Rank 'Em

Keep in mind these rankings are based upon not only how good these teams are right now but what they accomplished as a whole for the season up to this point.

1.  USC (11-0)…The Trojans are two games away from history and leaving a unique legacy on the tradition rich sport of college football.  And both of those games are in their own backyard. 


2.  Texas (11-0)…The Longhorns will make their first appearance in the Big 12 title game in four years, and they will be heavy favorites against Colorado in Houston.  


3.  LSU (10-1)…Unexpectedly struggled at home against a young Arkansas squad with the SEC East Division title on the line, but still got the job done. 


4.  Penn State (10-1)…The play the may have salvaged another BCS mess was the Wolverines' extra second touchdown way back in mid-October, otherwise the Nittany Lions would be undefeated.


5.  Ohio State (9-2)…Likely headed for the Fiesta Bowl opposite the Fighting Irish barring an unforeseen loss by the Trojans or Longhorns, but this team could've done even better.   


6.  Virginia Tech (10-1)…The Hokies were considered not ready for primetime players when they joined the ACC two years ago, now they're working on their second straight ACC title.  


7.  Auburn (9-2)…This young team got better and better as the season wore on and the Tigers will be a factor in the 2006 national title chase.


8.  Oregon (10-1)…The Ducks, despite their traveling fan base, are likely to get snubbed by the BCS but settling for San Diego and Holiday Bowl isn't a bad consolation prize.  


9.  Notre Dame (9-2)…Charlie Weiss more than paid for himself in year one by delivering the Irish a $14 million payday courtesy of the BCS come Sunday when they're selected by the Fiesta Bowl.  


10. Miami, Fla. (9-2)…The Hurricanes had a national championship caliber defense this season, but their offense was just too young to take advantage of it.  


11. Georgia (9-2)…Nice win on the road against an in-state rival last week, sandwiched in between two important conference games.  Will the home field advantage in Atlanta be enough to win the SEC title?


12. Alabama (9-2)…Now this is justice: the coach that left them in the lurch is left home for the holidays for the second time in three years, but the Tide will play on January 2nd in Dallas.   


13. UCLA (9-1)…In an odd scheduling quirk the Bruins have had three weeks to prepare for the men of Troy.  And even though they'll score some points it won't be enough to improve their defense.


14. Texas Tech (9-2)…The reloading Sooners left an opening in the Big 12 South and give the Red Raiders credit for taking advantage of it to land a January bowl bid.  


15. West Virginia (9-1)…Perhaps the surprise team of the season, the Mountaineers are already locked into the BCS but could still finish with a 10-win season after starting the year unranked.  


16. TCU (10-1)…Solid club won their first outright conference title in six decades and will be the Cyclones' opponent on New Year's Eve in the Houston Bowl.  


17. Boston College (8-3)…Typically solid season for the Eagles, who are headed to either Atlanta or Boise for a bowl game.  And I'm guessing which destination they would prefer.  


18. Florida (8-3)…Urban Meyer didn't go undefeated and turn Chris Leak into a Heisman contender in year one, but he did beat the Volunteers, Bulldogs, and Seminoles. 


19. Wisconsin (8-4)…A lot of folks, myself included, had the Badgers on upset alert at Hawaii.  Given Barry Alvarez's history, we should've known better.  See you in Orlando.  


20. Louisville (8-2)…Already ticketed for the Gator Bowl, their first January bowl since 1991, the Cardinals will struggle without the services of injured Brian Brohm at quarterback.


21. Clemson (7-4)…Posted two big wins to conclude the season and is likely headed to Charlotte to face South Florida in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.


22. Michigan (7-4)…It's looking more and more like the Outback Bowl for the Wolverines, which – along with Florida State's struggles – would give them the longest continuous streak of January bowls.   


23. Fresno State (8-3)…Nevada is an underrated team, and they caught the Bulldogs napping after their impressive showing at USC.  A win this week would still mean the WAC crown, though.   


24. Oklahoma (7-4)…Another young team that improved as the season wore after looking like they would struggle to make a bowl game midway through the autumn.


25. Georgia Tech (7-4)…Posting seven wins against the schedule the Yellowjackets played is nothing to be ashamed of, and that's why Chan Gailey got a contract extension.


Honorable Mention: #26 Nebraska (7-4), #27 Iowa State (7-4), #28 Iowa (7-4), #29 Nevada (8-3), #30 South Carolina (7-4).  



Five Thoughts


1.    As disappointing as that loss to Kansas was, this was still a successful season overall for the Cyclones.  They beat a top 10 team for the first time in the Dan McCarney era, won at Texas A&M for the first time ever, and beat Colorado at home for the first time in 22 years.  Oh, and did I mention they're headed to their fifth bowl game in six years?


2.    However, years from now this is the season that McCarney will look back on as the one that got away.  Let's face it, ISU could conceivably made the argument this season that they could've run the table, and only has themselves to blame for not making a pretty good season one for the ages. 


3.    ISU was too conservative on the last drive of regulation against the Jayhawks, and that's all I got to say about that.


4.    The amount of money, prestige, and notoriety the Cyclones lost by losing to Kansas is immeasurable. 


5.    Reggie Bush is going to win the Heisman Trophy.    

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