Week Ten: Tuesday
Larry Coker, Miami
The Miami Hurricanes have not been satisfied since the 2001 season with the job that Coker has done. They were only slightly satisfied in 2002, when Miami lost in the national championship game. Since then, the fans have been very frustrated with Coker and the Hurricanes. The pressure is mounting in the face of it all. The loss to Florida State to open the season only made it worse. Now, the Hurricanes battle a very good Virginia Tech team with the ACC Coastal Division title likely on the line. For Coker to keep the fans at bay, he could really use a win of this magnitude.
Dennis Dixon, Oregon
Dixon is filling the rather large quarterback shoes left behind by Kellen Clemens when he went down with his season ending injury. To open things up, he has to start against California. While the Bears defense is not immovable, they are good enough to give Dixon and the Ducks a lot of problems. With a potential BCS at-large spot on the line, the Ducks really need to win this game over a quality team. However, that will be very tough for Dixon in his first start. He's got the athletic skills to make things happen, but can he do it when there is no Clemens on the sideline waiting to check back in?
College Gameday Site
The crew will be at the week's biggest game as Miami visits Virginia Tech. The Hurricanes and Hokies are both in the Top Five and sit atop the ACC Coastal Division standings. The winner is still alive in the national championship race, while the loser will need help just to get to the ACC Championship Game. It is a great match-up and the crew had no right to go anywhere else this week, despite the fact that they have already visited Virginia Tech once this year.
Thoughts on the Rankings
USC jumped Texas and is back to nuber one. All is right with the world again. The panic mode that hit last week was, as I said last week, uncalled for and the Trojans are right back on top.
UCLA is behind all the other unbeatens and even some one loss teams in the rankings. However, this is not cause for concern. The Bruins will have their shot against USC to prove where they belong.
The computer screwy stat of the week is that Notre Dame is combined to be ranked 22 by the computers, whereas Oklahoma is 21. Discuss.
It is still tough to do these rankings each and every week. They are so subjective, it is a very difficult task. However, I believe there is beginning to be some clarity, which is always a nice thing. In parentheses is the team's rank last week.
1. USC 8-0 (1)
2. Texas 8-0 (2)
3. Virginia Tech 8-0 (3)
4. Alabama 8-0 (5)
5. UCLA 8-0 (6)
6. LSU 6-1 (7)
7. Florida State 7-1 (8)
8. Miami, FL 6-1 (9)
9. Notre Dame 5-2 (10)
10. Penn State 7-1 (11)
11. Georgia 7-1 (4)
12. Ohio State 6-2 (12)
13. Oregon 7-1 (14)
14. Florida 6-2 (16)
15. Auburn 6-2 (15)
16. Wisconsin 8-1 (19)
17. Boston College 6-2 (13)
18. Texas Tech 7-1 (17)
19. West Virginia 6-1 (20)
20. California 6-2 (21)
21. Fresno State 6-1 (24)
22. Michigan 6-3 (25)
23. TCU 8-1 (22)
24. Georgia Tech 5-2 (--)
25. Colorado 6-2 (--)
Dropped Out: Northwestern 5-3 (18), Minnesota 5-3 (23)
Both teams lost last week. The only quality win on Minnesota's schedule right now appears to be Michigan, although Colorado State and Tulsa certainly are not bad wins. Northwestern is still just not ready for primetime. While they are a very good team and should return to the rankings if they acn come up with wins in the coming weeks, they are not quite Top 25 material right now.
Biggest Drop by a team still in my rankings: 7- Georgia. The Bulldogs first loss of the year dropped them a long way in my rankings. The reason is that they have looked very average for much of the year. Their most impressive win over Tennessee suddenly doesn't look so impressive anymore. All in all, I like Georgia, and still expect them to win the SEC East, however, I would probably pick (on a neutral field) any of the teams ranked ahead of them, particularly with D.J. Shockley out.
Smallest drop by a team that lost: 4- Boston College. The Eagles loss to Virginia Tech was ugly in terms of stats, but they hung in there score-wise until very late in the game. This is still a good team, but probably not a great team. They are not quite yet ready for primetime, but they are a solid team that no one should want to play in a bowl game.
Biggest drop by a team that won: 1- TCU. The Horned Frogs barely beat San Diego State. Scraping by the Aztecs isn't going to send them soarng up the rankings. However, they are slowly sneaking their way up the BCS rankings. Probably they can not get high enough to sniff a BCS bowl, but they are gaining ground. That loss to SMU has to really hurt right about now.
Biggest jump by a team that was in my rankings last week: 3- Wisconsin. The Badgers didn't just play lights out against Illinois. However, they played well enough to justify a jump. With Northwestern and Boston College both losing ahead of them, and Texas Tech not looking great for three quarters against Baylor (and still suffering because of their early season schedule), the Badgers moved up the rankings three spots.
The great debate. Debating over which of the three teams (Virginia Tech, Texas, and USC) should be playing for the national title is a fun way to pass the time. Alabama and UCLA both do not enter the discussion at this point based on several games that were far closer than they should have been. UCLA will have a real shot if they beat USC. Alabama needs to beat LSU and Auburn impressively and face a one loss Georgia team and beat them impressively as well to have a real shot at getting there without any losses from the top three. However, what is becoming clear is that the top three are very good teams. While any one of them may still lose, and I really should not be making comments like this on the first of November, but rather on the tenth of January, it certainly looks like these are three of the top teams in recent memory. Last year's USC/Oklahoma/Auburn debate was cute, but none of those teams would beat any of these three teams, in my opinion. While Auburn and USC proved how solid they were throughout the year, I am beginning to think we are looking at three truly remarkable teams that may all be in the Top Ten Teams of the Last Ten Years. Obviously, this is one of those statements that should be reserved until after the season, but I am just trying to give you some food for thought here.
Quick preview of tonight's game
UAB at Memphis (7:30 ESPN2)- The Tigers DeAngelo Williams and the Blazers Darrell Hackney lead their teams into a key showdown. Both teams want to go to bowl games. If Memphis can win, they will keep their dreams of winning CUSA East alive. This is a key game for bowl hopes, and in the CUSA race.