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2009 NCAA College Football Week 3 Top 25

Week 3 Football Top 25 Rankings

 

Another early season shakeup is in the cards. This last weekend I was in Columbus, Ohio for the mammoth Ohio State-USC game and I think Big Ten country has caught up with the SEC in one regard: Fans root for the conference like they do their own team. A good example: I was surrounded by a gaggle of Ohio State fans while we watched the Michigan-Notre Dame showdown and they were nearly unanimous with two sentiments: 1) I root for the Big Ten and 2) I root against Notre Dame. Most couldn’t bring themselves to actually say, “Go Michigan” but there was no question who they were cheering for. I guess the persistent insults hurled at their conference have finally forced them to start changing their ways. Speaking of learning new tricks…



SIX THINGS WE LEARNED THIS WEEK

  • The Pac Ten Has Officially Thrown Its Hat Into The Ring

After their strong week two showing, I think people need to start considering the Pac Ten when discussing the best conferences in the country. The conference boasted an 8-2 record this week, including a 3-1 record against BCS conference opponents. UCLA walked into Neyland Stadium and defeated Tennessee, Oregon held off a far better than expected Purdue squad and USC somehow came out the madhouse in Columbus with a win over a very good Ohio State team. The Pac Ten has four games against BCS conference opponents next week along with Oregon’s matchup with Utah and if they put up another impressive showing then the West Coast might simply be the Best Coast in college football.

  • The Big XII Had A Huge Setback

After a strong opening weekend performance, the Big XII did not fare well against a weak lineup. The conference lost the only matchup with another BCS conference team ( Iowa’s 35-3 shellacking of Iowa State) and Colorado, Kansas State and Oklahoma State all lost to non-BCS opponents. That gives the Big XII FIVE losses to non-BCS opponents in two weeks! That’s by far the worst of the six BCS conferences and the Big XII’s 8-4 mark was a major disappointment.

  • Al Groh and Dan Hawkins Will Be Fired By December

Groh’s Virginia team is 0-2 and they haven’t even played a BCS conference opponent yet! Dan Hawkins has done the exact same thing at Colorado. Virginia’s 30-14 loss to TCU has to be the final chapter in Groh’s tumultuous seven year tenure and the legacy he’ll leave in Charlottesville will be the persistent question of ‘how did he keep his job so long?’ Meanwhile, Hawkins has massively underachieved at Colorado and his already hot seat is scorching after losing 54-38 to Toledo in a game where the score doesn’t accurately reflect how dominant Toledo was. Even worse, charges of nepotism are starting to pour in from Buffalo fans as Hawkins’ son Cody has struggled early after winning a very close quarterback battle in camp. Yet despite the closeness of the QB battle and the struggles of Colorado’s offense early, Hawkins hasn’t given the backup a chance. Unless either team miraculously turns things around in a major way, both coaches are walking dead men.

  • Jim Tressel’s Conservativeness Cost The Buckeyes

The biggest question fans were asking coming out of the stadium after Ohio State’s crushing 18-15 loss to USC was ‘why didn’t Tressel kick the field goal?’ Ohio State was up 15-10 halfway through the 4 th quarter and eschewed a 53 yard field goal try to punt the ball deep. Tressel punted from the USC 36 yard line despite having a kicker who hit a 52 yard field goal last week and was 5 for 5 from longer than 40 yards last year. While Terrelle Pryor’s ineffectiveness (11 out of 25 passing) was certainly a big reason for USC’s win, the only person in the entire stadium who thought that punting the ball instead of kicking the field goal was a good idea was Jim Tressel.

  • The Myth About The Big Ten’s ‘Slowness’ Is Officially Debunked

The Big Ten went 8-3 this week and their three losses came by a combined total of seven points. The conference was oh-so-close to regaining a ton of national respect but their strong performances in narrow defeats should have officially shut down any more discussion about the Big Ten’s lack of speed or athleticism. Ohio State stood toe to toe with the most athletic team in the country, Michigan showcased a new level of athleticism while defeating Notre Dame, Iowa ran over Iowa State and Purdue was a missed extra point away from taking Oregon into overtime at Autzen Stadium. The Big Ten may not be the country’s most elite league this year but the league appears to be its strongest across the board since 2005.

  • This Week Was The Beginning Of The End For Charlie Weis

We all knew going into this season that Weis was in some serious trouble if he didn’t take the Fighting Irish to a BCS bowl game. That means that Notre Dame probably needs a 10-2 record. Well, after losing to Michigan, the Irish have to play an angry Michigan State team that lost last week because they didn’t settle on a quarterback until the 4 th quarter and then had the most incredible onside kick I’ve ever seen go against them. After that, they have to travel to a significantly improved Purdue team before playing Washington, USC, Navy and Pitt! Weis is going to lose at least four games this year after losing to a solid but still rebuilding Michigan squad and that means that Weis is going to lose his job. Now, on to this week’s top 25 ranking!

