College Football 2012: Most Impressive Teams in Week 7

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIDecember 23, 2014

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 06:  Manti Te'o #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish calls defensive signals against the Miami Hurricanes at Soldier Field on October 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Notre Dame defeated Miami 41-3.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Another shakeup in college football was inevitable in Week 7, but there were some shockingly impressive showings amongst the Top 25 in Saturday's action.

With the new AP poll just released, here is a look at the programs in the rankings that made the loudest statements—including one new addition that was particularly spectacular.


No. 5 Notre Dame

It was a pretty ugly game, but the Fighting Irish sloshed their way to a 20-13 victory over the Stanford Cardinal thanks to a phenomenal goal-line stand. Stepfan Taylor was stoned on two consecutive plays from the 1-yard line, sealing the win for Notre Dame.

Once again coming in to relieve starter Everett Golson, Irish QB Tommy Rees keyed the game-winning drive. He completed all four of his passes for 43 yards and a seven-yard TD to junior wideout T.J. Jones.

The Irish defense continues to show it is one of the best in the country. Cardinal QB Josh Nunes was coming off a career outing against Arizona, but threw for just 125 yards and two picks.

Notre Dame All-American linebacker Manti Te'o should warrant even more consideration for the Heisman Trophy, keying the defense and bringing the program back to legitimate national relevance.


No. 6 LSU

A crushing loss to the Florida Gators in the Swamp didn't discourage the Tigers for very long, as they took down the No. 3-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks, 23-21, at home in Tiger Stadium.

Thirteen unanswered fourth-quarter points and a clutch interception by Eric Reid keyed the rally, as the raw Zach Mettenberger limited his mistakes more than Gamecocks QB Connor Shaw.

True freshman running back Jeremy Hill had a coming-out party in this SEC showdown, carrying it 17 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns, including the decisive 50-yard scamper in the fourth.

Head coach Les Miles has his team back in the national championship conversation, although a tough road test at Texas A&M looms. Still, the opportunity to grab the SEC West division lead remains, which would happen with a victory next week and a subsequent upset of current No. 1 Alabama.


No. 10 Oklahoma Sooners

The Red River Rivalry wasn't even a contest, as the Sooners jumped out to a 36-2 halftime lead and didn't look back against its bitter rival Texas. The 63-21 victory was even more lopsided than the final score indicates, as Oklahoma pulled its defensive starters late in the game.

Suddenly, the Sooners look like an underrated team sitting just inside the Top 10. Their only loss was a very tight 24-19 home contest against fourth-ranked Kansas State, and they have one of the most balanced offenses in the nation.

Damien Williams ran for 167 yards, highlighted by a 95-yard touchdown to break it open early on the Longhorns, whose defense continued to look hapless.

Last year, Bob Stoops' team crushed Texas 55-17, and this was arguably even more dominant. The Sooners have a great opportunity in two weeks to hand Notre Dame its first loss of the season.


No. 18 Texas Tech

Talk about a shocker.

Clear Heisman front-runner Geno Smith kept his streak of zero interceptions alive, but the West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback didn't have an outstanding game up to his standards.

To say the same for his defense would be the understatement of the college football season thus far.

Red Raiders counterpart Seth Doege lit up the West Virginia defense, throwing for just under 500 yards and six touchdowns in a stunning 49-14 romp at home.

After only receiving two points in the previous poll, Texas Tech has vaulted into the 18th spot thanks to a phenomenal game from its senior signal-caller. The defense also recovered extremely well after getting lit up for 41 points the previous week against Oklahoma.

This was the most shocking, dominant upset by a previously unranked team in recent memory, and the Red Raiders are proving they have built a complete team around their traditionally explosive spread passing attack.