Ouimet's Top 25 (week 11)

The Wolverines are sneaking back towards the Top Ten in the AP and Coaches' polls. Where does former Michigan staffer Mark Ouimet put them going into the MSU game -- particularly relative to the Spartans?

1. Oklahoma – They held of Colorado this week and were probably looking forward to this week's game against Oklahoma State at home. This will be a big test for the Sooners and will let us know how QB Jason White will react in big games. Coach Stoops will have this team ready for this game!

2. Miami (Fl) – Coach Coker and the Hurricanes will have had two weeks to prepare for the Hokies, so I wouldn't image the Hurricanes dropping this game to them in Blacksburg. QB Brock Berlin must have a good day and look for an aggressive defense from the Hurricanes.

3. USC – An easy win against Washington looks like the Trojans will be ready for Washington State this week. QB Matt Leinart is playing well and must lead this offense against an average Cougar defense. USC has a good defense and should be able to stop this Washington State offense. Look for a well prepared Trojan team.

4. Florida State – They took care of Wake Forest this week and now travel to South Bend where QB Chris Rix led offense should be very successful. While the Seminole defense will not have a problem stopping this poor Irish offense. The Seminoles will move ahead with another victory and move closer to that ACC Championship when they travel to Clemson in two weeks.

5. Georgia – They won a close one at home against UAB, so they better get prepared for the Gators on the road. This will be a test to see how good the Bulldog defense really is and a test for QB David Greene as he will need to lead this team. They must score quick and first to get the Gators in a pressing situation where it will force QB Chris Leak into bad situations.

6. Washington State – A struggle against the Beavers in a close one at home. QB Matt Kegel made to many mistakes throwing the ball, but the Cougars were able to win this week. The road isn't going to get an easier this week with a game at USC. Washington State has to have a turnover free game to beat USC, but that probably won't happen. Watch for the Cougars to slip in the polls this week, because they are over ranked and remember this is the same team that lost to a bad Notre Dame team.

7. Ohio State – An easy victory on the road against the Hoosiers as them back into the Top 10, but must continue the success the offense had this week as we come down the stretch in the Big Ten. Will this average offense be able to help the Buckeye defense to the Championship? They travel to Penn State, so the winning streak should continue as they prepare for Michigan State in two weeks.

8. LSU – A big victory against Auburn this week and the Tigers continue to strive for that SEC Title. They will play Louisiana Tech this week at home, which is the same team that went up to Michigan State and won, so LSU must stay focused. Look for the defense to take over in this game and will deliver another victory for the Tigers.

9. Nebraska – Defeated a bad Iowa State team this past weekend and will get a better test against the Longhorns on the road this week. With their lone loss coming to Missouri the Cornhuskers can't afford another Big 12 loss, so the Blackshirts must deliver this week against Texas. The offense must have success earlier and put as many points on the board as they can as this game might be high scoring.

10. Virginia Tech – Another loss to West Virginia right before they play Miami again. Two years in a row with the same result the week before the Hurricanes doesn't say much for what will happen this week. This will be a tough task for the Hokies to beat Miami, but for them to achieve this goal they must score on Special Teams with a return or a block in the kicking game. Will the Hokies bounce back or disappear down the ranks in the Top 25?

11. Michigan State – They took care of Minnesota and the offense is putting some points on the board. With RB Jaren Hayes and QB Jeff Smoker both having good years the Spartans have the offense rolling, while the defense is establishing itself after last years struggles. Can the Spartan defense stop the Wolverine running machine? While Michigan has the defense playing well, can QB Jeff Smoker add to his stats of 2,070 yards and 12 Touchdowns?

12. Iowa – They took care of a pesky Penn State team with good solid Hawkeye defense. It will be an easy task this week at home against Illinois. Look for RB Fred Russell to have a huge day and add to those stats of 916 yards on the year. This will warm the Hawkeye's for back to back games with Purdue and Minnesota.

13. Michigan – A great game for the Wolverines against a good Purdue team. RB Chris Perry had a solid game with 28 carries and 95 yards, while Navarre was error free. The defense seems to be back, while the blitzing enabled to get pressure on the Boilermaker Quarterback. Look for more changes in the defensive coverage's and blitzes this week against Michigan State. Another important game against the Spartans, while a Wolverine victory will keep the fate of the Big Ten Championship in their hands as they move through the Big Ten schedule.

14. TCU – A close call this week on the road against Houston, but another victory. Can this Horned Frog team maintain their ranking when they play Louisville next? It will be a huge test for Coach Patterson's team and the Cardinals will not be a push over like some of their opponents. If they win this game, can they make a push for a BCS bid?

15. Oklahoma State – A good road victory for the Cowboys against Texas A&M, while QB Josh Fields continues to lead this team. They now get the biggest challenge of the year against the Sooner this week on the road. Can Coach Miles and the Cowboys stop the winning streak of Oklahoma? Remember they only have one loss to Nebraska and have beaten the Sooners in years before. The team that circles the wagons defensively will win this game.

