worst loss in the world because the Wolfpack are indeed a decent team. Just decent though, and that does not bode well for a Seminoles team that many had playing in the ship game come seasons end. Florida State simply got out-played in the loss Saturday and they will look to bounce back big time against a very poor Boston College team. Still a lot of season to be played, and they cannot let the early conference loss dictate how the rest of the year goes.
13 Georgia Bulldogs (5-1) Say what you will about South Carolina blowing Georgia out. South Carolina is not NC State and the game was at South Carolina after Georgia was reeling from a near-loss against Tennessee. The Bulldogs got down early after some nifty passing and a fumble recovery for a TD. After acquiring a 21 point deficit on the road, Georgia rolled over. There’s a lot of work to do for Mark Richt, but I think it was much more indicative of how good SC is rather than how poor UGA is. Georgia gets a much needed bye week coming up then when should be an easy one with Kentucky afterwards to get prepped and healthy for the Florida game on October 27th.
12 Oregon State Beavers (4-0) The Beavers sit at 4-0 and are in an incredible spot to start out 7-0 going into Stanford. If the Beavers can continue to win they have a nice schedule with USC not being present and the Oregon game not being in Autzen. Nobody really counted the Beavers in at the beginning of the season and even after victories over UCLA and Wisconsin there is still skepticism surrounding this squad. Oregon State has been able to pass the ball very well this year with a great receiving core in Wheaton and Cooks and the ball being delivered by Sophomore Sean Mannion. Mannion is having knee surgery, so it looks like he will miss extensive time if not the remainder of the year. Junior QB Cody Vaz will take over the reigns. The running game is still attempting to find an identity, but if they can, this offense can be as high powered as any with Mannion. The mistakes will continue with youngsters all over the place, but the are green and growing and have a favorable schedule.
11 USC Trojans (4-1) Lane Kiffin is not a very good coach. There isn’t a real good reason I can come up with other thanthat for why USC hasn’t been more convincing this year. USC was much more impressive going into the season than Florida State seemed to me. Matt Barkley was your preseason Heisman favorite. They had one of the best RB’s in the country jump ship from Penn State to go out West to USC in Silas Redd. Marqise Lee could quite possibly be the best WR in the country, but the defense has had a tough time keeping lesser opponents out of the endzone. This team is all about the talent overcoming Lane Kiffin and the coaching staff will be the X factor. They still get Oregon, UCLA, and Notre Dame so the ship can be righted, but right now they’ve got issues in the South Beach. That being said, they moved up in the rankings here because everyone else was horrific.
10 Clemson Tigers (5-1) Florida State beat Clemson. I will continue to say that if that game had been at Death Valley, I think Clemson wins. I usually hate when polls put the loser of a game slightly ahead of the winner, but by default Clemson ends up here. The Tigers have as potent an offensive attack as anybody in the land and it’s been explained over and over again, so I won’t go into those details here. Clemson has an incredible opportunity to win the ACC now that Florida State dropped a game. If the Tigers can win out in conference play and FSU trips up again the Tigers will be right there. Luckily we are going to see some incredible match-ups in the final week with Clemson facing off agains the Gamecocks and The Seminoles playing the Gators in the inter-state rivalry game. Exciting stuff.
9 Texas Longhorns (4-1) Texas is for real. I was concerned that Texas would end up giving up 60+ points to Geno Smith and that insane offense of West Virginia and getting slaughtered. They gave up 48 points and 460 yards, but Texas remained consistent with its play-calling and the offense was able to score, keeping the game close. David Ash continues to prove that he can be a top-tier QB, and Freshman RB Johnathon Gray emerged as a nice asset in the back-field again. Texas is right there in the top of the Big 12 and although they dropped the West Virginia game, it’s not out of the question for the Mountaineers to lose once if not twice going forward and UT could be able to take full advantage. Big rivalry game this weekend against OU, where men should be separated from boys in the Big 12. A win against the Sooners would be followed by 5 winnable games before getting the Wildcats in Manhattan.
