Deace's Top 25 College Football Rankings

Each week our publisher, Steve Deace, publishes his top 25 college football rankings based on how he thinks the teams should be rated at this moment. In addition, he offers up five thoughts on the season thus far.

1.  USC (1-0)…I still think the Trojans may have some issues on defense before all is said and done, but with all of that firepower on offense they're No. 1 until somebody knocks them off.


2. Ohio State (1-0)…The Buckeyes might have been the most impressive team overall in Week 1, absolutely dominating an underrated in-state rival despite playing their second and third-string quarterbacks.


3. Texas (1-0)…By far the Longhorns were the only Big 12 team that played a complete football game last weekend.  But now they face a stern test in Columbus in what could turn out to be college football's game of the year.


4.  LSUThe Tigers are supremely talented and were originally my pick to go to the Rose Bowl opposite USC.  However, one has to wonder what impact the tragic circumstances of Hurricane Katrina will have now that their schedule has been re-arranged. 


5.  Georgia (1-0)…The Bulldogs absolutely dismantled an overrated Boise State team, although it was ranked foe nonetheless.  D.J. Shockley was dazzling in his debut, and the defense was tenacious.


6.  Virginia Tech (1-0)…It wasn't always pretty, but a gritty conference road win at N.C. State is the type of opening victory that can be a catalyst to something special later on.


7.  Tennessee (1-0)…The Volunteers played down to the level of the opposition, but that opposition was underrated.  Many forget that UAB was in a bowl game last year and is one of the favorites in Conference USA.


8.  Florida (1-0)…The Gators beat a bowl champion in the debut of Urban Meyer, and they did it by limiting Wyoming to only 14 points.  That's a good omen for a program that has struggled on defense recently.


9.  Florida State (1-0)…It was downright ugly, but when you're the Seminoles you take any win you can get over your green and orange nemesis to the south.  Still, some serious work needs to be done to develop that offense.


10. Georgia Tech (1-0)…Going on the road against a team with a 15-game winning streak as an underdog to start the season and then winning comfortably makes a statement.  The Yellow Jackets are ready to take the next step.


11. Iowa (1-0)…True, they were playing one of the worst teams in Division I-A that was furthered depleted by 13 suspensions (including eight starters), but give the Hawkeyes credit for taking care of business and showing eye-popping depth.


12. Michigan (1-0)…Meet the new defense, same as the old defense.  True, the Wolverines were playing a very capable Northern Illinois rushing offense, but even Bo Schembechler described their effort as "atrocious" on national television.  The offense, on the other hand, could be as explosive as any in college football.


13. Boston College (1-0)…It's always tough to open on the road with a win, and it's always tough to hold BYU to just three points in Provo.  The Golden Eagles did both.


14. Notre Dame (1-0)…No team turned more heads than did the Irish, who absolutely demoralized a ranked Pittsburgh club before halftime on their own field.  I'm guessing Charlie Weiss is salivating while watching Michigan's defensive game film.


15. Miami, Fla. (0-1)…The defense was as advertised, but the offense was far from stellar.  Yet it was the special teams that really cost the Hurricanes in Tallahassee. 


16. TCU (1-0)…On the road against one of the elite programs in the country, the Horned Frogs found a way to get it done in Norman despite shooting themselves in the foot several times.  Look out BCS.


17. PurdueBoilermakers haven't played a game yet, but should rout Akron on Saturday.


18. Arizona State (1-0)…Much like beating Ball State, demolishing Temple doesn't send hearts aflutter.  A more realistic exam comes Saturday night when LSU comes to Tempe.


19. Louisville (1-0)…The Cardinals didn't look like national title contenders on Sunday, but it's tough to open up on the road against an instate rival, and that Bluegrass series has always been a close call.


20. Clemson (1-0)…Tommy Bowden is the Rasputin of college football.  You just can't kill that guy off.  Every time he's written off, his Tigers respond like they did against Texas A&M. 


21. Texas Tech…Get your calculators ready, the Red Raiders about to post video game numbers the next three weeks.


22. Fresno State…The Bulldogs have some competition as BCS-buster in TCU. 


23. UCLA (1-0)…The Bruins are one of my dark-horse teams this year and they took care of business on the road in their opening victory over San Diego State.


24. Wisconsin (1-0)…That was a solid win for the young Badgers, who overcame an early 20-7 deficit to beat a solid Bowling Green squad in a high-scoring affair. 


25. Alabama (1-0)…The defense looked terrific and Brodie Croyle didn't get hurt, so that's a good weekend for the Crimson Tide.


Five Thoughts


1.      The game this week is all about the Cyclones.  Both teams are taking a huge step up in the quality of opposition this week, but we know the Hawkeyes are up to the challenge given their body of work over the last three years.  The burden of proof is on Iowa State, which shot itself in the foot with several user errors against what should have been an undermanned Illinois State squad.  Were they looking ahead?  Were they overrated?  Are those errors correctable in five days?  Are the Cyclones ready to be a ranked team that is a conference contender, or are they still content with the Independence Bowl?  We get the answer to that on Saturday.  But I will say this, what transpired against the Redbirds isn't reminiscent of anything we've seen from this team during spring preparations and practice thus far, which is probably why Dan McCarney felt like puking in response.


2.      Regardless of what happens against Iowa, the Cyclones are still a solid favorite in the Big 12 North, which wasn't exactly stellar against terrible opponents in the opening week.


3.      Less than 40,000 folks showed up at Arrowhead to watch the Titanic tilt between Missouri and Arkansas State.  Apparently the Show Me State wants to see more before anteing up. 


4.      Texas is carrying the banner of weakened Big 12 pride with it to Columbus on Saturday night.  But it won't be enough.  Ohio State just doesn't lose night games at the Horseshoe and win this one in the fourth quarter.


5.      Oklahoma is already in trouble.  They still have to play at UCLA, Texas, at Nebraska, Texas A&M, and at Texas Tech.  Can you say Alamo Bowl?

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