The Top Fan's Top 25 - Week Nine
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Clemson and Michigan State went down, but the rest of my top ten looks about the same as it did a week ago. The game of the season (so far, anyway) awaits us this coming weekend as #1 LSU and #2 Alabama will face off. Here is my Top 25 following week nine's games:
1. LSU (8-0, 5-0) - Idle - Last week: 1 - The Tigers had the weekend off as they prepare for the huge showdown with Alabama in six days. It might take me all week to predict my winner in this one. This is perhaps the most talented team in America, and they will need every drop of it to win the next one. Next: at Alabama.
2. Alabama (8-0, 5-0) - Idle - Last week: 2 - The Tide were also off this weekend. Tuscaloosa will play host to the latest #1 vs #2 matchup for the SEC. Ticket prices have reached the ludicrous level to see the #1 ranked defense in the nation (6.9 ppg) try to knock off the #1 team in the nation. Next: LSU.
3. Oklahoma State (8-0, 5-0) - Defeated Baylor, 59-24 - Last week: 3 - Up 49-3 entering the 4th quarter, the Cowboys truly took Baylor out behind the woodshed. This team is for real, folks. I honestly thought about a #1 ranking for them for a second. Next: Kansas State.
4. Stanford (8-0, 6-0) - Defeated USC, 56-48 - Last week: 4 - It took three OTs to get it done, but Stanford will stay in the hunt for a national championship after winning a thriller over USC. After a fourth quarter INT, Andrew Luck led his team to five straight scoring drives (including OT drives). Next: at Oregon State.
5. Boise State (7-0, 2-0) - Idle - Last week: 5 - The Broncos had the weekend off. An undefeated season and loads of controversial talk are just weeks away from driving us crazy once again. Nothing against BSU, but folks, prepare to hear the Bronco-BCS thing until you go insane. Next: at UNLV.
6. Oregon (7-1, 5-0) - Defeated Washington State, 43-28 - Last week: 7 - With Stanford and USC in the next few weeks, Oregon will have a chance to show off their talents. Win the remaining four games, and I get a weird feeling the Ducks could play for it all once again. Next: at Washington.
7. Arkansas (7-1, 3-1) - Defeated Vanderbilt, 31-28 - Last week: 8 - Razorback fans are probably still calming down following their stress-fest with Vandy. Those kinds of games drive you nuts. You can't gain much from a win, but you could lose tons from a loss. Next: South Carolina.
8. Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1) Defetaed Kansas State, 58-17 - Last week: 10 - The Sooners went into Madison, and absolutely showed K-State who was the class of the Big 12. OU posted 690 yards of offense in this one, with Landry Jones tossing 5 TDs. Next: Texas A&M.
9. Nebraska (7-1, 3-1) - Defetaed Michigan State, 24-3 - Last week: 13 - In the back of my mind, I had kind of written off the Cornhuskers as a top ten team. And though I picked them over MSU, I had my doubts. This win changed my view of this team. A stiff closing slate awaits with road trips to #13 Michigan and #14 Penn State ahead, but Big Ten title hopes are alive. Next: Northwestern.
10. South Carolina (7-1, 5-1) - Defeated Tennessee, 14-3 - Last week: 12 - A few short weeks ago the Gamecocks had Stephen Garcia handing off to Marcus Lattimore. Now, it is Connor Shaw handing off to Brandon Wilds. A freshman from the Columbia area, Wilds carried 28 times versus the Vols for 137 yards. Shaw was 10 of 18 for 87 yards and a score. Next: at Arkansas.
11. Clemson (8-1, 5-1) - Lost to Georgia Tech, 31-17 - Last week: 5 - Georgia Tech found a weakness in the Tiger defense, and the Tiger offense didn't click as is their norm. The result is a bounce form the BCS top five. Still, an ACC Atlantic Division crown can be sealed up with a win at home in the next one. Next: Wake Forest (two weeks).
12. - Kansas State (7-1, 4-1) - Lost to Oklahoma, 58-17 - Last week: 8 - The Wildcats got a beatdown by Oklahoma, but still I feel this is a good team. Expect them to play OSU a ggod game next week in Stillwater, but the Cowboys will pull away before its over with. Next: at Oklahoma State.
