2008 NCAA College Football Top 25: Top 25 After Week #5
And the first gigantic upset weekend of the year is upon us! The weekend began with USC falling and by the end of the weekend no less than four top 10 teams were defeated. What’s even more incredible, three of those teams lost at home and only Georgia lost to a ranked team!
This means that we have a new number one team and we have a new group of teams atop the standings. You have to love how crazy college football can be.
THE NATIONAL TITLE SHORT LIST
#1) Oklahoma Sooners (4-0, #2 Last Week)
Oklahoma has been either #1 or #2 all season in my rankings and Oklahoma avoided the upset this weekend by dominating TCU 35-10 at home. Oklahoma hasn’t let any of their non-conference opponents come close to even touching them this season. Now, one of the nation’s most impressive teams is my number one team entering Big XII play.
Week 6: Saturday, 12:30 PM EST at Baylor
#2) Penn State Nittany Lions (5-0, #4)
Penn State avoided the upset bug as well, knocking off #16 Illinois at home in whiteout conditions. The Nittany Lions’ offense continued to impress and the 38-24 win over the Illini was a great start to Big Ten play.
Week 6: Saturday, 12:00 PM EST at Purdue
#3) Alabama Crimson Tide (5-0, #12)
Alabama has the best resume to this point in the young season. The Tide jumped out to a 31-0 win at Georgia and the Dawgs were never back in the game. The final score of 41-30 is exceptionally deceiving. This game was a blowout and Alabama has established itself as the team to beat in the SEC.
Week 6: Saturday, 3:30 PM EST versus Kentucky
#4) Texas Longhorns (4-0, #6)
Texas finished their non-conference schedule by dismantling Arkansas by a 52-10 score. Texas has exhibited great defense thus far and Colt McCoy has established himself as a Heisman trophy candidate. Texas isn’t the team to beat in the Big XII because Oklahoma has been so impressive, but the Sooners had better watch out for this impressive team as conference play begins this weekend.
Week 6: Saturday, 8:00 PM EST at Colorado
IN THE NATIONAL TITLE DISCUSSION
#5) Missouri Tigers (4-0, #5)
The Tigers had last week off in preparation for opening Big XII play and Chase Daniel will lead his team into Nebraska to open Big XII play. The Tigers get jumped by Texas and Alabama this weekend because their defense still concerns me but they’re still holding steady entering their conference slate.
Week 6: Saturday, 9:00 PM EST at Nebraska
#6) Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-0, #7)
Texas Tech enjoyed a week off to prepare for conference play. The Red Raiders’ defense will get its first big test of the season when they open conference play at Kansas State this weekend.
Week 6: Saturday, 3:30 PM EST at Kansas State
#7) Louisiana State Tigers (4-0, #10)
LSU had another close game this past weekend, letting Mississippi State’s previously inept offense put up 24 points en route to a far too close 34-24 win at home. However, LSU is now 2-0 in SEC play and despite their questionable quarterbacking the Tigers still have very good lines of scrimmage. LSU gets the week off to prepare for a visit to rival Florida in two weeks.
Week 6: Off Week (at Florida Week 7)
#8) Southern California Trojans (2-1, #1)
USC was perhaps the most stunning upset of last weekend. After all, they were flying high off a dominating win over Ohio State two weeks before and they were ready to open conference play at a 1-2 opponent. However, the Trojans were flat and could not tackle Oregon State’s tiny tailback and USC could not overturn a 21-0 halftime deficit. The Trojans face one of the toughest games of the Pac Ten season this week when Oregon comes to the Coliseum and one more loss could knock USC out of the race for the Pac Ten title.
Week 6: Saturday, 8:00 PM EST versus Oregon
#9) Ohio State Buckeyes (4-1, #11)
Ohio State opened Big Ten play by welcoming Beanie Wells back to action. The combination of Wells and QB Terrelle Pryor quickly proved too much for Minnesota to handle and the Buckeyes knocked off the Gophers to move to 1-0 in Big Ten play before their showdown with Wisconsin this weekend.
