Sunday, September 16

college football - week 3 in review

From my week 2 rankings:

1. LSU
The Tigers still can't decide whether they like shutouts or blowouts more, so they keep doing both. The 44 points in three quarters came in a game where they rested starting QB Flynn, so apparently this offense is just as good with Perrilloux.

2. USC
The Trojans showed both firepower and the ability to respond in Lincoln. Trailing 10-7 they promptly drove down the field to score the go-ahead TD, their first of 35 unanswered points. They faced adversity - two straight fumbled kickoffs (a pseudo-turning point being the one they recovered and returned beyond midfield) and at least two injuries. And in the end, they dominated the 15th-ranked Cornhuskers.

3. Oklahoma
Bradford averaged 10 yards per passing attempt, two running backs gained at least 100 yards, and the defense gave up a mere field goal. Same old story in Norman.

4. Florida
The Gators continue to answer everybody's questions. Who scores 59 points against Tennessee anyway? With Tim Tebow as starter, this is the offense that Urban Meyer ran in Utah and wasn't quite able to run with Leak for the last two years in Florida. Tigers beware.

5. Louisville
Bad defense finally caught up with the Ville as Brohm & Co were "only" able to score 34 points today. Losing to Kentucky is going to mean a huge drop in the rankings.

6. Texas
Half full or half empty? Texas is 3-0 having faced their biggest non-conference challenge last week. They've managed to get into 4th quarter games with two opponents they should have walked all over, and one who's a bit more worthy but shouldn't have been shutting the Horns out at halftime. They've managed to dig deep and win three straight fourth quarter games. You can spin it any way you like, and when it comes down to it they posted W's while Louisville and UCLA weren't even able to hold off unranked teams, but right now that 6 spot seems a bit high.

7. West Virginia
Managed to get into a bit of a dogfight with Maryland before pulling away in the second half.

8. Ohio State
The first half at Washington was very competitive, as both team moved the ball but failed to put many points on the board. Six minutes into the second half, Ohio State had already blocked a field goal, scored a touchdown bomb, recovered a fumble, and scored a touchdown run as they pulled away in a tough environment.

9. California
It was a semi-interesting game when La Tech lined up for 2 trailing 28-12 in the third quarter. That was as close as it ever got. Cal scored yet another special teams TD and the defense shut down an offense which had put up big numbers last weekend.

10. Wisconsin
A week after having a game come down to the wire against UNLV, huge warning signs start flashing when The Citadel has them knotted at 21 at halftime. 24 unanswered points allay those worries somewhat, but you still have to question how this team will hold up against an Ohio State or a Penn State.

11. Arkansas
You've got to feel for a team who comes back from 31-10 to take the lead, only to see that lead disappear in the closing seconds. It was everything you'd expect from Arkansas - McFadden gaining nearly 200 yards on the ground, Jones pitching in close to 100 of his own, Dick completing less than half of his passes, and 81 yards in penalties possibly providing the difference in a game decided by just 3 points.

12. Penn State
Morelli continues to be at least better than last season. The defense continues to make it easy for him. Don't give much weight to those 21 garbage points, this was another easy win for the Lions on both sides of the ball.

13. Rutgers
Not a lot to be gained from watching Rutgers destroy Norfolk State. I didn't even know Norfolk had become a state since I left Virginia. Weird.

14. UCLA
If you're wondering if the Utes were some mid-major powerhouse surprising a BCS team - they started the season 0-2 with losses to Oregon State and Air Force. I could analyze a 38 point loss to Utah, but instead when I say over, you say rated: OVER! ________! OVER! ...

15. Nebraska
How you judge a team who just got dominated against a team that is clearly among the elite? Look for the little things. After giving up a long TD drive that included two 40+ yard plays, Nebraska came right back down the field to tie things up. They took the lead and had terrible luck on what could have been a major turnover for USC on the following kickoff. The talent differential wouldn't have allowed them to win, but I like the fact that they picked up yards and at least made one stand before getting rolled over, unlike say Virginia Tech.

