Ranking the Top 25: Week 8


Here is the ballot submitted for the USC Sports Media Poll. Thanks to Shotgun Spratling for tabulating the votes.

1. Oregon (7-0)Last Week: Thought: The Ducks looked unstoppable against UCLA. The offense puts up 55 points per game in the fastest paced offense in the country. Will they be able to avoid the ESPN GameDay curse in Los Angeles?

2. Auburn (8-0)Last Week: Thought: Cam Newton cemented his status as Heisman frontrunner by running through the vaunted LSU defense. The Tigers are 8-0 despite playing a very difficult schedule and control their own destiny.

3. Boise State (6-0)Last Week: Thought: The Broncos need Oregon or Auburn to fall and then they appear to have the inside track at playing for the national title. When they go to the Mountain West, it will be interesting to see how they handle the increased week-to-week competition.

4. TCU (8-0)Last Week: Thought: The Horned Frog defense is allowing just 2.5 points per game in Mountain West play. This may be the best defense in the country, and then they have Andy Dalton at quarterback. Unfortunately, TCU is stuck behind Boise by virtue of their head-to-head result in 2009.

5. Michigan State (8-0)Last Week: 7Thought:

6. Utah (7-0) Last Week: Thought:

7. Missouri (7-0) Last Week: Thought:

8. Wisconsin (7-1)Last Week: Thought: The Badgers opened the season as a darkhorse candidate to win the Big 10. The loss to Michigan State was an early setback, but they continue to play power football and add to the win column. Winning at Iowa is never easy, and Scott Tolzien showed poise in conducting the Badger offense.

9. Alabama (7-1)Last Week: Thought: Despite the loss to South Carolina, the Tide still control their own destiny. They must beat Auburn at the end of the year, but that’s a tall task. In all honesty, this Nick Saban team isn’t as talented as the one that won the national title last year. That’s what happens when you lose a ton of starters on defense.

10. Ohio St (7-1)Last Week: Thought: The Buckeyes have handily defeated inferior opponents all year. Expect more of the same as they play lowly Minnesota this weekend.

11. Oklahoma (6-1) Last Week: Thought: 12. Stanford (6-1) Last Week: Thought: The Cardinal played down to Washington State and Andrew Luck continues to turn the ball over, but that was probably a USC hangover. With a suspect defense, they need to get up for the game in Seattle to avoid an upset at the hands of Jake Locker.

13. LSU (7-1) Last Week: Thought: Apparently Les Miles’ deal with the devil expired at Auburn. Some of his gimmicks worked (that wide receiver touchdown pass made me laugh) but the Tigers weren’t able to pull off the victory against Auburn.

14. Nebraska (6-1)Last Week: Thought: With each passing week, the loss to Texas becomes more inexplicable. Dual threat quarterback Taylor Martinez has cooled off, but Bo Pelini’s defense remains fierce.

15. Arizona (6-1)Last Week: Thought:

16. Florida State (6-1)Last Week: Thought: With their only loss to Oklahoma, the ‘Noles are having a very successful season. Christian Ponder will lead the team on to the national spotlight for ESPN’s Thursday night game. Their opponent? The N.C. State Wolfpack, who were once ranked this season. Ponder needs to turn in a better performance than the one he had at Boston College if Florida State wants to continue rolling.

17. Arkansas (5-2) Last Week: Thought: The Razorbacks have the misfortune of being stuck in the toughest SEC division. Their two losses are against the top team in the BCS and against top-7 Alabama. Arkansas has the offense to play with the rest of the country (they put up over 40 on Auburn), but the defense has let them down.

18. Iowa (5-2) Last Week: Thought: With two losses already, the Hawkeyes are virtually eliminated from returning to a BCS bowl. However, they can play spoiler this week by beating Michigan State. Stanzi was flawless against Wisconsin, but the defense allowed too many points.

19. USC (5-2) Last Week: Thought: USC’s offense is very impressive. Matt Barkley is 6th in the country and they boast the 13th best scoring offense in the country. To stay ranked, they will need to beat Oregon at home. For that to happen, the defense will need to show up. But we don’t know who USC is on defense. Are they the team that was gashed by Washington, or the unit that shut out Cal in the first half? Only time will tell.

20. South Carolina (5-2) Last Week: Thought: Sign of the apocalypse? South Carolina leads the SEC East with a 3-2 record in conference. As vaunted as the SEC is, fans need to realize that it has declined from top to bottom this season. Whoever faces the Gamecocks

21. Oklahoma State (6-1) Last Week: Thought: The Cowboys couldn’t handle the test of Nebraska. Their defense remains suspect and their top receiver, who leads the NCAA, just got arrested. Things may go down hill from here.

22. Virginia Tech (6-2) Last Week: Thought: After two losses to Boise State and James Madison to open the season, the Hokies have rebounded and may just be the best team in the ACC (which is like claiming you are the best team in the Big East). Tyrod Taylor is back on track and Va Tech may go to a BCS bowl despite the dubious start.

23. Miami [FL] (5-2) Last Week: Thought: Despite the 5-2 start, alumni and fans are frustrated by the play of the Hurricanes. Jacory Harris has been turnover prone, and that has hindered the progress expected this year under Randy Shannon.

24. Nevada (6-1) Last Week: Thought: Nevada’s offensive prowess and their record warrant a ranking during a year where it is hard to find 25 teams to put on a ballot. The Wolfpack dropped 52 on Cal earlier in the year and their only loss is to a Hawaii (5-2) team that presents a unique challenge in that they have the biggest home field advantage in the nation.

25. Baylor (6-2)Last Week: