The Top Fan's Top 25 - Week Three
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A couple of top ten teams - USC and Michigan State - fell victim this past weekend, shaking things up. Here is my Top 25 for this week:
1. Alabama (3-0) - The Crimson Tide are clearly the best team in the land. A 52-0 win over Arkansas on the road should attest to that. Two easy home wins are next (FAU and Ole Miss), so the Tide are basically 5-0 before the season has even settled in.
2. Oregon (3-0) - I will admit, Oregon hasn't played ANYBODY yet. So I am not 100% sold on them in my second spot. They gave up a lot of points in those three pasty wins, too - 73 to be exact. They are my number two, but the jury is still out.
3. LSU (3-0) - The Tigers have won their first three games by a combined 145-31. Not bad. The only thing is that the competition was average at best in those three. They travel to Auburn this weekend for a night game on national TV. Although Auburn is down, we will know more about LSU after that game.
4. West Virginia (2-0) - QB Geno Smith has 734 yards passing and nine TD's after just two games. Having already used their bye week in week two, WVU now has 10 straight weeks of games with no break, including four road trips each over a thousand miles away. We'll see how they hold up in that grind.
5. Florida State (3-0) - I had my doubts about FSU in the preseason, thinking that the hype was based on name alone. But after the Seminoles beat Wake Forest 52-0 Saturday in Tallahassee, a lot of those doubts have gone away. FSU hosts Clemson Saturday in a huge ACC Atlantic matchup.
6. Oklahoma (2-0) - Once again, the Sooners are spending time early in the season ranked high in the polls. But most seasons, that love fizzles after a couple of tough games. The first tough game for OU in 2012 comes Saturday when Kansas State comes to town..
7. South Carolina (3-0) - The Gamecocks are still relatively untested as they climb the polls slowly each week. After Vandy and two creampuffs, a bit better competition comes to town Saturday as Mizzou looks to get their season back on track. This game will tell us more about South Carolina.
8. Georgia (3-0) - The Dawgs look to move to 4-0 when Vanderbilt comes into Sanford Stadium Saturday night. So far, 2012 has gone as planned for UGA and Coach Mark Richt, who was feeling some heat this offseason. If he wins all of his home games, only three road trips remain, and all are winnable (South Carolina will be tough).
9. Ohio State (3-0) - You know the old saying: A win is a win is a win. Well, that is what Buckeye fans are probably saying today after a very average Cal team was beaten in the Horseshoe by just a single TD. A long Braxton Miller pass and a Christian Bryant interception sealed the W.
10. Clemson (3-0) - I want to rank the Tigers higher based on their offense, now fully equipped. But I think the D still has some issues - mainly stopping the run. This team has the ingredients for a huge year, but the defense will have to get a little meaner. The Tigers travel to FSU this weekend.
11. TCU (2-0) - For the Horned Frogs, there is no question this is a schedule with two faces. The first half of the schedule is pretty easy. The second half is nearly impossible. TCU better win 'em all early and enjoy the national ranking, because the final six games could see 'em go 3-3...or worse.
12. Kansas State (3-0) - It wasn't very convincing, but KSU outlasted North Texas, 35-21, this past Saturday. Though the Wildcats are off to a good start, I count five remaining games that could easily wreck a huge year. Next up is one of those - at Oklahoma.
13. USC (2-1) - While the two major polls had USC at #2, I had them at #6, and this is why. A loss to Stanford proved they just weren't quite ready for the spotlight. Yes, QB Matt Barkley is the real thing, but I just had my doubts for some reason about the Trojans. Up next is Cal at home.
14. Florida (3-0) - Gator fans across the land are celebrating for many reasons today. The first is a win over hated rival Tennessee - in Knoxville. The second reason is that Florida should make a good jump up the polls this week and start to get some big press. The third reason is that the team showed serious life - maybe for the first time yet - under Coach Will Muschamp.
15. Michigan (2-1) - The offense came alive as the Wolverines took out some frustration on UMass with a 63-point outburst. A huge test this weekend against an arch-rival awaits as UM heads to play Notre Dame in South Bend.
16. Notre Dame (3-0) - I can only imagine the excitement building at Notre Dame as the Irish defeated a top ten team in Michigan State - on the road - to remain unbeaten. I knew Coach Brian Kelly would have success at ND, I just didn't think it would take three years. A tough game this weekend awaits: Michigan at home.
17. Texas (3-0) - The Horns piled on the offense and ran away with a win over Ole Miss in Oxford. QB David Ash threw for four TD's and 326 yards to lead the offense. UT travels to Oklahoma State this weekend, then hosts West Virginia. In two weeks, we will know if UT is for real.
18. Michigan State (2-1) - It is amazing that a team can be so good at defense, and yet so, so, so bad at offense. The Spartans and their 106th ranked offense showed their true soul in this one, and enlightened me, in a 20-3 loss to rival Notre Dame. Yes, it takes defense to win. But it takes a little offense, as well.
19. Louisville (3-0) - The Cardinals went up on UNC 36-7 at halftime, and then had to hold on tight as the Heels stormed back. The stress in the stadium had to be off the charts as UNC threw into the end zone as time expired, and for a second it appeared the TD was caught.
20. UCLA (3-0) - As I look at the Bruins' schedule, I see little reason why they couldn't be 9-3 or 10-2 at year's end. I think it is that managble. So far, they have looked pretty good, and this will be a fun team to keep an eye on as the season goes by.
21. Arizona (3-0) - After squeeking by Toledo (yes, Toledo) in the opener, Arizona has scored 115 points in two games to get to 3-0. Now is when it gets tough though for Rich Rod's first Wildcat squad. A trip to Oregon in five days might spoil the fun.
22. Nebraska (2-1) - Following the loss to UCLA, Nebraska is able to regroup with two pasties in Lincoln. The first pasty went down this past Saturday, as Big Red beat Arkansas State by 29. This coming Saturday they host Idaho State - another easy win. After that, Wisconsin comes to town.
23. Stanford (3-0) - A huge win over USC vaults Stanford into my Top 25 poll. The Cardinals have proven me wrong, as I thought the wave of success would end with Andrew Luck's departure. Nope, it seems Stanford is back to make some more noise in 2012.
24. Oklahoma State (2-1) - The Cowboys have scored 84, 38 and 65 points in three games so far. If they play just any defense, they beat whoever they play. The only problem is that they usually don't play any defense (83rd nationally in ppg).
25. Virginia Tech (2-1) - While Pitt should get some credit, VT deserves a tongue-lashing. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster - known as one of the best in the business - watched his unit give up three first half TD's. In my opinion, this team wasn't ready to play. The Hokies are more talented than Pitt, and to lose in that fashion tells me that a bunch of heads were somewhere else during the game.
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