Monday, September 11

College Football - week 2 rankings

Lots of teams gave very different impressions this week than they did a week ago.

#1 LSU - I don't know how many times I've said something about this season having no complete team. Ask yourself, what the heck is the weakness of the LSU Tigers? What's wrong with a team that has Jamarcus Russell at QB, backed up by Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux? Ask yourself what's wrong with a team who has won its last three games 40-3 (Miami), 45-3 (UL-Lafayette), 45-3 (Arizona)? Is the weakness the offense that hasn't scored less than 40 in the last three games, or the defense that's given up just a field goal each time? Perhaps it's the special teams that are perfect on field goals. I can't even judge the punting unit because it didn't happen against Arizona. What's wrong with a team whose two senior leaders on defense were the starting safeties for the Tigers' 2003 BCS championship squad. Ladies and gentlemen, there is a complete team in college football.

#2 Auburn - I've never seen Notre Dame win a game and drop in the polls, but it happened last week. My only explanation that's consistent with the fact that the media LOVES the Irish is that they love TV ratings even more. #1 vs #2 is sexy. So let's make it two weeks of that in a row. Besides that, dominating Washington State 40-14 and then shutting out Mississippi State 34-0 makes them kind of like LSU. What exactly is this team's weakness? The kicker who's 7 for 7? The junior quarterback who can run the offense in his sleep? The senior RB, possibly the best back in the league?

#3 Ohio State - An incomplete team, but a good team. OSU's offense actually could have made their win over Texas even more lopsided, but they continued their habit of not scoring as much as they should. Then again, Texas's defense did have just one (very pronounced) hole in their defense, so perhaps 24 points against them is on par for OSU's talent. I'm very concerned about the field goal unit, whose miss in Austin spoiled a good opening drive and could have let the Longhorns seize the initial momentum. The punting unit and coverage teams, however, look excellent. On the defensive side, the secondary has solidified but the rushing defense still looks like a liability. Nonetheless, they are the only one of the "good but incomplete" teams that has actually accomplished something.

#4 Notre Dame - What the Irish did to Penn State should serve as a warning to every team of their schedule. Notre Dame dominated every aspect of the game. They were helped by some untimely mistakes by PSU, but the fact that the defense is looking this good is not a good sign for Irish opponents. The offense looked every bit like the offense that was so hyped during the preseason, and this was against a very stout Penn State defensive unit.

#5 West Virginia - With the teams they've faced it's so hard to say. But West Virginia has still done everything that you could have asked of them and more. The rushing attack appears unstoppable and Pat White is becoming enough of a threat as a passer that teams can't just put 9 in the box against them.

#6 USC - Bye week. I like the offense.

#7 Florida - This is looking more like an Urban Meyer team. The offense is rolling, and UF's defense has surrendered just seven points total in their opening two games. Remember UCF was a bowl team last season, and they just got blown out.

#8 Louisville - Hey, whoa, hey. Yes they have looked this good in my opinion. There's not a lot of really stout defensive teams early in this season, and I'm not sure who could stop this offense. Half of the teams who could (Texas, FSU, Miami) might not be able to score enough themselves for it to make a difference.

#9 Michigan - There's a gap between 8 and 9. Hart is looking great but the offense is very one-dimensional. Henne needs to improve; really, he just needs to be himself. The defense has been suffocating, as they should have pitched a shutout in week 1.

#10 Florida State - Nearly laid an egg against Troy on Saturday. The Seminoles rebounded, but it makes you wonder whether their paltry 1 rushing yard against Miami was more the Canes defense or more the sign of a Jeffy Bowden team.

#11 Nebraska - Another team where it's so hard to say. Within the Big 12, I will say that this is the only team of those expected to contend for the conference title that is playing to its potential. Zac Taylor has been impressive and the defense is regaining its "blackshirt" reputation.

#12 Texas - I'm tempted to drop them further, and this team could fall fast if they don't patch up the offense. I have a feeling that with Tarell Brown and Drew Kelson, this defense would have held Ohio State in the 10-17 point range. But an offense that scores just seven in the big game is no help. Colt McCoy needs to grow up fast; meanwhile, Greg Davis is trying to compete with Jeffy Jeff for worst OC at a major football program.

#13 Georgia - Defense and special teams continue to be outstanding. The QB question must be answered if they are going to avoid multiple losses in the SEC.

#14 Va Tech - Beamerball rolls on - a blocked punt and a defensive score against UNC. The offense wasn't as good as they'd like, but it was a strong performance all-around.

#15 Tennessee - Against Cal, everything clicked. Against Air Force, so much went wrong. A team cannot be that inconsistent in SEC conference play, or they will lose. End of story. Losing two defensive starters for the season doesn't help.

#16 Oklahoma - Baffling. Once again the team tried to lean too heavily on Thompson to start the game, then closed the door by going to Peterson. DJ Wolfe is a liability at corner and I don't think he'll be starting any more games.

#17 Iowa - Without Tate, this team had one thing that's been missing from previous squads. Heart. The defense willed the team to victory with that dramatic goalline stand.

#18 Miami - A 51-10 domination of Fla A&M does not erase the memory of how inept Kyle Wright looked against FSU's defense in the opener and against LSU's defense in their bowl game last season. This team is still not ready to play against a good defense.

#19 Oregon - Fresno did play the pretty close, but Fresno has proven that they can do that against good BCS teams. Dennis Dixon looks really good running the spread option.

#20 Boston College - I'd feel bad about ranking less than twenty teams, and they did win a good game over Clemson. No they haven't looked great in either performance, but unlike the teams below them they have beaten a good team and so at least they've done something to make them worthy of the spot.

#21 Cal - This was more what we'd expect from a top 25 team. Minnesota scored early and tied the game at 14 with a kickoff return for TD, but then the Bears broke the game open. I still don't like Longshore as starting QB, but he did do much better in week 2. They probably won't see another defense as good as Tennessee's anyway.

On the bubble: Arizona State, Boise State, Rutgers, TCU, Texas Tech