Ouimet's Top 25 (Week 4)

Both the AP and Coaches Polls have Michigan ranked 18 this week. Here's former U-M staffer Ouimet's poll – with explanations and outlooks for each team. Where does he place U-M?

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AP/Coaches Polls from ESPN.com

Here's the Ouimet Poll:

1. USC – Well the Trojans overwhelmed the BYU Cougars with a drubbing of 42-10, but in the process the Trojans were shut out in the first quarter for the first time in almost two years. It took them awhile to warm up but Quarterback Matt Leinart had a solid day completing 22 of 35 for 236 yards with two touchdowns in Provo, Utah. In the blowout win for the Trojans both RB's LenDale White and Reggie Bush had over 100 yards rushing, so it looks like this offense hasn't missed a beat from last years team as they are now 3-0, but will travel to Stanford this week. The Cardinals are a much improved team and also was able to blowout BYU, but the Trojans will over power them on both sides of the ball to win this game. The Trojans are a young team and this will be their first PAC Ten game this week up at Stanford so look for a very powerful running game that will win the time of possession and keep their offense on the field! This offense with QB Matt Leinart as the leader and offensive coordinator Norm Chow at the helm were able to out gain the Cougars 527 to 221 and look for this to continue this week as they try to defend their Pac Ten Championship! They continue to blowout teams they should blowout!

2. Miami (Fl) – The Canes just came off a huge win against the Seminoles and they didn't have a letdown as they were able to beat Louisiana Tech 48-0. The Hurricanes were able to hold the nations leader rusher to 81 yards on 14 carries with one fumble, but he did have 70 yards on 7 attempts in the first quarter. The Canes might have the best defense in the country as they are able to make adjustments very easy to stop the opponents strengths week in and week out. The Hurricanes led 34-0 at the half as Brock Berlin was 10 of 14 for 122 yards on the day. Coach Coker has done an outstanding job and is one of the best coaches in the country as this team is prepared every week to take on their opponent. The Canes now travel to Houston to take on the Cougars and will be on the road the next two weeks as they finish that stretch up with Georgia Tech. Look for the Canes to win the ACC Championship and to play at home for the National Championship game!

3. Oklahoma – Another victory, but like I stated not by as many points as the first two games. The Sooners are off to a running start this season, but no one would have imagined it would be with a Tailback that is a freshman as they are now 3-0 after a 31-7 victory over the Ducks in Norman, Oklahoma. RB Adrian Peterson is stealing the show from QB Jason white has he ran for 183 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns as it was his third straight 100 yard game. Quarterback Jason White was 17 of 23 for 213 yards and a touchdown as the Sooners were able to put the Ducks away! The Sooners now have a week off before they will take on Texas Tech at home. The Red Raiders are a team that improves every week as the season progresses, so it is good time for the Sooners to have a bye week!

4. Georgia – The Bulldogs don't seem to win by many but do find ways to win as they win again against Marshall 13-3. The Bulldogs defense once again played well as the offensive showing needs to improve as the Bulldogs will get week off before their game at home with LSU. It is a good thing that the Georgia Bulldogs have a great defense or this team would 1-2. This is a team that will rely on the defense to win games, but to win a Championship in the SEC you are going to need your offense eventually. QB David Greene didn't play particularly well again, but was 17 of 30 for 209 yards, while they were able to control the clock in the effort of helping the defense out. Coach Richt as done an excellent job putting this team together and we are going to find out how good this team really is when they play LSU and Tennessee in back to back weeks. The question for the Bulldogs if the defense can continue to hold up the pressure in delivering wins every week as they make a run at the SEC Championship. I do not think they will be able to maintain it all year long, so don't anticipate the Bulldogs in the National Championship 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 Heisman, but the biggest question will be if the Texas Longhorns are in the National Championship game come January?

