College Football Week Three Picks and Final Ranking Predictions
Week two was highlighted by a close USC-Ohio State game. The weird part is, I am more inclined to improve Ohio State's final ranking than USC's based on the game. The Trojans appear beatable, and the Buckeyes looked a lot better than they did against Navy.
Read on to see what the top 10 will look like on January 8, after the national champion has been crowned and the final rankings are unveiled.
No. 1: Florida
Now that the game against the Gators is only a few days away, Lane Kiffin is starting to backtrack on the comments he made in the offseason. Too late, coach—if you thought losing to UCLA was bad, to quote Bachman Turner Overdrive, "You ain't seen nothing yet."
Florida beat Charleston Southern 62-3 and Troy 56-6. The score this week won't look a lot different.
No. 2: Alabama
If you've read my first two weeks of predictions, you will know I had Penn State in this slot. I wrote that they would play Florida for the national title, but I have failed to realize that the team that loses the title game doesn't always finish second.
I still believe the Nittany Lions run the regular season table and make the title game, but they will lose badly to Florida. A more talented, more heavily tested Alabama team will win in an at-large BCS game and finish at No. 2.
'Bama plays North Texas this weekend; I don't think they have much to worry about.
No. 3: Penn State
The Nittany Lions have been solid the first two weeks, but not impressive.
I do continue to stand by my prediction they will run the table. Playing at Michigan looks like it may be a greater challenge than people thought a week ago, but I would take Joe Pa's defense over Weis' all day. I also expect senior Darryl Clark to step up in big situations.
The Lions play another softy this week, Temple.
No. 4: Texas
Hopefully you can hang on despite this picture to read a couple sentences on the Longhorns.
Suddenly, Texas' schedule is starting to look slightly easier with losses by Oklahoma State, and the uncertainties surrounding Sam Bradford and the Sooners. I may have Mack Brown's boys sneaking up this poll in a few weeks.
Texas plays Texas Tech this week. No Crabtree...no last-second problems for the Longhorns. Colt McCoy and Co. get the win.
No. 5: Cal
This is the most telling pick in my new top 10.
It has very little to do with what I have, or haven't, seen from the Bears. It's more what I've seen from USC (a much closer game than I expected against the Buckeyes), and what I'm starting to see regarding Boise State (the Oregon win isn't that impressive anymore, but the Broncos' schedule is).
I like the Bears, a lot. But they haven't played anyone yet. I still see this being the year the Bears finally go to the Rose Bowl and USC slips out of Pasadena for a bowl game.
Cal plays at Minnesota this week, their first quiz of the season. The Bears pass with flying colors.
No. 6: USC
Who else here thought the USC/ESPN "Lean on Me" story was pretty cool the first time they saw it...a week ago.
Then they replayed it every...single...day?
Come on ESPN, get a grip, do some real reporting. Do your job.
Okay, I could fill a whole website on ESPN's inadequacies, on to USC.
The Trojans were less than impressive against OSU, and were quite frankly lucky to win. They still have a ton of talent at nearly every position, but they seem to have a quarterback battle looming...that's never good.
USC will lose at least 2 games this season.
The Trojans play at Washington this week, and the game could go a long way to defining both teams' seasons. It's going to be more interesting than the experts expect.
No. 7: Ole Miss
I'm not sold on these guys yet, but they have a relatively easy SEC schedule, if such a thing exists.
We'll find out more about them on Oct. 10 when Alabama comes to Oxford. A couple losses on the season and a Cotton or Peach Bowl win could make them a top 10 team.
The Rebs play Southeastern Louisiana (who?) this week.
No. 8: Michigan
Maybe I'm crazy, maybe I'm not. Maybe I'm giving Notre Dame too much credit...maybe I'm not.
I really like this Tate Forcier kid, and he makes a huge difference in Rich Rod's offense.
Remember Rodriguez's first season at WVU (3-8), and then his second (9-4). Michigan plays Penn State and Ohio State at home, who says they don't beat one of them, too (I'm predicting Ohio State since I have Penn State in the title game).
We'll see how things shake out in the next few weeks, but I see my top 10 changing a little bit after OK State's loss, Oklahoma struggling, Boise's schedule looking tougher to me then it did, and Notre Dame losing.
Michigan plays Eastern Michigan this week: Nothing too crazy should happen in this one. Maybe it's close for a quarter or two.
No. 9: Virginia Tech
An ACC team will finish in the top 10.
The Hokies are my token ACC top 10 finisher this week. Miami is looking good right now, and I could also peg Georgia Tech here, but the Hokies get Miami in Blacksburg.
I also think the tandem of Williams and Wilson in Virginia Tech's backfield will draw comparisons to Suggs and Jones by season's end, if it isn't already in Blacksburg.
Virginia Tech's game this weekend against Nebraska will go a long way to solidifying, or denying, them a spot in my weekly rankings.
No. 10: Boise State
Boise's big drop in my polls is based on Oregon's struggling against Purdue, and a closer look at their schedule. I think they lose a game in the next five weeks when they play four games on the road, including three against Fresno State, Bowling Green, and Tulsa—which are not bad teams.
I think the Broncos lose one of those and win a bowl game. They deserve to make the top 10 with one loss.
On The Verge
A lot of fans probably think I'm nuts when they read my top 10, and I think Buckeye fans are at the head of that group.
The only legit reason I can give for the Buckeyes finishing outside the top 10 is that they play at Penn State and Michigan. If they lose one, or both, of those and their bowl game, I see them outside the top 10.
Terrell Pryor can lead OSU out of trouble, and to several victories, but for some reason I just don't think it's the Buckeyes' year.
Others on the Verge: Oklahoma, Miami, LSU, Georgia Tech, UNC, TCU, BYU, Houston, and Cincinnati.