1. Alabama Crimson Tide (1) – Alabama had no trouble with a weak, week 1 opponent. This week is a different story as the Tide welcomes the Penn State Nittany Lions into Tuscaloosa. Nick Saban vs. Joe Paterno. Will Mark Ingram play? Does it matter? Last week: Defeated San Jose State, 48-3. This week: vs. Penn State (1-0).
2. Ohio State Buckeyes (2) – The Buckeyes stuck it to Marshall, easily covering the spread. Like Alabama, week 2 is a much bigger test. The Hurricanes from Miami come calling. The Horseshoe will be rocking Saturday afternoon. Last week: Defeated Marshall, 45-7. This week: vs. Miami (FL) (1-0).
3. Boise State Broncos (5) – What a game! Two evenly matched teams played to the final horn. Boise State benefited from two late, questionable decisions by officials, but so it goes. The Broncos found a way to win the game. Kellen Moore and Boise State’s veteran team proved to be too much for the Hokies. The collar of BCS conference teams just got collectively tighter. Last week: Defeated Virginia Tech, 33-30. This week: Bye.
4. TCU Horned Frogs (6) – The Horned Frogs took care of business, bottom line. I thought Oregon State would pull off the upset, and I was wrong. Also, TCU won that game; Oregon State did not lose it. TCU was the better team on the field. This team looks to be a major player in the hunt for the national championship. Last week: Defeated Oregon State, 30-21. This week: Tennessee Tech (0-1).
5. Oklahoma Sooners (3) – Wow. That was almost a huge upset. The Utah State Aggies – a 35 point underdog – gave the Sooners all they wanted and more. If Oklahoma’s defense doesn’t improve from week 1 to week 2, it could be a long game Saturday. Florida State slaughtered Samford, just like they should have. This game has the makings for an offensive explosion in Norman. Last week: Defeated Utah State, 31-24. This week: vs. Florida State (1-0).
6. Florida Gators (4) – The Gators had trouble putting away Miami (OH). Florida led 21-9 going into the fourth quarter against a middle-of-the-road MAC team. Is this the year the Gators relinquish their stranglehold on the SEC East? Next up is an in-state battle with South Florida and new head coach, Skip Holtz. Last week: Defeated Miami (OH), 34-12. This week: vs. South Florida (1-0).
7. Nebraska Cornhuskers (7) – Taylor Martinez? I expected Zach Lee to get the nod, but Martinez did not disappoint. The freshman signal caller rushed and threw for over 250 yards, including 3 rushing touchdowns. The defense was nearly as good as advertised, but Coach Pelini can’t be happy about 179 rushing yards to the Hilltoppers. Last week: Defeated Western Kentucky, 49-10. This week: Idaho (1-0).
8. Texas Longhorns (8) – Texas joins Florida and Oklahoma as week 1’s underperformers. Rice led at the end of the first quarter, and hung around for most of the game. Texas didn’t come that close to covering the spread. Life after Colt McCoy might be difficult. Texas ran the ball for nearly 200 yards, but only 4.3 yards/carry against Rice. Last week: Defeated Rice, 34-17. This week: Wyoming (1-0).
9. Miami Hurricanes (9) – The U disposed of an overmatched Florida A&M team with no problems. Can the Hurricanes find a way to get it done at the Horseshoe? They must play better than they did against Wisconsin in last year’s bowl game. If they can get a win, Miami will be in the national championship discussion. Last week: Defeated Florida A&M, 45-0. This week: at Ohio State (1-0).
10. Iowa Hawkeyes (11) – Iowa gave Eastern Illinois a sound beating, looking good in all areas. Running back Adam Robinson was the player of the game, and with the return of Jewel Hampton the Hawkeyes look decidedly better on offense. But it’s still early. The Hawks have to fend off their in-state rivals, the Iowa State Cyclones. While it may seem like an easy task, remember, Iowa State is 7-5 straight up in the past 12 match-ups. Last week: Defeated Eastern Illinois, 37-7. This week: vs. Iowa State (1-0).
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11. Oregon Ducks (12) – Looks like Oregon has another offensive juggernaut this season. The Ducks led New Mexico 59-0 at the half! Believe it or not, they took it easy on the hapless Lobos. The road gets tougher next week when Oregon travels to Tennessee. An SEC school at home should make for a good measuring stick game. How good is Oregon? Last week: Defeated New Mexico, 72-0. This week: at Tennessee (1-0).
12. Virginia Tech Hokies (10) – It’s a shame one team had to lose that game. Tyrod Taylor was exceptional – clearly the best player on the field, in my opinion. If Virginia Tech had won that game, Taylor would be the Heisman frontrunner and Tech would be a championship contender. It’s hard to rebound from a loss like that, but at least the Hokies get a I-AA team to beat up on. Last week: Lost to Boise State, 30-33. This week: vs. James Madison (1-0).