6. West Virginia – The Mountaineers are 3-0 for the first time since 1996 as they just beat an ACC team in Maryland with a 19-16 overtime win! This team as to outstanding players in QB Marshall and RB Harris as they led this team to the first win in a couple of years over Maryland. RB Kay-Jay Harris rushed for 142 yards 32 carries after missing the second game of the season. He ran for 337 yards in West Virginia's opener and is making a push for the Heisman as the Mountaineers are making a run at the National Title game. Coach Rodriguez as done a nice job with this program and putting together an offensive unit. This week they will get a little bit of a rest as they will play James Madison in Morgantown, but will have to continue to prove themselves every week to stay in the Top 10.

7. California – The Bears were postponed this week by Hurricane Ivan as the game against Southern Mississippi was moved to December 4. The Bears are 2-0 and will now get another bye this week, so the biggest question will be how this team responds with two weeks off without a game? They are in the Top 10 and will travel to play the Oregon State Beavers on October 2. QB Aaron Rodgers is out to an outstanding start completing 31 of 42 for 474 yard and 3 Touchdowns. The offense is out to a great start as they were able to put up 40 plus points in there first two games. Coach Tedford is doing an outstanding job, but will have to get this team prepared to travel to Corvallis with a two week layoff!

8. Florida State – Hard to get excited for this win if you are a Seminole fan after that heart breaking loss to the Hurricanes last week. This was a boring game for Coach Bowden and staff but Chris Rix was able to get the ball to the playmakers to put some points on the board in this 34-7 victory. The Seminoles set the tone early with the opening drive of the game with their first offensive touchdown this season. The offense had the momentum all day, while putting 489 yards of offense and not punting until the fourth quarter. QB Chris Rix was 18 of 29 for 191 yards against UAB and the defense was playing great, dominating, and held UAB in the first quarter to only six plays and no first downs. This was a good showing for the Seminoles to get them in the flow after the loss to the Hurricanes. Now it is to the back to the ACC with a game at home against Clemson and this will be a family outing the Bobby Bowden son desperately needs to win, but won't happen as the Seminoles will roll again this week in Tallahassee!

9. Auburn – It took the Auburn two chances to kick the winning extra point as they were down 9-3 all day, but was able to capitalize on the opportunity to make the 2nd extra point and the victory of 10-9. QB Jason Campbell hit WR Taylor for a 16 yard touchdown pass with less than two minutes in the game, but this Tuberville team is a different team than the Tigers of the past. The past Tuberville teams would not have kept fighting to win this game or the field position, but this team is something special that Tuberville as been waiting for down in Auburn, Alabama. They were able to play this game even that Hurricane Ivan came close by, but with the Hurricane's now over and Citadel there next opponent the Auburn Tigers are going to make a run at the SEC Championship!

10. Purdue – They are the best team in the Big Ten and had bye this past week to rest up after scoring 50 plus points in their first two games. Now the Boilermakers will travel to Illinois to take on the Illini in a rivalry game. The offense is in high octane mode with Heisman candidate and Quarterback Kyle Orton. He is having an outstanding year and has completed 39 of 56 for 616 yards and 9 Touchdowns, while the Boilermakers beat teams they way they should. The defense is playing at a higher level than most thought after losing a lot from last year and look for the train to keep moving for the Boilermakers has the Big Ten drive is starting this week. With three road games in a row at Illinois, Notre Dame, and Penn State it will let us know not only the focus of this team, but also if they have the will to push through to win a Big Ten Championship!

11. Wisconsin – The offense rallied in the fourth quarter as RB Booker Stanley ran for a career high 135 yards on 30 carries as the Badgers pulled out a win over Arizona in Tucson. A win on the road for the Badgers is always positive since they are used to that home crowd at Camp Randall. This was a much improved Arizona Wildcat team that took the field, but they still lack some of the critical execution down the stretch. Let's not forget this game was delayed for 90 minutes and the field was drenched, so it was hard for both teams to get their footing. This defense is playing well and has given up a total of 16 points in three games, while giving up six to Central Florida, three to UNLV, and seven to Arizona. Can and will this defense continue the outstanding start as they will play host to Joe Paterno and Penn State?

