Preseason 1 2 3
It was another crazy week in college football. Multiple big name teams found themselves on the losing side of the ball while others rose to the occasion and threw their hats into the national title ring. With another big weekend ahead of us, the college football landscape could change dramatically within the next 72 hours with some of the top teams in the national playing each other. Let’s get into this week’s Top 25:
-Last Week: #3
How does a team truly define themselves as the best in the nation? Well I’m not exactly sure, but beating three Top 25 teams in your first four weeks is a good start. The Tigers jump to the top spot on the list just for the fact that this team was counted out by a lot of people at the start due to all their woes, but just held up their arms and yelled “come at me bro” to the world. Coach Les Miles has got to be the front runner for Coach of the Year already. LSU’s domination of West Virginia by the score of 47-21 was just another indicator of how great of a job QB Jarrett Lee has done under center and that the defense is playing some of the best ball Death Valley has ever seen. The Tigers will host Kentucky this week at home before their next big Top 25 match-up the following week when Florida comes to visit.
-Last Week: #2
Talk about watching the tide roll in. Alabama didn’t just roll in, they rolled over the top of Arkansas. In a game that should have been closer than it really was, the Crimson Tide asserted their dominance early with a huge scoring drive capped off by a 37 yard touchdown pass from QB AJ McCarron to WR Michael Williams. While Arkansas was able to answer back ten minutes later with a score of their own, the game was never in their control. Alabama would score 24 unanswered points with a combination of passing, punt return, interception return, and a field goal for good measures. The Crimson Tide will have no time to rest sadly as they will take on the surprisingly good Florida Gators in The Swamp.
-Last Week: #1
Beating a top ranked team can be a huge shot of energy into a team’s season, but the Sooners looked incredibly jet lagged early on in their game against Missouri. Taking a 14-10 deficit into the second quarter, QB Landry Jones and WR Ryan Broyles decided that it was time for them to start playing again, combining for two touchdowns in the last three quarters of play (they also had one in the first quarter) and leading Oklahoma to a 38-28 win. While the Sooners are still undefeated, they really haven’t played anyone yet that could be considered good and the one team that was is now in a free fall. Oklahoma will host Ball State in what should be a blow-out, then will travel down south to take on rival Texas in the Red River Shoot-out.
4. Oklahoma State
-Last Week: #5
Being down 20-3 at halftime apparently means absolutely nothing to the Cowboys. It’s almost like Oklahoma State wanted to show off how awesome QB Brandon Weeden and the OKST offense was. The Cowboys scored 27 unanswered points on the arm of Weeden and some great kicking by Quinn Sharp. Not only did the Cowboys power back to take the lead, they even put salt in the wounds of TAMU by running out the clock by taking a safety to end the game at 30-29 in favor of OKST. Oklahoma State has shown they can hang with the big boys and continue to look like the future kings of the Big 12. After a couple tough games, the Cowboys will enjoy a week off before playing Kansas at home.
-Last Week: #4
Can someone please tell me at what point Stanford’s season really begins? I understand that they just had a bye week at all, but man, when your bye week can be easily mistaken as a week you are playing, something is wrong. Now to be fair, a lot of teams are playing week opponents. That is just how the start of the season goes, but looking at Stanford’s schedule, it’s going to be awhile till someone can challenge them. The Cardinals will take on UCLA (2-2), Colorado (1-3), and Washington State (2-1) in the coming weeks, which should have them at 6-0 by mid-season. This team would be ranked lower if it wasn’t for the fact that QB Andrew Luck is the son of the almighty Zeus and has the ability to hit a comet with a single pass.
-Last Week: #7
The Badgers are a tour de force this season, well at least against terrible teams. Much in the same vain as my rant about Stanford, Wisconsin is a very dominate team that hasn’t been tested yet (unless people believe that South Dakota was super good). That ends this weekend with a game against Nebraska at Camp Randall. For Wisconsin, it’s all about wearing down the Blackshirts with the run than killing them with the pass. QB Russell Wilson has thrown only one interception so far this season while finding the end zone eleven times for touchdowns. RBs Montee Ball and James White will be pivotal in doing this as the two have proven to dominate a game if given the chance and running room to do so.
