Ouimet's Top 25 (week 13)

Michigan is #5 in both AP and Coaches' Polls, but #8 in the BCS Poll. Where does former staffer Mark Ouimet put them?

In the BCS Michigan slipped behind Texas (#5), TCU (#6) and Tennessee (#7). Tennessee has the BCS edge on U-M due to strength of schedule, TCU because of ‘no losses', and Texas because of the ‘computer poll segment' of the BCS. Here's the "Ouimet Poll."

1. Oklahoma – They Sooners thumped Texas A&M and have separated themselves from the rest of college football as the best. Even one loss at this point and they will still get into the BCS Title game. QB Jason White had another great day completing 16 of 18 for 263 yards and 5 Touchdowns, so look for another 70 point victory this week against Baylor! I will feel sorry for the team that plays the Sooners in the Title game.

2. USC – A throttling of Washington State two weeks ago keeps them in the number two position while being idle this past Saturday. QB Matt Leinart is leading this team, while the defense continues to play solid schemes all year long. Look for a huge win this week against Arizona and than a close one against UCLA in two weeks.

3. Ohio State – They took care of Michigan State at home, while finally putting some points on the board against a decent team. Purdue this week at home shouldn't be a problem for the Buckeye's as long as they can win the time of possession battle in this game and put pressure on QB Kyle Orton. Forcing the Boilermakers into mistakes and keeping the Tiller attack under control will be very important in the horse shoe this week. QB Craig Krenzel must have a good game, while the defense must bring home another win as they look down the road to the Michigan game.

4. LSU – With QB Matt Mauck and WR Michael Clayton leading this team offensively, the defense has been rock solid and steady all year long. Two weeks to prepare for Alabama and a great defensive line to attack this Tide offense on the road should get the Tigers another victory. In two weeks the defense will get a huge test against Mississippi and QB Eli Manning. Look for LSU to make a run at the SEC Title!

5. Michigan – The Wolverines didn't play a game this week, but were very fortunate with four teams losing ahead of them to move them up in the poll. A very important road game with Northwestern is in the future where the Wildcats will try to spread it out on Coach Herrmann's defense and attack his defense in many different ways. The Wolverines are facing a team with a good running back, while the quarterback has the option to check plays at the line of scrimmage and force the defense into odd situations. It will be an interesting test for the Wolverines, but they should be prepared and able to travel home with a victory.

6. Georgia – With both losses coming in the SEC league play the Bulldogs need this victory at home against Auburn this week. QB David Greene must improve on his two past games of average play. They need him to lead this offense against the Tiger defense that plays hard all day long. This will be a test for the Bulldogs, but a loss here and they can forget about any title hopes.

7. Texas – Coach Brown as brought this team back to respectability with a huge victory against Oklahoma State. Now they must prepare for a wild offense that the Red Raiders will bring to Austin as they Longhorns will have to find a way to defend QB BJ Symons. Look for another outstanding performance from the Longhorns, but will they outscore Texas Tech in this shootout?

8. Washington State – The Cougars are trying to make a run at the PAC Ten title, but USC must falter in the process. QB Matt Kegel must continue to put some points on the board and they should be able to do that this week against the Sun Devils. Back into the top ten and should be able to stay here until the big game against Washington.

9. Tennessee – QB Casey Clausen had a good enough day to get the job done on the road in the Orange Bowl. Coach Fulmer has this team back into the Top 10 and in the process intercepted QB Brock Berlin twice to secure the victory. Look for an easy win this week against Mississippi State, plus a Vanderbilt and Kentucky should give the Volunteers a good chance for title hopes in the SEC.

10. Purdue – The Boilermakers handled Iowa at home in sound Tiller fashion with a good game plan for QB Kyle Orton, but don't look for a long stay in the Top 10 as they travel to Ohio State this week. The Boilermakers will have to find a way to move the ball against the Buckeye's while doing that without any turnovers will be a hard feat from an outstanding defense. Look for a loss, which will drop the Boilermakers out of the Big Ten Championship picture.

