Week 12 Power Poll
It's been quite the year for undefeated squads in college football. This week we saw the power three take control as each team annihilated their opponent leaving absolutely no doubt they continue to belong above the rest of the pack. I see a distinct separation between the top three and the rest of college football, but you never know when any team can slip up nowadays.
It looks like after the top three, there are about three other teams that could challenge at the top, while the next fifteen or so all have the potential to be really good but have lacked consistency this year.
No one is safe in the NCAA as parody is really starting to catch up in the college game as many teams hanging around or even outside the top 25 (Arizona?!?!) look more than able to take down a highly ranked foe any week. Lets take a look at this weeks power teams and what they accomplished:
1. Alabama - I know many people like Texas the way Colt and Shipley have come on recently. But, I honestly believe that Bama (up to this point in the season) has the highest quality wins and has proved week in and week out that nobody wants to mess with Saban, Ingram, and this defense. Oh yeah and it's scary to think Julio Jones isn't even getting the ball much, right?!?!
2. Florida - I don't even enjoy the media's darling, Tim Tebow. However, at least I can admit that he is just a gamer, straight up. Even with last years' playmakers gone, Tebow still finds ways to get it done while the defense is just completely shutting down what the other team is running, regardless of scheme.
3. Texas - Colt, Shipley and company are heating up and making (not that they need it) a lasting impression on the BCS committee right on time. The defense is stifling while the offense seems to be rolling at the expense of cupcakes. Nebraska in the Big 12 championship game should be a great test for either Bama's or Florida's defense in the title game. Beat 'em and you're playing for the big one.
4. TCU - The defense is playing lights out and the offense has been scary good recently. Oh, and beating up on Clemson and Bringham Young earlier in the year is looking pretty good right about now.
5. Boise State - This is based purely off of a thorough win against a really good Oregon squad. But, It helps to have Kellen Moore leading an offense that just seems to be on cruise control right now...even with some close calls against some lightweights (see Louisiana Tech).
6. Georgia Tech - The No. 1 team in a hugely underrated ACC conference is running through teams like Jim Brown used to back in the day. They have more talented running backs than some conferences. The option is working to perfection under Paul Johnson's intellect.
Hint: Get off the tracks when the train is coming through. Also, don't sleep on Demaryius Thomas either, the guy is a beast. They just rolled over and pounded a better than average Duke squad.
This is where I believe it gets a little tricky...
7. Oregon - This team just amazes me every week. Masoli just continues to make enough plays to win while James runs with the speed, power, and quickness reminiscent of the record-setting, vintage Deangelo Williams.
8. Cincinnati - They have enough quarterbacks on this team for a third of the Big East conference. Seriously though, you can bet that Pike and Ginyard are both licking their chops ready to take on the Panther secondary in two weeks. Don't sleep on Illinois this week please!
9. Ohio State - This team has bounced back nicely after that mid season hiccup against Purdue. The defense has picked up the slack the last month and Pryor has shed the early season struggles from his game that plagued the Buckeyes against a couple of those teams.
Technically, OSU is three to four plays away from being undefeated. A potential match against Oregon would pitt one of college football's most prolific offenses against a top shelf, swarming defense.
If you want to argue that Iowa, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh, or Penn State belongs here I will not argue with you. However, lets look at each team. Oklahoma State lost the two big games on their schedule to date. With the state of The Notre Dame football program this year I would argue Pitt doesn't really have one marquee win yet.
Iowa looked average in a loss to Northwestern a couple weeks back. Penn State dropped close ones to the only (relatively) big games on their schedule. As much as I like Joe Paterno, I can't possibly put Penn State ahead of Iowa or Ohio State (teams that have beaten the Nittanay Lions) anyway.
So, the No. 10 team in the nation in NCAA football right now is...
10. Virginia Tech - Here we are with a red hot Virginia Tech team that has three narrow losses to arguably three of the hottest teams in all of college football right now. This squad has struggled on defense giving up too many big plays early in the season but has clamped down as of late with some milder competition.
