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2011 College Football National Top 25, Week 2: LSU Takes Over Top Spot

Dan HopeContributor IIISeptember 12, 2011

2011 College Football National Top 25, Week 2: LSU Takes Over Top Spot

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    Last week's No. 1 team, the Boise State Broncos, did not play this week. That opened the door for the rest of the NCAA to move into the top spot. 

    After defeating Northwestern State, LSU did just that and is now ranked No. 1 in Week 2. 

    Read on through the slideshow to find out what happened to allow the Tigers' to move into the top spot, as well as what cause the rest of the teams that fell out this week's Top 25 to do so.

    Teams listed with Rank. School Name (Record) - This Week’s Result - Change from Last Week’s Poll

The Top 5 Teams

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    1. LSU (2-0) - Win vs Northwestern State, 49-3 - Up 1
    The LSU Tigers took care of business against FCS school Northwestern State, as well they should have. However, the reason why the Tigers moved up to No. 1 is that, while the team they beat last week, Oregon, bounced back with a blowout victory over Nevada, the team that Boise State beat last week, Georgia, lost another game. Therefore, LSU’s quality of victory is higher, and they deserved to move up to the top spot.

    2. Boise State (1-0) - Idle - Down 1
    I am the biggest proponent of Boise State deserving a chance when they do all they possibly can by winning all their games, but get screwed over the BCS due to a weak schedule. Unfortunately, I would be one of the voters screwing them over this week. Their win against Georgia, which is their first-ever against the SEC, is a huge win but after the Bulldogs lost a second game this week, the caliber of the win was slightly weakened, and the Broncos did not play this past week.

    3. Alabama (2-0) - Win at Penn State, 27-11 - Up 2
    The Crimson Tide had a very impressive performance in a challenging road test in State College against the Penn State Nittany Lions. Alabama’s defense led the way, especially cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, who forced two fumbles. The impressive road victory moves Alabama up two spots in this week’s rankings.

    4. Oklahoma (1-0) - Idle - Down 1
    Oklahoma did not play this week, and only moved down because of Alabama’s jump up the rankings. Otherwise, the Sooners remain one of the nation’s best teams.

    5. Stanford (2-0) - Win at Duke, 44-14 - Down 1
    After a slow start, the Stanford Cardinal took off in the second half and defeated Duke by a large margin. The Cardinal put up 504 yards of offense against the Duke defense, 290 of which came from Andrew Luck’s passing.

No. 6-10

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    6. Wisconsin (2-0) - Win vs Oregon State, 35-0 - Up 4
    The many players lost from last season’s roster has not seemed to hurt the Wisconsin Badgers. For the second straight week, the Badgers were absolutely dominant. The Badgers defense shut out the Beavers, while Russell Wilson continued to command the offense very effectively with the aid of a 118-yard rushing performance including two touchdowns from Montee Ball.

    7. Texas A&M (1-0) - Idle - Down 1
    Texas A&M did not play this week, and only dropped a spot because of Wisconsin warranting a higher ranking. Nonetheless, the Aggies remain ranked high because of a very strong first win over SMU.

    8. Oklahoma State (2-0) - Win vs Arizona, 37-14 - Up 4
    Oklahoma State completely dominated in this week’s game against Arizona. Brandon Weeden had a very efficient game, leading the offense with 397 passing yards, completing 42 of 53 pass attempts. The Arizona offense put up 398 passing yards, but the Cowboys defense held the Wildcats’ rushers to only 43 yards, and came up with key stops to keep the Wildcats off the scoreboard completely until the third quarter. The Cowboys proved they were worth a top-10 ranking this week.

    9. Florida State (2-0) - Win vs Charleston Southern, 62-10 - Down 1
    Florida State has been completely dominant in their first two games, but these matchups have been against Louisiana-Monroe and Charleston Southern, teams that the Seminoles should be putting to bed easily. This week, when the Seminoles play Oklahoma at home, they will face a true test to see how good they actually are. For now, they rank in the top 10 on the strength of their dominance thus far.

    10. South Carolina (2-0) - Win at Georgia, 45-42 - Up 8
    After a subpar performance in Week 1, the South Carolina Gamecocks had to step up their game in Week 2, as they faced a tough road test against Georgia. The Gamecocks came up with big plays when they needed to, including three non-offensive touchdowns, two of which were scored by defensive lineman Melvin Ingram, another on an interception return by Antonio Allen. Quarterback Stephen Garcia had a rough game, only completing 11 of his 25 pass attempts, but running back Marcus Lattimore was fantastic, rushing for 176 yards against a tough SEC opponent.

