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2009 NCAA College Football Top 25: Final Regular Season Top 25

Championship Weekend had me in such a great mood by providing so many wonderful close contests to cap off a great regular season with a bang. I was in gearing up on Sunday night to put together my final top 25 by watching the BCS bowl selection show when they dropped this bomb on me: Boise State versus TCU in the Fiesta Bowl?

I can’t think of a better way to finish the regular season by beginning this top 25 with my weekly rant.


THE RANT: TCU Versus Boise State In The BCS Is Ridiculous!

The Siesta Bowl matchup will be a rematch of Boise State and TCU from last year’s Poinsettia Bowl and it is outright ridiculous. Look, the entire country wants to see how TCU and Boise State (who has played exactly one BCS conference team this year) match up against the elite teams in the country, not against each other! What is this, the mid-major national championship?

First of all, this feels just like last year’s Poinsettia Bowl: Boise State had an unbeaten record and numerous opportunities to match up against strong BCS conference teams. Instead, they chose to play TCU and I think their reasoning was that they wanted to get a bowl win against a ten win team that they felt that they could beat. That would have left them with the ability to brag about their unbeaten season. Considering that perfect season was ruined by the Horned Frogs, the choice to duck a BCS school turned out to be an epic fail.

However, this year is even worse. For starters, how did the Fiesta Bowl willingly pick this matchup? This is the bowl that brought the country a classic showdown between Ohio State and Texas last year! They certainly didn’t do it for attendance (last year’s matchup between these two teams drew 34,628 fans in a stadium that holds 71,294) or television ratings (the BCS bowls featuring Busters have been among the lowest rated in BCS history). And I say willingly because the selection process gave the Fiesta Bowl the 2 nd choice among the at-large teams to replace Texas and it seems extremely unlikely that they would have passed up Iowa (who would have put a lot of butts in seats and brought excellent TV ratings) in favor of either Boise State or TCU of their own volition. The only logical conclusion seems to be that either the NCAA had a hand in this decision, hoping to end the season with as few undefeated teams as possible in case of another congressional hearing, or Boise State and TCU politicked their way into matching up again to ensure that there would another unbeaten BCS Buster in 2009.

In all honesty, Boise State should be in the Mountain West and this game should have been played this past weekend as the MWC Championship. So, in short we have a Rocky Mountain Championship bout in the Siesta Bowl and I don’t think anyone outside of the Boise State and TCU fan bases is remotely excited to watch this game. As a fan, I feel extremely slighted because I was looking forward to seeing how TCU dealt with ACC Champion Georgia Tech’s option attack and how Iowa would defend against Boise State’s powerful offense. When the BCS expanded to a 5 th game to allow greater access to non-automatic qualifying conferences, the entire purpose was to give the little guy their shot at the titans of college football and this runs directly counter to that spirit.

Instead we’re left wanting for the answer to this question: How good are TCU and Boise State? And it is an outright shame that we’re never going to get an answer. Expect the lowest television ratings in BCS Bowl history and a partly empty stadium as a result.


  • Cincinnati Still Can’t Play Defense

But it doesn’t matter because the Bearcats are still undefeated. Cincinnati’s defense fell apart over the final third of their season (allowing an average of 36 points) but their quick-strike offense and the outright heroics of Mardy Gilyard finagled the Bearcats to an undefeated regular season. I’ve been a doubter of the Bearcats all year (and that won’t change in the Sugar Bowl against Florida) but I have to give Cincinnati a ton of credit for their 12-0 record and 2 nd consecutive Big East Championship. A warning to the Bearcats: Show up prepared against Florida because a bad loss by an undefeated champion could set the conference’s reputation back after a resurgent year.

  • A Tailback Will Win The Heisman Trophy

After the masterful performances by C.J. Spiller and Mark Ingram in their respective conference champions, the run of quarterbacks holding the stiff-armed trophy is going to end this season. Along with Toby Gerhart of Stanford, who is this writer’s choice for the Heisman (more on that in a bit), Spiller and Ingram should be considered the co-favorites this Saturday in New York City. However, I don’t think that those three will be the only players invited…….

