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Ed Bagley’s 2011 Final Top 25 Poll

Ed Bagley

What a year. College football in 2011 saw tons of scoring and very little defense. Only 1 undefeated team at the regular season’s end (LSU at 13-0). And for the first time ever, two teams from the same SEC West Division (#1 LSU and #2 Alabama) played for the BCS national championship.

Following is my Final Top 25 Poll for the 2011 season, and why I picked them the way that I did.

A couple of thoughts first. 1) All references to rankings in my poll are based on the Final AP Top 25 Poll and not the Coaches Poll or the BCS Standings. 2) In addition to won-loss records, I place a lot of importance on how teams played against other Top 25 teams during the regular season. 3) How did the team react under the bright lights, intense scrutiny, and pressure of their bowl game.

The fact that Houston, for example, ended the season at 13-1, had one opportunity to play a Top 25 team and lost against Southern Mississippi in the Conference USA championship game, and scored a big victory over an unranked Penn State team in its bowl game, does not impress me.

The fact that both the AP and Coaches Polls had Alabama #1, LSU #2, Oklahoma State #3, Oregon #4 and Arkansas #5 does not really influence me either.

Drum roll please.

1)  Alabama (12-1) – Fans can argue that Oklahoma State should have played LSU in the BCS title game, and the fact that the Cowboys had 3 victories against Top 25 teams before beating #7 Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl, but the Crimson Tide did lose to #1 LSU 9-6 in the regular season and sported an 11-1 record before meeting LSU for a second time. The point is, when given a second chance, Alabama shut out LSU 21-0 and made it darn clear who was the better team in the BCS title game. Oklahoma State may have run up 41 points on Stanford; it’s doubtful the Cowboys could have done the same against Alabama’s defense, which turned out to be the best in the nation in all 4 critical categories—rushing defense, passing defense, total defense and scoring defense.

2) LSU (13-1) – Is LSU the 2nd best team? I think this is also clear. The Tigers were the only undefeated team in the regular season that played 5 Top 25 teams and beat every one of them–#1 Alabama, #4 Oregon, #5 Arkansas, #17 West Virginia and #19 Georgia. No other team played and beat 4 Top 25 teams, and only two—Oklahoma State and Clemson—beat even 3 top teams during the regular season. LSU had a chance to go down as one of the greatest teams in NCAA history, but unfortunately, the Tigers really struggled in the BCS title game. LSU still had a sensational season by any other standard.

3) Oklahoma State (12-1) – The Cowboys only lost once, beat 3 Top 25 teams, and polished off #7 Stanford 41-38 in the Fiesta Bowl. While Oregon, Arkansas or Southern California could have been #3 on my list, each of these teams had only 1 win against other Top 25 teams.

4)  Arkansas (11-2) – The Razorbacks lost twice, to #1 Alabama and #2 LSU, and beat #15 Kansas State 29-16 in the Cotton Bowl. I doubt that either Oregon, Southern Cal or any other team would have fared any better against Alabama and LSU during regular season play.

5)  Oregon (12-2) – Oregon lost its first game of the season to LSU, and its second loss came against Southern Cal. The Ducks beat a physical Wisconsin team, 45-38, to win the Rose Bowl. Oregon’s no-huddle, hurry-up spread offense was something to watch. The Ducks also beat #7 Stanford on the road, 53-30.

6)  Michigan State (11-3) – Beat 2 Top 25 teams (#10 Wisconsin and #12 Michigan), and took down SEC’s Georgia 33-30 in the Outback Bowl. The Spartans had the 6th best total defense in the nation. No other team had at least 2 big wins against better competition, and that includes Southern Cal, Stanford, Boise State, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan and Baylor to name a few.

7)  South Carolina (11-3) – Beat 2 Top 25 teams and polished off #24 Nebraska 30-13 in the Capital One Bowl. Can’t put Southern Cal, Stanford or Boise State ahead of the Gamecocks because none of these teams had 2 wins against Top 25 teams, USC did not play a bowl game because of NCAA sanctions, Stanford lost its bowl game to Oklahoma State, and all Boise State could do was beat an unranked, mediocre Arizona State team in the Maaco Bowl.

8)  Wisconsin (11-3) – Beat 2 Top 25 teams, and did lose to #4 Oregon in the Rose Bowl, but only by a touchdown, 38-45. The Badgers lost to Michigan State during the regular season, but did beat the Spartans for the Big Ten title.

