Nov 30

The Top Fan's Top 25

Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC  Tags:

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My top-25 is the same as the AP up to the number eleven spot, and from there they take different paths. As I write this this week, it makes me sicker than ever that we do not have a playoff. TCU and Boise, congrats on the perfect regular season! Your prize? Nothing!

1. Florida (12-0, 8-0 SEC)(Top Fan's Poll Last Week: 1) - Wire to wire the Gators took the number one ranking through the regular season, and it all comes down to one huge game to earn the spot at a national title. It makes my stomach roll that Florida and Alabama have each had such fantastic seasons, and now with a defeat to the other sees the national championship completely gone. An  eight-team playoff should follow this game, with both school's qualifying for it...Anyway, in reality, Florida toasted FSU, 37-10, to cap off its perfect regular season. Up next: Alabama in SEC Championship Game.

2. Alabama (12-0, 8-0 SEC)(TFPLW: 2) - See above. Win or lose, a playoff should follow for both UF and UA...The Tide took care of business on the road at Auburn Friday afternoon, 26-21. The Tigers went up 14-0 early, but Alabama slowly and methodically clawed their way back in it, and by the end of the game had a bit more on the scoreboard than their rival. The second straight season of nummber 1 vs. number 2 is coming up next for the Crimson Tide in Atlanta against the Gators. Win, and they will play for the national championship. Up next: Florida in SEC Championship Game.

3. Texas (12-0, 8-0 Big 12)(TFPLW: 3) - The Longhorns also withstood a tough test this past Thanksgiving weekend. Texas traveled to College Station to play rival Texas A&M, and the game was a doozie. QB Colt McCoy of UT put his name back into serious Heisman contention after showing out on national TV. He had 479 total yards, and five scores (one a 65-yard run) and led his team to a 49-39 win. Up next for Texas is a game against Nebraska in Dallas for the Big 12 title. More importantly, a Longhorn win would send them to Pasadena to play the SEC champion for the national title.

4. TCU (12-0, 8-0 MWC)(TFPLW: 4) - Of the next three teams, I do not know why I put TCU ahead of the  other two, really. I guess it is just based on gut feel. In a dream world, Texas would play TCU this weekend (instead of playing Nebraska, no offense Huskers), and there would be a much more clear picture of who belongs in the BCS title game between the two Texas schools. But then that still leaves Boise and Cincy out....TCU had a spectacular season, and it breaks my heart they don't have a chance to play for number 1. Up next: Bowl.

5. Cincinnati (11-0, 7-0 Big East)(TFPLW: 5) - I'm just not sure what to type right here. After reaching the Orange Bowl a year ago, Cincinnati ran the table, defeated every team on there fair and square, and are still not only on the outside looking in, but they are waiting in line behind TCU for a chance to look inside. It's just BS. The Bearcats have one more game this weekend - against a ranked Pitt team - to show their stuff. I hope they put on a show and give the BcS a major headache. Up next: Pittsburgh.

6. Boise State (12-0, 7-0 WAC)(TFPLW: 6) - By the time I get past the teams that are still eligible and alive for the national championship, my fingers will be tired. I've been working on this article for a half hour, and I still haven't gotten to a team that has lost a game. If that doesn't scream out loud for a playoff system, I don't know what does! Boise, I love you guys, but there just isn't much you can do at this point except win your bowl game and enjoy a top-5 final ranking.

7. Oregon (9-2, 5-2 Pac-10)(TFPLW: 8) - Check back on this ranking next week. A huge game with rival Oregon State is all I need to type right here. The Ducks have had an up and down year, but are one huge win away from a conference title. But it won't be easy - that is for certain. I believe Jeremiah Masoli to be a true Heisman caliber player, and he will have to have one of the better games of his career Saturday for the Ducks to get it done. After starting the season on the road with an ugly loss, Oregon has a shot to finish at home in style. Up next: Oregon State.

8. Ohio State (10-2, 7-1 Big 10)(TFPLW: 9) - The Buckeyes were off this past weekend after wrapping up the Big Ten conference crown with a win over Michigan two weekends ago. They are now on hold until they find out who they will play in their Bowl game - either Oregon or Oregon State in the Rose Bowl. This seems to happens to the Big 10 champ every season - a long layoff between the last game and the bowl game, and a sluggish showing in the BCS game. We will see if Ohio State can overcome that this season. Up next: Rose Bowl.