  • Ndamakong Suh Is The Best Defensive Player In The Country

And in a fair world he’d be a top contender for the Heisman Trophy. For the first time since Charles Woodson won the Heisman in 1997, we could actually see a defensive player invited to the ceremony. Suh is simply the most dominant player at ANY position in the country and he was constantly blowing up the Texas offensive line in the Big XII Championship. Safe to say, Suh is all but a lock as the #1 pick in this year’s NFL draft because defensive tackles with his rare combination of size, strength, speed and an endless motor are perhaps the most precious commodity to NFL franchises.

  • Notre Dame Still Doesn’t Get It

I have to shame the Fighting Irish for turning down a bowl bid this season on ‘financial’ grounds. Are you telling me that a university which just reportedly shelled out $18 million to buy out Charlie Weis and is supposedly offering $5 million per year to steal Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops is concerned about breaking even on a $750,000 payout to go to the GMAC Bowl?

Furthermore, the Irish will have a coach in place (likely Brian Kelly, who led Cincinnati to a bowl victory less than a month after being hired four years ago) by next Monday. With the GMAC Bowl taking place on January 6 th, that would give the Irish the time to put in the virtual equivalent of a 2 nd spring football practice before their game! You think coaches at Michigan, Washington, Purdue or a host of other teams that weren’t eligible to undergo postseason practice wouldn’t love to have the opportunity to improve their players with three weeks of work (though the Wolverines might do it anyways) to lead into 2010?

In short, Notre Dame is willingly passing up the opportunity to make their football team better! At a school that has repeatedly failed to catch up with the times, I’m afraid the Irish are continuing to prove that they still don’t grasp what it takes to grow a championship-caliber program.

  • The BCS Participants Will Be The Top Ten Teams For The First Time

That’s right, as crazy as it seems, this will be the first time that teams ranked one through ten in the final BCS standings will occupy every single spot in the BCS since the expansion to a 5 th bowl game four years ago. In fact, this is the first time ever that the BCS won’t leave out a single team in lieu of a lower ranked team in its history! Thus, the much-maligned system has to be given some credit this year for rewarding the ten most deserving teams in the country, regardless of conference. I guess you could say that the BCS is working the way it was meant to (cynics will say ‘about time’) and it deserves credit for it.

  • Alabama Is The Favorite To Win The National Championship

After watching Alabama methodically disassemble Florida in the SEC Championship, viewers and fans across the country were really impressed with the Crimson Tide. While I picked Alabama to win, I certainly didn’t expect the level of dominance that Nick Saban’s team displayed in the Georgia Dame. At that point, I found myself leaning towards picking Alabama in a theoretical matchup with Texas.

Enter the Big XII Championship. Texas struggled mightily with a great defense and needed a last-gasp field goal to win the conference championship and earn a shot at the National Championship. At that point, I was deluged with emails and text messages, all of which had the same theme: Alabama is going to kill Texas.

Now, that’s been a major motivator in the National Championship since the BCS began. In fact, six of the last seven BCS Champions came into the National Championship Game ranked 2 nd in the standings! With all of the media attention that comes along with the month-long hype leading up to a championship game, the theme of David vs. Goliath between two similarly teams can be the difference in mental preparation. Anyone else remember the Ohio State-Florida game where everyone expected the Buckeyes to kill the Gators and it went to Ohio State’s head? Florida won that game going away while simultaneously providing a serious caution to future would-be champions.

The looming specter of this happening to his team led Nick Saban to actually accost ESPN’s Bowl Selection Show crew when the National Championship matchup was made! Saban, in his most authoritative voice, actually told the likes of Lou Holtz, Kirk Herbstreit and Mark May that they needed to stop making Texas out to be a weak opponent because it simply wasn’t true!

Regardless of Saban’s protestations to the contrary, the overwhelming sentiment nationally is that the National Title is Alabama’s to lose and that is going to be a major motivating factor for the Longhorns. It will be very interesting to watch how that dynamic affects both teams’ preparations heading into January.