 

THE NATIONAL TITLE SHORT LIST

#1)Florida Gators (2-0, #1 Last Week)

Week 2 Result: 56-6 Victory at Home versus Troy

The Gators kicked another weakling’s butt. Ho hum. Thankfully, we actually get to see the defending national champions play a real opponent this week when the long-awaited grudge match with Lane Kiffin and the Tennessee Volunteers comes to the Swamp.

Week 3: Home versus Tennessee, 3:30 PM EST

 

#2)Southern California Trojans (2-0, #5)

Week 2 Result: 18-15 Victory at #7 Ohio State

After two weeks, USC has the most impressive victory of any team in college football. The Trojans won in front of a record crowd at Ohio Stadium which made more noise than any in Ohio State history. On top of that, the Trojans beat a top ten opponent on the road, something that no other team in the country can claim at this early point in the year. Florida holds on to number one this week because they have everyone back from their title team and have killed their first two weakling opponents but USC is right on their tails.

Week 3: At Washington, 3:30 PM EST

 

#3)Texas Longhorns (2-0, #2)

Week 2 Result: 41-10 Victory at Wyoming

Texas opened up quite sluggishly at Wyoming and only led 13-10 at halftime. Of course, they scored four touchdowns in the second half for the blowout win, so things look copacetic going into their Big XII opener against Texas Tech. The Longhorns will be looking for revenge after last season’s last second loss to Tech was the only blemish on their record.

Week 3: Home versus Texas Tech, 8:00 PM EST

 

IN THE NATIONAL TITLE DISCUSSION

#4)California Golden Bears (2-0, #4)

Week 2 Result: 59-7 Victory at Home versus Eastern Washington (D-1AA)

Cal scored more than 50 points for the second consecutive game. This week’s victim was poor Eastern Washington but the result was the same as a week ago against Maryland: Blowout. The Golden Bears finish up non-conference play next week when they travel to Minnesota to play in brand new TCF Bank Stadium. The Gophers will undoubtedly be the toughest test of the young season for the Bears but if they’re as good as I think they are then they need to win impressively against an up and coming Minnesota team.

Week 3: At Minnesota, Noon EST

 

#5)Alabama Crimson Tide (2-0, #6)

Week 2 Result: 40-14 Victory at Home versus Florida International

The Tide smoked FIU in all aspects of the game. They outrushed the Panthers 275 to 1 and outgained FIU 516 to 214! Alabama has a fantastic defense and quarterback Greg McElroy looked very solid in his second career start. Alabama continues their non-conference schedule with a visit from North Texas this weekend.

Week 3: Home versus North Texas, 12:20 PM EST

 

#6)Penn State Nittany Lions (2-0, #8)

Week 2 Result: 34-24 Victory in Atlanta versus #13 Virginia Tech

Penn State had another very workmanlike victory, beating Syracuse 28-7. For the second consecutive week, PSU had trouble running the football but passed the ball extremely well. I guess the only explanation is that the young offensive line is stronger protecting the passer than they are running the football. As for their defense, Penn State has a nasty front seven and their pass defense is better than I expected. PSU finishes their early season run of patsy non-conference opponents next week as they host Temple. Big Ten play starts the week after against Iowa.

Week 3: Home versus Temple, Noon EST

 

#7)Ohio State Buckeyes (1-1, #7)

Week 2 Result: 15-18 Loss at Home to #5 USC

The Buckeyes lost their 3 rd consecutive game against a top 5 opponent in heartbreaking fashion. Ohio State carried a 15-10 lead into the 4 th quarter but couldn’t capitalize on numerous opportunities to expand their lead, the most galling of which was Coach Tressel’s decision to forego a long field goal try when he had a powerful and accurate kicker at his disposal. The Buckeyes can now only be criticized for their inability to win close big games because they stood toe to toe athletically with one of the country’s best teams. The big question: Can Terelle Pryor regroup from a very poor showing?

Week 3: Versus Toledo in Cleveland, Noon EST

 

#8)Virginia Tech Hokies (1-1, #11)

Week 2 Result: 52-10 Win at Home versus Marshall

The Hokies are another team which suffered an early loss but impressed in defeat. That, of course, was last week against Alabama in Atlanta and this past week they dispelled more of my concerns by running for 444 yards in victory. Virginia Tech will define their season this weekend against Nebraska. Bounce back with a big win then the Hokies are an elite caliber team but if they lose than they’re nothing more than a strong but unspectacular team that could be in for another four loss season.

Week 3: Home versus #23 Nebraska, 3:30 PM EST

 

#9) Louisiana State Tigers (2-0, #10)

Week 2 Result: 23-9 Victory at Home versus Vanderbilt

LSU now sits atop the SEC West standings at 1-0 but they weren’t really impressive in defeating the Commodores. LSU’s defense was great but Vanderbilt’s offense stinks and the Tiger attack was average at best. LSU had better find some answers on offense against Louisiana-Lafayette, who beat Kansas State last week.

