2011 College Football National Top 25, Week 3: Oklahoma Moves Up After Big Win

Dan HopeContributor IIISeptember 23, 2011

2011 College Football National Top 25, Week 3: Oklahoma Moves Up After Big Win

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    The big game on last Saturday's schedule was the matchup between two teams ranked inside the Top 10—the Oklahoma Sooners and the Florida State Seminoles—and the game did not disappoint. A well-played game was won by the Sooners, moving them up in the rankings.

    How did this affect the rest of the Top 25? Read on to find out.

    (Note—Teams listed as follows: School Name (Record) - This Week’s Result - Change from Last Week’s Poll.)

The Top 5 Teams

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    1. LSU (3-0) - Win at Mississippi State, 19-6 - Same

    LSU did not put up a lot of points, but their defense stifled Mississippi State’s offense to only 193 total yards—including just 52 yards rushing, the strong point of the Bulldogs offense. In turn, the Bulldogs could not get points on the board and LSU handled a victory against a tough SEC foe. 

    2. Oklahoma (2-0) - Win at Florida State, 23-13 - Up 2

    In a matchup of two Top 10 ranked teams, the Oklahoma Sooners were victorious over Florida State. The Seminoles kept this game close, but the Sooners never trailed.

    Landry Jones was not at his best, but the defense came up big—especially Javon Harris, who had two interceptions. The Sooners matched Florida State’s big plays with plays of their own and, with a win over a top-notch opponent, the Sooners vaulted into the Top Two.

    3. Boise State (3-0) - Win at Toledo, 40-15 - Down 1

    Due to the unfortunate nature of the lesser level of competition they play, the Boise State Broncos continue to take care of business and play as well as any team in the nation, but drop one spot in the rankings for the second week in a row, as another top team got a big victory.

    This is in no way reflective of Boise State’s performance. They had another dominant victory this week over Toledo, putting up 610 yards of offense, with Kellen Moore leading the way by passing for 455 yards and five touchdowns.

    If the Broncos remain undefeated and continue to play the way they are, chances are good they will move back into the top two spots.

    4. Alabama (3-0) - Win vs. North Texas, 41-0 - Down 1

    The Alabama Crimson Tide were completely dominant against North Texas, and were led by their defense, which shut out the Mean Green offense and held them to only 169 total yards. As was the case with the Broncos, they only dropped in the rankings due to the momentous win by Oklahoma, but the Crimson Tide remain one of the nation’s best contenders.

    5. Stanford (3-0) - Win at Arizona, 37-10 - Same

    With Andrew Luck leading the way with 325 passing yards and throwing for two touchdowns, the Stanford Cardinal took care of business once again, this time against Arizona. The Cardinal have yet to struggle at any point this season and remain a top championship contender.

Nos. 6-10

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    6. Wisconsin (3-0) - Win at Northern Illinois, 49-7 - Same

    The Wisconsin Badgers have been absolutely beating up on the opposition this season. They completely rolled over Northern Illinois, putting up 49 points and 621 yards of offense. Thus far, the Badgers have beaten their three opponents—all of which are FBS schools—by a combined score of 135 to 24. This team is looking as strong as any team in the nation.

    7. Oklahoma State (3-0) - Win at Tulsa, 59-33 - Up 1

    The Oklahoma State Cowboys are known for overwhelming their opposition in offensive shootouts, and that is exactly what they did against Tulsa. While they did give up 33 points, they scored 59 points on 543 yards of offense, led by Brandon Weeden’s 369 passing yards.

    The Cowboys defense is unspectacular, but the Cowboys have proven they have one of the nation’s best offenses and have rolled through their opponents thus far this season.

    8. Texas A&M (2-0) - Win vs. Idaho, 37-7 - Up 1

    In their second game of the season, the Aggies went untested by Idaho. They rolled to a victory, holding the Vandals offense to just 187 yards.

    9. Florida (3-0) - Win vs. Tennessee, 33-23 - Up 3

    Against a very legitimate Tennessee offense, the Gators defense was dominant, holding Tauren Poole and the Tennessee backfield to a net of nine yards lost rushing. They also intercepted Tyler Bray twice. Playing the first in-conference game of their SEC schedule this year, the Gators got the job done and appear to be one of the top contenders in the Southeastern Conference.