Week 6: Saturday, 8:00 PM EST at Wisconsin
#10) Florida Gators (3-1, #3)
Florida lost in stunning fashion at home to Ole Miss after the Gators turned the ball over a lot and then suffered a blocked PAT to close out the game. The 31-30 decision was especially stunning because Tim Tebow was stopped on a 4 th and 1 situation with less than a minute left. Florida is on the razor’s edge in SEC play because they still have a tough schedule left and already are sitting on a conference loss.
Week 6: Saturday, 12:30 PM EST at Arkansas
#11) South Florida Bulls (5-0, #13)
South Florida dominated NC State on the road by a 41-10 margin. The Bulls now get to begin conference play with a visit from Pitt, who has rebounded well from a season-opening loss to Bowling Green and now sits at 4-1. USF doesn’t have a lot of serious obstacles in its way the rest of the season and Pitt is one of the teams that poses a pretty significant threat to a potential unbeaten run.
Week 6: Thursday, 7:30 PM EST versus Pitt
#12) Brigham Young Cougars (4-0, #17)
BYU moves up five spots while on the bye week. On the surface, it seems odd, but I only moved them up ahead of one team that is coming off of a win and that team is Auburn, whose complete ineptitude on offense makes me pretty confident in saying that BYU would put up enough points to beat the Tigers right now. So, BYU is officially the first non- BCS team to fit into my top 12, a.k.a. the criteria for being included in a BCS bowl. BYU should continue to dominate this weekend at minnow Utah State.
Week 6: Friday, 8:00 PM EST at Utah State
#13) Georgia Bulldogs (4-1, #9)
Well, I would have dropped the Bulldogs more after getting blown out at home, but tow factors held me back. One, Georgia did lose to a team that I have ranked at #3 this week and two; There isn’t anyone on the list that I could confidently put ahead of Georgia at this point. So, despite my serious misgivings about the Bulldogs becoming reality Saturday night, they’re still only a 1 loss team with two pretty good road wins on their resume.
Week 6: Off Week (Versus Tennessee Week 7)
OUTSIDE THE NATIONAL TITLE DISCUSSION BUT DANGEROUS
#14) Auburn Tigers (4-1, #15)
Auburn seems completely incapable of playing anything resembling decent offense. Luckily for the Tigers, they have a really good defense. While I think that Auburn’s luck is going to run out (how many games can you score one offensive touchdown and win?) they’re still a very dangerous team and a factor in the SEC race.
Week 6: Saturday, 6:00 PM EST at Vanderbilt
#15) Utah Utes (5-0, #18)
Utah beat up on hapless Weber State this week by a 37-21 margin but their schedule takes a very interesting turn. They welcome Oregon State this week on Thursday night, a week after the Beavers beat the nation’s #1 team. Thus, a win over Oregon State this week might mean more than at any other point in the season and give the Utes a lot of clout in the standings at the season’s halfway point.
Week 6:Thursday, 9:00 PM EST versus Oregon State
#16) Wisconsin Badgers (3-1, #8)
Wisconsin lost to Michigan in the season’s biggest choke job. Leading 19-0 after Michigan turned the ball over five times in the first half, Wisconsin didn’t get a first down until Michigan’s offense, which had 8 plays that actually gained yards in the first half, woke up against a suddenly lethargic Badgers attack and an interception led to a 20-19 deficit. All Wisconsin needed to do was play with some intensity in the second half and they probably would have waltzed to victory. What a disappointing loss for Wisconsin and now their schedule gets a lot tougher, facing Ohio State and Penn State in back-to-back weeks.
Week 6: Saturday, 8:00 PM EST versus Ohio State
#17) Kansas Jayhawks (3-1, #19)
Kansas was off this past week and they open up Big XII play at weakling Iowa State. The Jayhawks should dominate in their season opener with a very impressive offensive attack.