Week 3: Home versus La-Lafayette, 7:00 PM EST

#10) Oklahoma Sooners (1-1, #9)

Week 2 Result: 64-0 Victory at Home versus Idaho State

The Sooners needed an easy win after the disaster that was week one. Despite a 64-0 win, I dropped Oklahoma because they found out this week that star tight end Jermaine Gresham is out for the season. As Gresham was expected to be the team’s leading receiver, that is going to hurt a lot. The first big test for Landry Jones as the starter at quarterback comes this week against an explosive Tulsa attack.

Week 3: Home versus Tulsa, 3:30 PM EST



#11) Ole Miss Rebels (1-0, #12)

Week 2 Result: Off Week

The Rebels needed an off week after nearly a quarter of their team was sidelined by a swine flu outbreak. Ole Miss continues their poor non-conference schedule this week as they host D1-AA Southeast Louisiana.

Week 3: Home versus Southeast Louisiana, 7:30 PM EST

 

OUTSIDE THE NATIONAL TITLE DISCUSSION BUT DANGEROUS

#12) Oklahoma State Cowboys (1-1, #3)

Week 2 Result: 45-35 Loss at Home versus Houston

After an impressive opening win against Georgia, Oklahoma State’s season took a nightmarish turn against Houston. The Cowboys came out flat and fell way behind early and turned the ball over four times in the upset and gave up 512 yards of offense. While the Cougars are one of the best non-BCS teams in the country, Oklahoma State simply failed in their attempt to maintain their lofty ranking.

Week 3: Home versus Rice, 7:00 PM EST

 

#13) Georgia Bulldogs (1-1, #13)

Week 2 Result: 41-37 Victory at Home versus South Carolina

Where the heck did all of this offense come from? South Carolina and Georgia combine to score 17 points in the season’s first week and neither team had scored more than eighteen points in this matchup in the last four years yet there were 78 points in this game? Even weirder was the fact that Georgia lost the turnover battle 3-1 and were outgained by 120 yards but won! The Bulldogs have a lot of work to do if they want to have another great year because they have been all over the place during the season’s first two weeks.

Week 3: At Arkansas, 7:45 PM EST

 

#14) Miami Hurricanes (1-0, #14)

Week 2 Result: Off Week

The Canes had the week off as they rested up from their physical showdown with Florida State and prepared for a big Thursday night battle against Georgia Tech, who appeared to be vulnerable last week against Clemson. Miami was killed on the ground in this game last year and will have to tackle better than they did against FSU if they want to win the second of a brutal four game stretch.

Week 3:Thursday versus #19 Georgia Tech, 7:30 PM EST

 

#15) Brigham Young Cougars (2-0, #15)

Week 2 Result: 54-3 Victory at Tulane

BYU managed to take care of business in a potential tweener game. The Cougars big concern was looking ahead to their second major non-conference showdown as Florida State comes to Provo this weekend. If BYU wins this game then they can make a legitimate argument that they’re a national championship contender, the first non-BCS team to do so during the BCS era.

Week 3:At Tulane, 3:30 PM EST

 

#16) Kansas Jayhawks (2-0, #19)

Week 2 Result: 34-7 Victory at UTEP

The Jayhawks have opened up the season with two blowout wins against weak competition. This week continues the trend as the Jayhawks host Duke. Kansas racked up 576 yards of offense while holding UTEP to only 208 yards and a late touchdown. The Jayhawks look like the team that I expected to see in the preseason and that’s a very good thing.

Week 3:Home versus Duke, Noon EST

 

#17) Pittsburgh Panthers (2-0, #22)

Week 2 Result: 54-27 Victory at Buffalo

Pitt has just pounded their first two opponents on the ground. Freshman tailback Dion Lewis looks like a flat-out stud in replacing Shady McCoy and the Panthers have been impressive. Now comes the first major test of the season as they host Navy, who gave Ohio State a scare in week one and blew out Louisiana Tech last week. This is the first major test for the Panthers in 2009.

Week 3:Home versus Navy, 6:00 PM EST

 

#18) Cincinnati Bearcats (2-0, Not Ranked)

Week 2 Result: 70-3 Victory at Home versus Southeast Missouri State (D-1AA)

I made a mistake not ranking the Bearcats last week. Then they put up nearly 600 yards of offense and Tony Pike impressed me a second time and I decided to fix my mistake. Cincinnati now has to fly across the country and prove themselves in a hostile environment as they travel to ranked Oregon State. Cincinnati could really impress a lot of people by winning in Corvallis.

