Tuesday, September 16, 2008

USC and Oklahoma a Step Above the Rest

Bearcatmark’s week 3 top 25:

1. Oklahoma- It is a tough debate: Oklahoma or USC. In the end I think Oklahoma has more playmakers on offense and a more proven quarterback (who is a sophomore…wow). Their no huddle is fast and furious. They made a very good Bearcat defense look silly at times and then just pounded on the Washington Huskies. As of right now they are my number 1.

2. USC- If Oklahoma is 1, than USC is 1b. They made Ohio State look atrocious. The depth, speed and skill of the defense may be unmatched in college football. USC has consistently brought in tons of talent under Pete Carroll. After two weeks USC and Oklahoma have separated themselves from the rest of the league.

3. Georgia- I thought they looked underwhelming against South Carolina. Their defense is solid and Moreno looked like a load, but their offense just did not put pressure on the Gamecock defense. They do not seem to have many playmakers at wide receiver which could loom as a problem if they have to score with a team like Florida. Georgia has a lot going for them, but they have not shown to be of Trojan/Sooner quality yet.

4. Florida- I want to see their defensive questions answered against a good team before I move them any higher, but this offense is the best the SEC has to offer.

5. Missouri- They may have the best offense in the country. The Maclin and Daniels combination has been brilliant so far this season. The defense has shown to be vulnerable, particularly against Illinois. I know Illinois has some playmakers on offense, but teams have been able to slow them down far more than Missouri was able to. I think that Missouri is more likely to go down than up.

6. Texas Tech- Another high-powered, Big 12 offense that gets great quarterback play. They are still untested this season.

7. LSU- They jump Auburn this week, but still have not been tested.

8. Auburn- Their offense is starting to worry me. Defensively they are going to do great things, but the new offense still has not shown the ability to put up points. The 3-2 win over Mississippi State did little to establish themselves as a true player in the SEC this season. They are going to need the offense to get it together if they want to live up to expectations.

9. Wisconsin- Fresno State on the road is a very good win. Yea it was a very close game, but the Badgers have impressed me so far this season.

10. East Carolina- They have the best combination of wins in the country so far this season and that is enough to get them in my top 10. Do I believe they are necessarily one of the ten best teams? No. Do I think they have earned a spot until someone else can claim it or they falter? Absolutely.

11. Alabama- The win over Clemson was another great looking win. It keeps Alabama up pretty high.

12. South Florida- They looked excellent at times against Kansas, but looked a bit off at times as well. Still that was a good win. They are now 3-0 and look like a favorite to win the Big East. I still think Kansas exposed the secondary a little bit and that could be an issue for the Bulls down the road. In the end the Kansas win was one of the better wins to date.

13. Texas

14. Ohio State- I did not drop the Buckeyes for losing to USC…that was predictable. I dropped them because they were unimpressive in doing so. They were also unimpressive against the Ohio Bobcats. The Buckeyes have a ton of talent on both sides of the football, but will need to get steady QB play to live up to that potential. As of now, this is still an experienced team that won 11 games last season and 12 the season before. I will give them a chance to right the ship before I drop them further.

15. Oregon- They showed great poise in battling back to beat Purdue on the road. Along with USC they saved the Pac Ten from just an awful day as California, Arizona, UCLA, and Arizona State all lost.

16. Penn State- They continued to look great with a dominating performance against Syracuse (Syracuse is really, really bad).

17. BYU- Other than USC this was probably the performance of the week. UCLA may not be that good, but BYU played about the perfect game. They are solidly in my top 25 as of this week.

18. Kansas- Hard to fault them too much for a tough road loss to an experienced South Florida team that has some big wins over the last few years.

19. Illinois- Not a great performance this week, but the talent is still there.

20. Wake Forest- Giving the ACC a reason to keep fighting.

21. Fresno State- I cannot fault them for a home loss to a top ten Badger team. Fresno has looked good so far this season and I think this spot is about right for now.

22. West Virginia- They looked awful against East Carolina. I have to believe the offense gets it together, but another loss like that and they start falling fast.

23. Clemson- They are probably pretty good, but that beat-down Alabama gave them still looms large.

24. Cincinnati- This was a tough one for me. I hate penalizing a team for losses they were expected to have. I had UC 11 prior to their trip to Oklahoma. They hung with the Sooners for 3 and half quarters made a few bad plays and let the game get out of hand. The fact is Oklahoma is really good. Still, UC lost Dustin Grutza for the season, which has created more questions for the offense. They still have more talent across the board than last years team that finished number 17, but the unknowns are too much for them to be ranked any higher at this point (Heck I have had some discussions with people who think it is crazy I still rank them, but until more teams earn a spot above them I think their accomplishments from last season and potential this season warrant a ranking…Much the same as I do with Ohio State, Clemson, West Virginia and Illinois)

25. North Carolina- Here is a team that I doubt will stay ranked. Hell, maybe Rutgers was just bad and UNC and Fresno State’s performances against them do not mean much. I still think UNC is not there yet. Still the Tarheels went into Piscataway and came out with a dominating win. For now that gives them the final spot in my top 25 above teams like Virginia Tech, Maryland and Tennessee.

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