11. TCU – Not in the Top 10 yet, because they need to improve their defense this week to earn that accomplishment. A big game this week at home against Cincinnati will let us know again how good the Horned Frogs can be in this conference. They escaped a close on at home against Louisville and look for another close one this week as they try to secure a BCS bid.

12. Nebraska – Losses to Missouri and Texas put their backs against the wall, but they responded with a win against Kansas. It doesn't get that easy this week as the Cornhuskers will host Kansas State. The Cornhusker defense must find a way to stop the duo of QB Ell Roberson and RB Darren Sproles or they will find themselves with another loss. This game will be close and might be an upset!

13. Virginia Tech – Two losses in the past three weeks in conference play as the Hokies praying for some help to get the BCS bid out of the Big East. A tough loss on the road to the Panthers wasn't without the effort of RB Kevin Jones who ran for 241 yards in the process, but wasn't enough to overcome the offensive display Pittsburgh put on the Hokie defense. Look for a bounce back win against Temple, who is a laughing stock in college football.

14. Miami – Back to Back losses to Virginia Tech and Tennessee has a Quarterback change a possibility for the Hurricanes. With the home winning streak of 26 games coming to an end look for the Hurricanes to bounce back this week against Syracuse and make it through a game without any turnovers. They need to get back on track and get TE Kellen Winslow to focus on football not the officials. Look for Coach Coker to get the Hurricanes to play its best game of the year in a big win at home against the Orangemen.

15. Florida State – A bad loss for Coach Bowden to his own son Tommy who has been under pressure. This loss to Clemson has put some pressure on the Seminoles as they must win this week against North Carolina State to win the ACC Title. It will be a great game against the Wolfpack and I would expect this game to be high scoring affair as QB Philip Rivers will try for an upset on the road in Seminole land. This is an important game to win, because the Seminoles close their season with the Gators.

16. Pittsburgh – A great win against Virginia Tech this past weekend where WR Larry Fitzgerald had over 100 yards receiving and QB Rod Rutherford played a great game. They are now leading the Big East, but must go on the road this week against West Virginia where the Mountaineers also play well. Look for a tough and close contest this week for the Panthers, which they must play outstanding defense and not look ahead to the Hurricanes.

17. Mississippi – Undefeated in SEC league play this Rebel team controls its own destiny to the Championship game. A great win against Auburn on the road in what some people think they should have come out of there with a loss. They might have left Auburn with a loss, but QB Eli Manning continues to deliver victories and puts enough points on the board to win. Remember this is a team that is playing with their backup running back after McClendon was suspended by the school during this investigation. The Rebels now have two weeks to prepare for LSU, which will be at home and is a very important game for the SEC picture.

18. Minnesota – Three wins in a row for the Gophers as they beat Wisconsin in a close game, but needless to say a victory. They will face a tough task of traveling to Iowa and facing a Hawkeye team that is coming off a loss to Purdue. This game will is a necessary game for the Gophers and bowl positioning for themselves, since it is their last game of the season. Look for Coach Mason to have an outstanding game plan for this one.

19. Florida – Both QB Chris Leak and Coach Zook have brought this team back, focused, and on a mission. A good win against a bad football team in Vanderbilt has the Gators taking care of their own business in hopes they might still have a chance in the SEC race and without a doubt the Gators are the best three loss team in the country. If this team doesn't win the SEC title I feel bad for their bowl opponent, because they will take all anger and frustration out on that team. Look for a good solid team effort on the road against the Gamecocks and Coach Lou Holtz!

20. Iowa – Turnovers is the cause to the Hawkeye's three losses, plus an overall bad start in the Purdue game on top of QB Nathan Chandler's interception. Coach Ferentz must deliver a win this week against Minnesota in the corn fields of Iowa or the Hawkeye's will fall out of the Top 25. I would expect a good attack with a lot of RB Fred Russell in a win at home against the Gophers. The one exception would be if the Hawkeye's are unable to stop the running attack of the Gophers. This game will be some good old fashioned Big Ten Football.

