Ouimet's Top 25 (Week 3)

Both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Polls have Michigan ranked 17th this week. Where does former U-M staffer Mark Ouimet have The Wolverines ranked, and why?<br><br> Ouimet's Rankings: Rankings with Reasons!

1. USC – Another huge win for USC as they overpowered the Rams with a 49-0 loss, which happens to be the Rams most lopsided loss in eight years. First week for the Trojans it was Reggie Bush and this week it was Lendele White with 14 carries for 123 yards and 3 touchdowns with a long of 42 yards. The Trojans ran for 322 yards, which was the most since Ohio State in 1990, which is proof that the Trojans rebuilt offensive line is in good shape and will only improve as the season goes deeper into the year. QB Matt Leinart was 20 of 31 for 231 yards and two touchdowns as he helps his Heisman campaign again this week. Mr. Leinart has passed for two or more touchdowns in 14 straight games and the Rams didn't help themselves by committing six turnovers. The Trojans now travel to BYU you take on the Cougars and will continue there success again! Look for the match-up in three weeks that will decide the PAC Ten Championship against California!

2. Miami (Fl) – The Hurricanes have extended their winning streak over the Seminoles to six games and are now 1-0 in the ACC. It was an outstanding game in which FSU took a 10-0 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Hurricanes stormed back in Miami fashion with the help of another missed field goal that has defined this rivalry each year. The Hurricanes were able to score 16 straight points with QB Brock Berlin driving Miami down the field in 52 seconds on 5 plays for 80 yards. The Hurricanes had plenty of chances to win and are the better team, which is why they do continue to dominate this rivalry. The Hurricanes play hard for 60 minutes, pursue the ball, and play with passion on both sides of the ball. The defense kept the Hurricanes in the game and finally Brock Berlin and Company delivered with a big drives in the fourth quarter to win the game. Coach Coker is one of the best Head Coaches in the business and will prepare his team for the run in the ACC. The Hurricanes get a little of a break with Louisiana Tech and Houston, before they get back into ACC play! Look for a run at the National Title game!

3. Oklahoma – It was a Sooner show down in Norman, Oklahoma as the Sooners crushed Houston 63-13 on Saturday night. KR Antonio Perkins tied the NCAA record with his eighth career punt return for a score, while QB Jason White was in rhythm with the receivers completing 14 of 18 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns. The Heisman Trophy winner is out to a good start and shows the ability to scramble when needed and gets out of the pocket to make not only completions but plays. The Sooners took a 49-7 lead into halftime while scoring on their first seven possessions of the game. The Sooners are a well oiled machine that now will host the Oregon Ducks who just lost at home to the Indiana Hoosiers. Look for another victory, but not by as many points this week!

4. Georgia – The Bulldogs came back from a 16 point deficit to beat the Gamecocks 20-16. QB David Greene didn't play particularly well but two receivers did combine for 10 catches for 130 yards, while going 18 of 38 on the day. The Bulldogs turnovers is what kept South Carolina in the game and until the Gamecocks figure out how to close a team out for a win they will have trouble in the SEC this year! The Bulldogs might not blow teams out, but David Greene and Company always find ways to put the right amount of points on the board. Freshman running back Danny Ware had to leave the game after coughing up blood, but look for him back this week. The Bulldogs play host to Marshall who just lost to Ohio State in the Horseshoe on a last second field goal. The road doesn't get an easier for the Bulldogs with three home games against Marshall, LSU, and Tennessee. If they can win all three of these the Bulldogs just might be in the National Title game!

5. Texas – The Longhorns won in a hard fought 22-20 win in Fayetteville, Arkansas, which broke the Razorbacks 22 game winning streak against non-conference opponents at home. The Longhorns were able to put all their energy and revenge into this game remembering the upset in Austin when they lost to the Razorbacks 38-28. Arkansas was leading this years game at half 17-16, but the Longhorns were not going home with a loss if RB Cedric Benson had anything to do with it. It was evident as Cedric Benson rushed for 188 yards on 29 carries, while QB Vince Young was 11 of 22 for 150 yards on the night. Mr. Benson is putting a fine senior year together and you will find him with a seat in New York City for the Heismann, but the biggest question will be if the Texas Longhorns are in the National Championship game come January?

