Nov 16

The Top Fan's Top 25

Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC  Tags:

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Here is my top-25 following week eleven of the college football season. It is getting to crunch-time now with conference championships and BCS berths up for grabs! 

1. Florida (10-0) (Top Fan's Poll Last Week: 1) - Like I say each week: Until they lose, they are number one. The Gators beat South Carolina 24-14 Saturday night. While none of Florida's wins this year have been flashy or have had too much of a wow-factor, they all count the same. The ultimate goal in the end is the national championship - that is what teams are remembered by. They have three very tough games left to reach that goal. This week though, the goal is to not get anyone hurt, as they get a breather against Florida International.
2. Alabama (10-0)(TFPLW:2) - Alabama and Florida are just one step away from meeting in the SEC title game as number one vs number two for an unbelievable second straight time. Saban's boys play on the basics of football: good tackling and defense, and a good running game. These two things, with a decent enoguh air attack mixed in via Greg McElroy make Bama a very, very tough team to beat. Like Florida, the Tide get a breather this week as they play Chattanooga. But then they go to Auburn, and they better be ready. Alabama is stronger this year, but you can bet the world Auburn will give them all they want.
3. Texas (10-0)(TFPLW:3) - As long as the Horns hold on to this spot, they will be fine. After all, someone will lose between the two teams ahead of them in the SEC ttile game. The Horns are in the Big 12 title game, but they better be careful at home this weekend against Kansas. The Jayhawks are on a terrible skid after spending the early part of the season in the top-25. They could ruin Texas' season in a heartbeat. After that, a trip to Texas A&M is also a game to be focused. The Aggies are bad (as usual), but upsets are what college football is all about. And then, the Big 12 title game. So a lot can happen in the next three weeks, still though, I see the Horns playing one of the two teams above them, January 8th.
4. TCU (10-0)(TFPLW:4) - Now we get to the three teams that will most-likely get screwed when it is all said and done: TCU, Cincinnati and Boise State. Yep, if things go as they look like they might, Texas will play either Florida or Alabama, and the rest of these unbeatens will land in good bowls. BCS proponents say it will all work itself out - what a joke! The Horned Frogs dismantled Utah, remaining unbeaten. Their closest call of the year came against Clemson in week four, a 14-10 win under-water in Death Valley Aquarium. Andy Dalton is a very solid qb, and Gary Patterson is a very solid coach. It is unfortunate this team doesn't have a few more bigger wins to really give the BCS some headaches.
5. Boise (10-0)(TFPLW:5) /Cincy (10-0)(TFPLW:6) - I simply bumped Cincy up a spot. TCU - to me - is the best of this group of three, so I put them at four. But these two teams would probably play TCU to the end, or perhaps even beat them, who knows. And that is why I just cannot stand this system. It needs to be decided on the field because I am basing my rankings on feel here (and record, too, but mainly feel), and I would imagine that is how most of the voters vote. Let's be honest, Boise is the most untested of the three teams. They haven't really played anyone outside of Oregon. And the TCU win over Utah, while impressive in scoring, was the lone tough opponent Patterson has had to prepare for in weeks. I like these teams, and I know they can play, but we have to get a playoff going so that they get a chance. Otherwise, this schedule issue thing is going to make us all get sick of college football. 
7. Georgia Tech (10-1)(TFPLW:6) - And now you get to the teams that made the unthinkable mistake of actually losing one of their eleven games, thus making them (this year) have little or no shot at a BCS crown. AGGGHH!!!!!! The Jackets ran a decent Duke team off of the field in Durham, 49-10 to clinch the ACC Coastal division. But by losing to Miami way beek in week three, GT is not even getting mentioned in the national title talk. One loss. One. That is how bad this system is - a team loses on of eleven games eight weeks ago and doesn't even get a chance to play for the big crown. Unreal. Next up for GT is a bye week, followed by Georgia at home.
