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2008 NCAA College Football Top 25: Top 25 After Week #9

Another huge weekend has gone by and yet we still are waiting for some clarity at the top. We saw eight of last week’s top ten teams either play against strong competition on the road or against ranked opposition at home and yet the top ten still contains the same teams as last week, albeit with a little bit of shuffling. In fact, the only top game last week that wasn’t a nail-biter was Georgia’s win over LSU.

One final note: These came out a day late because of the odd Sunday Night game between UCF and Tulsa and I didn’t want to put together any rankings without getting see Tulsa play. Without further ado, here are my rankings…

 

THE NATIONAL TITLE SHORT LIST

#1) Texas Longhorns (8-0, #1 Last Week)

Make that three straight wins against teams ranked #11 or better for the Longhorns. If they can just win one more game against a top ten team, then they will have successfully navigated one of the hardest stretches of any schedule in recent memory. Unfortunately, they have to hit the road for a huge primetime matchup with Texas Tech, who is coming off of a 42 point victory over Kansas. Expect Lubbock to be rocking for this game and if Texas sneaks by, then they have a clear path to playing for the national title.

Week 10: Saturday, 8:00 PM EST at Texas Tech

 

#2) Penn State Nittany Lions (9-0, #2)

Well, we knew that Penn State could play offense going into Saturday night’s huge showdown with Ohio State but what we didn’t know was how good PSU’s defense was. That was answered in dramatic fashion, as the Nittany Lions beat Ohio State 13-6, using two huge defensive plays as the catalyst to beat the best defensive performance from Ohio State in at least three years. Penn State still has to beat two ranked teams down the stretch to get into the National Title game, but I cannot imagine a Paterno-coached team being left out of the big game if they’re unbeaten.

Week 10: Off Week (at Iowa Week 11)

 

#3) Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0, #3)

Alabama went on the road and embarrassed Tennessee at home. For all of the platitudes that you hear about the SEC, Alabama is simply a smash mouth football team which doesn’t do anything special on offense. They just line up and hit you in the face. On defense, they’re relentless. Alabama is a great team but they’ve still got three potential land mines left on their schedule, though LSU and Auburn do not look impressive right now. Still, Alabama is having a great season.

Week 10: Saturday, 3:00 PM EST versus Arkansas State



IN THE NATIONAL TITLE DISCUSSION

#4) Florida Gators (6-1, #4)

Florida had the week off two weeks ago and they might have as well had last week off too, considering the 63-5 blowout. The Gators seem to be the clear class of the SEC right now and I wouldn’t be surprised if this group didn’t end up being the conference champions. If they can beat Georgia this weekend at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, they’ll essentially clinch a berth in the SEC title game.

Week 10: Saturday, 3:30 PM EST versus Georgia

 

#5) Texas Tech Red Raiders (8-0, #9)

So, remember how I was worried about Texas Tech’s defense? Well, first of all, that defense went out and held an explosive Kansas team to a mere 21 points. Second, their offense put up a ridiculous 63 points. When you score that much, I don’t care how bad your defense is. Texas Tech finally gets to step into the meat of its schedule this weekend when Texas comes to town. The Red Raiders’ final four games feature Texas, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. Ouch. If Tech wins this game, they could move all the way up to #1 in the country.

Week 10: Saturday, 8:00 PM EST versus Texas

 

#6) Oklahoma Sooners (7-1, #5)

Oklahoma definitely surprised me in a very negative way this past weekend, allowing Kansas State to score 38 points. Now, the Sooners still won by 20, but that is somewhat disconcerting that a defense that good would allow an average K-State team to score that much. Oklahoma has a good chance to rebound this week when historical rival Nebraska comes to Norman.

Week 10: Saturday, 8:00 PM EST versus Nebraska

 

#7) Southern California Trojans (6-1, #7)

Southern Cal went on the road in the Pac Ten for the 3 rd time this season and struggled to a 17-10 win at scrappy Arizona State. While USC’s defense has been very impressive, the play of their offense in a hostile environment can’t be a good sign. USC has got to be careful; they still have two more conference road games left to trip up in. However, USC has the nation’s top defense and that number shouldn’t be in jeopardy when winless Washington comes to town on Saturday.

Week 10: Saturday, 6:00 PM EST versus Washington

 

#8) Georgia Bulldogs (7-1, #10)

Georgia had a great week on offense at LSU, putting up 52 points, in part thanks to two defensive touchdowns. However, the Bulldogs’ defense struggled at times with LSU’s underwhelming offense and they couldn’t handle having the ball run right at them with Charles Scott. They’d better fix that this week, else the defending Heisman Trophy winner could run wild in a game which will decide who wins the SEC East.