12. Ohio State – The Buckeye's are winning the close games again as they have the best field goal kicker in the country in Mike Nugent as he was five for five against North Carolina State in the 22-14 victory. Let's not forget the 55 yard field goal he booted the week before to beat the Thundering Herd. The Buckeye's only managed 137 yards offense as Quarterback Justin Zwick finished the game 10 of 21 for 73 yards, but the defense was able to control the line of scrimmage and dominate the field position in this game in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Buckeye's went on the road and won, which is hard for a lot of teams to do especially with a young team on offense. They now will travel to Chicago this week to take on Northwestern Wildcats, so look for another great week out of the defense. When you probably have the best linebackers in the country you are able to attack the other team and fight for the field position type of games that will give you a chance to win in those close games! Look for another win and a great defensive effort!

13. Utah - The Utes were able to handle the rival in easy fashion this week as they racked up 441 in total offense against Utah State to go to 3-0 on the year and now are approaching the Top 10. QB Alex Smith was 9 of 12 for 163 yards, while on the defensive side they were able to hold Utah State to 48 yards rushing and to 295 total yards on the game. Coach Meyer has this program rolling and this team is always excited to play every week as the Utes come out smoking in every game, which is why this is the third game in a row they have won. The Utes now will face the option offense of Air Force which will put their defense is some stressful situations and we will really find out how good this Utah defense is this week. If Air Force can win the line of scrimmage offensively and get the option attack to work affectively this will be a game for the Utes. Look for another win as they slowly approach the Top 10.

14. Tennessee – The bye week ended up being exactly what the Vols needed to prepare for the Florida Gators as they continued its rotation of the two Quarterbacks. The Volunteer offense seems to function well even though Coach Fulmer looks to use both Ainge and Schaeffer. Erik Ainge was 16 of 24 for 192 yards with three touchdowns, but did have one interception as Schaeffer was 3 of 4 for 40 yards. The two Quarterback system seems to work for the Volunteers and Coach Fulmer you can probably look for it again this week as they play host to Louisiana Tech. Louisiana Tech is coming of a big loss to the Hurricanes and will try to get one of the best running backs in the nation on track, so the Volunteer defense needs to come up big in stopping the run. Look for another week of two Quarterbacks and for a huge day out of the offense!

15. Florida – After watching their first game against Eastern Michigan it was evident that it would be a close one up in Knoxville. Coach Zook has now lost to the Vols in back to back years, so this is only going to get the fire back on his shoulders, but don't look past the Quarterback Chris leak who made his first appearance in Neyalnd Stadium. He was outstanding in the game while completing 22 of 31 for 286 yards on the day, but Coach Ron Zook must get this team back focused as they will play Kentucky and Arkansas in consecutive weeks at home. This are must win games for the Gators if they think they have any chance at the SEC Title. Coach Zook can not afford to lose either of these next two games or it will feel like another Hurricane is coming through Gainesville, Florida!

16. Virginia – The Cavaliers dominated again this week in the game against Akron 51-0 as the defense is doing a great job on the year with field position and turnovers. Coach Al Groh has a Quarterback and a Running Back now as they prepare for the ACC Championship run as Lundy rushed for 142 yards on 22 carries against Akron. QB Hagans was 16 of 25 for 148 yards as the Cavalier's are out to a 3-0 start, which is the best start in the last 6 years. In this 3-0 start the Cavalier's have beaten now beat Akron, Temple, and North Carolina, so there is still some work to do against a quality opponent. We will find out soon, but this week they get a very average team in Syracuse. Look for another win before we get back to ACC competition. This is a good team, but isn't a great team!

