Ouimet's Top 25 (Week 5)

Michigan is still #18 in the Coaches Poll, and fell to #19 in the AP Poll.<br><br> But – there is only one poll with EXPLANATIONS – the Ouimet Poll! Here is the latest from former U-M staffer Mark Ouimet.

[From ESPN.com: Coaches and AP Polls]

The Ouimet Poll

1. USC – When you go on the road in any conference you will always face a scare and that is exactly what happened for the Trojans this week against Stanford. The Trojans gave up an 82 yard run play for a touchdown right before the half, but the Trojans came out fighting and were able to overcome the 28-17 deficit to win the game. Quarterback Matt Leinart led the Trojans in the comeback passing for 308 yards, while WR Steve Smith caught 8 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown. The defense gave up 291 yards in the first half and they made some good adjustments at the half as they only gave up 36 after the half. Well the Trojans will get to rest after this scare as they will have a bye this week to prepare for the Cal Bears who gave the Trojans their only loss last year! Get ready for a great game in two weeks and what will the new wrinkles be for offensive coordinator Norm Chow!

2. Oklahoma – With QB Jason White having a very sound year and the emergence of freshman RB Adrian Peterson the Sooner offense is out to another good start at the beginning of the year. This is a very sound football team that is well coached at every position and as the Big 12 conference play starts this team is without a question the favorite. They had a bye last week and it was well needed as the Red Raiders of Texas Tech are coming to town. The Red Raiders are playing solid football, but with the Sooner defense coming with the right frame of mind they should be able to shut down this spread offense of the Red Raiders. One more thing is that the Sooners can't look past Texas Tech, because they do play Texas in two weeks. Can the Sooners stay focused and come with their "A" game? Look for Coach Stoops to have a hard week of practice and look for a conservative approach to this game, but another win!

3. Texas – The Longhorns are out to a great start this year as they rolled over Rice 35-13. Senior Tailback Cedric Benson is having fun and putting together a great season so far as he had 189 yards on 20 carries. Coach Mack Brown has this team running in the right direction and even QB Vince Young is playing well, but with Cedric Benson this team offensively is really seeing the field, running the ball with power, and blocking well. The Longhorns are playing like a team on a mission and Cedric Benson is leading the way, while the offense was able to grind out 339 yards on the ground. The Longhorns will now get Baylor this week before the big game on October 9, 2004 when we will find out how real this Texas team really is!

4. Miami (Fl) – The Canes went out west to Texas and came home with a 38-13 victory against the Houston Cougars. It was a very poor performance for QB Brock Berlin and was a very disappointing passing game. This team has a lot of work still to do in the passing phase of the game, but Tyrone Moss was outstanding with 148 yards on 19 carries. Coach Coker needs to get this offense working like a machine and not looking shaky at time as Berlin was sacked seven times while making poor decisions. Defensively they were pushed around at time by the Cougars and if they are thought to be a national contender they better step it up a bit. The Hurricanes need to get back to basic both offensively and defensively as they travel to Georgia Tech this week. They can't look past any team this year as they are trying to play for the Title in January at home!

5. Georgia – The Bulldogs had a bye this week and are ending up with two weeks to prepare for the LSU Tigers, so how prepared will Coach Richt have his Bulldog team this week. The good thing for the Bulldogs is that the game is at home, but defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder better show up with a good game to prevent the athleticism of the Tigers from getting out of control both on the ground and in the air. This game will be a field position game that will rely heavy on the special teams to help them win that battle. This game should be a tight one and might come down to the field goal kickers and remember that Coach Richt in the past has trouble in big games. The question will be has he learned from past lessons of managing the clock and how to prepare his team for the big game? Will they come in with a good defensive game plan and will Quarterback David Greene be able to put enough points on the board? That entire question will be answered soon, but one thing is for sure it will be a close game and Coach Saban will bring out all the stops!

