College Football Week 4: Previewing Every Matchup Featuring Top 25 Teams
As September draws to a close, the top five teams have continued to deliver punishment to the guys on their schedule. Alabama and Ohio State look to be on a collision course for Arizona. This would be good…except for the fact that the Big XII and Boise State are objecting to the thought of Mark Ingram battling Terrelle Pryor for the National Championship. And there's a new sleeper waiting in the winds for their moment in the spotlight.
Let's not forget that this week, there's a SEC team at the top and bottom of the Top 10...with a trifecta of Big XII Powerhouses, a pair of Ultimate Underdogs and a M. Night Shyamalan Plot Twist team in the middle.
And with a slew of good games on tap for this weekend, what more can you ask for?
Top 25 Breakdown
SEC: 6 Teams (Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, South Carolina, LSU, Auburn)
Big Ten: 6 Teams (Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Penn State, Michigan State)
Pac-10: 5 Teams (Oregon, Arizona, Stanford, USC, Oregon State)
Mountain West: 2 Teams (TCU & Utah)
WAC, Big East, ACC all tied with 1
No. 1) Alabama Crimson Tide (SEC West)
#1) Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0. 0-0 SEC)
Last Week: W vs. Duke 62-13
Up Next: @ Arkansas
The Crimson Tide have dominated every team they’ve faced this season. And with Mark Ingram back in the saddle following successful knee surgery, Nick Saban is on track to win his second NC with the Tide and his third in the SEC this decade. Who can blame him? Ingram gained 100 yards last weekend…in the first quarter!!! So who can truly stop the Crimson Tide?
How about Arkansas? The Hogs are getting back to those dominant days of yesteryear, and after shocking Georgia last weekend, they look to have the tools to give Alabama the fight of their lives. In all honesty, Alabama most likely will win this game…but don’t be surprised if Arkansas delivers a wake up call to Alabama that they will not win the division or the conference that easily.
No. 2) Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten)
#2) Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Last Week: W vs. Ohio 43-7
Up Next: vs. Eastern Michigan
Ah, the Buckeyes. My brother in Arizona would love for the next trip his beloved Buckeyes make to Arizona to end with a National Championship. Ohio State rolled over Ohio last weekend and stalled Miami two weeks before. It’s clear that if indeed this is the last time that an outright champion will be crowned in the Big Ten, Ohio State wants it to be them. So what is on tap for them this weekend?
A visit from Eastern Michigan, who on paper doesn’t look that dangerous in regards to the Buckeyes. For Ohio State, this is all about padding their stock when Big Ten play begins next weekend. And with Michigan playing like the team of old, and Iowa showing vulnerability early, is this the year Ohio State finally rights their ship?
No. 3) Boise State Broncos (WAC)
#3) Boise State Broncos (3-0, 0-0 WAC)
Last Week: W vs. Wyoming 51-6
Up Next: vs. #24 Oregon State
The Broncos have been ranked third all season…and as much as they like their spot, they want more. They would rather be ranked second, but since the season has just started, they will settle for the moment. After dispatching the somber Cowboys early and often, Boise State now eyes another trap game. Yes, I called it. Despite the Broncos being at home and having the crowd on their side, this is still a trap game. Now why is that?
Because the team facing Boise State is the same team that has played spoiler for several years. Dubbed the Pac-10 Underdogs after shocking USC, Oregon State now finds themselves in a tricky situation. Venturing out of their comfort zone of Cornwallis, the Beavers have a chance to decimate Boise State’s BCS hopes in a flash. And no one can say that Oregon State doesn’t have a chance in this game. With that being said, win or lose, this game will be extremely entertaining for all. It won’t be a blowout like Boise State’s previous three games.
No. 4) TCU Horned Frogs (Mountain West)
#4) TCU Horned Frogs (3-0, 0-0 MWC)
Last Week: W vs. Baylor 45-10
Up Next: @ Southern Methodist University
The Frogs are bitter. Their horns are shooting up through the sky. And there is only one team they truly want to take down: Boise State. The Frogs owned the Big XII’s punching bag last weekend, and they continue their Texas Beatdown when they battle SMU this weekend. Unfortunately for them, no matter how good they are, their conference still suffers somewhat until those very same Broncos arrive next season.
