Mark Ouimet's Top 25 (Week 6)

Readers reacted strongly to former U-M staffer Mark Ouimet's ranking last week, but Saturday's games vindicated him! How does he rank them this time?

1. Oklahoma – Manhandled UCLA at home with DB/PR Antonio Perkins stealing the show with 3 Touchdowns and 277 yards returning punts. The Sooners have a bye week, so they will be number one next week again while they prepare for a road date with Iowa State.

2. Miami (Fl) – Canes keep cruising through the schedule with an easy victory at Boston College. They also have a bye this week to prepare for a Thursday date with West Virginia and the showdown in three weeks with Florida State.

3. USC – The Trojans QB Matt Leinart is just as impressive as Carson Palmer so far this season. Coming off of a bye this past week they will travel to California this week and try to establish the tone of the game right away, so they can control this PAC Ten race.

4. Ohio State – They haven't lost to an instate rival since 1921 and the streak continues. RB Maurice Hall had a great game with over 100 yards rushing, but the defense is bringing home the victories. Look for an easy win at home against Northwestern, and the offense should put some points on the board this week.

5. Virginia Tech – Another home test versus UConn, but with RB Kevin Jones delivering this past week with 188 yards, it looks like the running game as awoken and will survive this game as the Hokie offense continues to have success.

6. Florida State – Heisman candidate in QB Chris Rix delivered another win at home against Colorado and travel to Duke this week. Look for a blowout on the road this week and as they will have two weeks following this game to prepare for the Hurricanes, which will have a major impact for the National Championship.

7. LSU – Played a great game against Georgia and the defense handled the challenge the whole game, which they should since they probably have the best Defensive Line in the country. They travel to Mississippi State, who is 0-3, so this one could get ugly in Starkeville.

8. Tennessee – Dominating the second half and a great Hail Mary right before the half, the Volunteers got out of Florida with a great victory against the Gators. They host South Carolina this week and look for QB Casey Clausen to have a big game against the Gamecocks.

9. Iowa – They just beat a good Sun Devil team at home and now travel to East Lansing. Look for RB Fred Russell to put back to back good games together as they handle the Spartans on the road.

10. Georgia – A tough road loss to LSU and against one of the better defenses in the country. QB David Greene needs to step it up in two weeks at home against Alabama, since they have a bye this week.

11. Oregon – This team as an all around team effort from the defense, special teams, quarterbacks, and the running backs. A solid effort and well deserving of this ranking, so watch out in the PAC Ten. The Ducks host Washington State at home and now you will see why the Cougars aren't in my top 25 after this game. QB Klemens and QB Fife have not thrown an interception in 120 attempts.

12. Michigan – A tough road loss against the Ducks, where Special Teams caused the most problems in the loss with way too many mistakes. The offense made a comeback against Oregon in the second half and this team never quit. They will get the running game going this week and look for a blowout win against a bad Indiana team, with the Hoosiers having one of the worst defenses in the Big Ten.

13. Nebraska – They had a bye week as the Cornhuskers prepare for Southern Mississippi on the road this Thursday. If the defense can continue an overall team effort and keep fighting there way to the ball you can look for another victory.

14. Arkansas – The Razorback offense and QB Matt Jones are going to have to come up big on the road against Alabama. The Tide and Coach Shula are coming off of a tough loss to Northern Illinois, which should make them hungry for an upset on their home field. Can QB Matt Jones and RB Cedric Cobbs deliver two big wins in a two week span?

15. Texas – A good bounce back win against Rice. They host Tulane this week, so look for another high intensity team effort. Look for the same from RB Cedric Benson and WR Roy Williams who both played well against the Owls.

16. Kansas State – They were upset at home against a good Marshall team and it is obvious they are a different team without QB Ell Roberson. They have two weeks to get prepared for Texas and this defense will come out fighting. It looks like QB Ell Roberson will be back for the Longhorns, but stay tuned.

17. Pittsburgh – A must win at Texas A&M this week after a tough loss at Toledo. QB Rod Rutherford and WR Larry Fitzgerald are going to need to score a lot of points for this win on the road. Larry, being a Heisman candidate, should be able to deliver on this uphill task to lead the Panthers to victory.

18. Missouri – QB Brad Smith keeps getting it down for the Tigers and this guy knows how to win. He has a total of 9 Touchdowns through the air and running. They play a much improved Kansas this week on the road and are going to need to score close to 40 to win again.