6. Florida – This was a great warm-up game for the Gators at home in Gainesville, Florida as they routed Eastern Michigan even though they came out slow against the Eagles. Coach Zook welcomed the Coach Genyk of Eastern Michigan to big time college football, but the Gators still need to improve this week before heading up to Knoxville to take on the Vols. The Gators let too many opportunities slip through their hands both on offense and defense. There were too many dropped ball, missed assignments, missed tackles, and broken coverage's, but Coach Zook will be able to correct these minor errors. It has been tough on the Gators with the Hurricanes canceling practice the last couple of weeks but look for a sharper team this week as they get to meet Tennessee in their first SEC Match-up! Quarterback CJ Leak must play well and continue to spread the ball out while putting points on the board to deliver a win up in Knoxville this week, but a loss here will most likely happen in Knoxville!

7. West Virginia – The Mountaineers got a scare when they lost running back Kay-Jay Harris early with a leg injury. Remember Harris had a Big East record of 337 yards rushing in the opener, but QB Rasheed Marshall had a big day completing 14 of 18 for 225 yards and four touchdowns, while running for another in the 45-20 victory over Central Florida this week. It doesn't look like Harris will be out long and should be back this week against Maryland at home. Coach Rodriguez has this team focused and improved between week one and two, which is always good to see out of any team. When you can continue to improve on your mistakes, either physical or mental, like West Virginia has done this year you know that the Mountaineers are a rock solid football team. The biggest question for the Mountaineers will be if they can finally beat Maryland? If they can get past Maryland they will make a run at the National Title game!
br> 8. California – The Bears are 2-0 and the fans are excited about their team in Berkley, California has the Golden Bears are in the Top 10. Cal took care of New Mexico State Saturday night 41-14, while QB Aaron Rodgers completed 20 of 26 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns. The Bears out gained the Aggies 353 yards to 96 yards in the first half, while finishing the game with 611 total yards. Running back JJ Arrington had another outstanding game running for 177 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries with the long being a 69 yard run. After two warm up games against Air Force and New Mexico State it doesn't get easy for the Bears this week as they will play nationally televised game on the road against Southern Mississippi. This Southern Mississippi team just came back with a victory after beating Nebraska 21-17. Coach Tedford has done an excellent job at Cal and look for more of the same this week even though they are on the road. This Cal offense is high powered and does have a decent defense to go with it.

9. Florida State – Postponing the game one week was a good choice by both schools, but for Florida State it was just putting off the inevitable, which is now six straight wins by the Hurricanes over the Seminoles. Coach Bowden had one bad week starting with the loss of a grandson and now another loss to the Hurricanes. The Seminoles had their chances to put Miami away in this game and just couldn't do it! Quarterback Chris Rix had a very tough day, just like the last four years and might not get another chance to beat Miami. Mr. Rix threw two interceptions on the day with completing only 12 of 28 passes for 108 yards on the day, while FSU lost the game 16-10. This was an ACC conference game for the first time in the rivalry, but it didn't change the outcome unfortunately for the Seminoles. They dominated the game for three quarters taking two turnovers and turning it into a 10-0 lead, but that is why the Hurricanes will continue the domination in this series with great defense and passion to win every game against the Seminoles. Florida State now will play UAB, but in two weeks will have another tough game with Clemson at home.

10. LSU – The Tigers were up 37-0 at the half against Arkansas State and won the game 53-3 looking like the National Champs of last year. The Tigers know they were lucking last week against Oregon State, but bounced back with a huge win as the offense had 461 total yards, while scoring on the first six possessions of the game. In that process RB Justin Vincent rushed for 102 yards on 13 carries for two touchdowns, while the other RB Joseph Addai had 95 yards on 7 carries. The Tigers will now get ready to play their next three out of four games on the road with the next one against the Auburn Tigers. This is the first test on the road in the SEC with many more tough games ahead of the defending National Champions!