-Last Week: #8
There are two constants in the world of college football. One being that Wyoming has the worst jerseys man and two being that Nebraska can’t throw the football. Nebraska’s 38-14 win over the Cowboys was just another shining example of both of these facts. RB Rob Burkhead did look incredibly impressive on the ground, rushing for 170 yards and two touchdowns, but the passing game was so ho hum. I understand that QB Taylor Martinez is a young QB and one of those dual threats that probably won’t post Andrew Luck numbers but when Wyoming’s QB is besting you at your own position while at the same time getting a beat down, that’s a problem. Wisconsin will not be as easy to topple with the run and should prove to be a tall order in Nebraska’s Big Ten debut. Unless Martinez finally realizes that he can throw the ball to those wide receiver type people on his team, it’s going to be a long day at Camp Randall for Husker fans.
8. South Carolina
-Last Week: #9
South Carolina finally snapped their streak of close calls with a nice 21-3 win over Vanderbilt this past weekend. RB Marcus Lattimore continues to be the driving force behind this team, rushing for 77 yards and a touchdown along with recording 73 yards receiving and a touchdown. Lattimore has become an early favorite in the Heisman race and it’s understandable. South Carolina also has Melvin Ingram, who seems to always be in the right place at the right time for the Gamecocks. It will be another one of those big weeks for South Carolina as Auburn comes into town. A win against the Tigers could help South Carolina move up in the polls, but a loss against a team who has been in just as many close calls as them could result in a major fall. Watch for the Gamecocks to go back to playing it close to the chest and escaping this game barely.
9. Virginia Tech
-Last Week: #10
Virginia Tech has found themselves in an interesting place. They have been relatively dominate over the first four weeks and had a schedule that should have given them an easy way into the BCS, but things have changed. A 40-10 win over Marshall have given way to what could be their biggest game of the year. Clemson is dangerously tough and has come out of nowhere to be a front runner in the ACC. The Hokies have been playing great with QB Logan Thomas running the ship. Virginia Tech is going to need their defense to step up in a big way if this game is going to be a win. At this point, VA-Tech can’t afford to lose a game with Miami (FL) and Georgia Tech still on their schedule.
-Last Week: #11
As to be expected, the Ducks made very quick work of Arizona in a blistering 56-31 win in the desert. RB LaMichael James had a phenomenal game recording 288 yards and two touchdowns. Oregon actually dedicated a lot of the game to the run. As a team, the Ducks rushed for 415 yards on 47 carries for six total touchdowns. QB Darron Thomas had statistically his lowest performing game, only throwing for 101 yards and two touchdowns. The Ducks will have a week off to get ready for a two game home stand against Cal and Arizona State, but will probably spend most of their week off determining which helmet best matches their jersey.
-Last Week: #15
There is an old saying in Florida, when The Swamp is a rocking……….I think it means that the Gators are having a good season. I am not really sure how that saying ends because Florida is playing way better than they were expected to. A 48-10 win over Kentucky helped push their record to 4-0 on the season and leads them into a difficult match-up with Alabama. RB Chris Rainey has been on fire to start this season and needs to continue to be if the Gators want to beat the Tide. With home field on their side, this could be the game that Florida ends up tripping up in. Alabama is an incredibly strong team and at this point, it’s not really clear if Florida is on the same level.
-Last Week: #17
At this point in the early season, QB Robert Griffin III isn’t just a favorite for the Heisman, he is the winner. In three games, he has thrown for 962 yards and 13 touchdowns. RG3 is unstoppable at this point and it’s a big reason why Baylor is on such a hot streak. The Bears take on Kansas State this week and it should be another one of those games for Griffin. Baylor won’t see their next big opponent till TAMU on October 15th.
