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 (4-0)…Survived again on the road after another sloppy
first half. Sooner or later that's
going to catch up to them, but it won't be this week against
(4-0)…Looked impressive in
focusing on Missouri and not looking ahead to this week's showdown with
Longhorns will finally get the monkey off their back.
3. Virginia Tech (4-0)…Marcus Vick is gaining confidence each week, and
the Hokies certainly have the look of a national championship-caliber
(2-1)…Buckeyes had a week off to
scout the resurgent Nittany Lions in advance of their road trip to
Happy Valley this Saturday night.
(5-0)…Huge win for Mike Shula over
the Gators, but what price victory?
Losing big-play specialist Tommy Prothro for the season is a heavy price
6. Florida State (4-0)…The young Seminoles just keep getting it done, and
keep grooming a still growing defense for tougher games later on this
(3-0)…The Bulldogs head to
Knoxville and with the Gators losing a win would certainly
give them the leg up on the rest of their breathren in the SEC East.
(4-1)…So much for the legend of
Urban Meyer. The Gators were
obliterated in his first SEC road game, but should have little trouble bouncing
back against Mississippi State this week.
(3-1)…The Gators' loss was the
Volunteers' gain. Still, at the end
of the year Tennessee may be kicking itself that it didn't settle on
Rick Clausen at quarterback before the Florida loss.
(3-1)…The offense still isn't
there and that touted defensive line isn't pressuring the quarterback. Maybe this week's scrimmage with Duke
will help this team jell?
(2-1)…Don't count the Tigers out
just yet. They still have a
favorable schedule and could win out and get right back in the Rose Bowl hunt by
winning the SEC.
(4-1)…The Spartans' high-octane
offense was stalled in the second half by the Wolverines and left to ponder what
might have been for two weeks now thanks to the bye.
Notre Dame (4-1)…The Irish have
already won four road games this season, and they were underdogs in three of
those. They now get the chance to
make history by ending the Trojans' run in South Bend two weeks from now.
(4-0)…It was more a struggle than
it should've been with Washington because the Bruins were caught looking ahead to
this week's date with the Golden Bears.
(5-0)…The Badgers remain
undefeated, setting up what could be quite a swan song for Barry Alvarez, but
beware of this week's game at Northwestern.
16. Penn State (5-0)…Wide-open offense and
freshmen playing key roles, what's happened to the Nittany Lions? We'll find out if they're for real this
week when the Buckeyes come calling.
(5-0)…The Bears still haven't
really played anybody, but they are playing well. They'll have a severe road test this
week at UCLA in the Rose Bowl.
(4-1)…After a warm-up with Ball State the Eagles will host a smarting Virginia club this week. They're still in the hunt for the ACC
championship game with some help.
(4-0)…The Red Raiders defeated
Kansas at home, and will play their first road game of
the season this week in Lincoln.
Beating the Huskers on the road is still not easy, just ask
Georgia Tech (3-1)…The Yellow
Jackets had a week to rest ailing quarterback Reggie Ball after a hideous loss
at Virginia Tech. He'll be tested
immediately by that quick N.C. State defense.
(3-2)…Not really sure how good the
Sun Devils are, but we'll give them the benefit of the doubt after two tough
home losses to LSU and USC.
Michigan (3-2)…Two heartbreaking
losses for the Wolverines left them for dead, but now their season is suddenly
saved by a win few saw coming in East Lansing.
(3-1)…Dangerous game at home for
the Cardinals this week with underrated North Carolina, because the following week's road trip to
West Virginia will
decide the Big East title.
(4-0)…The defensive front seven is
legitimate, but still not entirely sure about that offense. Beating Texas Tech at home this week
would make a statement.
Honorable Mention: 26. Auburn (4-1), 27. TCU (4-1), 28.
Colorado (3-1), 29 .Oregon (4-1), 30.
Iowa State (3-1).
After four games it
still tough to evaluate these Cyclones.
However, it is apparent that with the exception of a few improving
players – like DeAndre Jackson, Tim Dobbins, and Austin Flynn – this is pretty
much the same team it was last year.
Plus it's minus a great playmaker like Ellis Hobbs. What does that mean? Well, it means that winning the North
Division is still very possible, but so is finishing 6-5 again.
At the end of the year,
if the Cyclones head to the Houston or Champs Sports Bowl instead of one of the
upper tier postseason destinations, this loss at Nebraska will be looked at as
the one that got away. Just like
Colorado was last year.
Beware of Baylor. This will not be an easy game this
week. The Bears are good on
defense, and if the Cyclones aren't sharp and lose the turnover battle they
could very well lose. You have to
think they'll struggle to get up emotionally for this one after the loss in
If you want to be a
championship team you have to make championship plays. If you're Todd Blythe you have to catch
those two balls, as tough as they would've been. If you're Aaron Brant you have to be a
road-grater. If you're Nick Leaders
you have to hold on to that interception in overtime. If you're John Skladany you have to call
for more aggressive coverages in the secondary. If you're Bret Meyer you don't run out
of bounds for a nine-yard loss on the potential game-winning drive when just
throwing the ball out of bounds would've left a far more makeable
3rd-and-10. If you're
DeAndre Jackson, you have to scoop up that fumble and return it for the
game-winning touchdown. Those types
of plays are the difference between being invited to
Shreveport or San Antonio/San Diego at the end of the
Nebraska is still a long shot to win the North
Division. The Huskers figure to be
an underdog at home to Texas Tech and then have consecutive road games at Baylor
and Missouri before coming home to play
they have Kansas and Colorado on the road.