11. Auburn – Another big day for RB Carnell Williams after running for 122 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Tigers in a 43-14 victory over Mississippi State, but he wasn't the only back to have success because RB Ronnie Brown also ran for 147 yards on a very poor defense. The Tigers were able to score on three of its first four possessions and had 283 yards rushing in this game, so I wouldn't imagine that Coach Tuberville will mess with the running game to much as they host LSU this week. The Tigers are off to a great start this year and are doing an excellent job running the football, so get ready for some smash mouth football this week in a great SEC Match-up that will separate the two teams as they try to make the run at the title!

12. Purdue – Not only are the Boilermakers the best team in the Big Ten, but they are bowling over their opponents in easy fashion with another 50+ point game with a 59-7 victory over Ball State. The leader of this team is Quarterback Kyle Orton who completed 23 of 26 for 329 yards and five touchdowns. The Boilermakers scored touchdowns on six of their seven possessions in the first half, while getting a field goal on the other possession. The offense is moving the ball at will with Heisman candidate Kyle Orton leading the charge, but it is the defense that is surprising everyone down in West Lafayette. The defense was the biggest question mark coming into the season after losing seven starters, but the Boilermaker unit is out to a great start by giving up less that 200 yards a game so far this season. The Boilermakers have the train moving fast in the right direction and will even be harder to slow down this week as they travel to Champaign to take on the Illini this week. Look for another win before they travel up to South Bend.

13. Wisconsin – The defense is playing well in Madison, Wisconsin and might be the best defensive unit in the Big Ten. Without star RB Anthony Davis, who was out with an eye injury, the Badgers had a hard time moving the ball but this year the Badgers didn't let the lack of offense cost them the game like last years game against UNLV. The Badgers will take the 18-3 victory and now will travel to Arizona to take on the Wildcats, but must find a way to get QB John Stocco and Company in the End Zone or they will have a lot of tough grind it out games in the Big Ten this year. Special Teams are out to a great start for the Badgers and were able to not only score, but to create great field position all day for the offense. Look for a better offensive production this week out of the Badgers as Coach Alvarez will focus on getting points on the board this week.

14. Ohio State – The Thundering Herd had a chance to knock off the Buckeye's but once again in a close game the Buckeye's escaped a possible loss in Columbus, with a 55 yard field goal by Mike Nugent to win 24-21. The Buckeye's have now won 13 of their last 14 games that have been decided by a touchdown or less. QB Justin Zwick was 18 of 30 for 31 yards and three touchdowns as WR Santonio Holmes had 10 catches for 218 yards and two touchdowns on the day. Quarterback Justin Zwick is coming into his own and the Buckeye's look like they have found their top wide receiver and tailback for the year. The Buckeye's have picked up right where they left off from last year and keep winning those close games. The Buckeye's did make some mistakes in this game, but look for Coach Tressel to correct those as the Buckeye's head down to North Carolina State in a tough road game against a good ACC team. This team has a lot of tough test ahead of them with road games against N.C. State, Iowa, Michigan State, and Purdue. Can they continue to play in close games and come out with the wins?

15. Utah - The Utes not only have beaten a Big 12 school, but now a win over a Pac 10 school after a 23-6 victory against Arizona in Tucson. This Utah offense is one solid unit that is led by QB Alex Smith who passed for two more scores this Saturday, while completing 12 of 22 for 170 yards. Coach Meyer is one of the best coaches in the business and has not only this offense rolling in the right direction, but the defense as well as they held the Wildcats to 6 points. The Utes are ranked in the Top 15 and have a very good chance of getting into a BCS game this year. If they can stay focused at the game at hand each week they will make a run at it, but first things first for Coach Meyer and his team. They will go on the road this week to Utah State, so look for continued success from the Utes.