19. Purdue – After dropping the opener at home against Bowling Green they have bounced back and look for another win this week. QB Kyle Orton will deliver another victory against a bad Notre Dame team.

20. Florida – Most people are down on this team but remember they have lost to Miami (Fl) and Tennessee, which are both in the top 10 last I looked. They play at Kentucky this week, so Coach Zook is going to have to get them ready to fight back to stay in the Top 25.

21. TCU – This team has played Tulane, Navy, and Vanderbilt, so to say the least they haven't played anyone yet. They are a good solid team but just can't move them into the top 20 until they beat someone who is competitive. They play at Arizona this week, so do look for much movement from the Horned Frogs.

22. Washington – QB Cody Pickett and WR Reggie Williams have answered the call with two wins over Indiana and Idaho. The only Husky loss has come from the Buckeyes, so they deserve to get back into the top 25, but stay tuned with Stanford and UCLA right around the corner.

23. Wake Forest – They have beaten Boston College, North Carolina State, and East Carolina so far this season with a loss to a good Purdue team. We are going to find out about the Deacons real quick because they go on the road to play the Cavaliers, so it's make it or break it time for Coach Grobe.

24. North Carolina State – This is a good team and will stay into the top 25 if they keep winning. They played a solid game all the way around against Texas Tech, so keep your eye on this team with the duo of QB Philip Rivers and RB TA McClendon.

25. Northern Illinois – With two big wins against Maryland and Alabama they are in the Top 25. The biggest question is if Coach Novak and RB Michael Turner can keep it going again this week at home against Iowa State.

OTHERS:

Arizona State – A tough loss at Iowa, but this team does not have time to sulk. The Sun Devils play at Oregon State, then at home against USC and Oregon. So we will find out where they belong in a hurry.

Washington State – They have beaten three decent teams and have lost to a bad Notre Dame team, so they must go on the road to play the Ducks. If they can go on the road and beat Oregon then they deserve to be in the Top 25, but I don't think it will happen.

Texas A&M – They played a good first half against Virginia Tech, but couldn't stop the Hokies offense or RB Kevin Jones in the second half. Not good enough to make the Top 25, but a win at home against Pittsburgh might get them in and that is doubtful to happen against the Panthers this week.

Oregon State – A good home win against Boise State, so watch out for the Beavers and their great QB Derek Anderson. If they could keep it going watch out for this team and Derek has the numbers to make a run at the Heisman if the Beavers continue to win. He is 68 of 146 for 1,199 with 5 Touchdowns. Let's just wait and stay tuned.

Minnesota – This team has beaten four losing teams so far and is about to play losing team number five in Penn State, so until they beat someone with some talent they will stay below.

Notre Dame – They are just a bad football team and this will be the last time you will see the Irish unless we have a major upset at Purdue this week.

Bowling Green – With QB Josh Harris they are never out of a game, but they need to put back to back weeks against CMU and WMU before I can get them back into the Top 25.

Wisconsin – They have lost to UNLV, which knocked them out, but this is a team that can sneak up on some people so will have to wait on the radar screen for this Badger team.

Syracuse – Only loss coming to Louisville and with Toledo coming to town will RB Walter Reyes get on track out of the gate against this Rocket defense.

Toledo – Two great wins against Marshall and Pittsburgh, now have a big game this week against Syracuse on the road. They need to put one more together before they get in, because of that bad loss to UNLV.

Virginia – A big game against Wake Forest and they might have QB Matt Shaub back, so stay tuned and you might see an upset.

Oklahoma State – Another win and they have the talent to beat anyone, so with only one loss to Nebraska stay tuned. They have a bye week, but this team will get fighting until they get back into the Top 25.

Louisville – The Cardinals are a good team in beating Kentucky, Syracuse, and UTEP so far this year. They host Temple this week, but keep your eye on them as they keep winning. You will know why they are winning when you see former Florida State running back Eric Shelton running the ball for the Cardinals.

Miami (Oh) - This is the sleeper team in the MAC with the lone loss coming to Iowa. They have beaten Northwestern and Colorado State, both on the road. They have a first rounder at Quarterback when he decides it is time to declare, so stay tuned to this team with a big game against Cincinnati this week.

Air Force – The best team in the MWC and a good QB, but they must win at BYU and Navy before I will put them into the Top 25. Two good road tests!

UConn – The best independent team in the country and another win against Buffalo. If they can put something together and beat Virginia Tech, they are in the Top 25.

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