9)  Stanford (11-2) – Beat only 1 Top 25 team (#6 Southern Cal 56-48 in overtime), and did lose to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl, but only by a field goal, 41-38.

10)  Southern California (10-2) – Beat only 1 Top 25 team (#4 Oregon on the road 38-35), and was not eligible for a bowl because of NCAA sanctions. Should have played Oregon for the Pacific 12 Conference title, but was not eligible for that game either. At the end of the year, no one wanted to play USC, and for good reason—the Trojans may well have beaten any team in the country except Alabama or LSU.

11)  Michigan (11-2) – The Wolverines turned out to be one of the biggest surprises of the season. They were 7-6 last year and won 11 games this year, including 1 win over a Top 25 team (Nebraska), and a 23-20 Sugar Bowl victory over #21 Virginia Tech.

12)  Baylor (10-3) – The Bears had 2 wins over Top 25 teams (TCU and Oklahoma) and outlasted unranked Washington, 67-56, in the Alamo Bowl. Baylor, like Oregon, was all offense, led by the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner, Robert Griffin III (or RG3). Baylor had losses to Kansas State and Oklahoma State, both ranked teams, which is more than Boise State can claim, having played only 1 ranked team all year.

13)  Boise State (12-1) – Had 1 win over a Top 25 team and a 56-24 win over unranked Arizona State in the Maaco Bowl.

14)  Oklahoma (10-3) – The Sooners had 2 wins over Top 25 teams, and beat unranked Iowa 31-14 in the Insight Bowl.

15)  Southern Mississippi (12-2) – Beat #18 Houston, 49-28, for the Conference USA title, and then beat unranked Nevada, 24-17, in the Hawaii Bowl.

16)  Georgia (10-4) – Lost to Boise State, South Carolina and to LSU in the SEC championship game. Then lost to Michigan State in the Outback Bowl, but only by a field goal, 33-30.

17)  Nebraska (9-4) – Lost to Wisconsin, Northwestern and Michigan, beat Michigan State at home, and lost 13-30 to South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl.

18)  TCU (11-2) – Upset #8 Boise State and beat unranked Louisiana Tech by a touchdown, 31-24, in the Poinsettia Bowl.

19)  Kansas State (10-3) – Beat Baylor, but lost to Arkansas 16-29 in the Cotton Bowl.

20)  West Virginia (10-3) – Beat 1 Top 25 team, and clobbered #22 Clemson, 70-33, in the Orange Bowl.

21)  Virginia Tech (11-3) – One of 5 teams that did not beat a single team in the final AP Top 25 Poll. The others were Georgia, Houston, Florida State and Cincinnati. Lost to Michigan in the Sugar Bowl, but only by a field goal, 20-23.

22)  Houston (13-1) – Could not beat a Top 25 team, but did beat unranked Penn State 30-14 in  the TicketCity Bowl. Houston, with 13 wins, is a modest team with great stats, and much to be modest about.

23)  Florida State (9-4) – Could not beat a Top 25 team, but did beat unranked Notre Dame 18-14 in the Champs Sports Bowl after the Irish blew a 14-point lead.

24)  Cincinnati (10-3) – Could not beat a Top 25 team, but did beat unranked Vanderbilt 31-24 in the Liberty Bowl (please, stop laughing).

25)  Clemson (10-4) – The Tigers did beat 3 Top 25 teams during the regular season (including Virginia Tech twice), but lost to West Virginia 33-70 in the Orange Bowl.  Yikes, what an ending to Clemson’s season of hope.

I would be the first to admit that my last 8 picks are not really top caliber teams. You could argue that none of them should be in a Top 25 list of really good teams. However, it is a Top 25 list that I am picking. Maybe the caliber of teams will be better next year. If any of them learn how to play defense, that would be a start to improvement.

For complete coverage of the 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 NCAA college football seasons, go to:

http://ed-bagley-blog-archives.com
 

Ed Bagley’s Top 25 Poll – Week 14
 
Copyright © 2011 Ed Bagley

Regular season play in major college football ended this week with 6 conference champions taking their rightful place following playoff games. The winners included LSU in the SEC, Wisconsin in the Big Ten, Clemson in the ACC, Oregon in the Pac-12, Southern Mississippi in the C-USA, and Northern Illinois in the MAC.

Here is my Top 25 for regular season play. A final poll for the 2011 season will be done following completion of the bowl games, and the national championship game between LSU and Alabama.

