Weekly College Football Report

Our founder again gives his thoughts on where things stand in college football, including his latest rankings, Heisman ballott, and the search for Dan McCarney's successor at ISU.

If I had a vote in the AP Poll

1. Ohio State (11-0)…Hard to believe that in the entire history of what is considered the most storied rivalry in the rich heritage of college football the Buckeyes and Wolverines have never squared off as the top two ranked teams in the land.

2. Michigan (11-0)…The dwindling number of one-loss teams is increasing the likelihood of a rematch of this weekend's highly anticipated clash in Columbus, if it's a close game, in the National Championship Game.

3. USC (8-1)…The young Trojans were the big winners of the big shakeup this weekend, but they play the toughest closing stretch of anybody in the country so winning out will be tough.

4. Arkansas (9-1)…Is this the same team that got 50-pointed back in week one? The Razorbacks are now clearly the class of the SEC and will clinch the West Division by winning at Mississippi State.

5. Rutgers (9-0)…No, that's not a misprint. The Scarlet Knights are suddenly in the thick of the national title race, but do they face a trap game at underrated Cincinnati this weekend?

6. Florida (9-1)…The Gators are still struggling on offense and have barely survived the past two weeks. They should get back on track this week with a glorified scrimmage against Western Carolina.

7. Louisville (8-1)…Thursday night on national TV giveth, and Thursday night on national TV taketh away. In a span of seven days the Cardinals went from BCS party crashers to a Cinderella caught in Piscataway after Midnight.

8. West Virginia (8-1)…With their impressive travelling fan base, the Mountaineers might be an attractive at-large choice for the BCS if they can win out the rest of the way.

9. Notre Dame (9-1)…The Irish are beginning to put it together on both sides of the football, but their season will ultimately be judged on how they do against the Trojans in two weeks.

10. Texas (9-2)…We now know for sure the Longhorns won't be a repeat national champion after an almost inexplicable loss at Kansas State.

11. Wake Forest (9-1)…Of all the teams to deal Bobby Bowden his first shutout loss at home, it's the Demon Deacons?

12. Oklahoma (8-2)…Bob Stoops is doing his best coaching job, and the Sooners are playing the best football in the Big 12 right now.

13. LSU (8-2)…If the Tigers win out, and a certain team that plays on a blue field loses, they will become a very attractive at-large selection for the BCS.

14. Georgia Tech (8-2)…I wouldn't use the word impressive to describe a 7-0 win over lame duck North Carolina, but it was good enough to clinch a spot in the ACC Championship Game.

15. Wisconsin (10-1)…One more turbulent week at the top like this past one and all of a sudden the Badgers could sneak into the BCS.

16. Boise State (10-0)…I know San Jose State is improved this year, but is it possible to ever get credit for a comeback win over the Spartans?

17. Auburn (9-2)…The Tigers never really established an identity this season, and their two stunning woodshed beatings at home to unranked teams at the time prove it.

18. California (8-2)…The Bears got caught looking ahead to this week's trip to the Coliseum, and now that trip isn't quite as meaningful as it would've bee had they took Arizona seriously.

19. Boston College (8-2)…The Eagles are still lying in wait in the ACC Atlantic Division, hoping someone can knock Wake Forest off that lofty perch.

20. Virginia Tech (8-2)…Beamer ball is making a second half comeback this season, it's just too little, too late as far as the ACC race is concerned.

21. Brigham Young (8-2)…I still think the Cougars are the best team in a non-BCS conference, not Boise State.

22. Maryland (8-2)…The Terps are the first team since 1985 to beat Miami (Fla.) and Florida State in the same season. They also will find themselves playing for the ACC title if they win their final two games.

23. Nebraska (8-3)…Normalcy has finally been restored in the North Division of the Big 12, as far as Husker Nation is concerned.

24. Tennessee (7-3)…In a span of two weeks the Volunteers have gone from worrying about their place in the BCS to wondering if they're going to duplicate last season's free fall down the stretch.

25. Clemson (8-3)…The Tigers have to be disappointed with the way their season has gone because they are easily the most physically talented team in a watered down ACC.

Honorable Mention: #26 Texas A&M (8-3), #27 Georgia (7-4), #28 Kansas State (7-4), #29 TCU (7-2), #30 Oregon (7-3).

My Heisman Ballot

  1. Troy Smith, Ohio State—He's so far out in front now that if his team wins out he'll win the award in a landslide.
  2. Mike Hart, Michigan—Week in and week out he's the most consistent player in college football regardless of position.
  3. Brady Quinn, Notre Dame—Piling up the gaudy stats, but still needs to beat somebody that matters.
  4. Ray Rice, Rutgers—Put the Scarlet Knights on his back in the fourth quarter of the biggest win in school history.
  5. Darren McFadden, Arkansas—Razorbacks are emerging as the SEC's best team and McFadden is emerging as the SEC Player of the Year.

Final Thought on the Cyclones

There's really no reason to break down another loss in what has been a broken down season for Iowa State.

Now there's only the future: the near future of saying good bye to Mac, and the not so distant future of who the next coach will be. It's the latter that I want to say two things about.

First of all, aside from Steve Loney, I'm not sure why you would go and hire any of Dan McCarney's assistant coaches if you're going to run McCarney. And make no mistake, the term "resignation" here should be used in its loosest connotation. You don't fire Mac and hire Jay Norvell or Paul Rhoads. If you really want someone from Mac's coaching tree why not just keep Mac? He's still relatively young and has a better resume than any of his proteges do.

The reason I'm not including Loney on that list is because I love Loney, and am completely incapable of giving an objective opinion where he is concerned. Loney is the only former Mac assistant that I think should even get a sniff of the job, and as of Saturday he hadn't been contacted yet.

Therefore, I think it's safe to assume that a complete outsider will be the next head coach at Iowa State. Jamie Pollard will seek a fresh face, a new voice, and different vision for Cyclone football.

Second, the top qualification for the next head coach comes down to recruiting. Whoever it is must have demonstrated recruiting contacts in places like Oklahoma and Texas and/or Chicago and Minneapolis. At least 80% of the games in college football are won by the team with the better players, and ISU is facing the toughest recruiting challenge in the conference.

They're in a state that is lucky to produce 10 high-level Division I-A prospects a year, and they have to compete with the University of Iowa for those. They're the northern most school in the Big 12, and the areas in their natural region that produce great high school talent are in Big Ten country. In other words, we're in a recruiting nowhere land.

So the next coach must have clearly defined and demonstrable recruiting contacts. Contacts that will allow ISU to break into Big Ten territory and take kids away from Illinois and Minnesota or bring kids up north that otherwise would've attended Texas Tech and Texas A&M – not Baylor and SMU.

If I'm Jamie Pollard, integrity, game-planning, organization, and quality of scheme are givens in terms of qualities I'm looking for. The ability to give good interviews, conduct lively press conferences, and fire up the Cyclone Club circuit are qualities that are negotiable.

But the ability to cleanly but aggressively recruit the areas I just talked about with a take-no-prisoners style is paramount.

(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" on Connections Channel throughout 500,000 homes in Iowa. His opinions are just that, his opinions, and not necessarily the opinions of Cyclone Nation staff.)


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