Another weekend, another trifecta of top 3 teams down. I have to address something first though, about the national polls. I understand USC is the premiere football program in the country. Pete Carroll, blah blah blah. But how in the world does anyone validate ranking them fourth in the country? They lost to an unranked Oregon State team!
1. Texas Longhorns (6-0, 2-0 Big 12)
Beat Oklahoma in a game that lived up to the hype. The offenses were there and Texas made the difference on special teams. Texas probably also found that game-changing back they needed. They should be heavy favorites against Missouri next week, and a win would give them a solid lead to winning the Big 12 South.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0, 3-0 SEC)
The number one team lost while Alabama had their bye week, but they stay in the second position. They probably have one of the easier SEC schedules remaining and should be a pretty decent bet to win their division. They’re also in position to challenge for the National Championship, but anyone can upset anyone.
3. Penn State Nittany Lions (7-0, 3-0 Big 10)
Their offense didn’t disappoint, and the defense dominated a supposedly tough road game. The Big 10 isn’t what it once was, but JoePa’s boys are dominating every aspect of the game right now. Ohio State still looks a little vulnerable, but they’ll still put up a fight against Penn State.
4. Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-0, 2-0 Big 12)
The big winners of the week. By upsetting Missouri in Columbia, the Cowboys make the biggest jump in the polls. Their defense intercepted Chase Daniel
twice three times and shut down the Tigers offense just enough to eek out a huge road win. But they still have Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech remaining, and the odds they burn through all three of those aren’t great.
5. Oklahoma Sooners (5-1, 1-1 Big 12)
The Texas-OU game was probably one of the better games we’ll see this season and losing to Texas isn’t the end of the world. They’ll need some help now if they want to win the Big 12 and lose in the Fiesta Bowl again, but it’s possible. One loss doesn’t end a season anymore.
6. Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-0, 2-0 Big 12)
I can’t wait to see what the likes of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas will do to this team that had to hold off a terrible Nebraska team at home in overtime. But college football is more than a beauty contest to me, and a win’s a win in my book.
7. Brigham Young Cougars (6-0, 2-0 MWC)
Cougars still undefeated, strength of schedule still atrocious.
8. Missouri Tigers (5-1, 1-1 Big 12)
Horrible call nonwithstanding, Missouri deserved to lose the Oklahoma State game. The offense disappeared, and it looked like both Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin were a little beat up. There were some questionable coaching calls (opening drive FG, ill-advised second half timeout) but Missouri did not play well. The defense wasn’t bad, but everything has got to improve if they expect to win in Texas next week. If not, any bid for a serious bowl berth could evaporate.
9. Georgia Bulldogs (5-1, 2-1 SEC)
They managed to slide by a terrible Tennessee team, but should of won by much more. There’s no doubt the Bulldogs are a good football team, but they are also a team that can be exposed by other good teams. The offense is a little erratic and should be scoring more than they are.
10. Florida Gators (5-1, 3-1 SEC)
It was either the Gators or USC here, and while both have pretty bad losses, I feel Florida has played much more quality opponents than USC. They beat a really good LSU team and beat them pretty good.
*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Oklahoma State 28, Missouri 23
I’m not making any excuses for Mizzou, as they deserved to lose this game. But Missouri was down 28-23 late in the fourth quarter but had the ball at Oklahoma State’s 37 yard line with about 2 minutes left. On second and six, Chase Daniel fired a pass towards Jeremy Maclin but it was caught by OSU’s Patrick Lavine to end the drive. The play was reviewed and confirmed as an interception. But I guess the ball on the ground wasn’t irrefutable enough for the officials (h/t to Steve Keers). There’s no going back and overturning calls, even if a team gets 5 downs against Missouri.
Texas 45, Oklahoma 35
Easily the best game of the weekend and it certainly lived up to the hype. Every time Oklahoma tried to pull away, Texas came storming back and eventually took control of the game. There’s still a ton of time, and the number one ranking doesn’t mean anything in October, but Texas looks good.
Nothing too exciting happened this weekend in college football, so my ranking hold pretty steady.
1. Oklahoma Sooners (5-0, 1-0 Big 12)
The only thing I can find with Oklahoma that isn’t perfect is their running game. Sure, they rushed for 217 yards and 5 touchdowns against Baylor, but only average 3.7 yards per carry. Their longest run against Baylor was 11 yards and their touchdown runs were of 1, 1, 1, 2 and 3 yards. Eventually they’ll run into someone that will be able to shut down their passing game enough and be able to score enough to knock them off. But there isn’t a more complete team than Stoops’ Sooners.
2. Missouri Tigers (5-0, 1-0 Big 12)
So I “homer” picked them as the number two team last year, but after their 52-17 (7 of which came after the game clock expired) walloping of Nebraska in a place they hadn’t won since the Carter Administration does anyone want to question me? Nebraska isn’t the same team as they were back in the day, but they’re probably as good as, if not better than say, Kentucky. It took the offense less than a minute to score and the defense shut down a Nebraska offense averaging over 37 points a game coming in.
3. Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0, 3-0 SEC)
Sure they walloped Georgia, but maybe Georgia wasn’t as good as the number 1 preseason ranking they were handed. After jumping out to a 14-0 lead at home against Kentucky, Bama hung on to win by a field goal, furthering my closing argument from last week. November 8 at LSU should be the only significant test left for Alabama. Let up against LSU and it’ll come back to bite them.
4. Texas Longhorns (5-0, 1-0 Big 12)
Texas tuned up for their Red River clash with OU by trouncing Colorado in Boulder. They’ll need to improve their pass defense if they want to have a chance at stopping Bradford and his wideouts. Texas also averaged under four yards a carry in their first Big 12 game, so the OU game will probably see who can outpass the other. Either way, I’m watching.
5. LSU Tigers (4-0, 2-0 SEC)
The Tigers got their bye week at the right time, just before having to play at Florida and at South Carolina before hosting Georgia. I’d say the quarterback play would have to improve, but Les Miles teams seem to always win regardless of what happens. LSU has enough weaponry to win however the game dictates as necessary.
6. Penn State Nittany Lions (6-0, 2-0)
My skepticism for Big & Pac Ten teams is well-documented and warranted, but as long as Penn State keeps dominating football games, I have no problem putting them here. JoePa hasn’t had a tough road test yet, but will face two (Wisconsin and Ohio State) in the next three weeks.
7. Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-0, 1-0 Big 12)
The defense isn’t the shutdown defense that Mike Leach claimed it was in the offseason, but the offense has certainly performed as advertised through five games. It should continue the next two weeks against Nebraska and Texas A&M, but will be tested the four weeks after that, having to play (16)Kansas, (5)Texas, (19)Oklahoma State and (1)Oklahoma in consecutive weeks.
8. BYU Cougars (5-0, 1-0 MWC)
I really don’t like putting non-BCS schools up in my Top 10, and I doubt BYU will get much higher than this. At the end of the year, if I had had to choose between a two-loss SEC or Big 12 team, or an undefeated BYU team, I’d take the two-loss team because I value strength of schedule more than most people.
9. Vanderbilt Commodroes (5-0, 3-0 SEC)
I figured the first place SEC team had to be up here somewhere. Vandy knocked off the then 13th ranked Auburn Tigers after being down 13-0 early in the first quarter. They don’t blow me away, but they’re one of two 3-0 teams in the SEC and that counts for something in my book.
10. Ohio State Buckeyes (5-1, 2-0 Big 10)
Hold on, here me out before blasting me for this placement. The Buckeyes are a different team when they pair Beanie Wells in the backfield with Super Freshman Terrelle Pryor. They just knocked off a ranked Wisconsin team on the road, and they have the most impressive loss of the one-loss teams. USC? Lost to unranked Oregon State on the road. Florida? Lost to unranked Ole Miss at home. Georgia? Lost to No. 8 Alabama at home. Ohio State lost to the number one team in the country on the road without their best player.
Just Missed: USC, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma State
Fell Out: South Florida (lost to unranked Pitt), Auburn (lost to No. 19 Vandy)
*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Vanderbilt 14, Auburn 13
It didn’t look good early for Vanderbilt, as Auburn manhandled them on both fronts and jumped ahead early. I wasn’t feeling good about picking Vandy, and certainly didn’t help when Chris Nickson left with an injury. But then the Commodores stopped allowing yards and rummaged up enough points to beat Auburn. As a documented believer that Auburn has been overrated by many, this win for Vandy isn’t as huge as some make it out to be. I still think Georgia and Florida will compete for the SEC East, but Vanderbilt should finish with one of its best seasons ever.
Ohio State 20, Wisconsin 17
Wisconsin blew a huge lead in Ann Arbor a week ago, then blew a late lead at home to the Buckeyes. Ohio State did get roughed up by USC, but I’m convinced that outcome would have been different if Beanie Wells and Terrelle Pryor had played the whole game. Maybe not 32 points different, but it would have been a game. Ohio State is not a bad football team, even though they’ve lost some bad games the past few seasons.
Oklahoma 49, Baylor 17
Texas 38, Colorado 14
Both teams had near-flawless tune-ups for their matchup next week. Both quarterbacks were brilliant and both defenses played well in preparation for facing huge offenses. Texas probably needs a win more because they have a tougher remaining schedule and Oklahoma missed Missouri this year. But neither team could have had a better first five games than OU and Texas.
Missouri 52, Nebraska
Mizzou won in grand fashion for the first time in Lincoln since 1978. After Nebraska scored a touchdown five minutes into the games, Mizzou’s defense allowed 3 more points until after time expired. Maligned by the media, they forced two turnovers, scored a touchdown and allowed 79 yards rushing on 35 attempts. And the “questionable” running game (according to ESPN talking head Mark May) accounted for over 200 yards on the ground (5.9 yards per carry), including 139 on 14 carries from Derrick Washington (3 TDs).
Alabama 17, Kentucky 14
Not as impressive of a win as you’d like to see from the number 2 team, at home, against an unranked opponent. Up 14-0 in the first quarter, it looked like Alabama was going to cruise to another big victory. But they made mistakes, committed big penalties and allowed Kentucky to stay in the game. I thought Saban would clear up the mental lapses from the Georgia game, but maybe it takes more than a week. Now they’ve got two before they take on Ole Miss.