16. Georgia Tech
When Boston College force the Jackets to the air, Bennett proved that being better than Reggie Ball isn't saying a whole lot. Teams facing GT are going to watch that tape and realize how one-dimensional this offense is.

17. Oregon
I like a team that can get the job done on the ground, and that's what the Ducks did against Fresno State. Dixon's passing was consistent if not spectacular, and consistent is what this team needs from him as conference play comes around and the Pac 10 is looking strong this year.

18. South Carolina
How exactly do you turn the ball over 6 times against South Carolina State? At least they forced their share in return, easily won the yardage battle, and dominated the scoreboard.

19. Clemson
The Tigers actually got outgained in yesterday's game, but a +3 TO differential makes up for that. Beneath the radar, Harper attempted 19 passes but was sacked 5 times. I don't know that they'll be moving a whole lot as the game was a comfortable but not too impressive win against Furman.

20. Tennessee
Ouch. Florida and Tennessee have each won a BCS title, and in those seasons their games against each other were decided by a combined 4 points. The average margin of victory in this series the BCS era has been 6 points. I don't think I've EVER seen this game look so effortless for one team.

21. Cincinnati
I know from EA Sports' NCAA Football 2004 that the annual Cincinnati-Miami game is played for some bell trophy, and since the BCS started the Redhawks actually held a 5-4 lead in the series. That was knotted convincingly by the Bearcats this weekend, as UC continues to blow opponents out of the water.

22. Missouri
Tigers fans have come to expect the monster performances by an underrated Chase Daniel, but this weekend they finally got what they were hoping for on the other side of the ball. Missouri built yet another big first half lead, and this time they didn't give it away on defense in the third quarter. In fact, their defense allowed just 3 points up until the 4th quarter when the game was basically over. Of the three they've played, this was their closest to a complete game.

23. Washington
I liked Washington in the first half against Ohio State. They had some breaks go against them but they still had the lead against a very tough team. The low ranking is probably accurate; if they do end up falling from my final rankings, watch for them to pop back up in a couple of weeks.

24. Hawaii
This was more of the comfortable victory we'd expect from the Warriors for pretty much the entire regular season, given their schedule. Brennan dominated a game that was only close for one quarter.

25. South Florida

You'd generally think that if a team playing under the name "Alabama Crimson Tide" can score 41 points, they'll win the game. And this Saturday you'd be right, but barely. Wilson played well, Hall dominated, and despite getting run over by McFadden & Jones, the Tide came up with what it took to win.

Losing to a surging USF was half-expected. Losing to Mississippi State? Where oh where have things gone wrong for the War Eagle?

Boston College
For the most part, they shut down a Yellow Jackets' offense that had been just rolling. Despite the modest point showing by their own offense, BC drove the ball all game and turned it over just once. The impressive victory puts them atop the ACC.

Florida State
Despite a non-conference road win, beating Colorado should be expected of most BCS conference teams and their offense was yet again anemic.

If South Carolina's a bit too tough, you can always try their directional sister. Not a lot to really get out of this game as the opposition was simply too weak.

I know there were people out there who thought the 2-0 Hawkeyes deserved top 25 consideration - that they were stepping up for a slouching Michigan to give the Big Ten their fourth pillar. Giving Gene Chizik his first victory as HC isn't that bad, until you realize that the Cyclones had lost their opening two games against Kent State and Northern Iowa.

Kentucky's a team who you're so used to seeing them at the bottom of the SEC, it's easy to forget that they went 8-5 last season, won their bowl game, and have the best QB in the conference. After winning a shootout with Brian Brohm, you have to wonder just how good is Andre Woodson?

Miami (FL)
Though I think they made the correct call with Kyle Wright, the offense was unimpressive against FIU.

Have the Wolverines found their spark, or is Notre Dame just that bad? I won't think about ranking them until they've got a winning record, or if they're able to defeat Penn State this weekend.

Texas A&M
Three different backs averaged 10+ ypc, but after last week's squeaker I'm waiting until they face some Big XII opposition.

Texas Tech
Harrell completed 75% of his passes for 11 yards per attempt, over 400 yards total and 6 touchdown passes. Okay, the opponent was Rice.