Week Nine - Top Twenty Five
Will the craziness of this season ever end?
#1 - LSU.
They should probably check the monitor and see if THIS game registered on the seismic scale. The Tigers last second TD pass sealed the deal for the third straight week of an epic SEC clash (actually two this week with UK and UF playing down to the wire). Tiger fans rumbled the very foundation of their hallowed stadium - and with good reason; I believe that very play will catapult the Tigers to no less than a national championship bid.
#2 - Ohio State.
For 56 seconds, I had flashbacks of the January 8th debacle in the desert. As the offense played hot potato with the ball, and Michigan State ran back defensive touchdowns left and right (and were this close --> |... THAT CLOSE, to having a third to run back) - I could hardly watch until Ohio State clinched the game winning first down. This game also proved another thing - if the Buckeyes want to win out, they will have to inevitably rely on the team's defense. The D played a SOLID game against MSU, holding the #1 offensive team in the Big Ten to under 190 yards. The offense might want to improve in a hurry with a trip to Happy Valley this weekend.
#3 - Oklahoma.
Although the Sooners struggled mightily on the road to Iowa State, they keep themselves on course for a national championship bid in the event others fall in front of them. Expect Stoops to whip this team back into shape in no time.
#4 - South Florida.
Despite losing to Rutgers, I'll keep South Florida in my top five. They've played one of the toughest SOS in the country, and though the BCS will surely drop them out of title contention, I think they deserve to be rewarded for their play thus far.
#5 - Boston College.
Get back to me AFTER their visit to Lane Stadium (which will be the first ranked opponent at Virginia Tech I will have missed in three and a half years, sad...).
#6 - Oregon.
That offense is looking better and better. Do we have a new Pac-10 front runner in Dennis Dixon and Co.?
#7 - Arizona State.
Erickson and Crew take on a reeling California at home. Though the Bears have dropped two in a row, this is the Sun Devils first "test"; and the first chance we get to see if these Devils are real...
#8 - Missouri.
There will be no post-loss slide for these Tigers. Mizzou spanked Texas Tech, and absolutely thronged the infamous "Air Raid" aerial assault of Leach and Harrell. With a defense that continues to improve, we could see Mizzou in the Big Twelve title game for a rematch against Oklahoma. This game could be a lot different on a neutral field.
#9 - West Virginia.
They continue to win in wrecking ball fashion. Yawn.
#10 - Florida.
Tebow could very well win the Heisman. Only one thing that worries me about this Florida team - what in the world do they do if Tebow goes down?
#11 - South Carolina.
An upset loss to a semi-decent Vandy team withstanding, the Gamecocks still control their SEC destiny with games over UF and UT remaining. Win out, and they should still play for a conference crown in Atlanta.
#12 - Kentucky.
Woodson continued to play spectacular against the Gators, but UK's defense couldn't get that precious stop when they needed it.
#13 - Virginia Tech.
I'll hold off judgement until the Boston College game.
#14 - Auburn.
High for a 3-loss team, but they've lost to decent competition, nearly beat the SEC's best at home (after doing the same to Florida).
#15 - USC.
Beating Notre Dame 38-0 in other years would be a reason for a significant ranking boost. Too bad it's not one of those years. The Fighting Irish, now 1-7. That is surely going to pull down the Trojan's SOS in the BCS computers which already don't take their Stanford loss lightly as the human polls do.
#16 - Kansas.
Bested Colorado at home to move to 7-0. I certainly predicted this. Now, the road gets just a little tougher, but the Jays could remain undefeated until their finale with Missouri. Should be a barn-burner no matter what.
#17 - Texas.
Overcame a lackluster effort to beat Baylor. The Longhorns host a reeling Nebraska this week, I'm wondering if the Horns can hang 50 on this Husker defense?
#18 - Alabama.
Yes, that was the complete game I was looking for. Absolutely steamrolled Tennessee (bet- Fulmer is now back on the hot seat...) at home, and get a week to rest up before hosting divisional nemesis LSU. Bryant-Denny will be in total anarchy, but watch for the Oxford-like rain of debris and red pumps should the Tide lose.
#19 - Rutgers.
Rekindled hopes of a Big East BCS berth with a thrilling win over front-runners South Florida, but the Scarlet Knights still have a long road ahead.
#20 - Georgia.
The Dawgs had a week off after escaping Vandy to prepare for Tebow and his mighty Gators in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Could bite a Florida team coming off a tough win at Kentucky, and rekindle their own conference title hopes.
#21 - California.
How the mighty hath fallen. 2 conference losses later, not only are the Bear's national title hopes done, but their Pac Ten hopes have taken a significant hit. The Bears are away at Arizona State this weekend, so the damage may not be done yet...
#22 - Hawai'i.
They've just fallen off my radar. There are plenty of teams who are rooting for the Warriors to fall so that they don't steal a BCS bid from a more deserving team. A team who's SOS is LAST in Division-I (Bowl Division) football, and lower than a significant percentage of Division I-AA, should NOT be invited into the BCS.
#23 - Michigan.
Six wins and a slew of other incredible upsets later, and the Wolverines are ranked again. That closing stretch will decide the destiny of this team, @ Michigan State, @ Wisconsin, hosting arch-rival Ohio State.
#24 - Penn State.
Morelli showed poise and methodically drove his Nittany Lions for a score every time Indiana challenged. The Lions host nemesis Ohio State this weekend in what could be a tremendous defensive battle. Expect around 27 points combined.
#25 - Virginia.
The Cavs have quietly put together a seven win streak and thus vaulted themselves into the rankings. Every game they play seemingly comes down to the last second - with a 2 point win over UNC, 5 point win over Georgia Tech, 2 point win at Middle Tennessee, and 1 point wins the last two weeks over both UConn and at Maryland. Say whatever you may, they play it close, and find ways to win.
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