2.3 points allowed per game—against 3 semi-quality opponents. Their offense is playing just as great, and even if Flynn were to get hurt, they have a quality QB waiting in the wings. Going against The Honorable Steve Spurrier should make it a good one this weekend. The way LSU has played thus far, I'd like to think they'd roll, but Spurrier has always kept things interesting in just about all his games (sans the 1995 national title game vs. Nebraska while at Florida...)
Yes, they romped Nebraska. But this is more of a punishment for scheduling a bye week so early. I've only seen them play twice—and the Tigers thrice, thus giving the Tigers the #1 nod. Rushing attack is quite fierce. All in all, typical Trojan team compared to the last couple years.
One of a couple teams breaking in a new star QB who should be in national title contention the next few years. But as much as their offense has been great, OU's defense has been pretty stout too...
After rolling Tennessee 59-20, the Gators could easily be #3. But because Tennessee has struggled on defense all season, I'll keep the Gators at #4. Tebow has shined thus far as a full time starter—is anyone excited for the Florida @ LSU game yet?
#5: West Virginia
They won at Maryland 31-14. I'm not really that impressed. Maryland's QB play was miserable. I did take note, however, at how the 'Neers have finally learned how to tackle. And I wonder why Devine isn't played more often. Did you see what he did in FIVE carries?
They have Longshore, they'll play USC at home, and their defense is starting to gel after a scare at Colorado State. Should continue to get better until that game—and it could be a classic.
#7: Ohio State
Offense clicked against Washington (finally)—but still was messy and mistake prone, and didn't capitilize on opportunities (mainly in the first half). But that defense, led by #33, continued to play stellar. UW's mobile QB Locker was able to move the ball at times, but that was more a display of his talent level than defensive lapse. New Big10 front runner in my book.
31 points to The Citadel, after being tied 21-21 @ halftime, @ home? Ouch. This was after a last minute win @ UNLV. Keep playing like that, and could contain multiple losses when conference play begins. At least Hill stepped up to the plate—could be called on more often as the year progresses.
I don't know what is going on with this team. Could be a sign the team is unraveling with all their off-the-field issues of late. I had high expectations for The Longhorns after McCoy's freshman year, but their offense is not clicking and the defense plays sporadic and shotty at times. Could sustain multiple losses if they do not get it together, especially before the annual Red River Shootout.
#10: Penn State
I would have like to seen them do better at home against Buffalo, but seem like a generally sound team. Is this the season Joe Pa breaks his several year losing streak to Michigan with a visit to The Big House this weekend? Never been a better time than now. I'll be interested to see how the defense performs against Hart.
#11: Boston College
Possibly the new front runner in the ACC (probable is the term actually, with Virginia Tech struggling MIGHTILY on offense). Matt Ryan = incredible so far this year (darkhorse Heisman-er?). Overlooked, however, is their defense. Did you see how they shut down Georgia Tech/Mr. Choice?
42 points in the 2nd quarter against the schedule-filler team last week. I think that equals 6 touchdowns? Ouch.
#13: South Carolina
Spurrier said before the year began that his team was ready to compete for the SEC title. And he was right. He's already got one-up on Georgia; the way Tennessee is playing they could be a cake-walk; and Florida visits this year, not to mention the fits he's given Florida his first two years. The LSU trip does seem a bit daunting, but Florida makes the trip as well, meaning their game could/should/WILL decide the division and who plays for the title, barring some major disaster.
That new QB is playing just fine, and with the rushing tandem Clemson has (though they haven't been used as much as I thought they'd be)—the Tigers should be fine. Showdown with Boston College could determine who's playing for the ACC title, and should be a good one.
Dixon has improved almost three-fold over his old self (especially the last few games of 2006). Oregon is riding high after thrashing Michigan at home, and could springboard off the victory and be a dark-horse in the Pac10.
#16: Texas A&M
Rose a few spots after a near-scare at home with Fresno State. Solid, well balanced team. I don't think they have enough to knock off Oklahoma for the Big12 South, but they could overtake Texas in their regular-season finale for 2nd place. But with the way this year has been so far, who knows.
#17: South Florida
Excellent QB play, and gritty defense. Grind-it out type style of play was reason for victory at Auburn. I'm not sure why the major polls keep them so low; I think they could be a dark-horse in the Big East.
Looked better this week after escaping at Louisiana Tech. The LT game still could cost them a BCS bid...I'm still hestitant to put them this high. Colt Brennan is excellent in the QB spot though—he played hurt and still punished this past week.
You could make a case they need to be placed lower. As great as their offense is, their defense is D-I-S-M-A-L. Two consecutive 40+ point weeks is unacceptable for a team that had conference-national title hopes. They had get their defensive woes in order before conference play, or they'll continue to sustain losses.
There is just something off about this team, but I can't quite say what it is. Maybe it's the QB—Stafford has never quite shined amidst all the high expectations. Or it could be the OL, who's never really given him a chance TO shine.
The Nick Saban effect IS real, and he proved it by excellent playcalling in the Arkansas victory. Pending an upset here or there, it could be a dark-horse in the SEC race. Obviously good enough to cause damage. Is anyone excited about the LSU/Bama matchup yet?
Even in the loss, McFadden shined and continued his bid for the 2007 Heisman. The problem with Arkansas is not with the team—they have the talent—but more with the embattled coach. I think if Nutt doesn't secure another 10 win season, he could be OUT (not to say it's a fair call.) You cannot tell me that being put through the heckling and drama Nutt has, it doesn't affect your team and job performance.
Oh yeah, the Cornhuskers still have work to do. Either that, or the coaching staff needs to learn how to utilize the talent they've brought into Lincoln. I'll let the population decide.
Just because of their offense. They should start to play better defense as the unit gels, or so I hope. The game between them and Nebraska should be a good one—and will decide who plays OU/TX for the Big12.
Curtis Painter—enough said.
Top 25 Watch List
Addendum - Kentucky. When a basketball town goes football.... I don't know how I left them out... could be a ranked team, but they have major tests coming up the next few weeks, so I left them out at least for this week. They should make noise in the SEC this year - especially since the defense is 52 times better than last year. | The Spartans of Michigan, State. Mark Dee has worked wonders. The Pitt game proves it—they would have lost that game in the past. | The Cincy Bearcats. Their defense is as good as last year. I don't think they're good enough to win the Big East, but they could keep a team from WINNING it as they did last year in handing Rutgers its first loss. | Virginia Tech Hokies. They need to get their offense in some kind of order, seriously. | Georgia Tech Ramblin' Wrecks. They still have Choice, and therefore are still a team to be reckoned with.