Monday, October 18, 2010

Week 7: Top 25

Well, I took a week off this week because A. it was sort of an unspectacular week of games and B. I didn't feel like it, so in addition to the top 25, I'll do my Heisman ballot and BCS predictions in this post...

1. Auburn
Why They Should Be #1: It's almost a toss-up between the top three teams in the country. Bottom line is, Auburn has the best resumé in the country right now. Two terrific comeback wins over South Carolina and Clemson, an impressive shootout win over Arkansas, and the Mississippi State win on the road suddenly looks a lot more impressive. Cameron Newton has officially supplanted Denard Robinson as the most exciting player to watch in college football as well as the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy.
Why the Ranking Should Be Lower: The defense has struggled immensely in pass defense and is ranked 63rd in the country in scoring defense which is an outright abomination at Auburn, especially considering the talent they have on defense this (and every) year.

2. Boise State
Why the Ranking Should Be Higher: Say what you want about the schedule but the Broncos have been a model of consistency. Many national champions in college football history have faced comparably soft schedules and not dominated in the way Boise State has. To go along with the very respectable wins over Virginia Tech and Oregon State, the Broncos have won their other four games (Wyoming, New Mexico State, Toledo, and San Jose State) by a combined score of 215-20, which is roughly an average score of 53-5. The Broncos are ranked 3rd in the nation in both scoring offense and scoring defense and are ranked 14th in the country in both passing offense and rushing offense.
Why the Ranking Should Be Lower: It's getting really old to keep talking about the schedule but there really isn't much else you can say about this team. Their opponents' combined records are 16-24 and only Virginia Tech, Oregon State, and Toledo average over 13 points per game.

3. Oregon
Why the Ranking Should Be Higher: Oregon still possesses one of the five most impressive wins of the season--arguably the most impressive--and is, of course, leading the nation in scoring offense. They're also 16th in the nation in scoring defense.
Why the Ranking Should Be Lower: The defense's nice average has a lot to do with some easy early games. In the last three games combined, the defense has yielded 84 points and 1451 total yards (including 973 through the air). The Ducks face one of the three worst passing offenses in college football next week when UCLA comes to Autzen Stadium Thursday night. However, they will have to face Matt Barkley and Jake Locker in their next two games as well as Nick Foles on Thanksgiving weekend. They'll have a long week to prepare for Barkley but they have plenty of work to do in that long week.

4. Oklahoma
Why the Ranking Should Be Higher: The Florida State win looks better every week as the Noles continue to win. The Texas win looks a lot better now also. Landry Jones has quietly completed 67.4% of his passes for 1791 yards and 14 TDs with only 3 INTs.
Why the Ranking Should Be Lower: It's still hard to justify beating Utah State, Air Force, and Cincinnati by a combined 12 points but this team appears to have put that behind them. They've only played one road game so far and now begin a stretch where 4 of their last 6 games will be on the road, including big time matchups with Missouri and Oklahoma State.

5. Michigan State
Why the Ranking Should Be Higher: This is the most balanced team in the country with the second best resumé in the country with wins over Wisconsin (who just knocked off former #1 Ohio State), Michigan (on the road), and Notre Dame. The only real test left for the Spartans should be the road trip to Iowa City and possibly a season-ending trip to Happy Valley, although the Nittany Lions could struggle just to become bowl eligible this year.
Why the Ranking Should Be Lower: It shouldn't. This team is just about the least sexy top 10 team but with their consistency, their balance, and their phenomenal coaching, I really believe this team should be talking national title.

6. Alabama
Why the Ranking Should Be Higher: This is still probably the most talented team in the country. The defense is 5th in the nation in points allowed and the offense is one of the most balanced in the country. They also have two of the three best running backs in the nation in their backfield.
Why the Ranking Should Be Lower: The secondary's youth was exposed by both Ryan Mallet and Stephen Garcia. Alabama has yet to prove they can dominate an opponent on the road, especially in the first half. Championship teams go on the road against quality opponents and step on their throats from the opening gun. This team does the exact opposite, coming out flat on the road, letting teams get big leads and get their crowd into the game and having to dig themselves out of a big hole to get the win. They pulled it off against Arkansas but they fell short in Columbia.

7. TCU
Why the Ranking Should Be Higher: I don't care who they're playing, winning games by an average score of 40-9 is damn impressive. Even more impressive is winning their last three games by a combined score of 103-3. The Horned Frogs lead the nation in scoring defense and that's an impressive feat for any team that's playing FBS competition. Don't forget this team obliterated a highly underrated Baylor team and beat a very good Oregon State team
Why the Ranking Should Be Higher: 21-27 opponents' record. Tennessee Tech, by the way, is 3-4 and they play in the FCS, so that stat is actually sort of deceiving.

8. Ohio State
Why the Ranking Should Be Higher: It shouldn't. Terrell Pryor's arm has been overrated all season as has their run defense (who hadn't faced a team in the top 25 in rushing offense all season: Marshall is 110th, Miami (FL) is 49th, Ohio is 45th, Eastern Michigan is 73rd, Illinois is 29th, Indiana is 104th) and both those things led to the loss in Madison Saturday. Certainly this is still an elite defensive team, ranked 7th in the nation in passing defense and 6th in total defense but the Buckeyes learned the hard way last year that--even in the Big Ten--you can't win championships with just defense.
Why the Ranking Should Be Lower: I haven't been convinced Ohio State was a top five team since I watched them play against Miami. The Buckeyes settled for five field goals in that game, three of them on drives that started inside the Miami 30 yard line.

9. LSU
Why the Ranking Should Be Higher: I'm tempted to say it shouldn't but the two quarterback thing seems to be working--or at least it worked against the Gators. If Jarrett Lee throws the ball well and Jordan Jefferson is running the option, this team can probably beat anyone in the SEC. That's a big "if" though.
Why the Ranking Should Be Lower: I don't know if it's more impressive or depressing to be 7-0 and ranked 70th in the nation in scoring. It won't last though. LSU will have a hard time beating Auburn, Alabama, or Arkansas even if they do score 26 points (their average)--which they won't.

10. Stanford
Why the Ranking Should Be Higher: The Oregon loss is forgiveable--Tennessee couldn't stop the Ducks offense even if they used 13 guys on every play. They bounced back and beat a very good USC team in the final seconds. This is still one of the best, most balanced offenses in the country. People forget about their impressive blowout wins over Notre Dame and UCLA on the road now that Oregon is #1 in the country.
Why the Ranking Should Be Lower: The defense is 58th in the country in points allowed and have allowed 87 points and 1124 yards in their last two games. The dysfunction hasn't been limited to one aspect of the game either--the Ducks ran for 388 yards against them and then the Trojans threw for 390 the following week.

11. Utah
12. Wisconsin
13. Nebraska
14. Iowa
15. Florida State
16. Oklahoma State
17. Missouri
18. Arizona
19. West Virginia
20. Arkansas
21. Texas
22. Mississippi State
23. Miami (FL)
24. Virginia Tech
25. USC

My Heisman Ballot (if the voting ended today)
1. Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn
2. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State

BCS Predictions
ACC: Virginia Tech over Florida State
Big 12: Oklahoma over Nebraska
Big East: West Virginia
Big Ten: Michigan State
Pac 10: Stanford
SEC: Auburn over South Carolina

BCS Championship: Oklahoma over Michigan State
Sugar: Auburn over TCU
Orange: Virginia Tech over Alabama
Fiesta: Boise State over Nebraska
Rose: Stanford over Ohio State

No comments: