This is how I would rank the top teams in college football this week if I had a vote in the AP Poll:
1. USC (4-0)…This is still the best team in the country, until somebody proves otherwise – on the field.
2. LSU (5-0)…They've been the most dominant team in the country thus far, but whom have they really played?
4. Ohio State (5-0)…The Buckeyes have been the best of a mediocre Big Ten so far, but they'll get a big test Saturday night in West Lafayette.
6. South Florida (4-0)…Remember when I told you the Bulls were the most underrated team in the nation heading into the season?
7. Wisconsin (5-0)…Just goes to show much parity there is in college football this season that this team is ranked this high.
8. Kentucky (5-0)…We'll find out if they're Wildcats or Mildcats in the SEC race with the Gamecocks and Gators back-to-back.
9. Oklahoma (4-1)…Caught looking ahead, the Sooners flat out blew that game – and likely their national title hopes – in Boulder.
10. Oregon (4-1)…I'm not going to penalize the Ducks too much for losing to a fine Cal team, because they were right there the whole game.
12. South Carolina (4-1)…Two questions: how good will their defense continue to be without their best linebacker and have they finally found a quarterback?
13. West Virginia (4-1)…It's not often you out-gain your opponent by almost 200 total yards and still lose, but that's what happens when you turn the ball over.
14. Georgia (4-1)…A young team is jelling and improving, but they face a dangerous road game against a desperate Tennessee this week.
15. Arizona State (5-0)…Dennis Erickson looks like he's finally awakened this sleeping giant, but the tough part of the schedule looms.
16. Missouri (4-0)…How good is Mizzou? Is this finally their year? Saturday night against the Huskers at home they get to answer those questions.
18. Kansas State (3-1)…You know I loathe K-State, but they've played well in two of the toughest places to play in the nation already.
19. Kansas (4-0)…Could this week's instate clash in Manhattan be the biggest Sunflower State showdown ever?
20. Purdue (5-0)…The preliminaries are now over for the Boilermakers, they can make a statement this week at home against the Buckeyes.
24. Michigan State (4-1)…I might've gained more respect for the Spartans in the nail-biting loss at Madison then I did in any of their four wins.
My Heisman Ballot
Five Thoughts on the Cyclones
1. At the rate the Cyclones are piling up stats (specifically first downs) and turnovers, look for ISU to be among the surprise teams when the 2008 Phil Steele's College Football Preview comes out next June. Small consolation, for now, I know.
2. The new coaching staff's focus on the building of depth may mystify a lot of fans, but you're seeing why that's so important every time we trot out our horrific special teams. Over the years the Cyclones have consistently struggled in this area, and a lack of depth is a major reason why.
3. When Yogi Berra said almost 50 years ago that "half of this game is 90 percent mental" who guessed he was prophesying about the Cyclones.
4. I'm not sure how good we're going to be next year, but with the unveiling of the sleek and sharp new uniforms I know we're going to look good. Willie Mays Hayes would be proud.
5. I'm running out of things to say, can't you tell? The gauntlet continues this week in Lubbock.