Week three of the college football season was exciting and brought with it a few surprises and unexpected pleasantries, i.e., the blowout loss by BYU and the USC loss to Washington.
There are four new teams in my rankings this week and I also have a new No. 1 team for the first time this season.
I fully expect UF fans to email me and/or post hateful angry comments below.
Get over it, Gator faithful. You know your team did nothing to impress anybody with that measly 10 point win over Kiffin's average Vol team.
Without further ado, I'm about to bring the pain.
I finally dropped UF from No. 1 after their not-so-great performance vs. Tennessee. They finally played a BCS team, and not a very good one, and I was not impressed. Texas gets the slight nod over the Gators this week after mostly containing a highly explosive Texas Tech offense.
See Texas above. Pounding cupcakes, then barely beating an average BCS team will bite you in the ass every time.
Jahvid Best is absolutely my Heisman front-runner until further notice. The Gophers have a decent team, but Best carried the Bears to the road win with 100+ yards and five touchdowns and carried his team to the top three of my ballot.
Running back Mark Ingram and quarterback Greg McElroy have Tide fans sold, that once again, this is their year. I know they beat Va Tech in Week One, but these last two pushover games have shown me very little. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for now, but I'm still not 100 percent sold on these elephants.
No. 5--Penn State
Ho hum, the Nits won their third game of the year vs. their third high school caliber opponent. I really feel when Penn State plays a real team, they are going to crash and burn, but I'll keep them here for now so I can laugh harder when it happens.
The Tigers went out and beat the Washington Huskies in Week One, something USC failed to do, so I moved them up three spots this week even though their last two wins were over Vandy and a directional Louisiana team. I still don't know who to truly believe in from the SEC West...
No. 7--Boise State
The Broncos are 3-0 and look to be the new flavor of the week for the mid-majors after BYU's blowout loss to unranked Florida State. Quarterback Kellen Moore and running backs Jeremy Avery and DJ Harper could all start for many BCS schools. Other than maybe at Tulsa on Oct. 14, Boise State's remaining games are all pretty much guaranteed wins. I don't see them going anywhere from here but up.
The Rebels are 2-0 after drilling Southeastern Louisiana 52-6. Their other win was over Memphis, so this ranking is somewhat a leap of faith at this point, mainly because I'm on the Jevan Snead bandwagon. This Thursday, they play at South Carolina, then at Vanderbilt the following week, and on Oct. 10, they will host No. 3 Alabama. The next two games are very winnable, likely setting up a potential top five showdown with the Tide in three weeks.
No. 9--Ohio State
What a difference a week and more aggressive play-calling make. Albeit it, Tressel wasn't as afraid of making costly mistakes vs. the Rockets as he was against the Trojans. Terrelle Pryor wasn't perfect, but he was very good overall, accounting for over 300 total yards and four touchdowns in just over three quarters. Unless I'm on crack, look for more of the same next week as the Buckeyes open Big Ten play when they will host what seems to be a previously over-valued Illinois team.
After starting outside of the top 25 this preseason, the Bearcats have steadily clawed their way into my top 10. They traveled to Corvalis and came away with a 28-18 victory. That is no easy task to win there. Just ask USC. Brian Kelly can coach and Tony Pike can play quarterback. In fact, Pike is absolutely a (darkhorse) Heisman candidate as of right now. If Cincy keeps winning and if Pike keeps playing this way, the Bearcats and Pike may once again find themselves in a BCS bowl and Pike could be in New York at the Downtown Athletic Club come December.
No. 11--Miami (Fl.)
Hurricane quarterback Jacory Harris just might be better than Robert Griffin and Terrelle Pryor. He hasn't gotten the hype and the headlines until now, but that hasn't stopped him from leading the Canes to two huge wins over then No. 25 FSU and then No. 8 Georgia Tech. The Canes might be back or at least close to being back. Their games the next two weeks will be telltale as they travel to No. 13 Va Tech before hosting No. 12 Oklahoma. Before the season, the experts thought "The U" would be 0-4 to start the season. As it looks right now, 4-0 is a definite possibility.
Freshman QB Landry Jones has made leaps and bounds in his first two career starts. Jones set a Sooners record by tossing six touchdowns in the 45-0 rout of Tulsa on Saturday. OU now has a bye week and an extra week to prepare for their now big-time showdown in Miami vs. the No. 11 Canes in two weeks. This game sure isn't going to be the easy win many thought it would be just a few short weeks ago. It could end up being one of the best games of the year.
The Hokies have bounced back from their Week One loss to Alabama and have found another star running back in Ryan Williams. Nebraska, then No. 15, came to Blacksburg with plans to upset the Hokies, but Va Tech came from behind and held on for a 16-15 win. Next week, surprising No. 11 Miami and rising star Jacory Harris come to town in what could be the game of the week. Don't miss it.
The Cougars had a Week Three bye, but will get back at it this week as they host Taylor Potts and the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Texas Tech hung in for a while vs. Texas Saturday night in Austin, but in the end, Colt McCoy and the Texas "D" were too much. Houston has already pulled the upset of the year over the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Week Two and quarterback Case Keenum is a big reason why Houston is ranked where they are. If they win over the Red Raiders this week, they are almost a lock to go undefeated and should have a great shot at a BCS bowl.