After SMU is dealt with, the Frogs start their quest for another perfect season as they travel to Fort Collins to entertain the winless and hopeless Colorado State Rams. After a trifecta of home battles (including BYU and Air Force), the Frogs slug it out with Utah in their final trap game of the season. Sure San Diego State and New Mexico follow this game…but does anyone see them holding a candle to them.
No. 5) Oregon Ducks (Pac-10)
#5 Oregon Ducks (3-0, 0-0 Pac-10)
Last Week: W vs. Portland State 69-0
Up Next: @ Arizona State
The Ducks without question have the tools and the motivation to lay claim to the Pac-10 Championship, which could possibly be the final one before there is a championship game put in place. But the biggest thing to remember is that the Ducks have scored at least 60 points in each of their three games this season. Now they have one last warm up before the real season begins for them.
Arizona State gave Wisconsin a fight. And now they look to slow down the high octane Oregon offense. The bonus for the Ducks is that their beloved mascot will not have to do a truckload of pushups until next weekend’s epic showdown. Following this battle with the Devils, the Ducks have one of the best games to open October in recent memory when they lock horns with the Stanford Cardinal. Following a game with Washington State and a visit from UCLA, Oregon travels to LA to bitch slap Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans (that’s my pick for that week).
No. 6) Nebraska Huskers (Big XII)
#6) Nebraska Huskers (3-0, 0-0 Big XII)
Last Week: W vs. Washington 56-21
Up Next: vs. South Dakota State
The role of the Florida Gators will be played by Nebraska this season. Let’s make it simple for you: Tim Tebow sent his magic sprinting powers to a young man named Taylor Martinez, and Taylor showed his appreciation by running all over Jake Locker and the Washington Huskies. In the end, Martinez has become the reincarnation of the great Tebow…and he’s only a freshman!!
This weekend, Nebraska entertains South Dakota State, and this game won’t be painful for them. It will just be a warmup for their conference opener in Manhattan against Kansas State before returning home to battle the surprising Texas Longhorns. Either way, expect more of Martinez, and expect the Huskers to be in the thick of the Big XII Title picture by mid-October…and I am betting the Big Ten is frothing at the mouth. Is the Big XII banging their heads against the brick wall yet?
No. 7) Texas Longhorns (Big XII)
#7) Texas Longhorns (3-0, 1-0 Big XII)
Last Week: W vs. Texas Tech 24-14
Up Next: vs. UCLA
I had my doubts about Texas in the beginning. But the Horns proved that they are not going to rest on “close but no cigar” after last year’s National Championship Game. And they proved that by defeating rival Texas Tech in Lubbock, despite Garrett Gilbert handing the Raiders three big chances to regain the momentum, the lead and the win.
Now that Texas has gotten their feet wet in regards to the final Big XII Conference with Nebraska and Colorado in it, they get UCLA from the Pac-10. Following that, they get a double dose of reality as they will battle Oklahoma in Dallas and travel to Lincoln to face the Huskers. In all honesty, their schedule looks pretty playable…but will it be enough to get them into the show in Arizona? Oklahoma could be a light fight for the Horns, but they will have an aneurysm when they meet Taylor Martinez and the Huskers the week after.
No. 8) Oklahoma Sooners (Big XII)
#8) Oklahoma Sooners (3-0, 0-0 Big XII)
Last Week: W vs. Air Force 27-24
Up Next: @ Cincinnati
The Sooners are confusing me…as well as many others. Their first week, they barely took out Utah State. Two weeks ago, they destroyed Florida State without even breaking a sweat. Then last weekend they escape once again with a win over Air Force, the nation’s leading rushing team. So who will show up this week? I guess when you’re facing a team like the one coming up this weekend, you can afford to be a little sloppy.
Now we come to Cincinnati. The Bearcats are beyond done. After losing their coach, their BCS Game and now their pride, Cincinnati will take whatever they can get. Cincinnati now has Oklahoma to deal with, which isn’t a good thing. However, if Cincinnati wants to right the ship, a good showing against Oklahoma would do just that. For Oklahoma, it's all about quietly moving higher in the ranks. But this can only go so far mainly because they have Texas, Nebraska, Colorado and Oklahoma State to lock horns with before the end of the season.