In a world gone mad, one man has risen above to bring you the Least Prestigious Awards In The Nation! That’s right, with award season right around the corner, the L-PAIN ceremony is my answer to the politicized and regional choices that have come to dominate what were once truly great awards. Here are my choices for………


THE HEISMAN TROPHY : Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford. Stanford’s superstar tailback earned my choice for the most outstanding player in the country based upon his incredible statistics as the national leader in rushing yards (1,736) and touchdowns (26) and his amazing consistency. I can say with a high level of confidence that Sanford wouldn’t have come close to having such a fantastic season were it not for a guy who only had one scholarship offer four years ago. Gerhart’s value to his team and outright excellence earns my nomination for the Heisman Trophy.

Runners up (in order): Ndamakong Suh (DT, Nebraska), Mark Ingram (RB, Alabama), C.J. Spiller (RB, Clemson)


DEFENSIVE MVP : Ndamakong Suh, DT, Nebraska. In a position that largely avoids the spotlight, Suh became the most celebrated defensive player in a decade thanks to one of the most N-Dominant years I have ever seen. Suh literally destroyed double teams on nearly every play and was the definition of unblockable. He also saved his best for the biggest occasions as national spotlight games against Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas were among his best games. He finished the season with an incredible 82 tackles, 19 tackles for a loss, 12 sacks, an interception and my recognition as the most valuable defensive player in the country.

Honorable Mention:

  • Andre McDaniel (CB, Clemson) McDaniel picked off eight passes this season, returning one for an interception. He also provided excellent run support in making 85 tackles.
  • Greg Jones, (LB, Michigan State) Jones finished the season with an incredible 140 tackles (3 rd nationally) and nine sacks and was voted the Big Ten Defensive Player Of The Year.
  • Von Miller (DE, Texas A&M) Miller finished the season with a nation-high seventeen sacks and totaled an amazing 21 tackles for loss. He also forced four fumbles and would have been a shoo-in as the conference’s defensive player of the year were it not for a certain Mr. Suh in Lincoln.
  • Kurt Coleman (S, Ohio State) Coleman was all over the field this year for the Buckeyes, picking off five passes (including one return for a touchdown), forcing three fumbles and making 64 tackles despite missing a game to suspension. He was voted Ohio State’s Most Valuable Player.


BEST QUARTERBACK : Case Keenum, Houston. When you’re passing yardage is first in the country by more than 1,600 yards, you’ve had a phenomenal season. Keenum threw for an amazing 43 touchdowns against only 9 interceptions while completing 71 percent of his passes! While many may ignore his accomplishments because he plays for a non-BCS school, here’s one more statistic for you: Houston finished 3-0 against BCS conference opponents this season. Case Keenum is the clear choice as the best quarterback in the country.

Honorable Mention:

  • Jimmy Claussen, Notre Dame: Say what you want about Notre Dame, but Claussen’s season was nothing short of spectacular. He threw for 3,722 yards and 28 touchdowns while completing over 68 percent of his passes against a mere four interceptions, three of which were tipped! His toughness and comeback ability are the only reasons that the Irish even managed six wins.
  • Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan: LeFevour had another great season and is now the NCAA’s all-time leader in touchdowns. He threw for 3,043 yards and 27 touchdowns while completing over 71 percent of his passes. Despite the gaudy numbers, he only threw six interceptions. However, his running ability truly sets him apart as he ran for an additional 700 yards and 14 scores! His great career was capped off with a MAC Championship.
  • Ryan Mallet, Arkansas: This former Michigan Wolverine made Rich Rodriguez looks silly for not building his offense around his huge talents. In Mallet’s first year in Arkansas, he led the SEC in passing yards (3,425), touchdowns (29) and quarterback rating (157.9) while throwing only 7 interceptions! Here’s the real scary part: Mallet is only a sophomore……
  • Colt McCoy, Texas: McCoy was my choice for the Heisman Trophy last season and while he hasn’t quite matched his amazing numbers from 2008, he’s still had an great season. McCoy threw for 3,512 yards and 27 touchdowns while completing 70.5 percent of his passes. He also added over 400 yards and four scores on the ground. The only downside to his resume were his struggles against the two best defenses he faced this season but he is also the only quarterback on this list to lead a 13-0 team into the postseason.


