John Roberts College Football

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Week Seven: Tuesday

Under Pressure
Les Miles, LSU

LSU's head coach, Les Miles, has certainly come under fire quickly in Baton Rouge. The shocking loss at home to Tennessee started the ball rolling. People are beginning to question whether or not he can win at a big time program. This week's game against Florida will go a long way to silence the critics...or make them louder. Miles may just be starting his coaching tenure at LSU, but if he wants to be there for long, he needs a solid performance against the Gators. He also needs to make sure that he does not signal for a timeout when there is a change of possession. Those two things would be a nice start for all Tiger fans.

Brian Brohm, Louisville

The sophomore has looked great at home as the Cardinals quarterback. However, put him on the road (like he was against South Florida, and before that Kentucky) and he has looked shaky. This week, the Cardinals could be playing the Big East Championship Game in Morgantown against West Virginia. It would be almost unacceptable for the Cardinals to not win the Big East after all the preseason hype about them. A loss here would almost eliminate them from the conference championship race. Going against a very good West Virginia defense in front of a hostile crowd, this game will show the nation a lot about how mature Brian Brohm is.

College Gameday Site
South Bend, Indiana

It really only makes sense to be at this game this weekend. The USC Trojans head to South Bend to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. It is clearly the premier game of the weekend. However, it will mark the first time this year that the gang is going to a game that is not being televised on ABC or the ESPN family of networks. With some of the great games that have been on CBS already, this is a little surprising. This weekend, there really was no choice. The USC-Notre Dame game was so clearly the marquee game of the day, there was no way to get around going. This is where the show began. Back in 1993, the crew went on the road for the first time to see the number one Florida State Seminoles take on the number two Notre Dame Fighting Irish in South Bend. The show was struggling at that point. Being there in front of everyone was an immediate success, and it soon became a huge show. They return to the scene for another huge showdown this weekend.

Thoughts on the Rankings

Virginia Tech and Texas have got a total of five first place votes in the Coaches Poll. Texas has four of those. Texas is getting seven first place votes in the AP Poll. Texas has squeezed out thirteen first place votes (out of 113) in the Harris Poll. There is a slowly growing sentiment that maybe someone other than USC could be number one.

Florida State and Georgia are in a neck and neck race in the Harris Poll. Only fourteen points separate the number four and number five teams. While this may seem unimportant right now, it could become critical as the season progresses if somehow this becomes the battle for the number two spot.

Texas Tech is the lowest ranked of the unbeatens in the Harris Poll at number 13. This is unlikely to change until the Red Raiders meet up with Texas. If they beat the Longhorns, they'll move up substantially.

UCLA is the lowest ranked of the unbeatens in the Coaches Poll at number 12. They are within striking distance of number 11 Texas Tech. The Bruins have a shot to jump them in the polls with convincing wins if the Red Raiders struggle.

It's time to really start paying attention to the rankings. Next week, the first BCS Standings come out. In other words, next week is when we all start complaining about how Texas Tech has leapfrogged everyone and is ranked number one and that Arizona State has foudn their way to the number two ranking.

My Rankings

The rankings are continuing to evolve as we learn more and more about each team. There is so much parity in college football this season. Did anyone really think that we wouldn't even be halfway through October and Ohio State, Tennessee, and Iowa would all have two losses, while Michigan and Oklahoma would each have three? That's five of the preseason Top Ten teams in most people's rankings. It has been a surprising season, to say the least. This week I narrowed down my rankings to thirty teams that I thought deserved to be ranked. At the end of the day, only 25 could be. The team's previous ranking is in parentheses.