6. West Virginia – The Mountaineers hosted James Madison this week and came out with a 45-10 victory, but it was a lackluster win for the Mountaineers. The running game never got out of the box and QB Rasheed Marshall was forced to throw the ball most of the day completing 17 of 22 for 184 yards. The defense is what showed up in this uninspired victory and came up with enough big plays to lift West Virginia to Victory. The Mountaineers can't afford to go through the emotions from here on out and most play with more emotion or Coach Rodriguez will have tough times ahead of him! It is tough to come of a victory in Overtime against Maryland and knowing that you ply Virginia Tech after James Madison, so a victory is a victory for the Mountaineers. Now they will travel to Blacksburg and play in their first tough road game of the year. If the Mountaineers can win a tough game on the road it will let us know what the future might hold in Morgantown!

7. California – The Bears game against Southern Mississippi was canceled and now travels to Oregon State on the road this week. Oregon State is coming off a tough loss to Arizona State and now are in a must win situation to stay in the Pac Ten race. The biggest question will be if the two weeks to prepare for this game will help or will the Bears come out rusty? Coach Tedford is a great coach and I expect a well prepare game plan this week as they will travel in back to back weeks with the following game in Los Angeles against USC. They can not over look the Beavers as the Trojans game is within 14 days, so staying focused is the key not only on Saturday, but throughout the week! Look for a win on the road and we will see one outstanding game in two weeks for the PAC Ten Championship!

8. Florida State – Coach Bowden lost one Quarterback in Chris Rix, but has found another in Wyatt Sexton and now has a Quarterback controversy in Tallahassee, Florida after completing 17 of 26 for 162 yards in the 41-22 victory. Coach Bowden will have a tough week at practice trying to figure out which one to start this week against North Carolina, but I do expect to see both Quarterbacks next week. Also, this week for Coach Bowden they need to work on special teams after gibing up two kickoff returns for touchdowns and an NCAA record 282 yards on six returns, so look for a lot of special teams practice this week and well prepared for North Carolina. QB Chris Rix sprained is right ankle in the first quarter and now not only his Coach Bowden excited about Mr. Sexton, so are the Seminole fans and is mostly due to his 0-5 record to the Hurricanes. This was also a tough week for Coach Bowden has he beat his son and now he has lost three straight games, which will put him back on the hot seat. The Seminoles are going to need some help in winning the ACC this year as they need some upsets on the Hurricanes. This is a good team and might not win their league unless the Hurricanes fall twice!

9. Auburn – The Tigers are undefeated after taking care of Citadel in a 33-2 win in Auburn, Alabama. Now Coach Tommy Tuberville has to get his team prepared to travel on the road to Knoxville to take on Tennessee who is a team picking up some steam after starting the season at home with three straight wins. Against the Citadel QB Jason Campbell was able to throw 11 of 14 for 194 yards, while RB Williams had 22 carries for 95 yards n the win. It is obvious that the Auburn Tigers had the Vols in the back of their mind on Saturday, while playing a little sloppy and turning the ball over. Auburn was able to out gain The Citadel with 593 yards to their 169 and leading the game 23-0 at the half. It is very important for the Tigers to get out to a great first half in Knoxville and try to get some points earlier in this SEC Match-up of the week. This game will affect the SEC Championship and is a must win for both teams, but for the Tigers it could be a tough one on the road this week up in Knoxville!

10. Tennessee – The Vols have found a Quarterback in Erik Ainge has he threw three touchdown passes while completing 10 of 15 for 198 yards, while Brent Schaeffer played in a minimum role in this game. Not only to Coach Fulmer find a Quarterback, but running back Cedric Houston was able to run for 160 yards and adding two more scores in the 42-17 over Louisiana Tech. The Vols are starting the season with four straight home games on now will get Auburn at home before they have to travel to Georgia the following week. The Volunteer defense must continue to improve as they have lost starting middle line backer Kevin Simon to a season ending injury. They also struggled to slow down Louisiana Tech's RB Ryan Moats who is the nations leading rusher at 198.3 yards a game. A big game in Knoxville this week and must continue a great start to the 2004 season. Look for the Vols to win again in Knoxville this week against Auburn!