13. Texas A&M
-Last Week: #6
It was a very very heartbreaking day for the Aggies on Saturday. After amassing a huge lead on Oklahoma State, they watched as the Cowboys roared back almost as if they were lost in some vortex that didn’t allow them to play defense. The loss will hurt TAMU’s shot at a national title and could even hurt their chances of a Big 12 title if they can’t beat Oklahoma later this year and if Oklahoma State goes undefeated. TAMU will take on Arkansas this week in a match-up that can only be classified as a preverbal nail in the coffin for the loser’s season. Arkansas will be another tough game as they will be lookin to get a bit of frustration out of their system after loss to Alabama.
14. Boise State
-Last Week: #14
Tulsa was less of a hurricane and more of a gentle breeze this week against Boise State. If anything can be taken away from this game other than soreness in the eyes from having to look at awful blue turf, it’s that BSU’s weakness is still in the 2nd half. Tulsa score 21 points on the Broncos as their defense started to get tired and winded. BSU does have a weak schedule on their side as they won’t play anyone that will truly test them into that quarter for some time now. A considerably weaker Nevada comes to town this weekend in a game that the Broncos should win. It is expected that Boise will see a dramatic increase in smug and use of the phrase “we got them back”.
15. South Florida
-Last Week: #19
The Bulls continue to have an incredibly season. A 52-24 win over UTEP was their fourth in a row and second straight game with 50 or more points. USF opens up conference play next week against Pitt, but it’s hard to not like how this team has been playing. QB BJ Daniels has already hit the 1,000 yard mark with eight touchdowns to boot. He has also established himself as a good scrambler and tough to get a hold of if he breaks free. The Bulls have the week off to get ready for Pitt, which should be all the time that they need.
-Last Week: #22
The Tigers have become the official new front runner in the ACC. Knocking off Auburn was already pretty good, but then turning around and taking out Florida State? That was just downright ridiculous. Clemson jumped out to a huge early in the game and held on to it for the most part, taking a 28-17 lead into the 4th quarter. Even when FSU tried to come back, Clemson QB Tajh Boyd put the game out of Florida State’s reach with a 62 yard pass. The Seminoles would score again, but the Tigers owned the day, taking a 35-30 win. Boyd threw for 344 yards and three touchdowns in the game and was a huge factor in regards to the team’s success. The Tigers will travel to Blacksburg this week to take on Virginia Tech in a game that could ultimately has major effects on the ACC.
-Last Week: #20
The Longhorns return from a bye week to find themselves moving up the Top 25 list mostly on the back of so many teams losing. It is still to be determined whether QB Case McCoy is the man to take this team to the top, but a game against a tough Iowa State will be a good place to start figuring that out. He did look impressive against UCLA, but UCLA has crumbled, so that game doesn’t really tell us much. Watch for Texas to win this one in a close game with the high possibility that they could trip up and fall to the Cyclones.
-Last Week: #21
Coach Brady Hoke knew that this was not only a big game for Michigan, but also a big game for himself in taking on his old team. San Diego State turned out to not be such a tall order as QB Denard Robinson tore the Aztecs up for 200 yards rushing and three touchdowns, leading Michigan to a 28-7 win. Robinson did look shaky passing, throwing two interceptions and only throwing for 93 yards. It’s amazing to watch how talented Robinson is cutting in and out of the defense like it was second nature. Coach Hoke needs him to get back to throwing the ball as well as he did against Notre Dame and he will have plenty of time to get there with Minnesota this week and Northwestern the following week.
-Last Week: #24
Playing it close to the vest for the second straight week, Illinois almost found themselves falling off this list completely. West Michigan actually led the Fighting Illini 13-10 going into half and looked to be in control of the game. RB Donavon Young’s 13 yard run for a touchdown, followed by a 35 yard field goal roughly ten minutes later put Illinois up 20-13 going into the 4th quarter. WMU would answer back with a huge drive that ended in a seven yard pass to WR Jordan White from QB Alex Carder to tie the game up. The day was for Illinois though as Derek Dimke would hit a 21 yard field goal to give Illinois the lead and eventual end score of 23-20. The Fighting Illini will host Northwestern this weekend and hope to continue on with their best opening season since 1951.