1. USC 5-0 (1)
2. Texas 5-0 (3)
3. Virginia Tech 6-0 (2)
4. Alabama 5-0 (4)
5. Georgia 5-0 (6)
6. Florida State 5-0 (7)
7. Penn State 6-0 (13)
8. UCLA 5-0 (14)
9. Notre Dame 4-1 (10)
10. Miami, FL 4-1 (12)
11. Florida 5-1 (8)
12. LSU 5-1 (11)
13. Ohio State 3-2 (5)
14. Michigan State 4-1 (17)
15. Texas Tech 5-0 (19)
16. Auburn 4-1 (22)
17. Boston College 5-1 (20)
18. California 5-1 (16)
19. Tennessee 3-2 (9)
20. Oregon 5-1 (--)
21. Colorado 4-1 (--)
22. TCU 5-1 (24)
23. Minnesota 5-1 (--)
24. Arizona State 3-3 (15)
25. Louisville 4-1 (--)

Dropped Out:
Wisconsin 5-1 (18), Georgia Tech 3-2 (21), Nebraska 4-1 (23), Michigan 3-3 (25)
All these teams lost last week. Nebraska's loss was a close loss to a ranked team. Michigan's was as well. Nebraska's was their first loss of the year and they nearly remained ranked. Michigan's was their third, so it was easy to drop them from the rankings. Georgia Tech and Wisconsin both lost to teams they shouldn't have. Northwestern and North Carolina State both are good teams, but should not have been able to beat the Badgers and the Yellow Jackets. Wisconsin nearly remained ranked because of their close loss on the road, but the Big Ten is so crazy, it's virtually impossible to figure out who should be ranked and who shouldn't in any given week. Call the Minnesota-Wisconsin game this week a game that will tell us a lot more about which one deserves to be ranked.

Biggest drop of a team still in the rankings: 10-Tennessee. The Vols have looked lost offensively for pretty much all but the second half against LSU this year. Their loss to Georgia looked listless. This team will probably be an underdog against both Alabama and Notre Dame, so a 7-4 season is not out of the question. With how high they started, that is almost unforgivable. Their loss showed that the fluke seems to be that the Vols came back against LSU, not the poor performance at Florida.

Smallest drop of a team that lost: 2- California. The Golden Bears played well enough to beat UCLA for a large portion of the game. They were leading 40-28 late in the game, but the Bruins came back. That is a great win for the Bruins, and not that bad of a loss for Cal. The Bears are proving that they are a really good football team. A very nice performance by the Bears despite the loss.

Biggest drop of a team that won: 3- Florida. The Gators looked totally unmotivated in their win over Mississippi State. For much of the game, the Gators did not seem to really care one way or the other. The final score looked nice, but the motivation did not. After the loss to Alabama last week, people were hoping for a little more fire. Plus, their most impressive win of the year was at home against Tennessee. They did not beat them as badly as Georgia beat them on the road. That win does not look as impressive today as it did last week. They get a shot at redemption this week against LSU.

Biggest jump of a team that was in my rankings last week: 6- Penn State, UCLA, Auburn. The Nittany Lions beat a very good Ohio State team and proved that they belong among the nation's elite. Now, let's see how they do on the road when they go to Michigan. UCLA has now got back-to-back great comeback wins. The season sets up beautifully to be 10-0 heading into their game against USC. Of course, let's put them on Upset Watch as well, as they go on the road to face a wounded Washington State team that has plenty of firepower. The Auburn Tigers jumped up six spots because teams ahead of them either lost or did not look all that impressive. The Tigers haven't played a good team since their opening day loss to Georgia Tech, but they have been looking better and better. Auburn has looked like a contender for the SEC West title since that day and deserve their jump in the rankings.

A little bit of confusion is breaking out. I came so close to ranking Texas #1 this week and USC #2. The Trojans dominated much of the game against Arizona, but the on field result looked much closer than the stats ever looked. Also, the final score was much closer than I would have expected from USC. But here is the deal. The Trojans have struggled each of the last three weeks. No doubt about it. Yet they still have a 32 point, ten point, and 21 point win in their last three games. Two of those wins were against ranked teams. Show me another team that could be considered not playing up to par and still be averaging winning by 21 over a three game stretch. I just can't believe that Texas would fit into that category. There is reason to be concerned for the Trojans. They may get jumped if they don't start playing better. Texas jumped Virginia Tech because of the first half that the Hokies had against Marshall and the pure dominance Texas showed from the beginning against Oklahoma.

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