11. Purdue – Quarterback Kyle Orton completed 32 of 50 passes for 366 yards and was not intercepted for the third straight games. He has done a great job leading this Boilermaker offense, while Stubblefield finished with 11 catches for 115 yards. The Boilermakers have now won their eight straight Big Ten opener and have the best quarterback in the Big Ten this year. QB Kyle Orton completed 12 passes for first down against the Illini as they were able to get a 38-30 victory on the road, while he did an outstanding job orchestrating and executing the Boilermaker offense. If the Boilermakers face another team that plays man to man without any zone help the will feel the pain that QB Kyle Orton and this Joe Tiller team will deliver. With the first of three road games over in the win against the Illini, the Boilermakers now will look for continued success against Notre Dame and Penn State as neither team has great depth at corner. The Boilermakers have the best offense in the Big Ten without a question, but how good are they overall?

12. Wisconsin – The badgers lost their two top backs, but 270 pound fullback Matt Bernstein saved the day with a career best 123 yards rushing in the 16-3 victory over Penn State. The Badgers are 4-0 and down to their fullback as their tailback after Booker Stanley who left the game with a turf toe injury. Look for the Badgers to return Bernstein back at fullback very soon as they hope to Davis back in the line up soon! The Badgers were able to pull of the victory at home against the Lions, since they couldn't get muster any kind of offense during the game. Next team to come into Madison, Wisconsin is the Fighting Illini of the University of Illinois. This is a team that did all they could this past week against Purdue and fell short. Look for an easy victory for Wisconsin as the Illini lost everything against Purdue and this loss is what will most likely send Turner packing.

13. Ohio State – The Buckeye's always find a way to win the game and are still one of four Big Ten teams that are undefeated as they head into conference play. They head into Evanston to take on Northwestern, which is a team that is not very good or very sound on defense. Look for the Buckeye's to dominate this game on both sides of the ball. QB Justin Zwick is starting to feel more comfortable back their in the pocket and the offensive line is starting to gel as they have found their tailback in Ross. Look for a better offensive effort than they had against North Carolina State, but the Buckeye's must stay focused because the big game against Wisconsin is in two weeks!

14. Utah - The Utes are out to their best start in 10 years and were able to hold off Air Force 49-35 on Saturday. Coach Urban Meyer has this team at full steam ahead and has an offense where the opposing defenses are having a hard time stopping them, especially when they don't know who to key on in this spread style offense. Quarterback Alex Smith completed 13 of 23 passes for 260 yards, whole also running 13 times for 84 yards. The Utah Utes did a better job defensively this year against Air Force than last year and it is hard to practice the speed of the option attack in practice, but Coach Meyer was able to slow Air Force down better this year compare to last years overtime game. The Utes now travel to New Mexico as the next five weeks will be a great test for the Utah as they will take on New Mexico, North Carolina, UNLV, and San Diego State. If they can stay undefeated through this stretch look for a top 10 ranking and a possible BCS bid!

15. Florida – The Hurricanes keep coming into Florida, so the Gators moved up the start time of the game with Kentucky and RB Ciatrick Fason was able to rush for a career high 210 yards and two touchdowns in the 20-3 win. QB Chris Leak completed 25 of 43 passes for 261 yards, but had a problem in the red zone with two of his three The Gators need to clean up some on offense and defense this week in practice as they get ready for Arkansas this week. Coach Zook needs to continue the winning streak after losing a week ago at Tennessee. The Gators now will host Arkansas and LSU you back to back weeks, so to get back into the thick of things in the SEC these two games are a must wins for the Gators or we might have another coach on the hot seat.

16. LSU – The Tigers are back to their style of football and Coach Saban is happy again has they poured it on in a 51-0 victory over Mississippi State. LSU was able to roll up 594 yards on the day as Coach Groom's team was unable to stop either the pass or the rush of the Tigers. The Tiger defense was back to their national championship style of last year as they had four interceptions, a recovered fumble, and a touchdown against Mississippi State. Last year the Tigers were able to force 33 turnovers and on Saturday were back to executing better, finishing the tackles, and not having any breakdowns. This game should give the Tigers the confidence they were looking for as they now travel in back to back weeks to Georgia and Florida with both games a must win for the Tigers in their SEC Championship run! It is going to come down to who wants the championship the most!

