Nov 23

The Top Fan's Top 25

Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC  Tags:

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***NOTE: Pick'em picks need to be in by 7:59 Thursday night this week****The top seven in my weekly poll went unchanged, but after that there was a bit of moving around. Check back next week, though, as this Holiday weekend offers a smorgasbord of good football to feast on.....

1. Florida (11-0, 8-0 SEC) (Top Fan Poll Last Week: 1) - The Gators will be number one until they lose, and by playing Florida International, they knew they wouldn't lose this past Saturday. A 62-3 blasting of the Golden Panthers has the Gators one win away from a perfect regular season, two wins away from a SEC title, and three wins away from a second straight national title. Urban Meyer is probably the best coach in the game right now, and you almost have to think he has a couple of surprises up his sleeve with this team. Up next: Florida State.

2. Alabama (11-0, 7-0 SEC) (TFPLW: 2) - Like Florida, the Tide also had a week off while picking up a win. Alabama beat Chattanooga 45-0 and was able to let the starters rest. I don't have all that many comments on this game as it was just a one-sided blow-out from the start. Alabama must visit Auburn, and despite being the better team, will need to play a very fine game to win. If they do, they will play Florida for a spot in the BCS title game. Up next: at Auburn.

3. Texas (11-0, 7-0 Big 12) (TFPLW: 3) - Texas was the only top team this weekend to play a foe we have actually heard of, and they had no problems. Texas beat Kansas 51-20, and the folks in Lawrence may be coach-shopping this Christmas (Kansas has lost 7 straight). The Longhorns must just beat arch-rival Texas A&M, and they are in the BCS title game (the SEC will eliminate one of its teams itself). Up next: at Texas A&M.

4. TCU (11-0, 7-0 MWC)(TFPLW: 4) - We go over this every single week. Unless they get lucky, TCU will be on the outside looking in. Texas will play the SEC champ if things stay like they are now, and that is just a sad fact of life. Will it be a fantastic game? Definitely. But is it fair? Not at all. TCU, Cincy and Boise - if undefeated - would have done all that you can ask them to do. There are three rivalry games left concerning the top 3, and anything can happen. Cincinnati also has a tough close. But like I said, TCU will need help to get in. Up next: New Mexico.

5. Cincinnati (10-0, 6-0 Big East)(TFPLW: 5) - To me, it is hard to seperate teams 2-6, but it has to be done. And the more I research them, it just keeps getting tougher. I have liked the Cincy offense all year long, and I honestly believe Brian Kelly may be Urbanesque in quality. They didn't blast West Virginia last time out (24-21), but like each of the rest of the teams in the top-10 have done this season, they won a close game. Next up is Illinois in a game that was scheduled a few years ago. At the time, the Illini were on the rise, and this would be a huge late season game that could help Cincinnati in the BCS race. Now, Illinois just sucks and all this can do is hurt them if they lose. Twelve days from now, though, is a meeting with Pittsburgh for the Big East crown. Up next: Illinois.

6. Boise State (11-0, 6-0 WAC)(TFPLW: 6) - The Broncos withstood a hyped up Utah State team in the first quarter, allowing a 7-7 tie. But then in the second quarter, they put up 28 points to show Utah State that they are truly the elite team of this league. With the 52-21 win, Boise is once again on the verge of being a BCS buster - only this season they have teammates in TCU (and maybe Cincinnati). Next week the Broncos will go for the WAC championship against Nevada. Traditionally, the Wolfpack are pretty solid, and are 7-0 in conference this year. Up next: Nevada.

 7. Georgia Tech (10-1, 7-1 ACC)(TFPLW: 7) - The Jackets have won eight straight after a 2-1 start, and Coach Paul Johnson's team has a chance, also, to defeat Georgia for the second straight time for the first time since 2000. Now, I know the Dawgs are going to be playing for blood - especially after losing at home on senior day. But the game is in Atlanta, and Tech simply has the better team this year. Following that rivalry game, GT faces Clemson in the ACC championship game from Tampa. Up next: Georgia.