No. 15--Southern California
A lot of people want to make excuses for USC when they lose a game they aren't supposed to against an inferior Pac-10 opponent. I'm not one of those people. Who cares that Barkley didn't play? Corp was already the starter for USC until he was injured just before the start of the season. Others say you can't drop USC below a team they already beat (i.e. Ohio State), to which that I say, tOSU looks to have learned from their mistakes vs. USC and improved over the past week, while USC regressed and looked like they didn't belong on the field vs. Washington. BYU beat Oklahoma head to head, but you'll notice they aren't in the top 25 this week, while OU is. USC may have been questionably better than the Buckeyes last week in the Shoe, but this week, most definitely not.
No. 16--Oklahoma State
Zac Robinson and Dez Bryant showed this week that the Cowboys do belong and that their loss to Houston may have been the result of a letdown and a fluke after their big Week One win over Georgia. Their next two games are against Grambling State and Texas A&M. The Cowboys should win each of those games before a somewhat brutal stretch to close out October when they host Missouri, travel to Waco to face the Baylor Bears, then host the Longhorns on Oct. 31. If their defense plays like it did against Houston, October won't be kind to the Cowpokes and my rankings will ultimately reflect that.
The Frogs jumped a few spots this week after a few upsets, but they still need a signature win to solidify their ranking. That could come this week as they will travel to South Carolina to take on the (2-1) Clemson Tigers. Clemson running back CJ Spiller has been great out of the backfield and as a return man, so for TCU to have a chance to win and hold onto their top 15 ranking, they must contain Spiller and move the ball offensively against a Tiger defense that last week held Boston College to just seven points.
The good news for the Jayhawks (3-0) is they are averaging 42 points per game on offense, led by QB Todd Reesing and running backs Jake Sharp and Toben Opurum. The bad news is we still don't know if they're really any good or not. Nor will we know before Oct. 24, when they host Oklahoma. Their next three games are all extremely winnable, meaning Kansas will likely start 6-0. In their final six, at least five are possible losses. I guess all I can say to Kansas fans is enjoy it while you can.
Nebraska led at halftime and practically the entire second half of the game at Va Tech until when it mattered most. Tyrod Taylor threw the game-winning TD with just 21 seconds left on the clock to shock the Huskers. Nebraska had not one, but two touchdowns taken off the board: one by penalty and one because the receiver fumbled the ball when he hit the ground. It was a valiant effort and Nebraska still hangs in the top 20 on my ballot this week.
I guess I really can't justify putting UM lower than 20 for now, so by default, the Wolverines crack the top 20, even though they still have not beaten anyone good. The lucky win over Notre Dame looks much less impressive when you consider that MSU, who lost to Central Michigan of the MAC last week, gave the game away to Notre Dame in the final minutes over the weekend in South Bend. Michigan fans are getting way carried away and even touting Tater as a Heisman candidate—in 2012 in small print, but still. Right now, he's their hero and savior, and at least 1000 times better than Pryor, McCoy, or Tebow among others—but he will choke when UM finally plays a good team and when he does, then we'll see just how much UM fans really love him.
No. 21--Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech has really disappointed the last two weeks. A close win barely holding on at home vs. Clemson a week ago and now a blowout loss to Miami has the Yellow Jackets out of the top 20 on my ballot. Jonathan Dwyer has underperformed in the last two games and if he and Josh Nesbitt can't get back on track, GT won't be in my top 25 much longer.
Take away QB Chase Daniel, TE Chase Coffman, and WR Jeremy Maclin and what do you have? A Missouri Tigers team that looks almost as good as when those three were still suiting up. This year's Tigers (3-0) are led by QB Blaine Gabbert. Sure, they've beaten up on two weak teams the last two weeks, but they did open the year with a 37-9 beat down of Illinois on a neutral site. The next four games (at Nevada, vs. Nebraska, at Oklahoma State, vs. Texas) will truly measure how good these 2009 Tigers are.
Pitt was my pick to win the Big East, followed by West Virginia, then Cincy. RB Dion Lewis has been outstanding taking over at RB for Shady McCoy. I still believe Pitt could challenge the Bearcats for the conference crown, and fittingly, they play each other in the final game of the season. The Panthers handled the Navy Triple option much better than the Buckeyes did, but that was Week One, when OSU opened with the Midshipmen, and to be fair, Pitt plays NC State next week, not USC, so there's really no reason for them to look ahead.
No. 24--Florida State
I suppose they could prove me wrong, but I still do not like this Seminoles team and I don't think FSU will win more than seven or eight games this year. That being said, they just whipped BYU in Provo and everyone remembers that BYU beat Oklahoma on a "neutral" site, so I have no choice but to move them back onto my ballot, but I trust it won't be for long. (Sorry FSUTampaGuy).
Iowa dropped out of my top 25 after the miracle win when they blocked two FGs vs. Northern Iowa in Week One. The Hawkeyes (3-0) are now back after two wins over BCS teams. Now, Iowa State is a Big 12 doormat, so that win did not sway me and Iowa did not move up last week, but Arizona is a pretty decent team from the Pac-10, so I do now believe Iowa is worthy of of the No. 25 slot. This coming Saturday, the Hawkeyes travel to Happy Valley for a game I am greatly anticipating. Penn State has yet to be tested and I'd love nothing more than to see an instant classic and an Iowa victory. The game is the 8 p.m. Saturday night ABC game—Don't miss it!
BYU, Oregon State, Texas Tech, Utah.
Missouri, Pitt, Florida State, Iowa.
Washington, UCLA, Auburn, North Carolina, BYU, South Florida, Georgia.
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