No. 11-15

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    11. Arkansas (2-0) - Win vs New Mexico, 52-3 - Up 2
    For the second straight week, Arkansas dominated a far inferior opponent. After scoring 51 points last week, they one-upped themselves by scoring 52 this week. The Razorbacks have not really had to prove anything yet, but at least they have been dominant.

    12. Florida (2-0) - Win vs UAB, 39-0 - Up 2
    So far, the Will Muschamp-Charlie Weis era in Gainesville is off to a great start. The Gators put up an impressive shutout against UAB, with their defense holding the Blazers to just 212 yards of offense.

    13. Nebraska (2-0) - Win vs Fresno State, 42-29 - Down 6
    The Nebraska Cornhuskers got pushed to the edge by an always challenging opponent in Fresno State, but came away with a solid victory. Taylor Martinez passed for 219 yards, but only completed 10 of his 21 pass attempts, and threw two interceptions. However, he was fantastic running with the football, gaining 166 yards and scoring two touchdowns. The Cornhuskers did slide six spots down the rankings, due to the fact that they have not been as dominant in their victories as the teams who jumped ahead of them. However, they remain right in the mix for a top-10 spot, and could get back in there with an impressive win over Washington next week.

    14. Virginia Tech (2-0) - Win at East Carolina, 17-10 - Down 3
    It came as no surprise that the Virginia Tech Hokies, who have been notorious for struggling in their first couple games of the season, were taken to the wire by a tough East Carolina squad. The Hokies did pull of the victory. However, while East Carolina is not a bad team, Logan Thomas had a horrible day, completing only 8 of 20 passes. The Hokies will have to play better to remain undefeated.

    15. Baylor (1-0) - Idle - Up 1
    After captivating the national spotlight with an upset victory over TCU, the Baylor Bears had a week off. However, with other teams falling in the rankings, the Bears managed to move up into the top 15.

No. 16-20

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    16. South Florida (2-0) - Win vs Ball State, 37-7 - Up 1
    The South Florida Bulls followed up a major victory over Notre Dame with a dominant performance over Ball State. With 359 passing yards, quarterback B.J. Daniels had another strong performance to lead the way, while the defense shut out the Cardinals for three quarters. The impressive start for the Bulls has them ascending up the rankings.

    17. Michigan State (2-0) - Win vs Florida Atlantic, 44-0 - Into Top 25
    The Michigan State Spartans failed to make the Top 25 after a subpar performance in Week 1, but they bounced back with a completely dominant performance against Florida Atlantic this week. The Spartan defense completely shut down the Owls, by holding them to a measly 48 yards of offense on only one first down. The Spartans will certainly be going up against much tougher offenses as the season rolls along, but this tremendous defensive performance vaults the Spartans well into the top 25.

    18. Oregon (1-1) - Win vs Nevada, 69-20 - Up 2
    After being beaten down by LSU in their season opener, the Oregon Ducks bounced back in a big way by taking their vengeance out on Nevada with a 69-20 rout. Both teams put up over 500 yards of offense, but the Ducks found the end zone with much greater regularity, scoring on 7 of their first 8 drives. After looking out of rhythm offensively in their opener, the Ducks proved a point with their offense bouncing back strong this week, and the Ducks move solidly into the top 20 of the rankings.

    19. Arizona State (2-0) - Win vs Missouri, 37-30 (OT) - Into Top 25
    The Arizona State Sun Devils vault into the Top 25 after an impressive overtime victory over the Missouri Tigers. The Sun Devils blew a two touchdown lead in the fourth quarter, but they bounced back in overtime, scoring a touchdown and then coming up with a winning defensive stop. Quarterback Brock Osweiler carried them with an impressive performance, passing for 353 yards and 3 touchdowns, while wide receiver Aaron Pflugrad burned the defense for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns for 8 receptions. A win over a strong opponent earned the Sun Devils a spot steady in the rankings.

    20. Ohio State (2-0) - Win vs Toledo, 27-22 - Down 11
    I hate to do this to the Buckeyes, but after nearly losing to Toledo this week, the Buckeyes take a big slide down the rankings. After an impressive opener versus Akron, the Buckeyes looked completely off this week. The offense performed very poorly, with quarterback Joe Bauserman only completing 16 of 30 passes for 189 yards. Toledo kept pace with them the entire game, and were driving with a chance to win before the Buckeyes finally came up with a big fourth-down, stop with 48 seconds remaining. The Buckeyes may have survived that game, but if they are going to win in the Big Ten, they are going to have to play much better than they did.