17. Virginia – The Cavaliers are now 4-0 after taking care of a team on the decline in Syracuse with a 31-10 victory. QB Hagans had a great day as he ran for two touchdowns and completed 11 of 12 passes for 202 yards. Coach Groh has done an outstanding job building this program and now has a Quarterback that has the ability to make plays not only in the air, but with his legs. The Syracuse Orangeman program has fallen and you will see a change after this season, but you can't have a defense out of position as much as the Orangeman on Saturday. The Cavaliers now have 10 days off has they will prepare for another program that is struggling in Clemson at home. The Cavaliers, like Tennessee had a great schedule to start the season and haven't played a good team yet. Let's wait as they will get the Seminoles in two weeks.

18. Louisville – The Cardinals offense is not the only game in town, but now the defense has two shutouts on the year with a 34-0 win against North Carolina. Louisville is now ranked 11th nationally by allowing 10.5 points a game, while shutting down North Carolina and their balanced attack. RB Eric Shelton was able to get the running attack going for the Cardinals has he had three touchdowns on the day and 86 yards. It seems that Coach Petrino is taking this program to the next level after John L. Smith departed to Michigan State. The Cardinals are gaining respect this year with wins against Kentucky, Army, and North Carolina. They now prepare for East Carolina, but in two weeks they will be playing against the Miami Hurricanes down in Florida. We will find out how good this Cardinal team really is in two weeks as they will go on the road again and play Miami.

19. Arizona State – The Sun Devils are off to their best start at 4-0 since they went 11-0 in the 1996 regular season after beating Oregon State at home 27-14. It was a tough game for QB Andrew Walter as he went 16 for 40 with 124 yards, but the Sun Devils did not have any turnovers in the game. When you don't make mistakes and the other team turns the ball over five times you are going to win the game. The Sun Devils are playing sound football and are one of the top teams in the Pac Ten. They now enter a four game stretch in their season that will shake out the Pac Ten race with four consecutive games against Oregon, USC, UCLA, and California with three of them on the road. The did suspend RB Loren Wade and lost their second tailback to an injury, so they need to find a tailback fast or their great start will end up on the short side. Keep your eye out for this team, because they are better than people think.

20. Oklahoma State – The Cowboys have played sound football, but have played three games with one of them against a good team in UCLA. OSU has only had one test so far with the other two games against SMU and Tulsa, so it's important to see how good this team will be as we get into Big 12 play. They will open conference play against Iowa State at home this week and keep your eye on tail back Vernard Morency has he is putting together a great season. The first test in conference play will be on the road against Colorado, so let's be patient and really see how good this team will be this year. Coach Miles had done an outstanding job building this program and look for another solid year from the Cowboys, but how solid is the question and can they beat Oklahoma?

21. Michigan – The Wolverines cashed in on five turnovers from the Hawkeye's as the beat Iowa 30-17. They are finding out that they need another Tailback to run out of the backfield with Mike Hart and this is the week they should be able to do that has they travel down to Indiana this week. The Hoosiers are giving up 222 yards a game on the ground and are not a good defensive team. The Hoosiers have improved on offense and on special teams, but are giving up too many yards on defense side of the ball and look for the Wolverines to also have success at that this week. In the process look for a second running back and the Wolverines need it to be David Underwood, so that they will finally have a back that can protect in passing situations. The Big Ten is down this year and Michigan needs to take advantage of this as the conference play is just underway. Let's not forget that the Wolverines do not play Wisconsin who probably has the best defense in the Big Ten. Quarterback Chad Henne is playing well and improving every week, which means Quarterback Coach Scot Loeffler is doing an outstanding job teaching this kid the game of football!