8. Ohio State (9-2)(TFPLW:8) - The Buckeyes sealed the Big Ten title this past weekend with a dramatic overtime win over Iowa. They haven't been to the Rose Bowl since 1986, and you can bet airline tickets frm Columbus to LA will be a big Christmas present this year in Ohio. And again, just for good measure, I will bring up my love for the BCS. OSU strggled early, losing to USC and Purdue in the first six weeks. But they have now won four straight and are playing good football at the right time of the year. You know, in the NFL playing good football this time of year gets you a chance to play for a ring. In college football, playing good right now gets you pissed off because you know you have no chance to play the big boys. Up next for Ohio State is Michigan in Ann Arbor.
9. Pittsburgh (9-1)(TFPLW:10) - Another team alive and well in the chase for its conference title is Pitt. The Panthers lone loss of the season came - oddly enough - to the NC State Wolfpack back in September. Take that away and Pitt could be lucky enough to be one of these teams on the outside looking in! Actually, the Panthers and Bearcats must play one another December 5th in what will essentially (most-likely) be the Big East title game. Pitt must play WVU first, but even with a loss, a win against Cincy would give them the league title.
10. Oklahoma State (8-2)(TFPLW:17) - The Cowboys have losses to Texas and Houston, and have cleaned house with most everyone else. They average over 35 points per game, and in the game against Texas Tech, showed a little defense, as well. The next few teams are on the verge of being national title caliber, but once you get to two losses, you start running into question marks. For some reason, this week's writing of my top-25 has me dreaming up all of these different playoff ideas! When you get to teams such as the next six or eight though, they all have the ability to give the best teams a defeat, and that is why it makes me wonder what could happen. Next up for Oklahoma State is Colorado at home Thursday night.
11. LSU (8-2)(TFPLW:12) - LSU has losses to two teams - numbers one and two in America - by nine and ten points respectively (one home, one away, and the one in Tuscaloosa was VERY disputed due to outstanding officiating). So yeah, the Tigers are probably a player or two away from being at the elite level. Then again, when you play the top two teams in the country each a good game, it makes you wonder just how far back they really are. I would love to see LSU in a 16 team playoff - I would bet they make the final four. They play at Ole Miss this weekend.
12. Oregon (8-2)(TFPLW:14) - Two weeks ago, people were asking if this Oregon squad wasn't perhaps the best team in the land. Stanford put an end to that talk with a major beat-down of the Ducks, but I still think UO is pretty darn good. The Cardinal may be the surprise team in all of America this season, but that loss still hurts. The other loss came nine weeks earlier to open the year in Boise. Oregon is in a fight to reach the Rose Bowl to face Ohio State. Up next for the Ducks is a trip to Arizona, then Oregon State at home.
13. Iowa (9-2)(TFPLW:13) - Man, what a painful, painful, painful way to end the season!!! After a 9-0 start and a ranking as high as number four, Iowa lost to Northwestern, and followed that up with a loss - in gut-wrenching, heart-breaking style - to Ohio State to let the Big Ten (and maybe even more) title slip away. This season was going to have a banner flying high in Kinnick Stadium. Now, it is a season most Hawkeye fans may want to forget. Still, you keep fighting, and a double-digit win total and major bowl win would be nice. Up next for Iowa is a home date with Minnesota.
14. Wisconsin (8-2)(TFPLW:19) - A good year, but they are what they are, and what they are is the third best team in the Big Ten (do not play Penn State). Back to back losses to Iowa and Ohio State a few weeks back knocked them from conference contention, but they will make a good bowl (and a road trip to Hawaii aint bad either coming up!). Up next for the Badgers is a home date with Michigan.
15. Penn State (9-2)(TFPLW:20) - If you want the one hundred percent honest to goodness truth, I have not seen PSU play a wink this season. I have to rank them here based on who they have beaten and all, but sadly, for whatever reason, I have yet to see this team play. Anyway, they do not play Wisconsin, so they will end up with either the 4th (or maybe 3rd) spot out of the Big Ten bowl-wise. Up next they play Michigan State on the road.
16. Virginia Tech (7-3)(TFPLW:21) - It is odd that on paper, VT had its best team in years in 2009. But that just goes to show why they play the games. VT has lost three times, and in each case, seemed to be the less physical of the two teams - a very backwards thing for Tech teams. Still, with all three losses coming to ranked teams (Bama, GT, UNC), this season has been ok, I guess. A strong finish could see them in the top-10 in January. They close with winnable games against NC State at home, and a trip to Charlotesville to play UVA.