17. LSU – The Tigers have lost their first game this year, but were nearly saved by another extra point. Coach Saban has been in two tough games this year with his team and LSU's kicker Ryan Gaudet missed the kick after a touchdown in the opening drive and after that drive the offense couldn't get anything in the end zone from there. The Tigers are going to have a hard time now defending the National Title, but the only way now is to win the SEC Championship. This was the first of four games that the Tigers were to face as they were making the run at the SEC Title, but now they must win them all as it will get easy for one week with Mississippi State at home. After the home game its back on the road to Georgia and Florida, so Coach Saban is in gut check time with these Tigers. Will they be able to win the SEC? I don't think so, but let's just hope they can stay in the top 25 in three weeks from now!

18. Memphis – Another victory on the road for the Memphis Tigers as they beat Arkansas State 47-35. They are now headed on the road again this week as they will take on UAB, which makes them on the road for their third of four games this year. They struggled a little this week, but did put up 21 unanswered points as the Tigers are trying to win the Conference USA this year for the right to play a Bowl game at home. QB Danny Wimprine had his best game of the year completing 22 of 41 for 356 yard and three touchdowns, while RB DeAngelo Williams was able to rush 31 times for 144 yards. They are a great combo for the Tigers and will put a lot of pressure on their opponent's defenses this year. Look for continued success this week on the road again!

19. Fresno State – The Bulldogs are off to a great after beating Washington, Kansas State and now Portland State in a 27-17 victory. The game was never in doubt, but didn't play to the level of the first two games of the season. The Bulldogs can't perform like this every week in conference or they will get beat on a regular basis. The Bulldogs are now in the Top 20, but need to keep this ranking by playing high level football with intensity every week. The Bulldogs are unbeaten heading into the Western Athletic Conference Schedule, but will travel to Louisiana Tech after a bye this week. The Bulldogs also have a bye the week before they will play Boise State, so the schedule is very favorable for Coach Pat Hill's team this year. The Bulldogs have a very affective running game right now and the offensive line is doing a wonderful job blocking up front, which is allowing them to control the game and the time of possession. QB Paul Pinegar completed 13 of 25 for 142 yards, but did throw two interceptions against Portland. He is having a good year and is one of the reasons of the success the Bulldogs are having. Look for more good things out of this team, but the game against Boise State could be for the Championship.

20. Oklahoma State – The Cowboys have played well so far this season and won again this week putting 57 points on the board against SMU. RB Vernard Morency is putting together a great season for the Cowboys and with a bye this week they will be well rested for the Big 12 season that lies ahead of them. Coach Miles has put together a good program, but must continue to work on the passing game if he wants to challenge for the Big 12 Title in Stillwater, Oklahoma. After the bye the Cowboys will host Iowa State who is a team that is really struggling right now. So look for a great start from the Cowboys at the start of the Big 12 Season. Can they beat Oklahoma? Doubt it!

21. Arizona State – The Sun Devils didn't have a problem avenging last years embarrassing loss on the road, but routed the Hawkeye's with a 44- 7 victory in Tempe, Arizona. Quarterback Andrew Walter had a career day completing 31 of 43 for 428 yards with five touchdowns. Both wide receivers Hagan and Miller had over 100 yards receiving in a game that the Sun Devils beat the Hawkeye's in every phase of the game. The Sun Devils dominated the Hawkeye's and everyone talks about the Hawkeye defense, but there is not a question about who's defense showed up in this game as Arizona State had a 27-0 halftime lead. There is no question that the Sun Devils had last years game in the back of their minds, while playing with passion and emotion throughout this game. We now know that the Sun Devils are much tougher team not just physically, but emotionally as well. Now the Sun Devils need to keep up the intensity defensively, while a hungry Oregon State team comes to Tempe 0-2 on the year. Look for another Sun Devil victory as this team is one of the hottest teams in the country!

