Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Saturday, November 03, 2007

My College Football Top 25

Just a few weeks to go before the College Football regular season comes to an end, and the BCS picture seems to be coming into some focus. Here's my list of the top 25:


1 (1) - Ohio State (10-0)
The Buckeyes handled Wisconsin without difficulty this week, and faces Illinois at home next week before the season-ending matchup with Michigan that will provide OSU's toughest test of the season. A lot of people (myself included) feel that the Big X is not particularly impressive this season, but that's not going to keep Ohio State out of the National Championship game if they win these last two ballgames.

2 (3) - LSU (8-1)
For much of the night, it looked like Alabama was going to shock the Tigers and end LSU's title hopes, but a late turnover helped LSU get the 41-34 win and keeps the title picture interesting. The strength of the SEC should be enough to get LSU to the National Championship game if they win out, even though their last three games aren't that impressive (Louisiana Tech, at Mississippi, and Arkansas).

3 (5) - Oregon (8-1)
The Ducks picked up a convincing win tonight against Arizona State, and will finish their season at Arizona, at UCLA, and against Oregon State. Unfortunately, fans will likely spend the month of December wondering what would have been had they not suffered that narrow loss to Cal on September 29.

4 (4) - Oklahoma (8-1)
The Sooners have a relatively easy remaining schedule, with games against Baylor, at Texas Tech, and against Oklahoma State. That will be followed with a game against either Kansas or Missouri in the Bix XII Championship. If Oklahoma wins out, that could be enough to get them into the National Title game outright, but I'm guessing that they need a bit of help with a loss from two of the teams ahead of them due to the relative struggles of the Big XII this season.

5 (8) - Kansas (9-0)
Clearly, Nebraska is having a down year -- that's been apparent for most of the season. Nonetheless, no one could have seen today's 76-39 thumping over the Cornhuskers by Kansas coming. By destroying the Huskers, the Jayhawks gained points in a game that they had to be expected to win. Kansas now faces Oklahoma State on the road before returning home for games against Iowa State and Missouri, with the Missouri game almost certainly being for the Big XII North title. I can't believe I'm asking this question, but is it possible that Kansas will legitimately have a chance against Oklahoma if they make it to the Big XII Championship game at 12-0? Suddenly, I'm starting to wonder.

6 (6) - West Virginia (7-1)
The Mountaineers had the week off, and will finish off their season with games against Louisville, at Cincinnati, against UCONN (in what will probably determine the Big East champion), and against Pittsburgh. Amongst the one-loss teams, WVU probably has the least chance of making it to the National Championship, simply because the Big East is still not considered a particularly strong conference, and there will be no chance for the Mountaineers to get a bounce from a conference championship game.

7 (9) - Missouri (8-1)
Missouri has spent much of the season being overshadowed by the performance of neighboring Kansas, but if they can get past Texas A&M and Kansas State (on the road) in the next two weeks, they'll get a chance to sink the Jayhawks on November 24. A win in that game would probably land Missouri a rematch against the Oklahoma Sooners -- the only team so far this season to beat the Tigers.

8 (10) - Virginia Tech (7-2)
The Hokies face Florida State and Miami in the next two weeks before going on the road to face in-state rival Virginia on November 24. The most likely scenario will see UVA and VT both entering that game with 6-1 conference records, with the winner heading to the ACC championship game as the Coastal division representative. If VT wins that game, a rematch with Boston College is likely to ensue -- and while the National Championship is now probably beyond the reach of either Tech or Boston College, a chance to play in a BCS game is still worth fighting for.

9 (11) - USC (7-2)
The Trojans have tough matchups remaining at California, at Arizona State, and against UCLA at home to finish out the season, and will need to win each of those games to finish with the 2nd best record in the Pac-10. A trip to the Rose Bowl is still at least possible if USC can win impressively enough to grab a second BCS slot for the Pac-10 (I'm assuming Oregon will win the conference), but a visit to a less prestigious bowl game may be in the cards for the Trojans this year.

10 (2) - Boston College (8-1)
I struggled a bit with where to put BC this week, and ended up slipping them a couple of spots beneath Virginia Tech despite the fact that BC just beat Tech a couple of weeks ago. Ultimately, my reasoning is that BC narrowly beat Virginia Tech, and just lost to a mediocre Florida State team. The national title dream was fun while it lasted, but BC needs to buckle down and win at Maryland, at Clemson, and home against Miami if they want to at least make the BCS.

11 (7) - Arizona State (8-1)
Oregon is for real, and there's no shame for ASU in losing to the Ducks. I almost kept ASU ahead of BC, but in the end I decided that BC will likely finish the season 11-1, with the Sun Devils likely to lose at least one of their last three games (at UCLA, USC, Arizona). While I don't think ASU was exposed as a fraud or anything like that tonight, they were shown to be less than a National Title contender.

12 (12) - Hawaii (8-0)
The Warriors had the week off, and will now finish off their schedule with games against Fresno State, at Nevada, against Boise State and against Washington. If they actually win out, they should move into the top 8 or so of the BCS -- and that means they have a legitimate shot at playing spoiler this year. Ironically, Boise State (last year's party crashers) are in the best position to stop Hawaii, and I would be legitimately impressed if Hawaii gets a win in that matchup.