9. Iowa (10-2, 6-2 Big 10)(TFPLW: 11) - Teams 8-10 are Big Ten teams that finished 1-2-3 in the conference standings, with ranking respect to who beat each other. Iowa had the world to lose a few weeks ago, and they lost it. But from the looks of things now, it wouldn't have mattered a super huge deal anyway, as they would just be standing their with the other three watching the BCS title game instead of competing in it. Still, it was a very strong season, and a good bowl awaits. Up next: Bowl.

10. Penn State (10-2, 6-2 Big 10)(TFPLW: 12) - Penn State brings up the rear of this Big Ten trifecta. The Lions lost to Iowa and Ohio State, but steamrolled through the rest of their slate. This isn't an elite team, but PSU is strong, once again, under legendary coach Joe Paterno. Saturday they went into Michigan State and won 42-14 - impressive. Paterno's all-time record is now 393-129-3. Up next: Bowl.

11. Georgia Tech (10-2, 7-1 ACC)(TFPLW: 7) - The Jackets let a down UGA team come into their house in an off year and beat them. As they struggle of late in this series, GT really needed this win to get UGA back to back for the first time in ten years. Now, they limp into the ACC Championship Game against Clemson no longer thinking they are unstoppable on offense. But this game is huge for Tech, as they look to go to their first Orange Bowl since 1967 and win their first conference crown since 1998, and they will be ready. Up next: Clemson in ACC Championship Game.

12. Virginia Tech (9-3, 6-2 ACC)(TFPLW: 14) - After what has been a confusing year in HokieLand, VT put a stamp on the Commonwelath of Virginia with a convincing, humiliating blowout win over UVA, 42-13, in Scott Stadium in front of 65,000 angry Virginia fans. For the Hoos, the relief comes in the form of a new coach. For VT, the game was a nice ending to a rocky regular season road. At number 12 and 9-3, most teams in America would be thrilled with a shot to finish in the top-10. But at Tech, they were thinking bigger this year. Still though, a good bowl awaits. Up next: Bowl.

13. LSU (9-3, 6-2 SEC)(TFPLW: 16) - The Tigers beat Arkansas in overtime in what was one of the better games of the entire college football season. For the season, LSU has lost just number 1, number 2, and a pretty good Ole Miss team. They are not the elite team they were in recent seasons, but they are solid and they will be back. Anytime you are having an "off year" and still have a shot to finish in the top 10, I would say your program is in pretty good shape. Up next: Bowl.

14. Oregon State (8-3, 5-2 Pac 10)(TFPLW: 18) - After two early season losses to Cincinnati and Arizona (then later a close loss at USC), the Beavers have been sort of low-key this year. But if they win Saturday in Eugene against their rival Oregon, you will hear plenty about them as Pac Ten Champions! This game has all of the makings of an instant-classic as a Rose Bowl berth awaits the winner. Up next: at Oregon.

15. Pittsburgh (9-2, 6-1 Big East)(TFPLW: 10) - I predicted a couple of weeks ago that Pitt would struggle coming down the homestretch, and fall from its top-8 ranking to out of the top-25. I am halfway home on my correct prediction after West Virginia upset the Panthers this past weekend. Now the Panthers will host Cincinnati. This game will have many things in their favor, especially home-field. But I think the Bearcats will hand Pitt another loss. Up next: Cincinnati.

16. Miami (9-3, 5-3 ACC)(TFPLW: 17) - Miami saved face for the ACC by being the only team to win an out of conference game Satruday. The Hurricanes went over to Tampa to take on South Florida, and came away with the win, 31-10. Miami has that win, plus an OOC win over Oklahoma, to hang its hat on this year when recruiting. A good bowl awaits, and with a young team, 2010 will have them ranked high preseason. Up next: Bowl.

17. California (8-3, 5-3 Pac 10)(TFPLW: 22) - The Bears have nearly an identical season as Oregon State, with the lone exception being one loss for OSU was out of conference (Cincinnati). So out of Pac Ten contention (unlike the Beavers), Cal now will play a game at Washington and jockey for better postion for its bowl game. Up next: at Washington.