13. Virginia Tech (8-1, 4-1) - Defeated Duke, 14-10 - Last week: 14 - A huge ACC Coastal matchup is set for Atlanta in ten days as VT visits GT. The winner will most-likely earn a trip to Charlotte, though the Hokies have two more Coastal games after that. Next: at Georgia Tech (Nov. 10)
14. Penn State (8-1, 5-0) - Defeated Illinois, 10-7 - Last week: 19 - I jumped the Lions up six spots because they contniue to win, despite the scores or the unglamorous way in which they get it done. In the snow, PSU forced the Illini into four turnovers, keying the close win. Next: Nebraska (two weeks).
15. Michigan (7-1, 3-1) - Defeated Purdue, 36-14 - Last week: 16 - The Wolverines looked good in their defeat of Purdue. This was a classic Big Ten-Michigan type of win based on defense and a strong running game. Michigan now hits the road twice before two at home to close it out. Next: at Iowa.
16. Houston (8-0, 4-0) - Defeated Rice, 73-34 - Last week: 18 - The Cougars put up 52 points in quarters two and three, including 38 consecutive points and 73 total points for the ridiculous win over Rice. QB Case Keenum threw an amazing nibe (yes, nine) TD passes. Next: at Alabama-Birmingham.
17. Michigan State (6-2, 3-1) - Lost to Nebraska, 24-3 - Last week: 9 - Every time I get on board with MSU, this happens. The Spartans managed just 187 total yards in their visit to Lincoln, going only 3 of 14 in third down conversions. Next: Minnesota.
18. Georgia (6-2, 5-1) - Defeated Florida, 24-20 - Last week: 24 - Coach Mark Richt made a push to get himself off of the ot seat with this win over rival Florida. If he can get some help in the SEc East and win the division, he can stand up and walk away from that seat. UGA has a scrimmage this week with New Mexico State (really?) before two winnable SEC home games. Next: New Mexico State.
19. Wisconsin (6-2, 2-2) - Lost to Ohio State, 33-29 - Last week: 11 - If you had told me a month ago that Wisconsin would have two losses before November, I would have laughed at you. But sure enough, after going down to OSU, they are now a far cry from the national title talks. They are still good, but maybe not as good as I thought. Next: Purdue.
20. Arizona State (6-2, 4-1) - Defeated Colorado, 48-14- Last week: 20 - The Sun Devils did their work by halftime, putting 31 on the Buffaloes before intermission, and putting it on cruis-control in the second half. I see them being favored in their final four games of 2011, setting up for a 10-win regular season. Next: at UCLA.
21. Georgia Tech (7-2, 4-2) - Defeated Clemson, 31-17 - Last week: unranked - GT brought out the team they had at the beginning of the year to wipe away the pain from two recent losses. Tech shut down a dangerous Clemson offense by keeping them off of the field (39 minutes to 21 minutes, time of possession). A huge home game with VT awaits next Thursday in the ACC Coastal. Next: Virginia Tech.
22. West Virginia (6-2, 2-1) Defeated Rutgers, 41-31 - Last week: 21 - OK,so this isn't the best Mountaineer squad to ever roll out of Morgantown. But they are decent, and just inside the top 25 is, I think, where this team is at home. The closing stretch is tricky. Next: Louisville.
23. USC (6-2, 3-2) - Lost to Stanford, 56-48, 3OT - Last week: 17 - After a heartbreaking triple-overtime loss to Stanford, the Trojans must regroup fast. USC plays again in just five days, on the road in the cold Rocky Mountains. Luckily, Colorado is awful and USC should get a win. Next: at Colorado.
24. Auburn (6-3, 4-2) - Defeated Ole Miss, 41-23 - Last week: unranked - The Tigers are 73rd and 74th nationally in points for and points against, respectively. Not too good. But that just shows that stats aren't everything. This team is now eligible for a bowl, with two tough SEC games to go, sandwiched around Samford. Next: at Georgia.
25. Ohio State (5-3, 2-2) - Defeated Wisconsin, 33-29 - Last week: unranked - The Buckeyes don't like being unranked, so they did something about it. A regular in the top 25 pollls, OSU was bounced a few weeks back after their loss to Nebraska. But with a win next week over Indiana, expect to see them back in the polls. I'll go ahead and put 'em in. Next: Indiana.
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