MOST OUTSTANDING FRESHMAN : Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh. When Pittsburgh lost Shady McCoy to the NFL draft last season, there was a huge void in the backfield that didn’t appear to have any chance of being filled. However, Lewis didn’t just fill the void, he actually was more productive than McCoy! He finished 3 rd in the country with 1,640 yards on the ground and scored 17 total touchdowns as the primary axis of Pitt’s offense. Lewis was nothing short of a godsend for the Panthers and his efforts led the team to a 9-3 regular season, earning him the honor of being my Most Outstanding Freshman of 2009.

Honorable Mention:

  • Luke Kuechly (LB, Boston College) Kuechly was an absolute tackling machine as a freshman, finishing with 142 stops, 2 nd highest in the country. His impact allowed Boston College to continue its solid play despite the loss of star ‘backer Mark Herzlich to cancer.
  • Ryan Williams (RB, Virginia Tech) When Virginia Tech lost Darren Evans in the preseason, it was serious gloom and doom among the Hokie faithful. However, Williams broke out on opening day against Alabama and finished the season with 1,539 yards and 19 touchdowns while adding 180 yards and a touchdown through the air.
  • Erik Page (WR, Toledo) Page was by far the most outstanding freshman receiver in the country, making 82 catches for 1159 yards and 7 touchdowns in his first year of play for the Rockets.
  • Corey Broomfield (CB, Mississippi State) If you haven’t heard of young Mr. Broomfield, you soon will. He had 6 interceptions and 2 return TDs in his first year in Starkville. Expect big things in the future from this young star.


COACH OF THE YEAR : Chip Kelly, Oregon. Oregon’s first year coach had about the worst possible start that anyone could ever imagine: His first game was an ugly 19-8 loss on the road, his star tailback, LeGarrette Blount, punched an opposing player in the face after the game and followed that genius act up by going after opposing fans in the stands. To say that Oregon looked like a program out of control was a massive understatement.

However, Kelly acted decisively. He suspended Blount immediately (Blount didn’t play until December) and the rest of his team was put to the test. His Ducks responded with a 10-1 finish that culminated in Oregon’s first Rose Bowl berth since 1994. For his efforts to pull his team from the lowest of lows to a conference championship, I am naming him my Coach Of The Year.

Honorable Mention:

  • Al Golden, Temple. Here’s why Al Golden is on this list: Temple is on the verge of a ten win season. That’s right, Temple, who was thrown out of the Big East for being so terrible at football, is playing in a bowl game (Eaglebank Bowl) and finished tied atop the MAC East with a 7-1 conference record. Golden has turned a moribund program into a massive success.
  • Brian Kelly, Cincinnati. Another rags to riches story, Kelly led Cincinnati to their first undefeated season and their second consecutive conference championship. The Bearcats’ season could have easily spun off course when starting quarterback Tony Pike went down to injury but it is a testament to Kelly’s coaching that their offense was simply revamped to take advantage of backup Zach Collaros’ running ability and continued their winning season without a hitch. Whether Kelly stays in the Queen City remains to be seen but his team’s season was nothing short of remarkable.
  • Kirk Ferentz, Iowa. I wrote Iowa off in the preseason after they ran into some serious injuries at the tailback position. However, Ferentz led his team to a 9-0 start that included four road victories over bowl-bound teams and the only reason that their season was derailed was an injury to starting quarterback Ricky Stanzi. However, Iowa nearly won the Big Ten with their backup quarterback the next week at Ohio State and the Hawkeyes’ Orange Bowl berth is the byproduct of amazing leadership.
  • Robb Akey, Idaho. How many of you didn’t know Idaho had a Division One football team besides Boise State? My guess would be nine out of ten college fans have never heard of the Idaho Vandals. Well, not only do they have a team but they have a winning team! The Vandals finished with their first winning record since 1999 after a decade of futility and their 7-5 bowl record earned their first bowl berth (Humanitarian Bowl). This is the culmination of one of the most amazing turnarounds in the country.


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These rankings reflect the entire resume of a team during the season. Thus, I’m not putting together a power ranking based on teams matching up on a proverbial neutral field and settling things. In fact, I’m doing quite the opposite: I’m trying to reward achievement throughout the season against quality competition.

