Ranking the Top 25: Week 5


Is it 2012 yet? USC, Texas, Notre Dame, Penn State, and even Georgia are nowhere to be found in the rankings. The college football world is experiencing a time of high parity. While it is good for fans of schools without storied pasts, don’t count me in as someone who enjoys what is going on.

Here is the ballot submitted this week for USC’s Sports Media Poll. Special thanks to Shotgun Spratling for tabulating the votes and compiling the comments.

1. Alabama (5-0)Last Week: 1Thought:  After squeaking past Arkansas on the road and dismantling Florida at home, it is clear that Bama is the class of the SEC. The offense is spectacular with two Heisman-caliber running backs and a mistake-free quarterback.

2. Oregon (5-0)Last Week: Thought: The Ducks offense is a well-oiled machine. They put up 52 points on a physical Stanford defense and then shut out the Cardinal in the second half. Stopping Andrew Luck is no small feat.

3. Ohio State (5-0)Last Week: 2Thought: The Buckeyes struggled against Illinois, but that game is usually tightly contested. The important part for the Buckeyes is that they escaped unscathed. Pryor is a good quarterback and the Ohio State defense flies under the radar.

4. Boise State (4-0)Last Week: 4Thought: Boise continues to win the games in front of them. Oregon State’s victories improve their resume, but they will need the teams above them to suffer a decisive defeat if they are to play for the national title game.

5. Nebraska (4-0)Last Week: 6Thought: After a bye week, the Huskers face off with undefeated Kansas State on Thursday night. The defense is just as good as last year, and the offense has improved under the direction of dual-threat quarterback Taylor Martinez. Don’t count Nebraska out of the national title hunt.

6. TCU (5-0)Last Week: 5Thought: TCU remains the second best BCS buster in the nation behind Boise State. Their stats are impressive, and it appears only Air Force and Utah stand in the way of them running the table. 

7. Auburn (5-0)Last Week: 14Thought:  Cam Newton has announced his arrival as one of the top quarterbacks in the country. The Tigers record is impressive, but they have only played one opponent of note. After the trip to Kentucky this week, they play host to Arkansas and LSU on consecutive weekends. If they win those two, it will set up a huge showdown with Alabama.

8. Oklahoma (5-0)Last Week: 9Thought: After squeaking by against inferior opponents for several weeks, the Sooners looked solid against Texas and won the Red River Rivalry. The Sooners are gelling on the fly, but you can’t argue with their record. The Big XII South title is in sight.9. LSU (5-0)

10. Arkansas (3-1)Last Week: 13Thought: The week off should help them regroup from the loss to Alabama and reinvigorate the confidence of Ryan Mallet, who is one of the most accurate passers in the nation.

11. Arizona (4-0)Last Week: 12Thought: Out of a bye week, the Wildcats need to show something after needing a pair of missed field goals to beat Cal. They draw an Oregon State team with a potent offense and a young defense. This will be their first test in-conference and will provide a glimpse into just how high they can finish.

12. Iowa Last Week: Thought: 13. Stanford (4-1)Last Week: 7Thought: Stanford got off to a fast start against Oregon and then sputtered. The Cardinal offense is on par or better than the unit last year and the defense will only get better as the season progresses. How do they respond to a loss? How do they respond to being a favorite at home against USC?

14. Utah (4-0)Last Week: Thought: Other than Pittsburgh, who comes from the Big Least, the Utes haven’t beaten anyone of note. However, they are near the top in a major offensive and defensive category. We will find out a lot about this team on Halloween weekend when they play Air Force.

15. Michigan State (5-0)Last Week: 20Thought: Sparty wasn’t getting a lot of credit for beating Notre Dame and some directional schools, but they have believers now after their upset of Wisconsin. And they are doing it with their head coach in the press box after suffering a heart attack.

16. Miami [FL] (3-1)Last Week: 18Thought: Jacory Harris still makes too many mistakes, but the only blemish on the record is a tough visit to Columbus. To make a statement that significant progress has been made under Randy Shannon, the Canes need to dispatch Florida State at home.

17. MichiganLast Week: 19Thought: Hail to the Victors! I say this every week, but it is worth repeating. Rich Rodriguez’s job was on life support until Denard Robinson came in at quarterback and started winning games. 

18. South Carolina (3-1)Last Week: 21Thought: Steve Spurrier saying that you can be dumb and win ball games in reference to Les Miles was pretty hilarious. What isn’t hilarious is what Alabama is going to do to the Cocks this weekend.

19. Florida (4-1)Last Week: 11Thought: Urban Meyer wishes Tebow was still around. Florida’s offense didn’t have a chance against the Alabama defense. After a period of greatness, Florida appears to be experiencing growing pains.

20. Nevada (5-0)Last Week: 22Thought: Nevada is playing a feeble San Jose State team that is 1-4 and playing its 4th ranked team in 6 weeks. Hide your children! This game is going to be U-G-L-Y.

21. Florida State (4-1)Last Week: Thought:

22. Wisconsin (4-1)Last Week: 8Thought: A deflating loss for Wisconsin against Michigan State. After a few close calls, it is no surprise they finally lost after going up against a good team. Nevertheless, Wisconsin is no slouch. Look for them to climb back up the rankings.

23. West Virginia (3-1)Last Week: NRThought: West Virginia being ranked is largely a function of the fact that many of the power programs are experiencing hard times. They lost the one tough game they had and haven’t beaten anyone of note. Still, the prowess on offense is enough to warrant ranking them. 

24. Northwestern (5-0)Last Week: NRThought: The purple people eaters are alive and well at 5-0. Look for the party to continue the week against Purdue, but the music will stop when they play Michigan State on October 23.

25. Air Force (4-1)Last Week: 25Thought: Any time a service academy can put together a good football team, it is an impressive feat. The Falcons could make some serious noise in the Mountain West with their novelty attack.