Ouimet's Top 25 (week 12)

With Michigan sneaking back into the Ten Ten in the AP and Coaches' polls, and with the season reaching its climactic games, it is more informative than ever to read former U-M staffer Mark Ouimet's poll -- which includes not only the 'where' of the rankings, but also the 'how, why, and what's coming up'!

1. Oklahoma – They Sooners took care of Oklahoma State with another good game for QB Jason White while completing 12 of 28 for 199 yards and 2 Touchdowns. The defense did another outstanding job, while WR Mark Clayton and WR Brandon Jones had combined 10 catches for 185 yards with 3 Touchdowns to show as the Sooners destroyed the Cowboys. The Sooners shouldn't have any problem this week with Texas A&M and the road to the Big 12 Championship doesn't look too hard.

2. USC – A throttling of Washington State jumps the Trojans into the number two position. QB Matt Leinart had another good game while completing 17 of 31 for 191 yards and 3 Touchdowns. QB Matt Leinart is playing well and led this offense against an average Cougar defense. USC has a good defense and has two weeks to prepare for a terrible Arizona football team. It looks like we have our National Championship match up now.

3. Florida State – They took care of a bad Irish team, while QB Chris Rix was 17 of 31 for 327 yards and 3 Touchdowns. He didn't have the greatest day with 3 interceptions, but the Seminoles defense didn't play its best game either. They travel on the road this week at Clemson, so look for another big win in the ACC.

4. Ohio State – They won a close one on the road at Penn State and came from behind at half. QB Craig Krenzel couldn't make it through the game, but McMullen was able to pull off a come from behind win. As the defense is carrying this team through the Big Ten they will get another test this week at home against Michigan State.

5. LSU – They play as a team and they win as a team! Now they get two weeks to prepare for Alabama, which won't be easy on the road against the Tide. A solid win in blowout fashion against Louisiana Tech at home this week, but must remain focused as they move that much closer to the SEC title game. Coach Saban and the Tigers have bounced back after that heart breaking loss against Florida as they move closer to winning that title.

6. Virginia Tech – A great home victory against the Hurricanes in blowout fashion, but too bad that they over looked West Virginia the week before. They would be sitting pretty at number two, but a bad loss on the road last week. They now must win out and hope for a West Virginia loss to get the Big East automatic bid to the BCS. This is a good team that needs to focus in to achieve its goal of a Championship. Good defense this week, but can they keep it up for the remainder of the season?

7. Miami (Fl) – Coach Coker and the Hurricanes were embarrassed in Blacksburg. QB Brock Berlin played a terrible game and the offense didn't show up in this game at all. The Hurricanes obviously were over ranked and unprepared for this game. They better get it together quickly as Tennessee is coming to town this week. Look for a good solid week of practice and a bounce back win against the Volunteers. The biggest question will be who will the quarterback that leads this team on the field this week?

8. Iowa – An easy victory against the Illini and RB Fred Russell had a good day with 23 carries for 94 yards plus 2 Touchdowns. The Hawkeye's are coming back from the loss to Ohio State and now must prove it on the road against Purdue. This game will separate the Big Ten race and let the Hawkeye's know where they stand in the bowl picture. This will not be an easy task against the Boilermakers.

9. Michigan – Can you say domination by the offensive line and RB Chris Perry! Chris had 51 carries for 219 yards and 1 Touchdown, with the carries breaking the school record of 42 in a game. He will be back in the thick of things in the Heisman race, but Michigan must win two more games against Northwestern and Ohio State. They have a bye, which should give them a rest and get CB Marlin Jackson back into play for Northwestern game. Four straight victories and in control of their own destiny for a trip to the Rose Bowl!

10. Georgia – Probably the best two loss team in the country with those coming to LSU and Florida by a total of ten points. This season doesn't get any easier with Auburn up next in another defensive game. QB David Greene needs to get the offense going in big games and find more ways to get some points on the board.

11. Texas – QB Chance Mock and QB Vincent Young are making a great combination. The Longhorns have made a comeback after being destroyed by Oklahoma and now must travel to Oklahoma State to take on the Cowboys. The Cowboys also are coming off a bad loss to the Sooners, so the Longhorns will not have an easy task on the road. They must play good solid defense to stop Mr. Woods and error free on offense, which means no interceptions.

12. Washington State – Turnovers and Special Teams is why they could not get it done against USC. Another loss on the season, but must bounce back against UCLA at home to stay in the PAC Ten title hunt. QB Matt Kegel needs to lead this team

and score a lot of points quickly this week against the Bruins to stay in the PAC Ten race. 13. TCU – They remain unbeaten and now will have a tough task against Louisville at home. The Horned Frogs must continue to win this week as they try to sneak into the BCS hunt. They have a lot of work, but Coach Patterson must beat the Cardinals to have that chance. This will not be any easy task with Louisville and Cincinnati in back to back weeks.

14. Nebraska – Losses to Missouri and Texas have dropped the Cornhuskers out of the Big 12 title race, but they must bounce back against Kansas. Both losses have come on the road so it is very important to have a good game on the road against the Jay hawks. QB Jamal Lord must lead this team in the air and on the ground while delivering some points early in the game. The Cornhuskers can not afford another loss!

15. Tennessee – Not an impressive win against Duke, but it appears that they were over looking the Blue Devils for the Hurricanes. This will not be an easy game as the Hurricanes just were up upset against Virginia Tech. QB Casey Clausen needs to get this offense going and when the get in the red zone they must score. The Volunteers can not settle for field goals on the road this week against the Hurricanes.