However, NC State had a legit offense before getting rocked in Lane this past week.
Tyrod Taylor continues to impress as a passer while the emergence of some young receivers like Jarret Boykin and Dyrell Roberts has taken pressure off of Ryan Williams to do it all on offense. His hard nosed yet quick paced running style has opened up the passing lanes for Tyrod's development. No one wants to play VT in the Chick-Filet or Gator Bowl right about now.
11. Iowa - This team just is not the same without Stanzi. Talk about a heartbreaking loss. That guy was the heart and soul of the Hawkeyes. Still, they are in good position for an at-large bid by taking care of a scrappy Minnesota squad to end their season.
12. Pittsburgh - I do not believe this team has played anyone of note outside of a decent Notre Dame team that can't seem to find any resemblance of a defense or make open field tackles. That said, I can't discount the star power on both sides of the ball with Stull and Lewis on FIRE.
Dion Lewis is a monster freshman at running back. He, alongside LaMichael James (Oregon) and Ryan Williams (VT), form what I like to call the power trio also known as the new era freshman studs. Lookout in 2010!
13. Penn State - Penn STate is a tough team to figure out. No one (outside of maybe the Hokies) blows out the cupcakes but drops the big boy games better. They have played a joke schedule outside of a couple Big Ten squads. They have won those games...in convincing fashion. They can't seem to pull out the tough ones.
Until they do, the Nittany Lions belong right here at number 13. On a positive note, I love how that defense is playing and the way CLark is leading this team to close out the season.
14. LSU - Les Miles' boys from the Bayou have nothing to be ashamed about. They have three losses to all teams in the top 25, two of them coming to my top two squads in Alabama and Florida. They dropped a nail biter to Ole Miss by two points.
Had they taken care of business there then we could theoretically say LSU is the thrid best team in the country behind those two powerhouse SEC squads. The team is playing good defense and Jefferson and Lafell team up with Scott to form an above average offense with lots of potential heading in to bowl season to light up a team from a weaker conference. Watch out for this team come late December.
15. UNC - Where would this team be had they not drank the hype koolaide and started the season how they were capable of? Defensively, they have been unreal this last month. They create more turnovers than O'Bama does healthcare problems. Offensively, they have started to come along with Houston taking over the reigns at RB while Yates has been manageable at the helm.
16. Miami - Another team that has played up and down all year long. The Canes are a headache for analysts because (I believe) they play to the level of their competition.
The Oklahoma win looks average right now but the Canes barely dropped one to the tigers earlier in the year and have a huge win at home against red hot Georgia Tech earlier in the year. Jacory Harris must find a way to decrease the turnovers if the Canes hope to get by an underrated and inspired USF team next week.
17. Clemson - C.J. Spiller, C.J. Spiller, C.J. Spiller. Oh yeah, and Kyle has come along okay the past couple games too. But, C.J. Spiller.
18. Oregon State - Another puzzling team to figure out. They have two great wins against Stanford and California yet they struggled against USC, Cincinnati, and Arizona. They have the talent (Jacquizz Rogers) and potential to knock off Oregon in a huge civil war game this weekend. It's make or break time for Oregon State if they want to smell roses!
19. Mississippi - The defense has been underrated all year long not allowing an opponent to score over 20 until LSU this past week...and they had 23. Snead is finally playing how experts expected him to from the start and McClusker is looking like a legit All-SEC back as of late.
20. USC - USC's departures have finally taken the toll we all expected last year! Unreal how people just expect this team to reload year after year. Still a tough bunch to beat, but clearly the losses have shown they're far from invincible. The defense has struggled recently, but watch for Taylor Mays and company to finish strong and close out in a highly sought after bowl game.
On the cusp...
Arizona, Houston, BYU, Stanford, Nebraska, Cal, Utah.