My College Top 25
RANK - LAST WEEK - TEAM - RECORD
1 (1) - LSU - (5-0)
The Tigers really struggled up until halftime, when they adjusted to whatever it was that Tulane was throwing at 'em. The end result, however, was a blowout win -- and that's good enough for me to continue ranking them at the top of my poll. Next week brings a big battle against Florida -- and the Gators are going to be awfully hungry to prove themselves, so things should be awfully interesting.
2 (2) - USC - (4-0)
USC got all they could handle this week against Washington, but came out with a three point win and easily held on to the #2 spot in this poll. The Trojans don't have a real challenge now until October 27 when they face off against Oregon, so they should be 7-0 heading into that weekend.
3 (5) - California - (5-0)
It's awfully hard to argue against the Bears in this position. They solidly beat Tennessee in week one, survived easy matches against Colorado State, Louisiana Tech, and Arizona, and then this week beat Oregon on the road in a grudge match. What's not to like?
4 (7) - Ohio State - (5-0)
Ohio State didn't exactly have a tough opponent this week, as all they had to do was beat the Gophers. Beat them they did, however, and by a tidy 30-7 score. Next week they face Purdue in a battle of undefeateds, and we'll find out for the first time whether the Buckeyes are for real.
5 (10) - Wisconsin - (5-0)
Wisconsin's wins so far thais season had been cheap and much too close, but this week the Badgers faced a solid Michigan State team and came out with a three point win. Considering all of the chaos that happened above them in the polls, that's good enough (for now) to put them in my top 5 -- but honestly, I don't consider them a top 5 team and expect them to be falling soon. Heck, maybe even as early as next week against an upstart Illinois squad.
6 (9) - Boston College - (5-0)
Don't get me wrong -- I like the Eagles. I could not, however, keep them ahead of the Badgers when Wisconsin won a tough game against a good team and the Eagles struggled for most of the game against UMass. With Clemson's loss, though, BC is looking more and more like a team that could find themselves winning the ACC. I attribute most of the struggles today to looking past UMass -- but they need to avoid doing that next week against Bowling Green.
7 (17) - South Florida - (4-0)
I thought long and hard about how high to move the Bulls after Friday night's win over West Virginia, and in the end I decided that wins over Auburn (who just beat Florida), North Carolina (who played Virginia Tech tough) and WVU (a team that was favored to win the Big East coming into the season) was enough to justify jumping them 10 spots, especially in light of all of the losses that accumulated today. The Bulls now have a great chance to run the table on the schedule -- an October 18 meeting at Rutgers is probably the biggest obstacle left -- and could find themselves in a BCS Bowl just 11 years after starting up a football team. Unbelievable!
8 (3) - Oklahoma - (4-1)
The first of this week's losers to land on my poll. The Sooners blew out their first four opponents, but none of those teams were very good. This week, however, Oklahoma faced Colorado on the road and lost on a last second field goal. I think the loss can be explained by two things, however -- (1) the natural high that a team like Colorado gets when playing a tough team, and (2) Oklahoma looking forward to next week's matchup with Texas. The Sooners are better than they played today, and could still find themselves in the national title picture if things fell the right way.
9 (19) - Kentucky - (5-0)
Okay, I give up arguing against the Wildcats. They pounded a decent Florida Atlantic team today 45-17, and are looking more and more like a team that could play spoiler in the SEC. Unfortunately, starting next week they have to play at South Carolina, against LSU, and against Florida, so this ranking is probably going to be extremely short lived.
10 (6) - Florida - (4-1)
The Gators looked great in the first 3 weeks, and then stumbled a bit last week at Mississippi, winning by just 6 points. That probably should have been a warning sign that this week's matchup with Auburn would be tougher than it looked on paper, and indeed the Gators couldn't get it done this week. That could very well mean that Florida's not actually all that good, but I think it just means that Florida has been spending all season looking forward to next week's matchup with LSU. Things don't get much easier after that game, as Florida stays on the road against Kentucky and Georgia in games that will show once and for all just how good the Gators really are.
11 (4) - West Virginia - (4-1)
Hey, South Florida's not bad. The Mountaineers now know that better than anyone, after losing to the Bulls two years in a row. Thing is, WVU isn't really that bad either, and should find themselves in a position to win the Big East if USF struggles later on this season.
