Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Saturday, November 17, 2007

My College Football Top 25

I'm jazzed for next week, when we'll find out the identity of the players who will be playing for the ACC, SEC, and Big XII Conference titles, along with some solid information about the Big East and Pac-10. As interesting as next week's games will be, though, this week had an awful lot of interesting football as well. How about Hawaii's last minute field goal to beat Nevada? Or Oregon and Oklahoma going down? Or Tennessee staying alive in the SEC (barely) against Vandy? It was a great three days of football, starting on Thursday night. Here are my rankings following the week's action:


1 (1) - LSU (10-1)

All that lies between LSU and a trip to the SEC championship game is a mediocre Arkansas team. LSU remains the best team in the country, and should beat the Razorbacks and either Georgia or Tennessee to get the national championship game. My guess is they'll beat whoever they face there as well, and should be the 2007 National Champion when things come to rest.

2 (4) - Kansas (11-0)
It's time to respect the Jayhawks. They still have their two toughest games of the season on tap, but going 11-0 for the first time in the 108 year history of the school is quite an accomplishment in its own right. Kansas avoided a meltdown against Iowa State, and now hosts Missouri for a chance to go to the Big XII Championship game. If they win those two games to finish 13-0, there's no question that they will be in the national championship game.

3 (5) - Missouri (10-1)
Oklahoma will be looking to beat Kansas next weekend to go to the Big XII Championship game, which likely would lead to a rematch with Oklahoma. They haven't gotten as much attention as Kansas or Oklahoma this season, but they're almost as great a story as the Jayhawks, and are very much alive in the national title picture.

4 (6) - Ohio State (11-1)
Ohio State's season is finished, and while I normally think it's harmful for Big Ten teams to finish so early and not have a championship game, this season I think the Buckeyes should be pretty happy to be where they're at. Ohio State has a reasonable chance to get to the national championship if Oklahoma or Texas wins the Big XII, although if West Virginia and Arizona State win out, things will get very, very interesting.

5 (7) - West Virginia (9-1)
The Mountaineers still have a little bit of work to do, with home games against UCONN and Pitt on tap. WVU is unquestionably better than both of those teams, and doesn't have to worry about looking ahead to a championship game. Pat White needs to avoid the turnovers that have started turning up over the last couple of games, but if he does West Virginia will have a very good chance to play in the National Championhip.

6 (8) - Virginia Tech (9-2)
This coming weekend will essentially see the Hokies playing a playoff game against Virginia for the chance to play in the ACC Championship game against Boston College. Tech is the best of those three teams, and should come out of the mini-round-robin on top, with the ACC's BCS berth in hand.

7 (3) - Oklahoma (9-2)
The Sooners lost to Texas Tech last night largely because their defense simply could not contain the high-flying Red Raiders offense. Yes, they lost their starting QB to a concussion -- but while that made it more difficult to come back at the end, the bottom line is that the defense just didn't get the job done. I still think that they're the best team in the Big XII, but they'll have to prove that on the field. They can't get caught looking ahead to the Big XII Championship, though -- if they lose to Oklahoma State this weekend, and Texas beats A&M, the Longhorns will be playing for a BCS berth the weekend after.

8 (9) - USC (8-2)
The Trojans are suddenly in an excellent position to win the Pac-10 and claim a trip to the Rose Bowl. Oregon holds the tiebreaker over USC, but as I mention below, the odds are very good that the Ducks will lose again this season. If USC gets the job done against Arizona State and UCLA in the last two weeks, therefore, they will probably win the Pac-10 and claim a BCS slot. Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that a two-loss team could win the Pac-10?

9 (10) - Arizona State (9-1)
Bottom line: I don't think ASU is as good as USC. They have the advantage of hosting the Trojans this week, so that will provide as good a chance as any to prove me wrong. A win over USC would vault the Sun Devils into the nationl title discussion -- but I would be very surprised if it happened. Incidentally, ASU is the team that will be affected most by Dennis Dixon's season-ending injury and Oregon's likely fall from grace (other than Oregon, of course) -- if ASU's only loss on the season had come at the hands of a two-loss Oregon squad, they'd have a very, very strong claim for a spot in the title picture.

10 (11) - Georgia (9-2)
Georgia took out a tough Kentucky squad this week, and now will face Georgia Tech for a chance to pick up a 10th win. This team has put together a very good season, but an early October loss to Tennessee leaves the Bulldogs at the mercy of the Kentucky team that they just beat -- if Kentucky beats Tennessee next weekend, Georgia will face LSU in the SEC Championship. If the Volunteers win, Georgia will be left in the cold despite being a top 10 team. Of course, there's always the possibility of getting an at-large BCS berth -- and if they finish 10-2, I think they'll be in the BCS one way or the other.

11 (12) - Hawaii (10-0)
Yes, they needed a late field goal to beat Nevada. However, they were playing on the road and were essentially without their Heisman candidate QB. Bottom line: They won the game. Now, they face Boise State and Washington at home -- if they come out unscathed, they have a very good chance to finish in the top 10, depending on ho losses in the next couple of weeks.

