The Top Fan's Top 25 - Week Five
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Alabama, LSU, Florida State, Georgia, Notre Dame, Florida, Texas and Ohio State are all teams that are traditionally known as "big-name" schools, and after five weeks of football, all are undefeated and thinking national title. And a national title is something that those schools above have all won in the modern era of the sport...2012 is shaping up to be a wild and crazy season, as those teams, as well as teams who have come into recent success, such as Oregon, TCU, South Carolina, Kansas State, Louisville and West Virginia, see the national title race WIDE OPEN!
1. Alabama (5-0) - The top-ranked team in the land did not blow Ole Miss out of the water like many thought they would. Instead, a respectable enough 33-14 home win sees the Tide remain unbeaten. A couple of road trips are now on deck: Missouri and Tennessee.
2. Oregon (5-0) - The Ducks continue to roll and post sick offensive numbers. They are 4th in the country at 52.4 ppg, having put 51 on Washington State last night. The defense is getting better, too, giving up just 13 ppg game over the last three weeks. With averages like that, lots of wins are going to happen.
3. Florida State (5-0) - The Seminoles went on the road (er, sorta) to play South Florida in Tampa. The Bulls kept it close for a while, but in the end, FSU pulled away with a 30-17 win. The schedule is set up for FSU to go 12-0 if they play one game at a time. Miami (away) and Florida (home) are the biggest bumps in the road.
4. LSU (5-0) - I dropped LSU a spot after a so-so performance against Towson State. This team should have been beaten by 50 or 60 points - not by 16. I know LSU is good, but this game shows me they are not a well-oiled machine yet, and might not be as focused as they need to be. They play Florida and South Carolina back-to-back coming up, so we will know more soon.
5. Georgia (5-0) - A shootout went down in Athens, as UT and UGA went for 95 points combined. In the end, a Georgia interception sealed a game filled with big plays and missed opportunites (Vol WR Cordarelle Patterson's dropped TD pass comes to mind). Bulldog freshman RB Todd Gurley is the real deal, folks. He has nine TD's and is averaging 7.9 yards per carry so far this season.
6. South Carolina (5-0) - A trip to Commonwealth Stadium did not result in disaster this time around. Once again, the Gamecock defense came through. They held UK to no points following a turnover at the end of the first half, and then shut the door in the second half with a goose-egg. Up next is a huge SEC East showdown with UGA.
7. West Virginia (4-0) - I dropped the Mountaineers three spots with a win. Why? Because despite scoring 70, they gave up 63 points at home to Baylor. They may be a top ten team, but with a defense giving up points like that, they are not yet a true top five team. QB Geno Smith accounted for eight (yes, eight) TD's against Baylor. He is a Heisman favorite right now, no doubt.
8. Kansas State (4-0) - The Wildcats had the weekend off as they prepare to host in-state rival Kansas in six days. KSU features very strong balance, ranking 19th nationally in points for (40.5 ppg) and 22nd in points against (15.5 ppg). The #8 ranking is nice now, but the second half of their schedule may change that - it is brutal.
9. Ohio State (5-0) - Buckeye Head Coach Urban Meyer said following his team's 17-16 win at Michigan State, "That was a great game. Great atmosphere, a bunch of great players on the field who will be playing at the next level, and that was good for college football and for the Big Ten." I hear ya, Urban, but would you have said all that if you had lost? I doubt it....I like Meyer, and think the Buckeys will hoist a crystal football with him very soon.
10. TCU (5-0) - Straight from a Fans25 forum member's first-hand report: TCU played ugly this week, but a win is a win. The Horned Frogs schedule from here out is overflowing with top 25 teams. West Virginia (away), Kansas State (home), Texas (away) and Oklahoma (home) will tell us tons more about TCU than we know right now.
11. Notre Dame (4-0) - The Irish had the weekend off to prepare for an upcoming visit from old rival Miami. The 'Canes and ND go way back to the '80's, when regular season matchups had national title implications. We all know times have changed a bit, but this game is pretty big. Miami has won three straight games, and ND, as we all know, is undefeated and looking to plunge back into the top ten.
12. USC (3-1) - Another team that had the weekend off was USC. Utah is next on the slate for the Trojans who play four top 25 teams in the next eight weeks. USC checks in with pretty average numbers, but are balanced, with a 45th-ranked defense and a 28th-ranked offense.
13. Florida (4-0) - Yet one more team that didn't play yesterday is Florida. The Gators will have their hands full this coming weekend, though, as #3 LSU comes to Gainesville. UF has quickly gotten to 3-0 in the league, but a true test in six days will tell us a whole lot more about the Gators.
14. Texas (4-0) - The Longohrns took care of business against teams 1-4 on their slate, but next up is a lot more work. West Virginia comes into Austin having scored at least 69 points in three of their last five games. We will know a lot more about Texas in six days.
15. Oklahoma (2-1) - Once again OU was a preseason national title contender, and once again, by week five, they find themselves scratching to get back into those talks. They have several high-profile games left, but I am not sure they will win them anyway.
16. Clemson (4-1) - A week after a huge road trip to Tallahassee resulted in a painful loss, CU regrouped to win 1,300 miles away in Boston - without top offensive weapon Sammy Watkins. RB Andre Ellington was a horse as usual, and Nuk Hopkins played like the adult he is at WR.
17. Louisville (5-0) - In a monsoon like you would see in the tropics, Louisville beat Southern Mississippi, 27-24. The Cardinals scored 6, 6, 3 and 6 points to get the win (by quarter). Up next for Louisville is a game at Pitt in two weeks.
18. Nebraska (4-1) - The Cornhuskers and Wisconsin played a fun-to-watch dandy on TV last night from Lincoln. In a jam-packed, sold-out Memorial Stadium, Nebraska rallied by outscoring the Badgers 20-7 in the second half. Another big one is on deck: Ohio State in Columbus.
19. Oregon State (3-0) - The Beavers went into Tuscon and outscored Arizona, 38-35 to remain unbeaten. QB Sean Mannion has thrown for 1,088 yards and six TD's over just three games. Oregon State now faces Washington State.
20. Northwestern (5-0) - By beating a slate of average teams, the Wildcats have gotten to 5-0. Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Boston College, South Dakota State and Indiana aren't exactly the toughest bunch to ever strap on the pads. Still, they haven't slipped up yet, so we will wait and see what happens.
21. UCLA (4-1) - The Bruins are making strides this season with first-year coach Jim Mora taking command. A 42-14 win over Colorado - on the road - shows he has things in order. Freshman QB Brett Hundley has thrown for 1,480 yards and eleven TD's in just five games.
22. Rutgers (4-0) - Though they haven't really played anybody, the Scarlet Knights are 4-0 none-the-less. A victory over Arkansas this past weekend doesn't really prove much as the 2012 Razorbacks have done a nose-dive like has never been seen before. Up next for Rutgers is UConn.
23. Mississippi State (4-0) - The Bulldogs are 4-0, and looking at their schedule ahead, I see no reason they shouldn't be 7-0 when they head to Tuscalossa to take on Alabama. Who knows how good this team is, as their lone worthy victory was a against an Auburn team who is having a bad year.
24. Stanford (3-1) - A road loss in Seattle to Washington knocks the Cardinals six spots back in my poll this week. They are a good team, and will win a lot of games, but I think they are a top 25 team - not a top ten one as they had been ranked n the two major polls.
25. Cincinnati (3-0) - The Bearcats sent Virginia Tech home with a 27-24 loss to remain unbeaten. Cincy will now be ranked in the major polls with three gimme wins ahead (Miami of Ohio, Fordham and Toledo) before a Big East showdown with Louisville in a month.
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