Sunday, October 19

Week 8 Top 25

1. Texas
Is there any doubt? Colt McCoy completed 29 of 32 passes (91%... and on the season, he's 81%) against Missouri as the Longhorns jumped out to a quick 35-3 halftime lead, which by the way was the final score of the Ohio State-USC thrashing. Buckeye. An offense that had gone 3-and-out just twice all season did it three times in its first four drives against Texas. The second half was the shootout we were expecting the entire game to be, although the UT second string defense played for the final few drives. So what's next after a showdown with Oklahoma and a beating of Missouri? How about a matchup with unbeaten BCS #6 Oklahoma State! Yay Big 12 South schedule!

2. Alabama
The Tide are still at #2 because we remember they manhandled Georgia, while Penn State still hasn't played anyone good. It's certainly not because struggling to beat Kentucky and Mississippi in consecutive home games is impressive by any stretch. The Tide must impress again at Tennessee, because Penn State has a chance to really show us what they're made of this weekend...

3. Penn State
... as their next game is at Ohio State. Buckeye. PSU played their first craptastic half against Michigan but still won the game by 29, so we can't be too hard on them. Through 8 games PSU has still surrendered over 20 points just once and still been held under 35 just once. They're dominating everybody, winning each game by at least 14. This week's showdown between the futures of the Big 10 - Terrelle Pryor and Darryl Clark - is the Nittany Lions' statement game. Win here, and they have an easy finish to the season with Iowa, Indiana, and Michigan State.

4. Oklahoma
Offensively, OU played yet another excellent game to hang 45 on Kansas. This season they've scored at least 35 in every game played. The problem is that their defense gave up 31 to a team who's clearly a step below where they were last season. OU has to be worried that Jake Sharp shredded their run D, though props to the secondary for holding Todd Reesing below 60% passing and picking him off twice.

5. USC
While 69 points allowed is technically Wazzou's season high, they've given up 66 twice and 63 once, so we're not reading too heavily into that game. Come to think of it, how did these guys even beat Portland State? Anyway... what can be said about USC is that their defense has given up over 10 points just once all season. In a year where quarterbacks and offenses are dominating everywhere, here's one team who's doing it the good old fashioned way. Defense wins championships, and if a few teams falter USC will be a strong title contender with that monstrous defense.

6. Florida
Florida had a bye week to prepare for Kentucky, and by that we mean look ahead to Georgia.

7. Oklahoma State
Robert "Cream" Griffin III was held to his worst performance of the season since becoming starter in week 2, as the OSU defense had a second straight standout performance. Next up: Texas!

8. Ohio State
Here at Left Field Bluffs, we have embraced the horror. Ohio State showed that there is a clear gap between the top two and the bottom nine, and what that means is that unless it's possible for both them and Penn State to lose in their matchup this weekend, we'll probably have a Big Ten team in the BCs Championship again. A Big Ten whose resume reads either: a) beat Ohio State or b) beat Penn State and lost to USC. Yeah. To be fair, Terrelle Pryor is finally starting to look like Troy Smith did in 2006, and by "like Troy Smith did in 2006" I mean "don't cryyyyyyy ooooooouuuuuuuuuuttt lllloooooooooooouuuuuuuddd!" It's coming.

9. Georgia
ARP ARP ARP! And yet another uninspiring offensive performance against mediocre opposition. Is everyone else glad we probably won't end up with preseason #1 vs #2? (that would be Georgia vs USC) On the other hand, it couldn't be much worse than what we've gotten the last two years.

10. Texas Tech
TTU leads 38-25, 17 seconds remaining and the clock is in motion. There's nothing A&M can do to stop it, and in fact the play clock has been turned off. Mike Leach calls a flagrantly unnecessary zone read play for one final "fuck you" touchdown, probably just because Harrell at one point commented that the spread option is a pretty sweet offense. This is why we love Mike Leach. Additionally, at this point there's got to be good reason to leave a Big 6 unbeaten out of the top 10, and beating Nebraska is more impressive than anything Utah or Boise have done.

11. Utah
The wins over Michigan and Oregon State look less impressive as the weeks go by, but look who's in the MWC driver's seat now!

12. Boise State
The Broncos continue to win comfortably and with defense holding an opponent to 7 or less in five of six games played so far.

13. LSU
Struggling to beat USC-East is something a lot of SEC teams deal with, which is probably why Phil Steele keeps thinking that eventually those breaks will go the Cocks' way, that eventually they'll turn that 6-6 into 10-2. Note that along with the struggling comes the beating because, as of yet... and it hasn't happened. LSU has a chance to climb back into the top 10 against Georgia/

14. South Florida
With over two weeks to let their loss simmer, USF came out refocused to destroy Syracuse.

15. TCU
Did we underrate TCU, overrate BYU, or all of the above? One way or another, that game wasn't even close. Granted they've essentially beaten a team who themselves have beaten nobody, but we're suspicious that BYU is in fact legit and that this does in fact make TCU reasonably good.

16. Tulsa
Going into the 4th quarter, Tulsa needed just 30 points to hit 100 and they pulled the first string offense. WHY? That surely would have allowed them to leapfrog TCU, just for the coolness factor.

17. Ball State
As the fightin' Balls improve to 7-0 without their best player, we once again saulte the defense. 7 points total in the last 2 weeks. We also note that this is the last team deserving a rank higher than 25, so:

25. Georgia Tech
"To win the ACC, one must run a flagrantly system offense regardless of your personnel" sounds truer this week than ever as GT became the first ACC team to reach 6 wins. We're really looking forward to seeing this patchwork option face the Georgia defense at the end of the season.

25. Missouri
Mizzou has lost to two top 10 teams in two very different ways, but this last loss really casts them into doubt. Texas completely owned the first half and left us wondering if the two advertised elite teams were the UT offense and the UT defense, because we certainly didn't see anything else deserving of mention.

25. BYU
Max Hall was ineffective, the defense was torn apart, and the running game was abandoned as TCU kept kicking long after BYU went down. Their BCS hopes are now gone, but BYU can still win the conference if TCU slips up.

25. Pittsburgh
A convincing road win at Navy marks two consecutive weeks of solid play, and in the Bitg East that's good enough to put you at the top of the standings!

25. Minnesota
We still need to put a few more teams here to have 25, and they are 6-1 with lone loss to Buckeye.

25. Boston College
Oh god.

25. Oregon
Quack quack-quack quack-quack quack quack quack-quack-quack quack-quack! QUACK-QUACK! (done to the tune of USC's "Fight On")

25. Michigan State
We argued about this spot more than any other, with the two sides being that a) Northwestern is 6-1 and didn't get the shit kicked out of them on Saturday vs b) MSU rolled NW just eight days ago, and if they had played against 2006 Ohio State redux on Saturday, they too would have been blown out. Frankly, neither team deserves it. Somebody else please step up, please.

Watch List:
Note that these teams really suck, as they aren't yet worthy of mention alongside Boston College.

The Maryland of the west coast, U of A found ways to get Cal to play to their level yet choked a game against New Mexico. Consider that they're 5-2 with some horrible losses, but their next game is USC. Obviously they're at least be looked at, just in case the unthinkable happens.

Chris is solidly on the Brian Kelly bandwagon... and you know what, fuck it.

Florida State
ACC: Stop Hitting Yourself

Do they really not play Penn State? Fantastic.

Virginia Tech
ACC: Stop Hitting Yourself

West Virginia
An impressive win against Auburn gets them in. Please god, we don't want to be forced to rank some random ACC/Big Ten team like Northwestern just because they can't all lose this weekend.