Tuesday, September 19

Week 3 Rankings - Yet Another Perspective

Well I am second this week afterall ;-)

1. Auburn
Almost completely shut down in the first half, Kenny Irons started to lean on LSU's defense in the second. Brandon Cox had an unispiring performance but didn't do much to hurt the team, which may be all that's asked of him. The defense has allowed just 17 points all season, and holding LSU to 3 is no small feat. A red herring was John Vaughn's miss of a 26 yard FG.

2. Ohio State
It's hard to say if the defense is solidifying or if Cincinnati is just that bad. I'm not yet concerned about a slow start by the offense in one game, but if there's a repeat performance this week that could be another issue. On the bright side, 3/3 FG (47, 43, and 52 yds) is a big improvement.

3. USC
Against Arkansas, their performance answered any questions about the Trojan offense. Against Nebraska, the defense answered many of its critics. It must have been nice for Trojans fans to see their team able to win despite scoring less than 30 points. John David Booty is the real deal at QB, but at the same time this is not the offensive firepower SC has brought to the table the last two seasons.

4. West Virginia
The Mounties have one of the scariest offenses in the NCAA... even many top ten teams would struggle to slow it down. Discipline and focus for 60 minutes (!) are some concerns.

5. Florida
Taken to the wire by the Vols, but Tennessee is a solid team who matches up against UF very well. The Vols were able to use Ainge's short passing and physical receivers to move the ball with short outs. That and the kicking game are the only real concerns for the Gators. Leak's play, the sick rushing defense, and the med-long passing coverage are all solid strengths.

6. Louisville
Giving up just 7 points against the Canes answered some questions I had about their defense after week 1. Now, Miami isn't a great offensive team, but their defense looked pretty nasty against FSU. Louisville (sans Bush) made it look like nothing... then they lose Brohm and keep rolling?? This team is deep, unlike WVA who could not stand similar injuries to White/Slaton. Brohm's likely out for the next four games, if they can win those then they will have a bye week to get ready for the showdown with WVA.

7. Michigan
Had they not started at #15, this team could be in your top 5. They dominated Notre Dame, and all three games have been comfortable victories thus far. The defense is good, good enough that they could upset Ohio State. Henne got his act together just in time for the Fighting Irish, showing the nation what this team is capable of. Now the question is whether they (specifically in the passing game) will continue this level of play over the season.

8. LSU
The defense has still given up just 13 points all season. Russell's decisionmaking needs to improve a little, and the running game may not be a strong as it had looked in early competition.

9. Georgia
If I'm a Dawgs fan, I'm nervous about having a freshman QB with Tennessee and Florida on the plate for October. I like Georgia's ability to run against the Vols, not so much against the Gators. Like LSU, the defense has givne up just 1 TD all season, and barely over 200 yds/game... that and a strong special teams unit should keep the next five games manageable for Stafford.

10. Virginia Tech
Like Richmond, their defense can shut out Duke. They host Cincy next week... maybe Georgia Tech on 9/30 can give us a better look, as the Hokies have been impressive but against weak opposition.

11. Oregon
Caught a lucky break against OU, and the defense got hammered by AD. But they won't face another back like that all season, and the offense is looking solid. After a bye week, they'll be on the road to face ASU and Cal, which will be the teams challenging for #2 in the Pac 10.

12. Texas
Well, we know that they're not quite in Ohio State's league, but that they're tons better than North Texas and Rice. Iowa State should be a little better guage than their two wins so far. Every position is solid except QB, but that's a big one.

13. Notre Dame
Exposed as overrated. The defense was shown to be pretty much what they had last season. Quinn's Heisman hopes took a major blow.

14. Iowa
Tate's return heralded the return of the Hawkeye offense, completing 68% of his passes and throwing for 3 TDs against Iowa State. Considering that they lose this game last season and that it's a rivalry game, I consider a 10-point 4th quarter win to be solid.

15. Oklahoma
Let's be honest, were it not for horrible officiating, Oklahoma would have gone into Autzen and won. That said, even an undeserved loss can be revealing. OU's secondary continues to be torched, and the opponents' yards per carry has been just a shade under 6 for two consecutive weeks. Thompson finally had a good game.

16. Tennessee
Tennessee simply has no running game, and Ainge had an awful outing against Florida after great games vs Cal and Air Force. The secondary and LBs remain solid, but the D-line got a little exposed against the Gators and with Harrell now gone that will only get worse.

17. Boston College
Definitely the luckiest team in college football... they'd be 1-2 were it not for two weeks of kicking game miscues by the opposition. How many weeks can it continue? Certainly Virginia Tech's special teams won't blow it on their Thursday night game in October.

18. Clemson
Special teams are a major, major liability. Cost them the BC game and their kicking unit (you know, when your own team kicks PATs and FGs) GAVE UP nine to the Seminoles.

19. California
Nothing like Portland State to solidify that confidence still two weeks following a terrible flop. But with the best RB in the Pac 10 (though don't write Moody out of that yet), they could test Oregon in a home game.

20. Nebraska
The defense has actually looked good so far, even giving up 28 to USC... many teams have fared far worse in LA. The Trojans did expose flaws in the offense that previous inferior competition couldn't, namely the inability of the o-line to create holes and protect Taylor.

21. TCU
I said I'd rank them when they beat Texas Tech... well, here they are. 12 penalties for 105 is a concern, as is 101 yards passing. The defense looks tough, obviously.

22. Florida State
Holding Miami to 10 doesn't look so impressive after Louisville held them to 7. The Seminoles' best offensive output for the season? 24 against Troy in a game where they fumbled 7 times, losing 3. So why do I have them ranked here? Look at who's below them.

23. Michigan State
24. Rutgers
25. Boise State