12 (14) - South Carolina - (4-1)
The "other" USC faces off against Kentucky next week after getting back on the right track by beating Mississippi State this week. Steve Spurrier should lead his Gamecocks to a win at home against the Wildcats, and USC will then have winnable games against UNC, Vandy, Tennessee, and Arkansas before facing Florida on November 10. This team is by no means out of the SEC title picture -- but they have to take care of business next week for that to happen.
13 (15) - Virginia Tech - (4-1)
Unimpressive 17-10 victory over UNC this week normally wouldn't have been enough to move Virginia Tech up in the polls, but all the craziness helped out the Hokies. Next week's matchup with Clemson lost a little bit of luster after the Tigers lost, but it remains a crucial game in the battle for the ACC.
14 (12) - Oregon - (4-1)
Oregon lost tonight, but did so by just a touchdown against a team that I think is 3rd best in the country right now. As a result, they deserve not to fall too hard. They should be able to regain their footing in the next two weeks against Washington State and Washington before heading into the October 27 game with USC.
15 (16) - Hawaii - (5-0)
I like Hawaii quite a bit, but how much of a bump can you give a team (even in a week like this) for beating Idaho?
16 (18) - Georgia - (4-1)
I have a feeling that this ranking is criminally low, but I'd like Alabama to prove to me that they deserve a higher ranking. In my gut, they're probably a top 10 team -- but how they handle playing at Tennessee next week and at Vandy the week after heading into an October 27 matchup with Florida will be telling -- they're 1-1 against good teams, with a 4 point loss and a 3 point win. How good are they, really?
17 (22) - Purdue - (5-0)
So, the Boilermakers just beat Notre Dame -- I guess that's something. Of course, Notre Dame is . . . well . . . horrible. Next week, the Boilermakers host the Buckeyes -- and somehow I don't think that's going to be nearly as fun for fans in West Lafayette.
18 (20) - Nebraska - (4-1)
Nebraska was nearly embarrassed by Ball State last week, but this week they were never in trouble against Iowa State. With so many teams losing, that's good enough to earn them a bump up to two spots before they face off against Missouri next week.
19 (NR) - Kansas State - (3-1)
Coming into this week, the Wildcats hadn't done much to earn consideration as a top 25 team -- they lost to Auburn before beating San Jose State and Missouri State. After a rout of Texas on the road, however, and after Auburn proved that they were a reasonably good team by beating Florida, it was time for some re-evaluation. Kansas State now has to be considered a strong contender for the Big XII North title.
20 (8) - Texas - (4-1)
The Longhorns couldn't possibly be ranked above the team that just clobbered them, could they? That's just not my style -- not that week, anyway. Texas is still a good team, but they need to redeem themselves after a very poor performance against K-State this week.
21 (13) - Clemson - (4-1)
I still like the Tigers, but they looked punch-drunk against Georgia Tech this week and now have to host Virginia Tech next week. A win would put them right back in the ACC title picture, but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.
22 (NR) - Arizona State - (5-0)
ASU hasn't really played anyone very good, but most of their wins have at least been by impressive margins. The Sun Devils have a chance to be 7-0 when they go into an October 27 meeting with California as they begin a brutal four week stretch that also will have them facing Oregon, UCLA, and USC.
23 (NR) - Cincinnati - (5-0)
The Bearcats? Who would have figured? Like ASU, Cincy hasn't played anyone noteworthy yet, but their wins have been even better than ASU's have been. Next week, Cincy plays at Rutgers -- and they have to like their chances after the Scarlet Knights choked against Maryland. Could Cincy challenge South Florida for the Big East championship? Unlikely, but this season, you never know . . .
24 (NR) - UCLA - (4-1)
The Bruins were pummeled a couple of weeks ago against Utah and fell out of the polls -- but their wins have been by large margins and it looks an awful lot like they just completely lapsed against the Utes. Next week, they have a very winnable game at home against Notre Dame, before getting a week off and facing Cal on October 20. I don't expect them to beat the Golden Bears, but they should be a top 25 team when the game rolls around.
25 (23) - Michigan State - (4-1)
They just lost, but they lost to Wisconsin on the road and I still think they look pretty good. Certainly, they still look like a top 25 team. Games against Northwestern and Indiana should get the Spartans to 6-1 by the time they face Ohio State on October 20.
Rutgers for a loss against Maryland and not having any good wins under their belt; Alabama and Penn State for two straight losses; Michigan for looking so-so against a very bad Northwestern team.
Labels: College Football Rankings