If I had a vote in the AP Poll...

Each and every week during the college football season, CN's founder Steve Deace will be breaking down his top 25 and delivering his thoughts on Iowa State as well. Check out what Deace had to say about week three of the college football season right here at CN.

1. Ohio State (3-0)…A sloppy win over Cincinnati is nothing to worry about.  They'll be out to avenge last year's loss to Penn State this week.


2. Auburn (3-0)...The Tigers took early control of the SEC West Division with a gutsy win, but the last two teams to be ranked #2 lost the next week.  Thankfully, they play Buffalo next.    


3. Michigan (3-0)…The Wolverines posted the statement win of the season, utterly annihilating the Irish in every facet of the game to announce their return to the main stage. 


4. USC (2-0)…After a workmanlike domination of the Cornhuskers the rest of the schedule sets up quite nicely for the Trojans to make a third straight appearance in the BCS title game.   


5. West Virginia (3-0)…There hasn't been a defense yet devised that can slow down Pat White and Steve Slaton, but do the Mountaineers have enough defense to go all the way? 


6. Florida (3-0)Chris Leak and Urban Meyer finally got that signature win they've been looking for, the kind of victory that could propel the Gators to a special season. 


7. Louisville (3-0)…Cardinals made a statement, too, in drubbing the Hurricanes but the loss of quarterback Brian Brohm could prove costly in a sneaky road game at Kansas State this week.  


8. LSU (2-1)…If the Tigers play defense like this the rest of the season they will nab a spot in the BCS because their offense is too talented to be bottled up again like it was this week. 


9. Texas (2-1)…I'm still not sure how good the defending champs are, but I am sure that their defense is not what a struggling Iowa State offense needs to face right now.   


10. Notre Dame (2-1)…The Irish better recover quickly, because their old nemesis Michigan State is next up and a loss here could cost the school about $15 million from the BCS.   


11. Georgia (3-0)…The Bulldogs are solid and appear pretty salty on defense, but they'll need more balance on offense to win the SEC East Division again.   


12. Oregon (3-0)…Nice win for the Ducks, but since they got a major assist from the officials they didn't move up all that far on my ballot.

13. Tennessee (2-1)…Considering their injuries on defense the Volunteers fought valiantly.  When will this team actually play a road game?


14. Iowa (3-0)…It's clear after comparing the way the Hawkeyes have played the last two weeks that Drew Tate is one of the most valuable players in the nation.


15. Boston College (3-0)…The Eagles are the overtime darlings of the early season, but they have a sneaky road game at N.C. State this week.  


16. Virginia Tech (3-0)…Still not sure how good the Hokies are, and it's doubtful we'll learning anything this week considering the opponent is Cincinnati.  


17. Oklahoma (2-1)…The Sooners were flat out robbed in Eugene, but when he's healthy Adrian Peterson is still the best player in the sport.


18. Clemson (2-1)…The Tigers jump right back in the ratings after getting the win they had to have in Tallahassee if they want to play in the ACC Championship Game for the first time.


19. TCU (3-0)…Don't look now, but the Horned Frogs are already 2-0 against the Big 12 and are knocking on the BCS door yet again.  Very impressive to hold Texas Tech to only a field goal.  


20. Florida State (2-1)…How good are the Seminoles?  That win over Miami doesn't look that great now and they struggled to beat Troy before losing this week at home.  


21. Arizona State (3-0)…Is this finally the year the Sun Devils put together under Dirk Koetter?  We'll learn more this week when they travel to Berkley. 


22. California (2-1)…A win this week over the Sun Devils would earn back the national respect the Bears lost in their Knoxville nightmare.  After Separation Saturday this will be the only game among ranked foes this week.


23. Rutgers (3-0)…How long before the Hurricanes call and ask for permission to talk to Greg Schiano about their vacant head coaching position?  The Scarlet Knights are 3-0 for the first time since 1981.


24. Michigan State (3-0)…The Spartans are used to surging in September under John L. Smith, and are used to beating the Fighting Irish as well.


25. Boise State (3-0)…They're back.  Year after year the Broncos hover around the top 25 and put together one of the feel-good stories in college football.


Honorable Mention: #26 Nebraska (2-1), #27 Texas Tech (2-1), #28 Alabama (3-0), #29 Georgia Tech (2-1), #30 UCLA (2-0).

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

The Good—The Big 12 went 0-5 against teams from other BCS conferences on Separation Saturday, and Texas Tech lost to TCU as well.  That means despite a dispiriting loss to its hated instate rival, the Big 12 is up for grabs for the Cyclones and every game – except perhaps this week's game at Texas – is a winnable game for ISU henceforth.  A very young defense has played well enough to be 3-0.  The running game was solid for a second straight week.


The Bad—Where is this vaunted offense we hyped up during the preseason?  Despite all the name players and experience returning, the Cyclones haven't scored more than 23 points in 60 minutes of football this season.  And let's face it, they haven't exactly been facing juggernaut defenses.  At best the Iowa defense they faced on Saturday will be the third or fourth best defense they face this fall.  There is simply way too much talent and experience on this unit not to be averaging close to 400 yards of total offense and 30 points per game.  Todd Blythe caught only four passes this week and on at least play I noticed he didn't run his route with his normal crispness and go after a pass with his normal aggressiveness.  Is he getting frustrated?  Speaking of frustration, an ominous pattern has developed in ISU's first three games.  Build a double-digit lead in the second half and then sleep walk on offense after that.  That has been the rut ISU has been stuck in over the first three weeks of the season.  That is the biggest problem for the Cyclones right now, not a young and improving defense struggling to make the big stop.


The Ugly—The bottom half of the Big Ten is bad.  No, make that really bad.  So bad, in fact, that if Tate stays healthy and the Hawkeyes don't at least finish 9-3 and play on New Year's Day again their season should be considered a major disappointment.  


(Steve Deace founded Cyclone Nation in 2002.  He can be heard on the radio each weekday from 4-7 p.m. on 1040-WHO, and seen each week on television on Mediacom's "Cy-Hawk Talk: State of the Nations.")



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