20. Georgia Tech
-Last Week: #NR
The Yellow Jackets are getting a lot of buzz right now. Well one Yellow Jacket is getting a lot of buzz. WR Stephen Hill’s one handed catch in Georgia Tech’s 35-28 win over North Carolina could be the best play of the year so far. What’s more impressive is how well the Yellow Jackets have handled themselves so far this season. Granted that they haven’t really played anyone, but for a team that struggled a lot last year to turn it around so well is kind of endearing to see. The Yellow Jackets will travel to play North Carolina State this weekend. This is a game that Georgia Tech should win without even having to think twice about it.
-Last Week: #18
Despite having a small hiccup in the first quarter against Portland State, the Horned Frogs went on a scoring spree with RB Waymon James leading the way. James rushed for a season high 136 yards and one touchdown and ran for a huge 82 yard kickoff return to help give TCU that extra little pop it needed to win 55-13. QB Casey Pachall added three touchdowns and his 214 yards passing to help out the cause as well. Pachall has really gotten back on track since that Week 1 lost to Baylor and has a ton of potential to lead this team to great places. TCU will host SMU this weekend in a game that should be an easy win for them.
22. Michigan State
-Last Week: #25
The Spartans needed a good rebound game after that brutal loss to Notre Dame. Michigan State got that and more with a 45-7 victory over Central Michigan. RB Le’Veon Ball had a monster game in the red zone, rushing for three touchdowns on 81 yards rushing. QB Kirk Cousins also got back in the flow of things with 213 yards and one touchdown. Michigan State still has a lot to live up to with that early loss. They travel to The Shoe with hopes of knocking out a once great Ohio State Buckeyes. If MSU can win this game, they still have a fighting chance in the Big Ten, but a loss with Michigan, Wisconsin, and Nebraska all in the coming weeks could spell the early end of their season.
-Last Week: #12
The mighty Razorback defense that shut down opponents in the first three weeks of the season seemed like a distant memory when they hit Tuscaloosa. Arkansas couldn’t stop the run or pass and seemed to be a ball of nerves which caused a lot of miscommunication. It also didn’t help that the offense couldn’t make the needed adjustments to move the ball against the Tide. The Razorbacks will see a lot of the same things with TAMU this weekend. This will be a very important game for Arkansas. A loss will put them out of the running for the SEC title (but they would also have to hope Alabama and LSU lose two games). Their schedule is too tough for them to mess up now and they need to keep that in mind when they play the Aggies.
24. West Virginia
-Last Week: #16
The Mountaineers simply got outplayed. QB Geno Smith even threw for 465 yards and WVU lost. LSU is a really good team so West Virginia shouldn’t feel bad about getting blow out at home. Does this hurt their national title dreams? Considerably, but this was also an out of conference game. They could still win the Big East and end up in a BCS game. Bowling Green comes to Morgantown this week, so the Mountaineers should be able to get back on track before taking on UConn next week in their Big East conference opener. As long as Smith can get the team moving in the right direction, this team can do big things.
25. Florida State
-Last Week: #13
I don’t even know what to say about the Seminoles. Getting beat by Oklahoma? Ok that is understandable when you’re starting QB goes down with an arm injury and the back-up has to try to save the game. Losing to Clemson? Even with how good they are this year, FSU should have won that game. QB Clint Trickett is still pretty rough around the edges and the sooner EJ Manuel gets back the better. The Seminoles it is safe to say might be the first major school that we can count out of showing up in the national title game. I know that they have a pretty weak schedule the rest of the way out, playing at Wake Forrest this week and having only Florida and Miami (FL) as major road bumps, but they also have the winner of the ACC Coastal division to worry about. To put further salt in the wounds, they would need Clemson to drop three games for them to take the division. While it is possible that Clemson could do that, FSU needs to focus on their own game and keep that in the back of their minds.
ON WATCH: Houston, Miami (FL), and Iowa State
Follow me on Twitter: @VandalExaminer