16. Iowa – The Hawkeye defense smothered the Cyclones all day and is playing outstanding so far this season led by Linebacker Chad Greenway. Iowa State did miss three field goals down in Iowa City, Iowa as the Hawkeye's were able to sneak out with a win. The Hawkeye's were only able to manage 85 yards rushing behind its offensive line, but Quarterback Drew Tate was 16 of 22 for 220 yards and one touchdown. The Hawkeye's were able to play as a team, especially on defense where each player steps up at different times to make big plays throughout the game. The defense is going to need to play big next week as they travel down to the Southwest to take on Arizona State and Quarterback Andrew Walter. This will be a tough game on the road and doesn't get any easier with Michigan on deck in the Big House, but Coach Ferentz will have this team well prepared for these two upcoming weeks!

17. Memphis – Another win for the Memphis Tigers who won over UT Chattanooga 52-21 with RB DeAngelo Williams leading the way passing 100 yards rushing for the 12th straight game with 136 yards rushing and also was the leading receiver with 87 yards. QB Danny Wimprine finished the game 9 of 21 for 263 yards, but it was DeAngelo's day in record setting fashion and with four touchdowns to lead the Tigers in both receiving and rushing. Remember this team is focused this season as their goal is to play their Bowl game at home this year in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee. Do not forget that the Tigers skip playing TCU and do get Southern Miss., Louisville, and Houston at home. Keep your eye out on this team, because they could go undefeated as they play Arkansas State this week on the road.

18. Virginia – The Cavaliers dominated this game in Charlottesville beating the Tar Heels 56-24. The Offensive line was able to dominate the line of scrimmage and kept the Tar Heels reeling with scoring drives of 77, 68, 97, 79, 90, and 47 yards, while finishing the game with 549 total yards with 299 of those yards being on the ground. It is not looking good in Tar Heel land, but at the same time this Cavalier team is going to make some waves this year in the ACC. They dominated every phase of the game and created holes so big a train might have fit through them. Coach Groh is doing an outstanding job on both sides of the football and you will see continued success with Akron this week and Syracuse next week. Look for continued domination running the football and on special teams, especially when your defense is playing well too! Well coached teams tend to play well in games, so look for continued success for the Cavaliers!

19. Tennessee – A bye week for the Vols and they are resting up for the big game against the Florida Gators. You will still see the two freshman Quarterbacks that led the way for the Vols in the game against UNLV with the result being a 42-17 win. You will see both Ainge and Schaeffer in the game this week, which will mix it up on the Gators defense. If they can put some points up early on the Gators it will take the Gators out of their game plan and they will go into scramble mode while they try to get back into the game. The Gators do not like to play from behind, so it is very important for the Vols to score first. This will be an exciting SEC match-up that is happening early on in the year, so look for a well prepared Coach Fulmer team after having a bye week!

20. Michigan – They must be able to run the football to win the Big Ten Championship so look for a running game this week with a mixture of Mike Hart and Jerome Jackson against San Diego State. Special Teams and Turnovers are both very critical events that need to be improved. Defensively they need to attack the line of scrimmage and put the opposing team on its heels with different schemes, coverages, and blitz packages that will be effective pressure on the Aztec Quarterback and their running attack. Special Teams must come up with big plays and not give up big plays when this unit is on the field. The Special Teams should win the field position game for Michigan each week. Look for Head Coach Carr to get the running game back into full affect this week against San Diego State. And the Aztecs will be blitzing by bringing the kitchen sink, counter, and chairs so we must pick them up. Turnovers, Special Teams, and the running game are must wins in each football game! U-M must get over 100 yards rushing this week and I believe they will!

21. Fresno State – They didn't beat Kansas State they hammered them and dominated the line of scrimmage all day on both sides of the football. The Bulldogs are now 2-0 after wins at Washington and Kansas State with a 45-21 victory this week over another BCS conference team. Coach Pat Hill has done a tremendous job with this program and has the attitude that he will play any team anywhere. Fortunately the Bulldogs will get a break this week as they will take on Portland State before heading down to Louisiana Tech in two weeks. The Bulldogs defense was able to hold Kansas State RB Darren Sproles to just 37 yards on 11 carries as they dominated the Wildcats all game on both sides of the football by realizing that if you stop Mr. Sproles you stop Kansas State! Look for a focused Bulldog team all year to prove to everyone that they are the real deal this year as they will continue to rise in the Top 25!