13. Georgia Bulldogs (13) – The Bulldogs didn’t need the services of A.J. Green against the Ragin’ Cajuns. The offense rolled over a Sun Belt defense, which is nice for Bulldog fans to see. But how can they fare against a hungry Gamecock squad? The winner of this game holds a potentially important tie-breaker come the end of the season. Last week: Defeated Louisiana Lafayette, 55-7. This week: at South Carolina (1-0).
14. USC Trojans (14) – I don’t think the Trojans expected the Warriors to put up such a battle last Thursday. People seem to be down on USC, but is it possible that USC is actually pretty good and Hawaii is quite a bit better than people expected? I think so. Virginia is coming off a win against a tough I-AA Richmond Spiders team. The Trojans are early 20 point favorites. Last week: Defeated Hawaii, 49-36. This week: Virginia (1-0).
15. LSU Tigers (15) – Did anyone else lose their ass on the LSU-UNC game? I did. I wanted to drop them out of the top 25 altogether, but whatever. I still can’t believe they couldn’t put away a significantly depleted UNC team. But they hung on for the win so we’ll stick with them. Next up is a trip to Vanderbilt. Last week: Defeated North Carolina, 30-24. This week: at Vanderbilt (0-1).
16. Penn State Nittany Lions (16) – Penn State had some early trouble with Youngstown State, but ultimately prevailed in a blowout, 44-14. Youngstown State was 21-25 throwing the ball, but Penn State was 7-11 on 3rd down. A trip to Tuscaloosa is next on the docket. The Nittany Lions need to play much better if they hope to compete against a superior Alabama team. Last week: Defeated Youngstown State, 44-14. This week: at Alabama (1-0).
17. Wisconsin Badgers (17) – The Badgers pulled away from UNLV in the second half. The game pushed the final line of 20 points, which I saw at most sites. The Badger ground game gets its going against San Jose State this week. The Spartans are coming off a drubbing at the hands of #1 Alabama. Last week: Defeated UNLV, 41-21. This week: vs. San Jose State (0-1).
18. Arkansas Razorbacks (18) – The Razorbacks throttled Tennessee Tech last week and Louisiana-Monroe doesn’t pose much of a threat this week. The schedule gets much tougher, though. A trip to Georgia is followed by a visit from Alabama. Last week: Defeated Tennessee Tech, 44-3. This week: at Louisiana-Monroe (0-0).
19. Florida State Seminoles (19) – Florida State took care of business last week. Christian Ponder and the Seminoles’ offense could be one of the ACC’s best. Do they have enough to beat Oklahoma in Norman? After the Sooners’ poor showing against Utah State, the answer is yes. Will they beat Oklahoma in Norman? That’s an entirely different question. If FSU can find a way, look for a big jump in next week’s rankings. Last week: Defeated Samford, 59-6. This week: at Oklahoma (1-0).
20. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (20) – The Ramblin’ Wreck, behind quarterback Joshua Nesbitt, ratcheted up the triple option offense to the tune of 372 rushing yards. Kansas shouldn’t be as much of a pushover, but considering the Jayhawks fell to the North Dakota State Bison last week, maybe it will be a cakewalk. Last week: Defeated South Carolina State, 41-10. This week: at Kansas (0-1).
21. Stanford Cardinal (21) – This should be a good test for the Cardinal. UCLA looked decent in Manhattan, though they lost to Kansas State in a close game. Bruins linebacker Akeem Ayers is incredible. Look for him to cause Stanford a lot of problems. Quarterback Andrew Luck needs to have a big game for the Cardinal. Last week: Defeated Sacramento State, 52-17. This week: at UCLA (0-1).
22. South Carolina (23) – Steve Spurrier had to be please with his team’s effort last week. The Gamecocks looked great in a routing of Southern Miss. In particular, the offense was nearly perfectly balanced: 224 yards rushing/225 yards passing. South Carolina looks big, fast, and athletic. They’ll get a test from Georgia this week. Last week: Defeated Southern Miss, 41-13. This week: vs. Georgia (1-0).
23. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (25) – The Irish faithful had to be happy with last week’s game. Notre Dame was in control from start to finish. The Irish ran the ball surprisingly well, ending up with 153 yards rushing. This week another Big 10 team takes aim for the Irish in South Bend. Michigan looked very good against UCONN. The Irish are sitting as 4 point favorites. Last week: Defeated Purdue, 23-12. This week: vs. Michigan (1-0).
24. Auburn Tigers (NR) – The Tigers offense picked up where it left off last season. Coach Chizik – a former defensive coordinator – needs to get better play out of his pass defense. Arkansas State had too much success through the air. Tigers beware – Starkville is a tough place to play. Last week: Defeated Arkansas State, 52-26. This week: at Mississippi State (1-0).
25. Oregon State Beavers (22) – The Beavers’ upset effort fell a bit short, but I commend the Beavers for giving a game effort. The Horned Frogs were just too good. The Beavers get a bye this week, then it’s Louisville at home followed by a showdown at Boise. Give Oregon State credit for playing TCU and Boise State in the same season away from home. Last week: Lost to TCU, 21-30. This week: Bye.
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