Week 6:Saturday, 12:30 PM EST at Iowa State
#18) Michigan State Spartans (4-1, #20)
Michigan State opened Big Ten play by fighting off a pesky Indiana team on the road en route to a 42-29 victory. Especially heartening was the emergence of a passing attack to compliment Heisman candidate Javon Ringer. The Spartans welcome a dangerous and wounded Iowa team to East Lansing this week in their home Big Ten opener.
Week 6:Saturday 12:00 PM EST versus Iowa
#19) Oregon Ducks (3-1, #22)
Oregon continued rebounding on offense with their 3 rd string quarterback by blasting hapless Washington State 63-14 on the road. The Ducks have had a lot of trouble with quarterback injuries this fall but their offense seems to only require a short lull to pick it back up. The Ducks are a pretty tough team and are the only legitimate challenge to USC when the Trojans show up to play. Oregon will have to face an angry USC team this Saturday night when they travel to L.A.
Week 6:Saturday, 8:00 PM EST at USC
#20) Illinois Fighting Illini (3-2, #16)
Yeah, the Illini have two losses, making them unique in this top 25. But look who they’ve lost to: #2 Penn State and #5 Missouri, both away from Champaign. Illinois still has a pretty strong offense and their defense is also improving. Illinois is still a top 25 team and they’re very much a thorn in the side of their higher-rated Big Ten competition.
Week 6: Saturday, 3:30 PM EST at Michigan
#21) Fresno State Bulldogs (3-1, #24)
Fresno State finished 2-1 against BCS competition as they edged out UCLA in the Rose Bowl by a 36-31 margin. UCLA is a pretty tough team to play at home and Fresno enters WAC play with a strong 3-1 record. Fresno State is probably the most talented non- BCS team and they’re definitely the favorites in the WAC.
Week 6: Saturday, 10:00 PM EST versus Hawai’i
#22) Virginia Tech Hokies (4-1, Not Ranked)
Virginia Tech had a huge road win against Nebraska and the Hokies are coming together as a solid team after a couple of early season hiccups. Virginia Tech might be the best team in the ACC through September.
Week 6: Saturday, 1:30 PM EST versus Western Kentucky
#23) Oklahoma State (4-0, Not Ranked)
Oklahoma State has absolutely dominated on offense in this season’s early going. The Cowboys open up conference play with a visit from struggling Texas A&M and Oklahoma State should be favored to knock off the Aggies. Is there another team emerging in the country’s deepest conference?
Week 6: Saturday, 7:00 PM EST versus Texas A&M
#24) Northwestern (5-0, Not Ranked)
This is really weird for me to type, but I’ve been impressed with Northwestern. They were down early at Iowa and rallied back for a surprising 22-17 victory and the Wildcats are now 5-0 for the first time in nearly 50 years. C.J. Bacher is a solid quarterback and the Wildcat defense is continuing to improve. While I’m not sure that this run will continue, the Wildcats have impressed me enough to enter the rankings this week.
Week 6: Off Week (Versus Michigan State Week 7)
#25) Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-1, #14)
Wake Forest laid a huge egg this weekend, spotting Navy a 17-0 lead before falling 24-17. This is especially disappointing for the Demon Deacons, who appeared to be the class of the ACC before this weekend. Wake falls to the edge of my rankings this week and will have an off week to stew on their first loss of the season.
Week 6: Off Week (Versus Clemson Week 7)
TEN MORE TO KEEP AN EYE ON IN 2008
The Big XII is winning the conference strength battles based on my polls this week. The conference boasts 6 teams in the rankings, four of which are in the top six! The Big Ten also has six ranked teams, but only two sit in the top 10. Meanwhile, the SEC has only 5 teams but three are in the top 10. The ACC and Pac Ten feature two teams each while the Big East has only one. Of the non- BCS schools, the Mountain West has two teams while the WAC has one team in our Top 25 rankings.
By Matt Baxendell
Matt Baxendell is collegesports-fans.com’s newest staff writer. If you’d like to join his college football therapy group, email him at matt.baxendell @ gmail.com with all your questions, comments, and anything else you would like to share. Also be sure to check out Matt's 2008 conference previews here at CollegeSports-fans.com!
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