22. Michigan – The Wolverines survived in this game against the Aztecs and Mike Hart was able to bring the Michigan running game back on the table. This was an escape win as the San Diego State kicker missed two field goals to help the Wolverines to victory, but the Aztecs did play their guts out on defense and showed all that last years game against Ohio State was not a fluke! The Wolverines now will get Iowa at home this week, which is a revenge game for the Wolverines after losing back to back games to the Hawkeye's, so they are going to need RB Mike Hart to step up with another 121 yard day on 25 carries like he had against San Diego State. Remember this kid is a freshman and it will be tough for him to run like this all season, but fortunately this year's Hawkeye team isn't as good as the last two years we played them. This is a very weak offensive team for the Hawkeye's and should struggle to put some points on the board all year in Big Ten play!

23. Iowa – There were signs of this coming when the Hawkeye's barely got by against a very bad Cyclone team last week. The Hawkeye's could not get any offense going against the Cyclones and this week on the road against the Sun Devils it continued. Quarterback Drew Tate showed how young he really is completing 8 of 19 for 44 yards and one interception on the day. It doesn't help that the offensive line gives up four sacks and that the Hawkeye's didn't have a running game either. The Hawkeye defense never got off the plane and the Sun Devils had their way with this defense in the air all day long. This does not look good for the Hawkeye's as they now travel to the big house to take on the Wolverine's. This team is very over rated, does not have any kind of offense, and with the defense disappearing look for another loss this week!

24. Louisville – The Cardinals game this week on the road against Tulane was postponed due to Hurricane Ivan. Don't forget that the Cardinals did win their first two games of the year against Kentucky and Army, but now will travel to North Carolina this week to take on the Tar Heels. The Tar Heels are a struggling team as the Cardinals are playing no nonsense football and come focused to take on any team so far this season. You can forget about the Quarterback controversy they did have a couple of weeks ago and look for Stefan Lefors to take this job for the rest of the season! The Cardinals are a well coached football team that is well prepared for each opponent and look for another well rounded football game from the Cardinals this week! Can they win the Conference USA?

25. Virginia Tech – They are back into the Top 25 after winning against Duke 41-17 this past week. They are now 2-1 and the defense played well as they limited the Blue Devils to only 197 yards on offense. QB Randall played an outstanding game as he accounted for 231 of the total yards offensively, while completing 12 of 24 for 138 yards. The Hokies still have a ways to go but let's not forget that their only loss as come to the USC Trojans, while they responded well after that game against Western Michigan with a 63-0 victory. They now will take on another ACC opponent this week in as they will host North Carolina State who is coming of a loss to the Buckeye's.

Others to watch:

26. Southern Mississippi – A win at Nebraska, a bye against Cal, and now Tulane!
27. Boise State – Another solid win, but just not yet! BYU this week, a team that beat Notre Dame!
28. Minnesota – Typical non-conference schedule. Can they win a Big Ten game?
29. UCLA – A win at Illinois and Washington, now they get San Diego State in two weeks!
30. Alabama – Three wins in a row and now play Arkansas on the road with a new QB!
31. Nebraska – A win at Pittsburgh, a bye, than Kansas, so let's just wait a bit longer to see.
32. Arkansas – The loss to Texas is still stinging, but a win over the Tide will get things rolling!
33. Stanford – Could they really beat USC this week?
34. Maryland – How will they respond after a loss to the Mountaineers?
35. San Diego State – A must win this week against Nevada after a tough loss to Michigan!
36. Penn State – 2-1 on the year and travel to Camp Randall, so let's watch JoePa this week!
37. Boston College – Playing good defense, 3-0, and on the road at Wake Forest!
38. Missouri – A must win against Colorado and I think they will beat the Buffs!
39. Navy – 3-0 this year and now play Vanderbilt, Air Force, and Notre Dame in a row!
40. South Carolina – With one loss to Georgia, a must win against Troy this week!
41. Kansas State – A win, but still must beat Texas A&M and Kansas the next two weeks!

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