Week 10: Saturday, 3:30 PM EST versus Florida

 

#9) Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-1, #6)

I will not fault Oklahoma State for going on the road and losing a hard-fought 28-24 battle against Texas. Simply put, the Cowboys played the Longhorns tougher than any team this season, including in-state rival Oklahoma. The Cowboys are an excellent team and I wouldn’t be surprised if last week turned out to be their only loss of the regular season.

Week 10: Saturday, 3:30 PM EST versus Iowa State



OUTSIDE THE NATIONAL TITLE DISCUSSION BUT DANGEROUS

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

Much like Oklahoma State, I can’t really fault Ohio State for going out and losing to the #2 team in the country by a touchdown. Their defense absolutely suffocated an offense averaging over 45 points per game and if Ohio State’s freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor hadn’t fumbled early in the 4th quarter at midfield, leading to the winning TD for Penn State, then Ohio State could very well have beat the Nittany Lions. OSU has a bye week to regroup and focus on finishing their regular season strong.

Week 10: Off Week (at Northwestern Week 11)

 

#11) Missouri Tigers (6-2, #13)

Turns out that Missouri was pretty upset about losing their last two games and they took it out on hapless Colorado, basting the Buffaloes by a 58-0 score. Missouri is still very much alive in the hunt for the Big XII Title as they’re tied atop the Big XII North standings and will look to finish their regular season strong so as to ensure a chance to win the conference title.

Week 10: Saturday, 3:00 PM EST at Baylor

 

#12) Utah Utes (8-0, #12)

Utah rested up last week while preparing for what should be a tough stretch run, beginning this Saturday at New Mexico. The Utes also have TCU and BYU looming, so their shot at busting the BCS will depend on their performance here at the end. They had better not overlook New Mexico, who beat a pretty decent Arizona team earlier this season.

Week 10: Saturday, 9:30 PM EST at New Mexico

 

#13) Florida State Seminoles (6-1, #17)

FSU had another great performance Saturday against Virginia Tech and have rocketed up the BCS rankings all the way to #15. FSU is now the clear favorite in the ACC, just like they have been for much of Bobby Bowden’s career, and if FSU keeps improving on offense they could even have a chance at beating Florida in late November.

Week 10: Saturday, 3:30 PM EST at Georgia Tech

 

#14) Minnesota Golden Gophers (7-1, #18)

Minnesota picked up another win after their defense shut down Purdue on the road, moving the Gophers up to 3-1 in Big Ten play. The Gophers face off against Northwestern this week at an opportune time as the Wildcats will be without their starting backfield after losing QB CJ Bacher and RB Tyrell Sutton in their upset loss to Indiana last week. As hard as it is to believe, Minnesota could win ten games this season.

Week 10: Saturday, 12:00 PM EST versus Northwestern

 

#15) Texas Christian Horned Frogs (7-1, #19)

TCU beat Wyoming up physically and on the scoreboard, routing the Cowboys 54-7. They face a decent UNLV team this week on the road that gave BYU all it could handle last week. TCU had better not be looking past UNLV to their big Thursday Night showdown with Utah or they could go into that game coming off of a loss.

Week 10: Saturday, 8:00 PM EST at UNLV

 

#16) Michigan State Spartans (6-2, #21)

Michigan State fought through some adversity and shoddy officiating to emerge from the Big House with a win for the first time since 1990. The Spartans had been waiting all season to get their archrivals and they played a tough game to emerge victorious with a 35-21 win. MSU still has a tough closing schedule but the Spartans have all the makings of a very good team. They had better take this week’s game against Wisconsin very seriously, as the Badgers seem to have rebounded from the disappointment of losing four straight games.

Week 10: Saturday, 12:00 PM EST versus Wisconsin

 

#17) North Carolina Tar Heels (5-2, Not Ranked)

Remember how impressive Boston College was in knocking off Virginia Tech two weeks ago? Well, North Carolina went out and beat that same Boston College team 45-24 with their 3 rd string quarterback. That’s impressive. UNC has had two hiccups this season but they are a very talented team which could easily face off against FSU in the ACC title game.