No. 21-25

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    21. Maryland (1-0) - Idle - Up 2
    After their big win in the national spotlight over Miami in their opener, the Maryland Terrapins did not play this week. Even so, they were able to move up as four teams ahead of them dropped out of the Top 25 altogether.

    22. Georgia Tech (2-0) - Win at Middle Tennessee State, 49-21 - Up 2
    The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets may be playing very inferior teams, but they have been dominant thus far. This week, they got it done with a 28-point victory over Middle Tennessee State. The Yellow Jackets ran for 382 yards, with Synjyn Days and David Sims getting 91 rushing yards apiece.

    23. UCF (2-0) - Win vs Boston College, 30-3 - Into Top 25
    Last year, the UCF Golden Knights never broke into my regular season Top 25, but at the end of an 11-win season, they finished in the No. 22. This year, the Knights are back in the rankings, and are after two weeks, following a very impressive rout of Boston College. The Knights defense held the Eagles’ offense to just 3 points and 141 total yards, and if their defense continues to perform well, UCF could be on their way to another season with double-digit wins.

    24. Houston (2-0) - Win at North Texas, 48-23 - Into Top 25
    The Houston Cougars opened up the season with an impressive victory over UCLA, and kept it going this week with a big win over North Texas. Prolific passer Case Keenum continues his march toward the all-time NCAA passing record, throwing for 458 yards and 5 touchdowns against the Mean Green, and the Cougars look like a dangerous team out of Conference USA.

    25. West Virginia (2-0) - Win vs Norfolk State, 55-12 - Into Top 25
    The West Virginia Mountaineers have taken care of business the first two weeks, and earned the final spot in this week’s Top 25. A big win over FCS school Norfolk State was expected, and the Mountaineers face two upcoming tough tests in Maryland and LSU over the next two weeks. For now, the Mountaineers earn a spot in the rankings for dominating in their first two games.

Dropped out of Top 25

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    Mississippi State (Last Week - No. 15) - Loss at Auburn, 41-34
    The Mississippi State Bulldogs suffered the most heartbreaking of losses on Saturday against the Auburn Tigers. With a chance to tie the game, quarterback Chris Relf was stopped inches short of the goal line with time expiring, allowing Auburn to escape with victory. Even with a win, the Bulldogs would have dropped in the rankings for letting it get to that point, but to come inches away from having a chance to win is truly a tough break for the Bulldogs.

    North Carolina (Last Week - No. 19) - Win vs Rutgers, 24-22
    The North Carolina Tar Heels are 2-0, but although they got the win over Rutgers this week, it was not done very impressively. While Bryn Renner only missed on 6 of his 26 pass attempts, 3 of those incompletions were interceptions. Aside from that, the Tar Heels significantly outgained the Scarlet Knights, and were the better team. However, the Tar Heels were lucky to win the game considering they turned the ball over 5 times, while not forcing a single turnover. The Tar Heels must eliminate those mistakes from their game to earn a spot back in the Top 25.

    Georgia (Last Week - No. 21) - Loss vs South Carolina, 42-45
    No team had a tougher start to the season schedule than the Georgia Bulldogs, who opened against Boise State, then had to play South Carolina this week. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs lost both games, and are now stuck with the uphill climb of trying to bounce back from an 0-2 record. The Bulldogs hung around against the Gamecocks this week, and gave themselves a chance to win. However, the Bulldogs have to actually start getting some wins having lost their first two games.

    Iowa (Last Week - No. 22) - Loss at Iowa State, 41-44 (3OT)
    I was skeptical of putting the Iowa Hawkeyes in my Top 25 last week, and my skepticism was answered this week, as the Hawkeyes fell to their in-state rivals, the Cyclones, in a triple-overtime thriller. Granted, the Hawkeyes kept themselves in this game with a chance at victory, but the loss knocks them out of the rankings.

    Penn State (Last Week - No. 25) - Loss vs Alabama, 11-27
    The Penn State Nittany Lions faced a very tough opponent this week in Alabama, and were overwhelmed by one of the nation’s best teams. The Nittany Lions can bounce back from this loss, but will need to string some wins together to get back into the Top 25.

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