22. Fresno State – The Bulldogs are off to a great after beating Washington, Kansas State and Portland State, but now will travel to take on Louisiana Tech and the number one rusher in the country in Ryan Moats. This is a very important game for the Bulldogs and will give them an opportunity to get out to a good start in conference play. This team plays sound football and plays with intensity for four quarters, but needs to continue as they have had two weeks to prepare for this game. The offense is putting a good number of points on the board and the defense is winning the field position battle with their opponents and look for that to continue this week. Can't wait for October 23, which is the date of the Boise State game! Who is really the best team in the conference?

23. Maryland – Coach Ralph Friedgen was able to get his team to bounce back after the 19-16 loss to West Virginia with a 55-21 win against winless Duke in Durham, North Carolina. QB Statham had three interceptions in the game for the second consecutive week and was also charged with three fumbles, so they need to get some thinks shored up offensively this week in practice. QB Statham finished the game 22 of 37 for 362 yards and had 100 plays in this game, while getting 35 first downs in the process. Is it that Duke is that bad or is Maryland one sound football team offensively? Well it is probably a combination of both, but Maryland still needs to work on some things that we saw in the West Virginia game. They need to get rid of the turnovers and continue to control the 40 + minutes of time of possession they had this week against Duke. The Terps now have a bye to prepare for Georgia Tech, so look for a much improved team and a good solid game plan from Coach Friedgen in the game against the Yellow Jackets.

24. Arkansas – The Razorbacks are in the Top 25 after a solid 27-10 win against Alabama at home. This was the SEC opener and Coach Nutt has a young team, but a team that was put to a test and had some success this week. They won't be able to celebrate long, because it doesn't get any easier this week against Florida down in The Swamp! QB Matt Jones is the leader of this team and is out to a great start for the Razorbacks. The key for the Razorbacks is getting on the board first and giving the defense a lead, while trying to control the time of possession on the road down in the swamp. If they can take a lead into the fourth quarter they will beat the Gators, but the question is can they get that lead? Either way look for Coach Nutt to come with his best game plan of the year!

25. Minnesota – I've put every team in the Top 25 after they've beaten Northwestern this year, so why change it this week. I am doing this with caution, because this is the same type of Minnesota football we've see in the past from the Gophers. They always will get out to a great start with the schedule, but every year falter as they try to make their way through the Big Ten and don't look for anything to change this year. They even get a break without playing Purdue and Ohio State, but this is not a great football team. They have beaten Toledo (2-2), Illinois State (2-1), Northwestern (1-3), and Colorado State (1-3) on the year with their combined records are 6-9, so to say the least they should be 4-0. They host Penn State this week, who is a team that is at a loss with a Quarterback right now. We will really find out how good they are against Michigan or will we really find out how bad the Big Ten is this year?

Others to watch:

26. Boise State – Barely beat BYU and are they really the best team in their conference?
27. Stanford – Should have beaten USC, but with wins against Washington and Notre Dame.
28. Southern Mississippi – Tulane not a problem, now on the road at South Florida!
29. San Diego State – Will they really beat UCLA and are they the best team in their conference?
30. Nebraska – A must win against an average Kansas team this week at home!
31. Missouri – If they use QB Brad Smith the right way they will beat Colorado!
32. Virginia Tech – Two tough losses to USC and NC State, but doesn't get easy with WVU next!
33. South Carolina – Only loss is to Georgia and look for a win at Alabama.
34. Texas Tech – A much improved team as the season goes, but can they win at Oklahoma?
35. North Carolina State – Only loss to Ohio State, Wake Forest is up next. Wait and see!
36. UCLA – They are 2-1 and now a test with San Diego State, who is a good football team!
37. Notre Dame – Not yet, but a win against Purdue who knows? Don't anticipate that win though!
38. Navy – A huge game with Air Force this week, but might be the best independent team!
39. Memphis – Houston up next after a tough loss!
40. Uconn – Pittsburgh on a Thursday night than West Virginia following week.
41. Kansas State – Can't slip up against Texas A&M or Kansas the next two weeks.
42. Iowa – Back to back losses and will be at the bottom half of the Big Ten!

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