21. Miami (Oh) – This team is without a doubt the best team in the MAC and look for them to move to the Championship game with only one non-conference loss. They just beat Bowling Green in a solid team effort and now will play Marshall on National TV in Oxford, Ohio, so look for this team to stay focused as they make a run at the Motor City Bowl. Their only loss on the year is to Iowa, while beating Northwestern, Cincinnati, Colorado State, and Bowling Green. It only helps when you have the best Quarterback in the country in Ben Roethlisberger as you travel closer to the MAC Championship.

22. Northern Illinois – RB Michael Turner had another great day in the MAC in the win against a bad Buffalo team. He has 253 carries for 1,305 yards and 10 Touchdowns, while averaging 5.2 yards a carry this season. He is the backbone of this Huskie team and look for him to lead this team against Toledo on the road this week. They need to win this game to have a shot at the title game!

23. Boise State – A high scoring game against BYU on national TV, while the defense came to play as put them into the Top 25 for the first time since last year. Their only loss has come to Oregon State in a close one on the road, while QB Ryan Dinwiddie is having an outstanding year for the Bronco's. They host a bad UTEP team this week and should be able to put a lot of points on the Miners.

24. Michigan State – This team is reeling fast with Back to Back losses to Michigan and Ohio State, with next up Wisconsin on the road. The Spartans have fallen out of Big Ten contention and might fall right out of the Top 25 if they can't pull out a victory against the Badgers in Madison. QB Jeff Smoker gave all he could while completing 35 of 55 for 351 yards, but couldn't overcome the two interceptions and the Buckeye's.

25. Kansas State– They now have won four games in a row in the Big 12, with RB Darren Sproles carry the way. They now get to travel to Nebraska and with the duo of RB Darren Sproles and QB Ell Roberson back at full strength look for the Wildcats in a possible upset in Lincoln. This is a must win or the bowl projection isn't looking good for them. Look for a good day from the defense and LB Josh Buhl on the road!

Texas Tech – With back to back wins against Colorado and Baylor the Red Raiders will get in with a win against Texas this week, but without a win you will not see them again this year. With that being said they need to outscore the Longhorns in this Big 12 game, which is possible with QB BJ Symons running the show for the Red Raiders!

North Carolina State – Can QB Philip Rivers deliver an upset and stay in the Heisman race? The Wolfpack can stay in the ACC title hopes with a victory this week against the Seminoles or will fall out completely. This will not be easy on the road especially after the Seminoles lost to Clemson last week. They are going to have to out score the Seminoles and the defense must force Chris Rix to turn the ball over.

Arkansas – Three straight losses to Auburn, Florida, and Mississippi followed by back to back wins against Kentucky and South Carolina gets them closer but not in! QB Matt Jones and RB Cedric Cobbs still need to prove themselves in the SEC. This week will be easy with an out of conference game against New Mexico State, so only time will tell with this Razorback team!

Bowling Green – With three games left they need to bounce back from that tough loss to Miami of Ohio. QB Josh Harris has to get back on track and deliver a win at home against Kent State. The Falcons have three games left, so if they can win all of them and make a run at the MAC title who knows where this team might end up.

Southern Mississippi – They might be the best team in C-USA and we will find out in two weeks when they play TCU at home on National TV. They have a good defense and all three losses have come out of conference against California, Nebraska, and Alabama. So stay tuned as they warm up this week with Tulane at home!

Missouri – Three losses still keeps this team out of the Top 25, but if they can beat Texas A&M and Kansas State back to back they will be back into the Top 25. If they are do achieve this QB Brad Smith will have to play at his best both in the air and on the ground.

Oklahoma State – Coach Miles needs to get this team turn around after bad losses to both Oklahoma and Texas. The Cowboys now have three losses on the year and must win the last two against Kansas and Baylor to finish strong this year. All three losses have come to Big 12 opponents this year and they can't afford to lose another one.

Marshall – This is the same team that beat Kansas State in Manhattan, Kansas and now will have to travel to Oxford, Ohio. They will face the best Quarterback in the country on national TV, which is why the defense must show up just like it did against Kansas State.

Auburn – A loss to Mississippi doesn't help the Tigers, but a win against Georgia this week would help a lot! The biggest question of the year, is this team really that bad?

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