8. Oregon (9-2, 7-1 Pac 10)(TFPLW: 12) - Good grief, how many good games can there be for Oregon in one season!? Now, after a wild and crazy season, the game of the century will go down in Autzen Stadium Saturday. The Ducks won in OT on the road against Arizona, setting up a showdown with in-state arch-rival Oregon State. Win, and the Rose Bowl Game awaits. I juggled Pitt, Ohio State and Oregon for this number eight ranking, and in the end, I think the Ducks would beat those two teams (in Ohio State's case, we may get to find out). The reasoning is Jeremiah Masoli - a true difference maker. For the season he has passed for 1,865 yards and four scores. He has also rushed for another 600 yards and twelve scores. I love CJ Spiller to death, but if I had a Heisman vote, I would probably vote for Masoli. Up next: Oregon State.

9. Ohio State (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten)(TFPLW: 8) - I dropped the Buckeys one spot after a road win against Michigan in the Big House. I know, that is kind of unfair. But I just think at this point that if Oregon and Ohio State were to play, Jeremiah Masoli would be the difference in the game, and so I moved the Ducks ahead of the Buckeyes. OSU is now finished for the regular season, and will face either the mentioned Ducks, or Oregon State in the January 1st Rose Bowl Game. Up next: Rose Bowl.

10. Pittsburgh (9-1, 5-0 Big East)(TFPLW: 9) - I have my reservations about Pittsburgh, and I think it is mainly due to the fact that they will most-likely lose in this final stretch. They have to play at West Virginia, and then they face Cincinnati. They have reeled off six straight wins after a weird defeat to lowly NC State. I suppose that loss is what raised the red flag on them. But that was seven weeks ago, and teams can hit their stride. If they win the next two, I will certainly move them up a couple of spots. Up next: at West Virginia.

11. Iowa (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten)(TFPLW: 13) - The Big Ten checks in with two teams now in Iowa and Penn State. With these two teams being so even in the polls and on paper and in the standings of the league, I will give Iowa the spot above the Lions due to a head to head regular season win. The Hawkeyes closed the regular season with a 12-0 shutout win over Minnesota. Like Penn State, they too will probably end up in Florida for a bowl against the SEC. Up next: Bowl.

12. Penn State (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten)(TFPLW: 15) - I bumped the Lions back a couple of spots last week, and what do they do? They come out and demolish Michigan State on the road, 42-14. This game was tied 7-7 at halftime, but apparently Joe Paterno had the right words in the locker room. PSU came out and threw up 28 points in the third, making a close game a blow-out win. Up next for Penn State is a bowl game, most-likely either the Capitol One Bowl or the Outback Bowl - both against a SEC opponent. Up next: Bowl.

13. Oklahoma State (9-2, 6-1 Big 12)(TFPL: 10) - There are but three divisions (or even whole leagues) in college football where the Cowboys wouldn't be in contention for conference hardware right now, but they found themselves in one of them as they play with Texas in the Big Twelve South. An October loss to the Horns will see them finish second in the division, while perhaps finishing in the top-10, nationally. They have a tricky game this weekend against rival Oklahoma, but I feel they have the better team and should beat a mediocre OU team. Up next: at Oklahoma.

14. Virginia Tech (8-3, 5-2 ACC)(TFPLW: 16) - In the end, it all came down to the October 17th game against Georgia Tech that saw the Hokies lose, 28-23. With identical conference records, it will be the Yellow Jackets representing the Coastal division in Tampa in two weeks. This is assuming, of course, that VT defeats Virginia in Charlottesville this weekend. This will be AL Groh's final game as UVA coach (IMO), and it will be an interesting one to watch. Up next: at Virginia.

15. Clemson (8-3, 6-2 ACC)(TFPLW: 18) - The Tigers now face their arc-rival South Carolina in Columbia after securing a berth in the ACC title game. But we can talk ACC titles next week. This week there is only one thing that matters and one thing only: South Carolina. The Gamecocks started hot, but are now looking to re-right the ship after losing three in a row. Clemson must immediately refocus now that the Atlantic division business is out of the way. Yes, a conference title would be super, but it won't be quite as shiny with a loss to USC. Up next: at South Carolina.