Week 3: At #22 Oregon State, 6:45 PM EST

 

#19) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-0, #18)

Week 2 Result: 30-27 Victory at Home versus Clemson

Georgia Tech jumped out to a 24-0 lead against Clemson in the second quarter. Then Clemson came all the way back to take a 27-24 lead in the 4 th quarter. Tech pulled together and managed to pull out a late victory despite their complete shutdown for at least two quarters. However, Tech decided to start passing the ball instead of sticking to their running game and Josh Nesbitt finished 3/14 with two interceptions. Tech can’t do that this week against a very good Miami team.

Week 3:Thursday at #14 Miami, 7:30 PM EST

 

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#20) Houston Cougars (2-0, NR)

Week 2 Result: 45-35 Victory at #3 Oklahoma State

The Cougars shocked the world thanks to big first half performance and now they’re a candidate to bust the BCS. Houston still has a tough schedule ahead but they’re a very dangerous offensive team and I’m impressed with them. After an off week we get to see how good they really are when they travel to Texas Tech.

Week 3: Off Week

 

#21) Iowa Hawkeyes (2-0, #25)

Week 2 Result: 35-3 Victory at Iowa State

No team created more controversy in my top 25 last week than the Hawkeyes. However, Iowa rewarded my faith by dominating rival Iowa State 35-3 and looked much more like the Big Ten title contender that many people expected in the preseason. Now they have a huge test as Arizona comes to town in a big non-conference showdown. A win for Iowa would give them a ton of momentum heading into Big Ten season at Penn State the week after.

Week 3: Home versus Arizona, 3:35 EST

 

#22)Oregon State Beavers (2-0, #16)

Week 2 Result: 23-21 Victory at UNLY

A 20-7 halftime lead nearly turned into a nightmare as the Beavers needed a last second field goal to get past UNLV. The Rodgers brothers set up their usual excellent performance but the Beavers didn’t really rack up a ton of offense and their defense struggled at times. I think that the Beavers really miss Lyle Moevao at quarterback because despite Sean Canfield’s steady presence, he’s not the playmaker that Moevao is. Oregon State’s secondary will have to play better next week against a prolific Cincinnati offense.

Week 3: Home versus #18 Cincinnati

 

#23) Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-0, #23)

Week 2 Result: 38-9 Victory at Home versus Arkansas State

Nebraska finished the second of two blowout games by blowing out Arkansas State. The Cornhuskers first two efforts resulted in a combined score of 87-12 so things have gone overwhelmingly in their favor thus far. The Cornhuskers play their first big game of the season at highly ranked Virginia Tech and it could set the tone for a very successful season in the Big XII North.

Week 3: At #8 Virginia Tech, 3:30 PM EST

 

#24) Boise State Broncos (2-0, #24)

Week 2 Result: 48-0 Victory at Home versus Miami ( Ohio)

Poor Boise State. They win two games to start the year but have fallen from 1 st on the non-BCS totem pole to 3 rd in only two weeks thanks to huge wins by BYU and Houston over higher-ranked foes. Boise State doesn’t really play anyone of consequence for most of the rest of the season but their most dangerous WAC game is this week against Fresno State, who took Wisconsin to overtime last week. If they win that game, I can say with about 98% certainty that Boise State won’t lose a game in the regular season.

Week 3: Friday at Fresno State, 9:00 PM EST

 

#25) Michigan Wolverines (2-0, NR)

Week 2 Result: 38-34 Victory at Home versus #21 Notre Dame

There couldn’t have been a better possible scenario for Rich Rodriguez to begin his second season in Ann Arbor. After upsetting ranked Notre Dame, Michigan is ranked for the first time since 2007 and appears to have the talent in place to exceed expectations this fall. The question now is whether Notre Dame was really overrated or if Michigan is actually as improved as they appeared. The Wolverines could start 3-0 this week when they play Eastern Michigan.

Week 3: Home versus Eastern Michigan, Noon EST

 

TEN MORE TO KEEP AN EYE ON

  • North Carolina Tar Heels
  • Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  • Arkansas Razorbacks
  • Florida State Seminoles
  • West Virginia Mountaineers
  • Minnesota Golden Gophers
  • Missouri Tigers
  • Navy Midshipmen
  • UCLA Bruins
  • Arizona Wildcats

 

CONFERENCE BREAKDOWN

The Big XII and SEC lead the conferences with five teams while the Big Ten maintained four teams despite some turmoil. The Pac Ten and ACC check in with three teams apiece while the Big East upped the ante to two squads this week. The Mountain West, WAC and C-USA all checked in with a single squad.

 

Matt Baxendell is collegesports-fans.com’s football writer. Keep an eye out all fall for his multiple weekly articles discussing everything college football. If you want to get in touch with him, email him at Matt.Baxendell@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @MattBaxendell

 

 

By Matt Baxendell
CollegeSports-fans.com Staff Writer


 


 

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