Week 10:Off Week (versus Georgia Tech Week 11)

 

#18) Louisiana State Tigers (5-2, #11)

What has happened to LSU’s defense? 103 points in two games against Florida and Georgia? You think that they don’t miss Bo Pelini in Baton Rouge? On a positive note, LSU’s offense played fairly decent aside from two pick-sixes, scoring 38 points. LSU is a talented team but they’re nowhere near the force that they were last season.

Week 10:Saturday 8:00 PM EST versus Tulane

 

#19) Ball State Cardinals (8-0, Not Ranked)

Ball State continued its winning ways by besting Eastern Michigan 38-16. QB Nate Davis is a great player and my preseason pick to win the MAC is certainly looking very good. Ball State’s biggest obstacle in the way of an unbeaten season might be against Central Michigan, who will not give up their conference crown without a fight.

Week 10:Off Week (versus Northern Illinois Week 11)

 

#20) Maryland Terrapins (6-2, NR)

Maryland has had some very impressive wins and won a tough road game at NC State last week coming off of a blowout win against Wake Forest. Maryland has been a bit spastic this season but they are certainly a talented and dangerous team. They have a huge game upcoming next week at Virginia Tech on Thursday Night.

Week 10: Off Week (at Virginia Tech Week 11)

 

#21) Tulsa Golden Hurricane (8-0, NR)

Tulsa scored a ton of points again last night and this team is explosive enough to beat some BCS caliber opposition. That said, they’ll get their chance (barely) against Arkansas this weekend as the Razorbacks welcome old offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn to town. While Arkansas stinks, a win in Fayetteville could validate Tulsa’s season and kick off a good start to a closing stretch featuring three road games in the final four.

Week 10: Saturday, 2:00 PM EST at Arkansas

 

#22) Boise State Broncos (7-0, #24)

Boise State knocked off conference rival San Jose State by a 33-16 score on the road. Now, as I watched the broadcast of the game, I was surprised to see SJ State getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback and honestly, if San Jose State qualifies as a tough game, I’m not so sure I’m buying into you. I will reserve judgment on Boise State but they do move up this week. Three of their final five games are away from the Smurf Turf.

Week 10: Saturday, 7:00 PM EST at New Mexico State

 

#23) Oregon Ducks (6-2, #25)

Oregon’s explosive offense continued its outburst last weekend, bombing Arizona State 54-20. The Ducks still haven’t beaten a ranked team after losing to USC and Boise State and they will again be denied the chance to beat a top 25 team when they travel to Cal this weekend, as the Bears are just outside the top grouping. A win by Oregon puts them in great position for a Rose Bowl berth if USC slips up.

Week 10: Saturday, 3:30 PM EST at California

 

#24) Iowa Hawkeyes (5-3, NR)

Yeah, I’m definitely shaking things up here but I really like Iowa. This team features one of the country’s top running backs in Shon Greene and Iowa’s defense has been very good. Furthermore, they stomped Wisconsin two weeks ago and their three losses have come by a combined 9 points and all of them were to teams with winning records. Iowa plays Illinois this week and if they can get by an Illinois team that is very up and down, Iowa could give #2 Penn State a game in two weeks.

Week 10: Saturday, 12:00 PM EST at Illinois

 

#25) West Virginia Mountaineers (5-2, NR)

I’ll admit it: I was impressed with WVU’s trouncing of Auburn despite the fact that Auburn’s offense is awful. WVU played really physical and their offense finally clicked. If they play like that the rest of the way, WVU could win the Big East. First up: A huge road test at UConn.

Week 10: Saturday, 12:00 PM EST at UConn

 

TEN MORE TO KEEP AN EYE ON

  • Cal Golden Bears
  • Kansas Jayhawks
  • Brigham Young Cougars
  • Virginia Cavaliers
  • Arizona Wildcats
  • Northwestern Wildcats
  • Connecticut Huskies
  • Boston College Eagles
  • South Florida Bulls
  • Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

 

CONFERENCE BREAKDOWN

The Big XII leads all the conferences again with five ranked teams, all of which are in my top 11. The Big Ten also represented well, with 5 teams ranked. The SEC was also sterling with 4 ranked teams, including 3 in the top 8. The ACC had a good week as well, featuring three teams in our Top 25 rankings. The Pac Ten had two entries, while the Big East’s lone representative was West Virginia at #25. The non-BCS teams had a very good week, breaking in with 5 total teams; 2 in the Mountain West and one each in the MAC, C-USA, and WAC.

 

 

By Matt Baxendell
CollegeSports-fans.com Staff Writer

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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