That stance should encapsulate the philosophy behind my top 25. Without further ado, here is the final top 25 heading into bowl season.




#1)Alabama Crimson Tide (13-0, #1 Last Week)

Week 14 Result: 32-13 Victory versus #2 Florida in the SEC Championship

Alabama showed that they can dominate the SEC after their 13-0 season. Now they have to slay the dual dragons of the Texas Longhorns and the burden of expectations in the National Championship Game.

Bowl Game: BCS CHAMPIONSHIP vs. #2 Texas on January 7th


#2)Texas Longhorns (13-0, #3)

Week 14 Result: 13-12 Victory versus #19 Nebraska in the Big XII Championship

Texas might have had an ugly finish to their Big XII Championship but their 13-12 victory was a testament to perseverance and their talented defense. Is that a sign of things to come? With one more victory, Texas can join the 2002 Ohio State Buckeyes (who were notorious for ugly victories) as the only teams to finish 14-0 in NCAA history.

Bowl Game: BCS CHAMPIONSHIP vs. #1 Alabama on January 7th



#3)Cincinnati Bearcats (12-0, #4)

Week 14 Result: 45-44 Victory at #10 Pittsburgh

Cincinnati has to be disappointed that an undefeated season didn’t earn a shot at the National Championship but even their coach admitted that he felt that the BCS had the right matchup on ESPN’s Bowl Selection Show. Can Cincinnati’s offense carry them to a victory over heavily favored Florida in the Sugar Bowl?

Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl versus #5 Florida on January 1st


#4)Texas Christian Horned Frogs (12-0, #5)

Week 14 Result: Regular Season Complete

Rematch time! TCU versus Boise State! Will two consecutive postseason showdowns start to build a rivalry between the two schools? TCU is simply an excellent football team and while most of the country would rather see the Frogs playing a BCS conference foe, TCU could become the 4 th BCS Buster to win a BCS Bowl, even if it is against Boise State.

Bowl Game: Fiesta Bowl versus #6 Boise State on January 4th


#5)Florida Gators (12-1, #2)

Week 14 Result: 32-13 Loss versus #1 Alabama in the SEC Championship

Florida is going to be very disappointed after losing in the de-facto national semifinal against Alabama. However, the Gators still have a wonderful opportunity to send their decorated senior class out with a huge victory and I can’t imagine a Tim Tebow and Brandon Spikes-led team coming out flat in a big game.

Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl versus #3 Cincinnati on January 1st


#6)Boise State Broncos (13-0, #6)

Week 14 Result: 42-7 Victory at Home versus New Mexico State

I’m extremely disappointed that we don’t get to see the Broncos play a BCS conference opponent this year in a BCS bowl. While TCU beat two ACC teams on the road and also beat two ranked conference opponents, Boise State hasn’t faced a ranked team in the past three months! Still, TCU is universally considered to be a strong opponent and will be a solid test for the Broncos (though I still have difficulty considering this to be a BCS bowl).

Bowl Game: Fiesta Bowl versus #6 Boise State on January 4th


#7)Oregon Ducks (10-2, #8)

Week 14 Result: 37-33 Victory at Home versus #16 Oregon State

Mighty are the Ducks. Their victory against archrival Oregon State earned their first Rose Bowl berth in fifteen years and will give the Ducks only their 2 nd chance to play in a BCS bowl. With their explosive offense, they will give Ohio State’s stout defense all they can handle.

Bowl Game: Rose Bowl versus #8 Ohio State on January 1st


#8)Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2, #7)

Week 14 Result: Regular Season Complete

After two weeks of waiting, Ohio State learned their opponent in the Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes have to feel confident heading into their showdown with the explosive Ducks because their exceptional defensive line could be the key to victory. Will Ohio State end their BCS Bowl drought on New Year’s Day?

Bowl Game: Rose Bowl versus #7 Oregon on January 1st


#9) Iowa Hawkeyes (10-2, #10)

Week 14 Result: Regular Season Complete

After two weeks of speculation, Iowa emerged victorious in the BCS power struggle over conference rival Penn State, who many felt could usurp their spot despite the Hawkeyes’ 21-10 victory in Happy Valley in late September. With a powerful defense and time to get their many injuries healed, Iowa will have a great shot in their first BCS appearance since the 2002 season.

