Tuesday, September 2

James' Week 2 Rankings

These rankings are hastily done basically because I didn't want to be influenced at all by the AP's poll which comes out tomorrow morning. Excuse the higher-than-usual crappiness...

1. USC - Questions about the offensive line and quarterback were answered emphatically. The defense completely shut down the UVA offense and the Trojan offense made scoring look effortless. I'd rank them #1 even if Wells was 100%.

2. Ohio State - Losing Beanie Wells only makes this easier, thought I expect him to be back for the USC game. The defense was fantastic, equal to USC's. However, the offense was a little shaky. Now the issue of the first half field goals (rather than TDs) can be answered by the fact that Tressell was rotating QBs from the beginning to give everyone playing time, which destroyed offensive continuity, but if Pryor's going to be playing against USC you want him scoring TD after TD against the likes of Youngstown State.

3. Florida - After dozing through the first quarter, Florida woke up and looked scary. We don't like seeing Tebow still getting more running attempts than any back, but at least it was only 9.

4. Georgia - The loss of Jeff Owens is going to hurt, but that's not why they're here. I was just more impressed by USC, Ohio State, and Florida on opening weekend. UGA could step it up a little more. On a related note, why is ESPN calling Stafford the #1 dropback QB if the 275 yards he threw for is a career high? That's probably a career low for Harrell.

5. Oklahoma - Yes, the 50-0 halftime score was impressive and so was Bradford basically not throwing any incompletions for his first 30 passes or whatever. The second half score was a mere 7-2; we think this is symbolic of how OU always looks great in September and October, not so much in December and January.

6. Missouri - The offense and special teams can beat anybody, and the defense is better than the 42 points indicates. So will you please play an entire game? 60 minutes? There is no mercy rule and Juice Williams isn't going to stop playing just because it's 45-20. (for that matter, realize that Texas Tech holds the all-time bowl record for greatest comeback)

7. Auburn - Passing is still clearly going to be an issue, but Burns ran the read option very well. The defense pitched a shutout and scored on their own.

8. West Virginia - I don't know that I like seeing West Virginia attempt 50% more passes than rushes, and I really don't like seeing them give up 400 yards offense to Villanova. This ranking is based more on talent, because the execution left something to be desired.

9. Alabama - The Tide just came in and played smashmouth football, as well as completely shutting down Clemson's offense. Yes, every ACC team's offense is coached by Jeff Bowden. This was still eerily reminiscent of what we would have expected from Saban's LSU Tigers back in 2003.

10. LSU - Speaking of LSU, the defending FBS champions rocked the FCS champions, proving once and for all that the bowls are better than a playoff! Wait, no.

11. Texas - Rocking the hell out of ol' Schnelly isn't the impressive thing so much as having two QBs complete 80% of their passes - McCoy on a legitimate number of attempts, too. McCoy's play was my key to success for the Horns' 08 campaign, and so far so good.

12. South Florida - In a blatant showing of Rocky Mountain Bias, I didn't even watch this game. Not a single damn snap, and I haven't seen any highlights either. However, looking at the box score, 520 yards to 97 is nice, so I'll assume they played great on both sides of the ball.

13. Wisconsin - All of the sudden their game against Akron became way too close at halftime. Reminds me a little of the UNLV game last season, which makes me think they're about as good as last season.

14. Kansas - It was Florida International! And Reesing's 256 yards on 71% completions for 3 TDs was one of the less-impressive outings by a Big 12 quarterback not playing for Baylor or A&M.

15. Texas Tech - Rumors of the Raiders fielding a defense have been greatly exaggerated. Rumors of Graham Harrell throwing for less than 500 yards to start the season have also been exaggerated.

16. Penn State - I'm curious about why they call it "Coastal Carolina." Is there a Carolina that doesn't border the Atlantic Ocean? Thank you for playing a real team in week 2, JoePa, because frankly I don't trust the 66 points your offense scored against this bizarre twist of Directional State University as representative.

17. BYU - They beat the tar out of a complete cupcake just like you'd expect somebody like Kansas or Arizona State to do. Max Hall was ridiculous.

18. Utah - The loss was more about Michigan ineptitude, but hey - road win against a decent Big 6 squad.

19. Oregon - The Ducks really blew out Washington, and I was expecting Washington to be an improved team in 2008. Way to take the departure of Dennis Dixon in stride.

20. Illinois - Not too many defenses are going to slow down Missouri, so we can't hold that against them. Juice Williams looked great and they kept it close against a top 10 opponent.

21. Arizona State - The complete lack of a running game against even Northern Arizona is a little troubling.

22. Fresno State - They were pretty fortunate not to lose at Rutgers given the way the first half went, then again that's kind of a theme this weekend. Just surviving week one on the road on the nation's other coast is good enough.

23. UCLA - His Coachness, Sir Rick Neuheisel, orchestrated a comeback almost as beautiful as himself, surely surpassing the beauty of every pony ever born. The defense looked decent; good outing against the pass, a little shaky against the run but Tennessee has a strong o-line. Their own offensive line is a major liability. I'll say that the verdict's still out on Kevin Craft; by the numbers it was an awful outing, but he gave a good second half.

24. Tennessee - ESS EEE CEE speed clearly doesn't refer to mental agility, as the Clawfense rang up 55% of its plays as passes despite gaining 5.2 ypc on the ground compared to only 4.5 ypa through the air. Still, who else am I going to rank? With the exception of two drives, this defense shut down Norm Chow's UCLA attack. The running game was strong; playcalling and special teams cost them a probable victory. These are fixable and nobody else did much to merit ranking, so I'll put them one spot below the team they went to overtime against on the road.

25. Colorado - I've gotta give my graduate alma mater some props here as the Buffs beat the shit out of CSU. I'm not sure they're this good, but the only other team I can even think of deserving a ranking is Wake Forest, and after their collective week 1 abomination I am banning the ACC from my rankings until somebody does something. (beating Delaware in a hard-fought game decided by one score doesn't count, Maryland) So frankly, I don't care if this ranking holds or not... and who knows, Colorado is probably good enough that they could challenge for the ACC title this season if they played in that conference.