8 Kansas State Wildcats (5-0) Colin Klein can win big games with his arm and his legs. In Speaking with The Manhattan Mercury’s K-State beat reporter Joshua Kinder this week, he said that he has never seen a more capable football player at this level. He’s good. The Kansas game may have been a state rivalry, but it’s been more than lopsided lately and K-State handled it well, getting up early, and taking control in the second half. Things start to heat up for K-State with a trip to Jack Trice in Ames this week to take on an up and coming Cyclone team, then they get to travel to Morgantown and take on the Mountaineers. Niether of those games are easy outs with the Cyclones building confidence more and more each week and West Virginia clearly coming to contend for not only a conference title, but a National Title. They play offense and they play defense. Kansas State has as good a chance as anybody to win the Big 12, but the gauntlet continues.
7 Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0) The Ineligible Buckeyes are the best team in the B1G. I’m going to take this opportunity to criticize the system. Ohio State should not be where they are right now. It’s preposterous that a school can get banned and actually end up in a better position. Ohio State very well could be and probably will be ranked in the top 5 next season going in and it’s ridiculous. The sheer fact that because they were suspended and were able to hire Urban Meyer who got to go on the recruiting trail while the Bucks finished the season with silly errand boy Luke Fickell. It’s ridiculous. Regardless of how stupid I think it is, I have to deal with it, so I will. Ohio State is the best team in the B1G until proven otherwise, being the only team with no losses and big wins over Michigan State and Nebraska already. This isn’t the year for Ohio State, which is convenient for the Bucks.
6 West Virginia Mountaineers (5-0) I dropped WVU down a couple spots in the rankings this week. They had a very nice win over Texas, but the teams that I have jumping them were even more impressive. West Virginia is exceptional and I don’t need to keep repeating how good Geno Smith is, but they don’t play defense. They’ve played some great offensive teams, yes, but right now West Virginia has to drop because so often a team like this ends up with a stain on their record that could have been avoided. Usually for teams like this it’s called Boise State. The Mountaineers have that gauntlet schedule in conference play, but if they can come out of it unscathed The Mountaineer in the corner will be looking at more than just Lee Corso from across the room.
5 Florida Gators (5-0) The Gators may very well be the best team in the SEC not named Crimson Tide. I’ve been saying it all year that LSU isn’t very good, but all kidding aside, Florida looked chippy and just plain good on Saturday. The AP Polls have Florida jumping up 6 spots just for beating a skeptical LSU team. That’s what name clout means in College Football. Florida jumped 4 teams that also got wins this week over quality opponents. Heck, South Carolina embarrassed Georgia, yet Florida jumped them. Nice work AP Poll. Florida was impressive and they are a realistic SEC contender, but come one!
4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-0) I understand it’s a horribly reckless decision to put Notre Dame in the top 5, but how can a 41-3 win over a pretty good Miami team on top of being 5-0 against a handful of BCS conference teams. Notre Dame may very well have the best defense in the land outside of Alabama and the Irish can put points on the board. Brian Kelly is still a slime ball after the way he left Cincinnati and everything, but it’s hard for me not to be completely sold on Notre Dame at this point. Huge game coming up this week against Stanford for Notre Dame to really separate themselves from the pack. Early prediction in that match-up. Notre Dame at home, big.
3 South Carolina Gamecocks (6-0) South Carolina is always a risky team to put in the top 3 and even the top 10, but they haven’t been less impressive than any of the teams I have below them. The blow-out embarrassment that was the Georgia game proved to me that South Carolina’s offense and defense are both for real. Game one, South Carolina had a tough go of it against Vanderbilt in week one, but got a victory and has developed into an exceptional team. If the Gamecocks can come out victorious in Baton Rouge and Gainesville over the next 2 weeks they could actually have the clout to hop Alabama in a lot of the polls. It’s a tough task for South Carolina with Clemson in the final week of the year, but if SC can go undefeated and end up in the SEC championship game it’s not completely out of the question to see two SEC teams in the championship game again. Unfortunately LSU will probably beat South Carolina Saturday and I will be forced to move them back. Maybe not, only time will tell.
2 Oregon Ducks (5-0) Nothing changes in the top 2 this week, and why would it? Oregon got out to an early lead and never looked back. They tend to do that. Ducks are damn good.
1 Alabam Crimson Tide (5-0) Roll Tide until proven otherwise.
It’s all going to flip upside down over the next few weeks. Incredible match-ups in all the conferences around the league and I’m excited. You should be too. Do it.