Bowl Game: Orange Bowl versus #10 Georgia Tech on January 5th


#10) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets(11-2, #12)

Week 14 Result: 39-34 Victory versus Clemson in the ACC Championship

It took a shootout of epic proportions, but Georgia Tech emerged victorious over Clemson in the ACC Championship. Paul Johnson has engineered an amazing turnaround in Atlanta and his option offense has been the driving force for success. The big question now is whether his defense can get things together to stop Iowa’s solid attack in the Orange Bowl.

Bowl Game: Orange Bowl versus #9 Iowa on January 5th



#11) Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2, #11)

Week 14 Result: Regular Season Complete

Penn State has had two major chances to prove that they’re an elite team this season and they’ve failed in both tries. Their final chance will come against Louisiana State in the Capital One Bowl. Penn State has won their last two bowl matchups against the SEC, so they’ll certainly have a good chance to finish their season on a high note.

Bowl Game: Capital One Bowl versus #15 LSU on January 1st


#12) Pittsburgh Panthers (9-3, #10)

Week 14 Result: 45-44 Loss at Home versus #4 Cincinnati

Talk about a precipitous fall: Pittsburgh was 1:36 away from a BCS berth before their loss to Cincinnati tumbled them all the way to the Car Care Bowl against unranked North Carolina! Sure seems like the Big East needs some work on their bowl tie-ins... The Panthers are still a very fundamentally sound team and they’ll have a great chance at a ten win season against the Tar Heels.

Bowl Game: Car Care Bowl versus North Carolina on December 26th


#13) Virginia Tech Hokies (9-3, #17)

Week 14: Regular Season Complete

Can the Hokies break their Atlanta curse? In two games in the Crossroads of the South this season, they’re 0-2! Tech will also be playing for some serious conference pride after Georgia Tech and Clemson both lost to SEC teams the week before the ACC Championship. Another loss by a top team to an inconsistent mid-tier SEC team would be a serious black eye for the league.

Bowl Game: Chik-Fil-A Bowl versus Tennessee on December 31st


#14) Miami Hurricanes (9-3, #19)

Week 14: Regular Season Complete

The Hurricanes aren’t quite back yet. However, if they can finish off a ten win season with a victory over a very good Wisconsin team in the Champs Sports Bowl then they’ll get serious consideration as a top five team entering 2010. With their balanced offensive attack and speedy defense, Miami could win ten games for the first time in half of a decade.

Bowl Game: Champs Sports Bowl versus #16 Wisconsin on December 29th


#15) Louisiana State Tigers (9-3, #17)

Week 14 Result: Regular Season Complete

Despite a season of struggles on offense, LSU managed to win nine games and they have the opportunity to win ten games for the 3 rd time under Les Miles. LSU always plays well in bowls (they blew out favored Georgia Tech last year) and I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a few tricks ready on offense for the Nittany Lions.

Bowl Game: Capital One Bowl versus #11 Penn State on January st


#16) Wisconsin Badgers (9-3, #20)

Week 14 Result: 51-10 Victory at Hawai’i

The Badgers went out to the Islands and beat the Warriors in a warm-up for bowl season. Wisconsin should have a routine down now for their bowl games (since they had a week off, their Hawai’i jaunt was the equivalent of a bowl trip) and they’ll provide a litmus test for the ‘Big Ten’s layoff hurts their bowl performance’ argument. Don’t count the Badgers out against Miami.

Bowl Game: Champs Sports Bowl versus #14 Miami on December 29th


#17) West Virginia Mountaineers (9-3, #23)

Week 14 Result: 24-21 Victory at Rutgers

West Virginia has a much tougher bowl matchup than their opponent’s 6-6 record would indicate. After all, can anyone imagine Bobby Bowden’s long coaching career ending with a loss? However, the Mountaineers will be favored against the Seminoles and could finish their season with ten wins.