12 (13) - Texas (9-2)
The Longhorns are still playing for a chance to go to the Big XII title, despite having been an afterthought since losing to Oklahoma earlier this season. If Texas beats Texas A&M in College Station this weekend, and if Oklahoma State pulls off an upset of the Sooners, UT will get their chance.

13 (2) - Oregon (8-2)
Why the 13 ranking? Three words: Dennis Dixon Done. With Dixon out of the season, the Ducks simply are nowhere near as good a team. They will probably beat either UCLA or Oregon State -- but I strongly suspect that they'll lose at least one of those games. I still think that an Oregon team led by Dixon is the second best team in the country behind LSU -- but that team no longer exists.

14 (14) - Florida (8-3)
The Gators finish up with Florida State. Not much else to say -- they should end up 9-3 and make a solid Bowl Game, but they won't be in the BCS. That has to be considered a bit of a disappointment for a school that's dominated college athletics for the past 18 months.

15 (16) - Virginia (9-2)
The goal for the Cavaliers is simple: Beat arch-rival Va Tech to get to the ACC Championship, and then wallop Boston College to get to the BCS. Possible? Yes. Likely? Decidedly not. The 48-0 pounding of Miami last weekend was nice, but it doesn't change the fact that most of Virginia's wins this season have been decidedly uninspiring. I don't see them beating VTU, even at home.

16 (19) - Illinois (9-3)
The season is over, and Illinois knows they'll be going to a decent bowl game. In fact, they should be a popular choice and will probably end up with a trip to the Capital One Bowl as the Big Ten's #2 team.

17 (18) - Boise State (10-1)
Last year's Cinderella faces this year's wannabe Cinderella when Boise State travels to Hawaii this week. Boise State isn't exactly playing just to be a spoiler, however; if they win and finish 11-1, they have an outside shot of picking up a BCS berth for the second straight year, if things fall the right way (i.e. if Boise State was ranked 16th or higher in the BCS and ahead of a conference champion). I'd say that's motivation.

18 (22) - Boston College (9-2)
I have to say tht I believed BC would continue their slide against Clemson, but they came up with a come from behind win and clinched a berth in the ACC Championship. A rematch with Virginia Tech is likely, and probably won't end as well for the Eagles as it did the last time around. The last piece of regular season business for BC will be against Miami this week -- and it's worth watching just to see if BC can beat Miami to leave the 'Canes at 5-7 and Bowl Ineligible.

19 (17) - Tennessee (8-3)
The Volunteers won this week, and I still moved them down two spots from where I had them. Look, a 25-24 win over Vanderbilt just isn't that impressive -- and BC and Boise State both deserved to be ahead of the Volunteers. Tennessee can make it to the SEC Championship if they can pick up a win this weekend in Kentucky. Who would have thought that would happen, as bad as they looked early this season?

20 (20) - BYU (8-2)
Winning in Wyoming isn't exactly the equivalent of beating LSU in Baton Rouge, but it's still a nice win for the Cougars. With games left against Utah and at San Diego State, BYU has a chance to finish at a solid 10-2.

21 (25) - Connecticut (9-2)
I'm not going to go all gaga over a win against Syracuse, but it did get UCONN to a solid 9-2 with a game left against West Virginia. They're probably going to lose that game -- but if they somehow pull off a win, they'll claim the Big East title and a BCS berth. As with many things this season, that was simply unforeseeable when the season started off.

22 (24) - Wisconsin (9-3)
Wisconsin and Illinois finished with identical records, but I think Illinois will be more desirable to the Big Ten's bowl tie-ins. A solid but unremarkable season for the Badgers will therefore probably result in a trip to the Outback Bowl -- unless the bowl organizers decide they'd rather take Michigan.

23 (15) - Clemson (8-3)
I wish Clemson could win big games, but more often than not they seem to choke. Last night's game with Boston College was fun to watch, but heart-breaking for the Tigers. Now, they're on the outside of the ACC Championship picture, and will probably end up in either the Gator Bowl or the Champs Sports Bowl.

24 (NR) - UCF (8-3)
Yes, that UCF. The Golden Knights losses this season came against Texas, South Florida, and (less impressively) at Eastern Carolina. They beat a solid Tulsa squad that I considered putting in the rankings (I also considered Air Force and Utah), and have solid wins over pretty much everyone else they've played. South Florida also sits at 8-3, and with the win over UCF I should probably put them in this spot -- but for this week, I wanted to give UCF some love instead.

25 (NR) - Texas Tech (8-4)
The Red Raiders season is over, and it ended with a bang. Yes, Tech is in this spot in my rankings because they just beat Oklahoma. Nonetheless, if they weren't an 8 win team I wouldn't even have considered it. Bottom line, Tech has had a solid season and is deserving some love for at least a week. Will I keep them around next week? Depends on what the other teams in the rankings, and the other teams under consideration (such as South Florida) do as the season ends. For now, I'd give them my vote.



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