13 (13) - Michigan (8-2)
The Wolverines have nearly completed a remarkable comeback from their disastrous first 2 weeks of the season. This weeks close win in Lansing against Michigan State puts Michigan on the verge of a huge showdown with Ohio State for the Big X championship -- but a trip to Wisconsin stands in the way first. Who thought Michigan would have a shot at a BCS berth after the 39-7 loss to Oregon back on September 8?

14 (14) - Texas (8-2)
The Longhorns are just playing out the string after they lost to Kansas State and Oklahoma in back-to-back weeks in late September and early October. Wins against Texas Tech and at Texas A&M in the last two weeks would put Texas at a solid 10-2, but they will almost certainly be kept out of the Big XII championship, and so will end up as nothing more than an also-ran in a solid conference. A BCS berth is a possibility, but a pretty remote one.

15 (15) - Georgia (7-2)
Beating Troy is respectable, especially when it comes a week after winning in Florida. Nonetheless, the Bulldogs will face a much tougher challenge next week when Auburn comes to town. Georgia needs to win that game and the following week against Kentucky along with a Tennessee loss to win the SEC East and a probable matchup with LSU in the SEC championship. They also have a game remaining against Georgia Tech to finish off the regular season.

16 (16) - Connecticut (8-1)
I still don't quite feel the love for the Huskies, but maybe I should -- after all, UCONN has now defeated Lousville, South Florida, and Rutgers in consecutive weeks. Next week's game in Cincinnati won't be easy, but they will then head home for a matchup against relatively punchless Syracuse. The Huskies will finish off the regular season by facing West Virginia on the road in a game that will almost certainly be for the Big East championship.

17 (17) - Florida (6-3)
The Gators have just one game left against the SEC, at South Carolina against the Ole' Ball Coach next week. After that, games against Florida Atlantic and Florida State will finish off the schedule. While all three of those games should end in W's, there's no question that a 9-3 season will be a disappointment to fans who have become accustomed to championships over the past year and a half.

18 (18) - Auburn (7-3)
The Tigers have a rough last two games on the schedule, with a trip to Georgia and a home battle with Alabama left. A win earlier this season over Florida proved that Auburn can win on any given Saturday, but losses to South Florida and Mississippi State show that they don't always bring it. For a team as inconsistent as this, two losses and a 7-5 record is probably the most likely scenario -- although I think the Alabama game will be very winnable for Auburn at home.

19 (19) - Boise State (8-1)
The Broncos, darlings of last year's Bowl Season, may be at it again. Games at Utah State and home against Idaho won't do much to boost Boise State's profile, but a season ender in Hawaii on November 23 could be just what the doctor ordered to get an 11-1 Boise State squad awfully close to a BCS berth.

20 (NR) - Tennessee (6-3)
I keep moving Tennessee on and off the board, but looking again at their schedule I think they're legitimately a top 20 team. This season, the Volunteers' losses have come at Cal, at Florida, and at Alabama -- and none of those environments are exactly friendly. Games against Arkansas, Vanderbilt, and at Kentucky will give Tennessee a chance to re-establish themselves in the SEC, and with an October 6 win over Georgia under their belt, Tennessee need only win out to get a chance to play for the SEC Championship. Talk about a team playing under the radar -- they've received absolutely no consideration on the national level this seasno after starting off 1-2; I think they're a legitimate threat to win the SEC East, however, and you never know what could happen in one game against LSU.

21 (23) - BYU (6-2)
I stated my reasons for putting BYU in my top 25 a couple of weeks ago, and I'm not changing my mind now. If the Cougars win out against TCU, at Wyoming, Utah, and at San Diego State, then they'll be a legitimately solid 10-2 and deserving a ranking in, let's say, the top 16. This is by no means a great team, but they're a solid non-BCS conference contender, and as long as they continue to win, I'll continue to back them.

22 (24) - Clemson (7-2)
I really liked Clemson early this season, and I'm glad to see them sitting at 7-2 with a chance to win the ACC Atlantic division. Next week, Clemson will need to tough it out against Wake Forest for a chance to go into their showdown against Boston College with a 5-2 conference record -- at that point, beating the Eagles would give Clemson a ticket to the ACC Championship. The regular season will end at South Carolina on November 24 -- but that game won't have nearly the ramifications of the BC game on November 17.

23 (25) - Virginia (8-2)
How do the Cavaliers continue to escape with one point wins? This week, the victim was Wake Forest -- the third team to suffer a one-point loss to UVA this season. Next week, Virginia will travel to Miami to face a down-trodden Hurricanes team, but all eyes are likely already focused on a November 24 battle against Virginia Tech that will probably determine the winner of the ACC Coastal division.

24 (NR) - Cincinnati (7-2)
The Bearcats went into South Florida and picked up a 38-33 win today, but the next two weeks will see UCONN and West Virginia roll into the Queen City, with losses quite a bit more likely than wins. At least the season ends against Syracuse, making at least 8 wins a virtual lock. For a Cincinnati club that hasn't had a good football team in my memory, that's quite an accomplishment.

25 (NR) - Penn State (7-3)
Penn State responded to the drubbing placed on them at the hands of Ohio State last week by getting a solid win against Purdue to finish up the Happy Valley portion of their schedule. Trips to Temple and Michigan State will finish off the season for the Nittany Lions, and two victories should be on tap. While 9-3 is nothing to be ashamed of, it has to frustrate Joe Paterno that close games at Michigan and at Illinois didn't turn out the other way.



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