    10. South Carolina (3-0) - Win vs. Navy, 24-21 - Same

    The Gamecocks have won every game thus far, but have not looked comfortable in winning any of them. They were tested yet again last week by Navy, a team that plays tough, but should not have been a major challenge to a Top 10 ranked team.

    The Gamecocks remain in the Top 10 on the strength of their early-season schedule, but if they continue to allow games to remain as tight as they have, they could end up losing their undefeated status sooner than later.

Nos. 11-15

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    11. South Florida (3-0) - Win vs. Florida A&M, 70-17 - Up 5

    The South Florida Bulls have risen rapidly in the rankings with fantastic play over the first three weeks of the season.

    This week, the Bulls absolutely rolled over Florida A&M, putting up 70 points and 715 total yards of offense—an overwhelming amount of offensive efficiency, even if it did come against an FCS opponent.

    The Bulls may not be in the spotlight yet, but if they continue to play as well as they have been, they will soon be. 

    12. Arkansas (3-0) - Win vs. Troy, 38-28 - Down 1

    The Arkansas Razorbacks only won by 10 points against Troy last week; the game was not as close as the score appeared.

    The Razorbacks got out to a 24-0 lead and always maintained full control of the game. However, the Razorbacks have yet to face a tough opponent and questions remain about how good they actually are. They will get their chance to answer those questions in their next game against Alabama. 

    13. Nebraska (3-0) - Win vs. Washington, 51-38 - Same

    After stunningly losing to Washington last year in the Holiday Bowl after having blown them out early in the season, the Cornhuskers were put to the test by the Huskies yet again.

    This year, the Huskies did not have Jake Locker to boast at quarterback, but they had success against the Nebraska defense, putting up 38 points and 420 yards of offense. The Cornhuskers were able to get the job done and win the game, but they have been far from dominant this season and have yet to play any real tough opponents, making it questionable as to how good they are. 

    14. Virginia Tech (3-0) - Win vs. Arkansas State, 26-7 - Same

    The Hokies bounced back from a scare the previous week against East Carolina to take care of business against Arkansas State. The Hokies are not among the better undefeated teams, but they are the team to beat as of now in the Atlantic Coast Conference. 

    15. Baylor (2-0) - Win vs. Stephen F. Austin, 48-0 - Same

    After a week off, Baylor was back in action. They had no problem against Stephen F. Austin, shutting them out while holding them to 207 yards of offense.

Nos. 16-20

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    16. Oregon (2-1) - Win vs. Missouri State, 56-7 - Up 2

    After a tough loss to LSU in Week 1, the Oregon Ducks have been absolutely dominant in their last two games. In this game, they put up 56 points and 681 total yards of offense on Missouri State. Led by 204 rushing yards and three touchdowns from LaMichael James, the Ducks showed the offensive firepower that got them to the National Championship Game last year. 

    17. West Virginia (3-0) - Win at Maryland, 37-31 - Up 8

    Maryland proved themselves to be a legitimate contender with their win over Miami in Week 1, making West Virginia’s victory over Maryland a tough and impressive win.

    West Virginia actually got off to a big 34-10 start in this tough road matchup, but they gave most of the lead back. However, in a very close game, the Mountaineers were able to hold on for the victory—and that is what matters—vaulting West Virginia up eight spots in the rankings. 

    18. Florida State (2-1) - Loss vs. Oklahoma, 13-23 - Down 9

    Florida State ran into a very difficult opponent in Oklahoma, but they played them very tough, even after E.J. Manuel went down to injury in the third quarter.

    Since the Seminoles’ first two wins of the season came against cupcake opponents, and they now have a loss on their record, they had to drop well in the rankings. However, the Seminoles proved they are a tough, resilient team that could work their way back into the Top 10 this season. 

    19. Georgia Tech (3-0) - Win vs. Kansas, 66-24 - Up 3

    While Kansas’s defense may be pathetic, Georgia Tech had an absolutely ridiculous day of rushing the football, as 12 different players combined for a whopping total of 604 rushing yards—part of 768 total yards of offense. Whether the Yellow Jackets can be their tough opponent on the schedule is questionable, but they certainly have as prolific a rushing offense as ever.