22. Oklahoma State – The Cowboys played another solid game at home against Tulsa in a 38-21 victory. Coach Miles has built a program in Stillwater, Oklahoma and they know how to run the ball with Vernard Morency who had 29 carries for 184 yards on the ground. The offensive line is doing a great job, but still needs to find someone to throw the ball to once the Big 12 season starts. The Cowboys are going to start seeing teams putting 8 or 9 men in the box to stop the running attack, so it is important that Coach Miles gets the passing game into full affect. The game this week is against SMU at home so look for another high scoring game and a great game from RB Vernard Morency, but more importantly hopefully they will find a wide receiver in this game!

23. Arizona State – Wins against UTEP and Northwestern with Quarterback Andrew Walter out to a good start on the year completing 37 of 73 for 533 yards and five touchdowns. With a 35-21 win on the road against Northwestern they are in the Top 25, but the next few weeks isn't going to be easy with Iowa, Oregon State, Oregon, USC, UCLA, and California in consecutive weeks. If they can make it through those games with only one loss they will rise up in the polls. This is a much improved team that has all of their own kids in the program now from solid consecutive recruiting years and solid coaches to go with them. Look for a close game against Iowa, since Andrew had a tough time with the Hawkeye's defense last year. Remember the Sun Devils only had two points last year in Iowa City!

24. TCU – The Horned Frogs dominated the Mustangs from SMU 44-0 Saturday night after losing their starting Quarterback in the second quarter. QB Brandon Hassell completed 17 of 22 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns while handing them their 14th straight loss that continues the losing streak that is two behind Army now. Do we have a Quarterback controversy in Fort Worth, Texas? They already had one, so it will continue and you probably will see both of them throughout the season at different times. Back to Back wins for the Horned Frogs gets them in the Top 25, but to stay up here they must go on the road to take on Texas Tech this week!

25. Louisville – The Cardinals have won their first two games of the year against Kentucky and Army with this week's game against Army closing out with a 52-21 victory on the road. They now will travel to Tulane and North Carolina in back to back weeks so it is going to take a well focused team not to get distracted with the success and get upset. They had a Quarterback controversy at the start of the season, but Stefan Lefors has won the job and is getting it done without getting a lot of attention at the same time. The Cardinals are a well coached football team that is solid fundamental from week to week and I don't anticipate anything different in the next couple of weeks on the road.

Others to watch:
26. Virginia Tech – They beat Western Michigan 63-0, one more solid win, might do it!
27. Southern Mississippi – A win at Nebraska, so if they beat Cal on Thursday who knows!
28. Boise State – Wins against Oregon State and Idaho, one more might help!
29. Maryland – Wins against Northern Illinois and Temple, now West Virginia?
30. Georgia Tech – Upset Clemson on the road! Now travels to North Carolina!
31. Troy – Wins against Marshall and Missouri, but now a must win at South Carolina to get in!
32. Arkansas – A tough loss to Texas, but will have a chance if they can put some wins together!
33. Kansas – Everyone else beats Northwestern at home, wish they played Minnesota!
34. Minnesota – Two wins against Toledo and Illinois State, most over rated team in the country!
35. UConn – Could they really beat Boston College on the road?
36. Kansas State – Must wins the next three weeks, with two of them on the road!
37. Missouri – Ball State and Colorado, both at home are must wins!
38. Clemson – A loss to Georgia Tech in the last second knocks them out!
39. South Carolina – A loss to Georgia, but wins against South Florida and Troy might get them in!
40. Nebraska – A loss at home to Southern Miss, now travel to Pitt. Could be a long year!
41. Alabama – A win in two weeks on the road at Arkansas and they are in!
42. UCLA – A win at Illinois and now a win at Washington, who knows what is next for the Bruins!
43. Stanford – Can they really beat USC?
44. San Diego State – Michigan loss to Notre Dame, welcome to the Big House!


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