16. Michigan State– A tough loss to the Wolverines, but that is what happens when your running game in nonexistent in the Big Ten. The defense scored once and when in the red zone couldn't punch it in the end zone. QB Jeff Smoker and this defense must shut down Ohio State on the road. The Spartans are now in a must win situation to stay in the Big Ten race and for Big Ten bowl positioning. This will be a tough way to bounce back, but is a must for the Spartans!

17. Bowling Green – They are in back to back MAC games of the week with this one on the road against Miami of Ohio. QB Josh Harris needs to dominate this game and keep QB Ben Roethlisberger off the field. This should be a high scoring affair and with 10 days to prepare the Falcons should have the offensive unit rolling down the field. A must win to stay in the Top 25 and the chance at the MAC title. A loud and sold out stadium will not be an easy task!

18. Purdue – They have beaten Northwestern and now face Iowa at home as we move into the deep part of the Big Ten season. A bad loss to Michigan still hurts this Boilermaker team, but will regain itself as a contender if they can beat the Hawkeye's. They can not afford the effort they gave against Michigan both offensively and defensively, so they need to bring their best effort of the year as a team

19. Minnesota – Two back to back wins against Illinois and Indiana aren't going to move you up in the polls much after heart breaking losses to Michigan and Michigan State. A very important game this week against Wisconsin, which will be a very physical game. Both teams will try and run the football with the one that dominates the trenches will win this game.

20. Oklahoma State – This high powered offense could not get going against the Sooners who dominated this game from the beginning. The Cowboys need to get their three main play makers going early and must win against Texas at home this week. Another loss will be devastating and drop the Cowboys out of the Top 25. Coach Miles and company need to find a way to win this football game!

21. Mississippi – A high scoring affair for the Rebels and QB Eli Manning has they took care of the Gamecocks at home this week. They are still undefeated in the SEC and control their own destiny, but must find a way to improve the defensive effort in winning the title. They now travel this week to play the Auburn Tigers before they get a bye. QB Eli Manning is having an outstanding year and they need another high scoring effort this week.

22. Florida – The best three loss team in the country, while beating LSU, Arkansas, and Georgia in the last three games. This team gets an easy game this week against Vanderbilt. With QB Chris Leak now in charge of this team and the defense playing well the Gators still have a chance to play in the Title game. Keep a close on the Gators as this SEC race pans out!

23. Northern Illinois – Loss to Bowling Green followed by a big win against Ball State keeps the Huskies in the Top 25 and an outside chance in the MAC title game. They now must win out which includes a game with Toledo, but first a road date with Buffalo. It is going to be a close finish in the MAC, so keep your eye on this team as the season comes to an end.

24. Miami (Oh) – 3-0 at home and Bowling Green coming to town in a sold out Miami of Ohio Stadium. QB Ben Roethlisberger is having an outstanding year and we will find out who has the best Quarterback in the country this Tuesday. Big win against Colorado State, Northwestern, and Cincinnati shows that this team is for real! Look for another victory in Oxford for Miami of Ohio.

25. Pittsburgh – Two bad losses to Toledo and Notre Dame kept this team out for awhile, but a good victory on the road against Boston College they have made it back. Now it doesn't get any easier with Virginia Tech this week at home. QB Rod Rutherford and WR Larry Fitzgerald need to have career days to beat the Hokies in this game. Another loss the Panthers will drop out of the Top 25 and out of the Big East title run.

OTHERS:
Missouri – Two losses and a win against Texas Tech doesn't get them in yet. QB Brad Smith must deliver in a game on the road at Colorado this week. Brad Smith is 124 of 206 for 1,192 yards with 8 Touchdowns with even more impressive stats on the ground with 851 yards rushing. An important game this week as they will finish with Texas A&M and Kansas State.

Auburn – The loss to LSU is still bugging the Tigers, but a huge win against Louisiana-Monroe a huge offensive output with 73 points. Now they must get ready for Mississippi and find a way to stop QB Eli Manning.

Arkansas – Three straight losses to Auburn, Florida, and Mississippi still is bothering Coach Nutt and keeping them outside the Top 25, but a good overtime victory for the Razorbacks against Kentucky on the road. They have a short week as they get to play South Carolina who can score some points when needed.

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. If RB Eric Shelton can have a 100+ yard game against the Horned Frogs the Cardinals might be able to pull this one out, so let's just watch this conference showdown and enjoy it!

Boise State – With the only loss to Oregon State by two points this team is really good and will probably win WAC Championship. QB Ryan Dinwiddle had a great game against BYU as they destroyed the Cougars on national TV. They now get to host UTEP at home, so look for another win as they move closer to the Top 25.

Kansas State – They just took care of an average Baylor team, but with three wins in a row they are back on track. This week they have Iowa State on the road before they finish up with Nebraska and Missouri.

Wisconsin – Back to back losses to Purdue and Northwestern these Badgers need to get back on track against Minnesota in the Metrodome this week. It will be a tough task and the team that controls the line of scrimmage will win this game.

Georgia Tech – They had a bye this week to prepare for Duke and North Carolina in the next two weeks. The Yellow Jackets are probably the second best team in the ACC, but Florida State is in the lead for the Championship and is almost sealed!

Marshall – This is the same team that beat Kansas State in Manhattan, Kansas and now will have a bye to prepare for Miami of Ohio in 10 days. Keep an eye on this team as they will have to stop one of the top Quarterbacks in the country.

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