    20. Clemson (3-0) - Win vs. Auburn, 38-24 - Into Top 25

    After escaping two very close games in the first two weeks of the season, the defending national champion Auburn Tigers were finally defeated, with the Clemson Tigers getting a big victory.

    Auburn actually got off to a 21-7 start, but Clemson proved most dominant with 624 total yards of offense against a struggling Auburn defense.

    Certainly, knocking off the defending champions is a big momentum-building victory and Clemson is undefeated to this point.

    A strong start to the season.

Nos. 21-25

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    21. USC (3-0) - Win vs. Syracuse, 38-17 - Into Top 25
    In a year which I expect to be Matt Barkley’s breakout season, he was tremendous in USC’s game against Syracuse, throwing for 324 yards and five touchdowns, as the Trojans took care of business against the Orange. Now 3-0, the Trojans have not have a beautiful start to the season, but have rightfully earned a spot in the top 25.

    22. North Carolina (3-0) - Win vs. Virginia, 28-17 - Into Top 25

    The North Carolina Tar Heels dropped out of the rankings after a lackluster performance against Rutgers. Although they were not overly impressive against Virginia either, they are now 3-0. With other teams dropping out of the rankings, the Tar Heels re-earned a place in the Top 25.

    The Tar Heels are going to need more out of quarterback Bryn Renner, who only had 143 passing yards in this game, but they are back in the rankings for now.

    23. Texas (3-0) - Win at UCLA, 49-20 - Into Top 2

     The Longhorns benched quarterback Garrett Gilbert for this game and that was clearly the right decision. With Case McCoy under center for the Longhorns, they rolled to a huge victory over UCLA, led by a 110-yard rushing game from freshman back Malcolm Brown.

    UCLA may not be a great team, but after a very rocky start, the Longhorns appear to at least be on the right track and certainly earned a place in the Top 25.

    24. Houston (3-0) - Win at Louisiana Tech, 35-34 - Same

    For most of the game against Louisiana Tech, it appeared that the Cougars were going to lose their first game and fall out of the Top 25, with Louisiana Tech holding a 34-7 lead with five minutes to play in the third quarter.

    Then, prolific quarterback Case Keenum and the Houston offense took over, scoring on four of their final five drives to squeak out a victory over the Bulldogs.

    Certainly, this was not an impressive victory and the Cougars should not be pleased with how they performed, but they remain in the Top 25 as an undefeated team—for now. 

    25. Iowa State (3-0) - Win at Connecticut, 24-20 - Into Top 25

    For the third straight week, Iowa State took the game to the wire, and they came away with a victory. The Cyclones remain undefeated, but they have not looked impressive doing so. They are good enough to be a Top 25 team for now, but they are going to lose a game sooner than later if they continue to live so far out on the edge.

Out of Top 25

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    Michigan State (Last Week - No. 17) - Loss at Notre Dame, 13-31

    It was a rough day for the Michigan State Spartans in South Bend, as they were held to a net total of just 29 rushing yards and Notre Dame took care of business for a 31-13 victory. This knocked the Spartans soundly out of the Top 25 with an unimpressive 2-1 start. 

    Arizona State (Last Week - No. 19) - Loss at Illinois, 24-27

     One week following an impressive victory over Missouri, the Sun Devils were very unimpressive, suffering a defeat at Illinois. The Sun Devils cannot afford to have letdowns like that against a challenging Pac-12 schedule if they are going to get back into the Top 25.

    Ohio State (Last Week - No. 20) - Loss at Miami, 6-24

    It was a horrible night to be an Ohio State fan; the team looked completely awful against Miami last Saturday night. The Ohio State offense was unable to get anything done, with quarterbacks Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller combining for a horribly inefficient four completions out of 18 attempts—good for just 35 yards through the air. The Buckeyes look to be far from a Top 25 team right now.

    Maryland (Last Week - No. 21) - Loss vs. West Virginia, 31-37

    After an impressive Week 1 win, the Terrapins came out of the gates slow against West Virginia, and a late surge was not enough to win this game. Now at 1-1, the Terrapins lose their spot in the Top 25.

    UCF (Last Week - No. 23) - Loss at Florida International, 10-17

    After an impressive start to the season, the Golden Knights suffered a major letdown, managing just 10 points against Florida International. Performances like that will keep UCF well outside of the Top 25.