No. 9) Florida Gators (SEC East)
#9) Florida Gators (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last Week: W vs. Tennessee 31-17
Up Next: vs. Kentucky
The Gators are still aiming for some respect. The problem is that they shouldn’t have to. The fact that Florida is 3-0 should be respectable…especially considering the Gators are doing this with a lackluster offense, off-field distractions and no Tim Tebow. Florida’s defense has done the job necessary to keep the sports world nation wondering which Gators team will show up.
Well, this weekend, we shall find out. It was this game last season that Kentucky showed that Tebow is indeed human, sending him out with a concussion. This was also the first time anyone saw how John Brantley would handle the Gators offense. Now Kentucky will come to “Da Swamp” to face Brantley head on in hopes to derail the Gators. For Florida, they need another big win to improve their stock. And after beating Tennessee last weekend, there are those who pay attention to stats: The winner of the Florida-Tennessee game has gone on to the SEC Championship Game.
No. 10) Arkansas Razorbacks (SEC West)
#10) Arkansas Razorbacks (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last Week: W vs. Georgia 31-24
Up Next: vs. #1 Alabama
Ryan Mallett is smiling en route to his next class right now. The reason he is smiling is because he had a sure hand in the Hogs’ huge victory last weekend over Georgia. The win not only boosted the confidence of the Razorbacks, but it also guaranteed us that we will have ourselves a pretty damn good game when the Hogs take the field this weekend…against the No. 1 team in the country.
With Alabama on the horizon, Arkansas knows that they need a good passing day from Mallett, who is the first to eclipse 1000 yards through the air. Following the Tide, they get the Texas A&M, Auburn, Ole Miss, Vandy and South Carolina before a couple of pushovers lead the way for LSU. But the Hogs are only focused on one thing right now: Alabama. Is there any magic left in the Hogs’ Arsenal to put up a good showing against the top team in the nation?
The Rest of The Best
#11) Wisconsin Badgers (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Last Week: W vs. Arizona St. 20-19
Up Next: vs. Austin Peay
#12) South Carolina Gamecocks (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last Week: W vs. Furman 38-19
Up Next: @ #17 Auburn
#13) Utah Utes (3-0, 2-0 MWC)
Last Week: W vs. New Mexico 56-14
Up Next: vs. San Jose State
#14) Arizona Wildcats (3-0, 0-0 Pac-10)
Last Week: W vs. #18 Iowa 34-27
Up Next: vs. Cal
#15) LSU Tigers (3-0, 2-0 SEC)
Last Week: W vs. Mississippi St. 29-7
Up Next: vs. #22 West Virginia
#16) Stanford Cardinal (3-0, 1-0 Pac-10)
Last Week: W vs. Wake Forest 68-24
Up Next: vs. @ Notre Dame
#17) Auburn Tigers (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
Last Week: W vs. Clemson 27-24
Up Next: vs. #12 South Carolina
#18) Iowa Hawkeyes (2-1, 0-0 Big Ten)
Last Week: L vs. Arizona 34-27
Up Next: vs. Ball State
#19) Miami Hurricanes (1-1, 0-0 ACC)
Last Week: Idle
Up Next: @ Pitt
#20) USC Trojans (3-0, 0-0 Pac-10)
Last Week: W vs. Minnesota 32-21
Up Next: @ Washington State
#21) Michigan Wolverines (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Last Week: W vs. UMass 42-37
Up Next: vs. Bowling Green
#22) West Virginia Mountaineers (3-0, 0-0 Big East)
Last Week: W vs. Maryland 31-17
Up Next: @ #15 LSU
#23) Penn State Nittany Lions (2-1, 0-0 Big Ten)
Last Week: W vs. Kent State 24-0
Up Next: vs. Temple
#24) Oregon State Beavers (1-1, 0-0 Pac-10)
Last Week: W vs. Louisville 35-28
Up Next: @ #3 Boise State
#25) Michigan State (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Last Week: W vs. Notre Dame 34-31 OT
Up Next: vs. Northern Colorado
Player of the Week: Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska
Last Week vs. Washington: 7/11 150 yds 1 TD, 19 Carries for 137 yards, 3 TDs