16. LSU (8-3, 4-3 SEC)(TFPLW: 11) - What a weird ending (25-23 loss to Ole Miss)! LSU did all of these crazy things to get into position to win the game, and then with seeconds to play, did not allow themselves to kick the game winning field goal as time expired without timeout being called. Apparently LSU Coach Les Miles said he verbally called for the TO, but it was not granted....The Tigers now have three losses, all to top-20 teams, and are a good squad. No, they aren't quite the beast they we have grown acuustomed to, but I still wouldn't want to play 'em!

17. Miami (8-3, 5-3 ACC)(TFPLW: 20) - The Hurricanes took Duke back behind the woodshed and put them in their place in the ACC Coastal heirarchy. The 'Canes now have an interesting game with South Florida on the road. This game will tell a lot about this Hurricane team. South Florida isn't a world-beater, but they are pretty good and it will be a good environment. Up next: at South Florida.

18. Oregon State (8-3, 6-2 Pac 10)(TFPLW: 19) - This could be the team that sky-rockets up the polls if they are able to win Saturday against Oregon and take the Pac Ten title. It is a tough task - no doubt about that - but they can do it as they have a high-powered offense. OSU has scored 147 points in their last four games, and will need to keep that up to stand a chance against Masoli and crew in Eugene. Up next: at Oregon.

19. Mississippi (8-3, 4-3 SEC)(TFPLW: UR) - The Rebels had a close game go their way in freak fashion against LSU, but still, a win is a win! Ole Miss should get credit for climbing into the SEC picture. No, they aren't ready to challenge LSU or Alabama in the West (and Auburn won't be down long), but still they hvae put themselves into position to recruit better and keep climbing. Up next: at Mississippi State.

20. Nebraska (8-3, 5-2 Big Twelve)(TFPLW: 22) - Nebraska is unranked in the AP poll, and number 23 in the Coaches poll, but I have them in my top-20 because not only did they win their division, but they did it based on defense. I know these days you have to be able to score. But I will take a stout defense over a same offense seven days a week. In the four-game winning streak to secure the Big Twelve North title, Nebraska gave up just 8.2 points per game. Up next: at Colorado.

21. North Carolina(8-3, 4-3 ACC)(TFPLW: 23) - A couple of months ago, after a 0-3 start in ACC play saw them basically out of the ACC Coastal race right away, I was thinking Butch Davis was way over-rated and may be a hot-seat coach come 2010. Now, after winning four straight (including wins over #13 and #14), the Heels could win out and perhaps finish in the top-15. They were in a tough division this year, but next year need to think Coastal title.

22. California (8-3, 5-3 Pac Ten)(TFPLW: 24) - After a couple of early season losses to Oregon and USC, the Bears have now won five of six games to get back into the top-25. Cal won in dramatic fashion on the road against Stanford this past weekend. A trip to Washington and a bowl win would see Cal reach the ten win mark. Up next: at Washington.

23. ***TIE***BYU (9-2, 6-1 MWC)(TFPLW: 21)/ Utah (9-2, 6-1 MWC)(TFPLW: UR) - - These two teams play this weekend at BYU in what should be a fantastic game. Both teams are playing for second place in the MWC, but a lot of bragging rights at stake, as well as a chance to move up the polls and reach a better bowl. With them being so dead even, I decided to tie them until after this game is played. Up next: Each other!

25. Stanford (7-4, 6-3 Pac Ten)(TFPLW: 17) - I had to keep the Cardinal in this poll after the kind of season they have had and the way they played Cal close in a great game, despite losing. It has been a long time since they have been in a solid bowl, but this year will be that year for them. A win this weekend against Notre Dame would help that cause, although Pac Ten placement will be the ultimate decider. Up next: Notre Dame.

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