Bowl Game:Gator Bowl versus Florida State on January 1st


#18) Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-3, #21)

Week 14 Result: Regular Season Complete

Oklahoma State has been one of the most inconsistent teams in the country. One week, they can dominate and then the next week they can get beaten 27-0 by a six win team. The big question is: Which Oklahoma State will show up in the Cotton Bowl?

Bowl Game: Cotton Bowl versus Ole Miss on January 2nd


#19) Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-4, #19)

Week 14 Result: 13-12 Loss versus #3 Texas in the Big XII Championship

At this point, I think the argument can be made that Nebraska has the best defense in the country. The Huskers were nothing short of amazing in their 13-12 loss in the Big XII Championship and the turnaround under Bo Pelini has been amazing. Remember, Nebraksa was one of the worst defensive teams in the country just two short years ago. Can the Cornhuskers win ten games this season?

Bowl Game:Holiday Bowl versus #20 Arizona on December 30th


#20) Arizona Wildcats (8-4, Not Ranked)

Week 14 Result: 21-17 Victory at #15 USC

Mike Stoops wasn’t just playing to beat USC on Saturday, he was playing to avoid facing his brother in the Sun Bowl. Luckily for Coach Stoops, he did a great job preparing his team and the Wildcats upset the Trojans in the Coliseum. It took longer to turn the program around then he expected, but Arizona is becoming a consistently solid team and credit goes to the University for having the patience to allow the turnaround to happen.

Bowl Game: Holiday Bowl versus #19 Nebraska on December 30th



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#21) Central Michigan Chippewas (11-2, NR)

Week 14 Result: 20-10 Victory versus Ohio in the MAC Championship

Central Michigan vaults into the top 25 on the strength of their MAC Championship victory, which gave them eleven wins on the season. If you don’t know about quarterback Dan LeFevour, you’re simply missing out because he is one of the best in the country and is now the NCAA’s all time leader in touchdowns.

Bowl Game: GMAC Bowlversus Troy on January 6th


#22) Stanford Cardinal (8-4, #22)

Week 14: Regular Season Complete

Stanford got some bad news on Monday as starting quarterback Andrew Luck had finger surgery and could miss their showdown with Oklahoma in the Sun Bowl. However, the Cardinal can always fall back on superstar tailback Toby Gerhart when they need a lift.

Bowl Game: Sun Bowl versus Oklahoma on December 31st


#23)Southern California Trojans (8-4, #15)

Week 14 Result: 21-17 Loss at Home versus Arizona

For the first time since 2001, USC will not be playing in a BCS bowl. The Trojans have uncharacteristically lost twice since the start of November and their offense simply looks out of synch. However, a round of bowl practices should help them greatly and an Emerald Bowl victory would go a long way towards beginning 2010 in the right way.

Bowl Game: Emerald Bowl versus Boston College on December 26th


#24) Oregon State Beavers (8-4, #16)

Week 14 Result: 37-33 Loss at #8 Oregon

Oregon State’s Rose Bowl dreams were cruelly ended for the 2 nd consecutive season by their archrivals and now they have to rebound against a very good BYU team. After last year’s rather blasé showing in the Sun Bowl, there has to be concerns about Oregon State’s motivation heading into the Las Vegas Bowl.

Bowl Game: Las Vegas Bowl versus #25 BYU on December 22nd


#25) BYU Cougars (10-2, NR)

Week 14: Regular Season Complete

Speaking of motivational concerns, BYU beat Utah to complete a ten win season and their reward was a 4 th consecutive trip to the Las Vegas Bowl. Now I get it: Any bowl game should be considered a big reward but there was lot of talk that the Cougars wouldn’t be back in Sin City after so many consecutive appearances. Will they be disappointed with their lot and come out flat against an equally disappointed Beaver team?

Bowl Game: Las Vegas Bowl versus #24 Oregon State on December 22nd




  • Northwestern Wildcats
  • North Carolina Tar Heels
  • Boston College Eagles
  • California Golden Bears
  • Houston Cougars
  • Utah Utes
  • Missouri Tigers
  • Ole Miss Rebels
  • Clemson Tigers
  • Texas Tech Red Raiders


By Matt Baxendell Staff Writer


Matt Baxendell is’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 or follow him on Twitter @MattBaxendell

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