18. Nebraska (9-3, 6-2 Big 12)(TFPLW: 20) - The Huskers must be happy with what they are getting from second year head coach, Bo Pelini. Yes, some weird things have happened along the way - even sloppy play at times. But the overall toughness is back, and Nebraska finds itself in the Big 12 Championship Game against Texas in five short days. Win or lose, this is a step back towards the top. The game will be on national TV, and is sure to help recruiting. Beating Texas with the Horns so focused on a national title will be tough, but the Husker defense will give them a shot. Up next: Texas in Big 12 Championship Game.

19. BYU (10-2, 7-1 MWC)(TFPLW: 23) - BYU and Utah went into overtime on Saturday, and the Cougars were able to make the bigger plays and win. BYU has now won four games in a row heading into its bowl. The blowout loss to Florida State is questionable considering the Seminoles problems, and TCU also showed that BYU is not a top level team yet. Up next: Bowl.

20. USC (8-3, 5-3 Pac 10)(TFPLW: UR) - Like him or hate him, Pete Carroll pulled one for the ages on Saturday night against rival UCLA. With the final seconds ticking away in a sealed-up Trojan win, the Bruins called a time out for whatever reason, and Carroll didn't like it. So he called for a bomb pass play, and it was executed for a score in unbelievable "rub it in your face" fashion. If I'm UCLA, there is no way I let the receiver catch that ball - you do what it takes to keep that score from going down. Classless? Maybe. Fun to watch? You bet! Up next: Bowl.

21. Houston (10-2, 6-2 C-USA)(TFPLW: UR) - The Cougars finished out the regular season with a 10-2 mark - a nice improvement over last year's 8-5 record. Wins over Texas Tech of the Big 12 and Mississippi State of the SEC are highlights on the year. But the biggest highlight may be to come as the Cougars travel to Greenville, North Carolina to face East Carolina for the Conference USA Championship on Saturday. Up next: at East Carolina in Conference USA Championship Game.

22. Stanford (8-4, 5-3 Pac 10)(TFPLW: 25) - You know, Stanford has had a nice year, but let's not get carried away. At 8-4, yes, it was a good season. But Jim Harbaugh must do some recruiting before Stanford will be able to have the dpeth it needs to win struggles every week without slipping three or four times. They have good things going on, no doubt, but still have some holes to fill. Running back Toby Gerhart is absolutely the real deal though, rushing for nearly 1,800 yards and racking up 26 (yes, 26) touchdowns on the season. Heisman material. Up next: Bowl.

23. West Virginia (8-3, 4-2 Big East)(TFPLW: UR) - It shouldn't have taken this long for the Mountaineers to get back into my top-25, but alas, here they are! With a bit of Mountaineer blood in me, I tend to like WVU as a second team of sorts. This past weekend they upset Pitt, not totally getting revenge for what happened in 2007, but getting close, anway. They have a tricky road game this weekend against Rutgers, but I see them winning that one to be on a little roll heading into a nice bowl. Up next: at Rutgers.

24. Oklahoma State (9-3, 6-2 Big 12)(TFPLW: 13) - In totally embrassing fashion (but predicted by your's truly) OSU went into Norman and lost BAD to its hated rival, the Sooners of OU. 27-0 was the final, with a "down" Oklahoma team not yielding a single point to the Cowboys and its high-powered offense. I wonder if Oklahoma State even knew they had a game. It was very weak, but I knew it was coming. Up next: Bowl.

25. Clemson (8-4, 6-2 ACC)(TFPLW: 15) - I know folks will call me biased for keeping the Tigers in this poll, but good Lord folks, I dropped them 10 spots with the weekend loss to South Carolina. Clemson has had a fine season under first year coach Dabo Swinney, and will play for the conference hardware Saturday in Tampa. Yes, the loss to the Gamecocks stings, but Clemson still has a ton to play for in 2009, including a ten win season and the first conference crown in almost 20 years. Two huge games await, let's keep our heads up! Up next: Goergia Tech in ACC Championship Game.

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