17. Stanford (7-3)(TFPLW:UR) - As I have said twice in this article, Stanford is the surprise team of this 2009 season. With decisive wins over Oregon and USC, the Cardinal are no joke. Jim Harbaugh will surely be a HOT commodity when the season ends - particularly at one certain Mid-West school. After an early season loss on the road at Wake Forest, Stanford has now won six of eight. The close is tough, with Cal and Notre Dame coming to town to wrap up the regular season.
18. Clemson (7-3) (TFPLW:22) - The Tigers defeated NC State 43-23 and are one win away from meeting Georgia Tech in the ACC championship game. DeAndre McDaniel is leading the nation in interceptions, and CJ Spiller should be on the Heisman stage later next month. The Tigers have some issues to work on - namely kicking - but are playing very good football right now. The development of Kyle Parker at quarterback has been a tremendously positive thing for Clemson. The Tigers will face Virginia at 3:30 Saturday before facing arch-rival South Carolina a week later.
19. Oregon State (7-3)(TFPLW:UR) - With the Ducks getting more national attention this season, the Beavers have quietly climbed their way back up the polls. With three losses (2 in conference), OSU is sill capable of a very big year. With a win over their in-state rival to close the year, they could still win the Pac 10 (head to head over both Stanford and Oregon)! Please let me know if I am seeing that wrong....They have a HUGE game with Arizona this weekend that could wreck all of that.
20. Miami (7-3)(TFPLW:9) - It is good to see the U back in the mix of things, even if they are not yet national championship caliber. They have been fun to watch this season, and with Jacory Harris coming back, will be fun again in 2010. They have an interesting close to their schedule in 2009 featuring a game against South Florida. That is a great matchup geographically and inter-conference and should be fun to watch in two weeks. This week, they play Duke.
21. BYU (8-2)(TFPLW:UR) - The Cougars eeked out a 24-19 win over New Mexico. I am hesitant to rank this team as the schedule is very light, and they have still managed to lose twice. The win over Oklahoma was average, and the loss to Florida State speaks for itself, too. On top of that, TCU wore 'em out, 38-7. If you cannot tell, I'm not sure about BYU. But I must give them credit for their eight wins, so here they are. Up next they will play Air Force.
22. Nebraska (7-3)(TFPLW:25) - Here is my adopted second favorite team still alive to make some noise in the Big 12. The Huskers are hoping and praying for a game against Texas in the league championship, but first must get by Kansas State and Colorado. This team has talent, but has hurt itself this year with sloppy play. Bo Pelini is in just his second year, so things ae looking up when you are in the league championship hunt this late in the season. You can bet Lincoln will be hopping this weekend against K State. 
23. North Carolina (7-3)(TFPLW:UR) - The Tar Heels are the fourth team from the ACC Coastal to be ranked this week in the AP poll. Folks love to diss on the ACC, but there you have it - four teams from one division in the top-25. UNC has had an up and down season with big wins over Miami and VT, and tough losses Florida State, GT and UVA. Two tough road trips await to close out with Boston College and NC State. Ten wins is reachable after a 3-2 start.
24. California (7-3)(TFPLW:UR) - The Bears start every season near the top-10 it seems like, and never finsh quite that high. In 2009, they are in perfect position to do it again. They started the season ranked 12, and by winning out would find themselves just a bit lower than that. Anyway, they are a solid program, but not the national contender they are always picked to be. The last couple of regular season games for Cal are at Stanford and at Washington - so the potential for disaster is there, too.
25. Houston (8-2) (TFPLW: 15) - With the defeat that Houston took last week at the hands of Central Florida, 37-32, I thought the Cougars would be out of this poll. But then I started weighing all of the other teams lingering around the edge of the top-25, and UH was able to hang on. With all of the big-time football in Texas, it is good to see Houston get a piece of the spot-light every now and again. Yes, this best weekend was bad, but overall, 2009 has been a great success, I would think.

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