16. Texas – A must win for Coach Brown and the Longhorns to stay in the Big 12 Title hunt. They dominated against Baylor this past weekend and must try to out score the Cornhusker this week, which they should be able to do with RB Cedric Benson and WR Roy Williams. If the Longhorns can put their young Quarterbacks in successful positions throughout the game they should give Nebraska a major challenge.

17. Tennessee – They had tough back to back losses to Auburn and Georgia, but the Vols bounced back with a great win on the road in 5 OT against Alabama. QB Casey Clausen did an outstanding job in that game and looks like he might be back to his normal form. The Vols have an easy game this week against Duke at home before they get to travel to Florida and a date with the Hurricanes. So keep a close watch and see if the unthinkable can happen.

18. Bowling Green – QB Josh Harris answered the call and defeated Northern Illinois, but this road doesn't get an easier with road date with Miami of Ohio next Tuesday. The Falcons have to establish the tone right away and control the line of scrimmage, because they need to be mistake free and win the time of possession in this game against Miami of Ohio. It will be a tough task and a very loud stadium. With the only loss coming to Ohio State plus the wins against Purdue and Northern Illinois the Falcons will jump up further in the ranks with another win.

19. Purdue – A very poor effort against Michigan where the Boilermakers were dominated in every phase. This offensive line looked terrible and they are now in a must win against Northwestern this week. Look for them to bounce back, but keep your eye on this team to see how good they really might be after all.

20. Minnesota – They took care of Illinois and they get another easy game against Indiana. This team we will have to wait on until they play Wisconsin and Iowa in the next following weeks to see how real they really are. Let's just keep an eye on them, because they can be real good or real average, but usually can run the football.

21. Mississippi – Early losses to Memphis and Texas Tech have kept them out of the Top 25 for a while, but good wins against Florida, Alabama, and Arkansas. Look for QB Eli Manning to continue the success and win this week against South Carolina while the Rebels are the frontrunners now in the SEC. A date next week with Auburn will let us know how good this Mississippi offense really is!

22. Florida – Haven't played in a couple weeks, so will Coach Zook have this Gator team ready for a tough task against Georgia. It will be a great test for QB Chris Leak against this Bulldog defense, so they must put this youngster in some good situations where he will be successful. Any turnovers and this game could be over quickly, which the Gators must win to stay in the Top 25.

23. Northern Illinois – Loss to Bowling Green on the road is why the Huskies have fallen. They now must bounce back against Ball State at home, which they must win to stay in the Top 25. Will Coach Novak be able to get his Huskie team in the right frame of mind to play this game?

24. Miami (Oh) – With their lone loss coming to the hands of Iowa and wins against Colorado State, Northwestern, and Cincinnati this is a good football team. They have the best Quarterback in the country and now host Bowling Green next Tuesday. With QB Ben Roethlisberger running the offense and with seven game winning streak they are the real deal. Look for a great game on national TV in the MAC in Oxford, Ohio!

Missouri – Two losses and a win against Texas Tech doesn't get them in yet. QB Brad Smith had an outstanding game and is 124 of 206 for 1,192 yards with 8 Touchdowns. What is even more impressive is Mr. Smith rushing stats also, so can the Tigers and QB Brad Smith continue the success on the road at Colorado.

UCLA – They are almost in with a win against Arizona State, but must beat Stanford on the road to get in the Top 25. The bad loss to Colorado is still keeping them out. So stay tuned and if they keep winning and stay in the PAC Ten race they will be back.

Auburn – With the loss to LSU it drops the Tigers out, but two back to back wins against Louisiana-Monroe and Mississippi will get them in the Top 25. They need to find ways to score more points and must do it fast before they fall out of the SEC title hunt.

Arkansas – Three tough losses to Auburn, Florida, and Mississippi, so Coach Nutt is in a must win on the road against Kentucky this week. QB Matt Jones and RB Cedric Cobbs must find a way to deliver a win.

Louisville – Keep an eye on this team with only one loss on the year to South Florida and a win against TCU would get them in the Top 25. They are a good football team and might be the best football team in C-USA, so let's just watch this conference showdown soon.

Pittsburgh – Two bad losses to Toledo and Notre Dame will keep this team out until they can win this week on the road against a decent team. They should be able to handle that with QB Rod Rutherford and WR Larry Fitzgerald.

Kansas State – They have just beaten a very average team in Kansas and now must take care of Baylor and Iowa State before they get back in the Top 25, which they should be able to do with QB Ell Roberson running the show.

Wisconsin – A tough loss to Northwestern this past weekend drops them out all together, but now needs to find a way to beat Minnesota on the road in two weeks. They need to get back to basics on defense and stop the run.

Georgia Tech – They just beat Maryland plus with Duke and North Carolina coming up the next two weeks they might be able to crack back into the Top 25.

Boise State – They have only lost to Oregon State in a close game and will probably win the WAC Championship. They have a good offense and Quarterback with a decent defense to go with it. This team might be able to get in soon or after the bowl game if they can beat someone.

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