My CFB Top 10 – 09/28/08
Wow, what a weekend. Nobody knew that three of the top four teams would fall this past weekend, two to unranked opponents and two at home. USC, UGA and Florida all fall out of my top ten, because of embarrassing losses. I’ll address each loss afterwards, but here is the new Top 10, dominated by the Big 12.
1. Oklahoma Sooners (4-0)
They faced their first true test against TCU and lowered the boom on them. They’ll probably have to get their running game going as they head into a pretty tough Big 12 schedule. But if Sam Bradford continues playing like he has, they could throw it every time and be fine.
2. Missouri Tigers (4-0)
Traveling to Nebraska will be a tough test for Mizzou, who hasn’t won there since 1978 when the Huskers were the second ranked team in the country. The receivers have had two weeks to practice securing the football and Chase Daniel will look to avenge a 34-20 loss in Lincoln two years ago in which he threw two picks.
3. Alabama Crimson Tide (5-0)
They would have been my two if they had finished out the Georgia game as impressively as they started it. But a 31-0 halftime lead became way too unsettling in a game where Georgia was clearly overmatched. Nick Saban’s not a coach to tolerate late-game letups, so I assume he’ll have that fixed by the time they get Kentucky next week.
4. Texas Longhorns (4-0)
The Longhorns have won three of their four games this season by a score of 52-10. That probably won’t continue as four of their next five games are against ranked teams, three of them ranked in the top 10, but this squad is certainly capable of putting big numbers up on the scoreboard.
5. LSU Tigers (4-0)
Either Mississippi State is better than everyone thinks, or LSU and Auburn aren’t quite as good as everyone thinks they are. LSU won another ugly SEC game and in that conference, that’s all a team needs to do.
6. Penn State Lions (5-0)
They finally were tested by Illinois and managed to put them away late. Four of their next five games are on the road and that stretch will determine the pecking order in the Big 10. With Wisconsin going down in Ann Arbor, the Big 10 probably goes through Penn State.
7. Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-0)
It was a great time to have a bye week as they move up because teams ahead of them loss. They don’t have Missouri on the schedule this year, so they have a chance to prove that they belong in the same class as Texas and Oklahoma.
8. Brigham Young Cougars (4-0)
The only way to keep this team from winning is to schedule them for a bye week. They’ll continue to cruise with their only remaining foreseeable test it their last game against Utah. This team will put up lopsided victories, but they’re more than likely another Hawai’i than an elite college football team.
9. South Florida Bulls (5-0)
They knocked around NC State to move into the Top 10. If you couldn’t tell, I’m a believer in Strength of Schedule, something the Bulls don’t really have.
10. Auburn Tigers (4-1)
They didn’t lose to an unranked opponent (Florida, USC) or get completely manhandled by a top 10 team (Ohio State, UGA) so they’re here completely by default.
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Oregon State 27, USC 21
USC is pretty much guaranteed to always have the most talent in the country because they’re USC. But all that talent means nothing if the players think they can waltz into a road game assuming they can win on talent alone. Maybe this team will take this as a wake up call, but I kinda doubt it. I think they’ll lose again sometime this season. Oregon State controlled every facet in this game.
Alabama 41, UGA 30
If not for the ignored block in the back on Georgia’s punt return, this game is even worse for the Black-Eyed Black Out. Knowshon Moreno disappeared and that supposedly tenacious defense let Alabama run circles around them. UGA has amassed 53 penalties (for 437 yards) in their five games this year and haven’t had less than 70 yards in penalties in any game this year. You can get past these penalties against teams like GA Southern and Central Michigan, but other SEC powerhouses will take advantage of these mistakes and Alabama did just that. You can say referees are biased against UGA, but that’s not true. Mark Richt says it’s because UGA is playing hard, but I just think they’re playing stupid. They’re still a very good team, but I’m not sure they’re Championship caliber (SEC or National) just yet.
Ole Miss 31, Florida 30
Florida is a mixture of UGA and USC. They have some of the most talent in the country and are a highly penalized team (22 for 217 yards in four games). They let Ole Miss come into the Swamp and push them around. Up by 10 at halftime, it was Ole Miss coming out after the break to put up 17 unanswered in the third quarter. People say Tim Tebow’s numbers are down because of additional playmakers. But against Ole Miss, Percy Harvin had 61% of Florida’s rushing and receiving yards (82 rush, 186 receiving). Where are those other playmakers? Some of that talent is going to have to start executing rather than coasting by on talent alone if they want to make a run at another national championship.