1)  LSU (13-0) – Did you know that LSU is the only team in America to beat 5 teams ranked in the current AP Top 25 Poll by sports writers and broadcasters? On their way to the only perfect season record, the Tigers have beaten #23 West Virginia, #18 Georgia, and 3 of the top 7 seven teams–#7 Arkansas, #6 Oregon and #2 Alabama. LSU won the SEC championship. Excluding their 9-6 win over Alabama, the Tigers had an average victory margin of 30 points in their other 12 games, and logged 5 wins by 30+ and 2 by 40+. Now you know why I have had LSU ranked #1 in my poll for the ENTIRE season.

2)  Alabama (11-1) – Only loss was to LSU 9-6 in overtime. Beat 2 Top 25 teams–#24 Penn State and #7 Arkansas. The Crimson Tide victory margin in their 11 wins was 30, and they logged 3 wins by 40+ and 2 by 30+. Now you know why I have had Alabama ranked #2 in my poll for the ENTIRE season.

3)  Wisconsin (11-2) – What? You thought my #3 would be Oklahoma State, Stanford, Southern California, Oregon, Arkansas or Boise State? The Badgers are only 1 of 2 teams to beat 3 Top 25 teams–#24 Penn State, #21 Nebraska and #12 Michigan State. The Badgers won the first ever Big Ten championship. They are a bruising, physical, running team. Just as tough as Michigan State, but one play better when it really counted.

4)  Oklahoma State (11-1) – The exciting and electric Cowboys are the other team to beat 3 Top 25 competitors–#19 Oklahoma, #15 Baylor and #11 Kansas State. They have a porous defense, but sure are fun to watch on the offense.

5)  Michigan State (10-3) – One of 6 teams with at least 2 wins over Top 25 schools–#13 Michigan and #9 Wisconsin. One of the better defensive teams in the nation.

6)  Oregon (11-2) – Knocked off #4 Stanford. Won first ever Pac-12 championship. The Ducks no-huddle, spread option offense is a killer for speed and scoring efficiency. Their defense is actually better this year than last.

7)  Stanford (11-1) – Took care of #5 USC, and looking to play better competition.

8)  Southern California (10-2) – A little late to the party, but did finish strong with an upset of #6 Oregon, not an easy task on any Saturday.

9)  Arkansas (10-2) – Took care of #10 South Carolina, and competes in the same SEC West Division as LSU, Alabama and Auburn, and that’s NOT an easy row to hoe. Only losses were to #1 LSU and #2 Alabama.

10)  Clemson (10-3) – Beat #25 Florida State and #17 Virginia Tech. Won the ACC championship.

11)  Nebraska (9-3) – Managed to beat #24 Penn State and #12 Michigan State, both good defensive teams.

12)  Baylor (9-3) – Defeated #19 Oklahoma and #16 Texas Christian.

13) Oklahoma (9-3) – Got thumped by Okie-State in an embarrassing loss, but took down #25 Florida State and #11 Kansas State. So why #13 for Oklahoma? Well, because the Sooners are among only 6 teams to gain 2 wins over Top 25 teams. Only Wisconsin and Okie-State had 3 wins. No one had 4 victories over Top 25 teams, and LSU had FIVE.

The next 8 teams all beat only 1 Top 25 team.

14)  Michigan (10-2)  – Beat #21 Nebraska. The Wolverines are now winning again.

15)  Kansas State (10-2) – Beat #15 Baylor.

16)  South Carolina (10-2) – Beat #18 Georgia.

17)  Texas Christian (10-2) – Upset #8 Boise State.

18)  Boise State (11-1) – Beat #18 Georgia.

19)  Southern Mississippi (11-2) – Beat #20 Houston. This was not an upset. They were better than Houston before they played the Cougars.

20)  Notre Dame (8-4) – Upset #12 Michigan State.

21)  Georgia Tech (8-4) – Upset #14 Clemson.

Did you know that such hyped teams as Virginia Tech, Georgia, Houston, West Virginia, Penn State and Florida State DID NOT beat a single Top 25 team. Yeah, that’s why most Top 25 polls factor in popularity rather than performance on the field.

I reward great teams that beat other good to great teams, and good teams who beat higher-ranked opponents that they should not—that’s why Notre Dame and Georgia Tech are IN my poll, they did something that a bunch of other teams didn’t. Despite the hype, why reward non-performance?

22)  Georgia (10-3) – Not a world beater, but could beat all of the teams below.

23)  Penn State (9-3) – Only losses were to Alabama, Nebraska and Wisconsin. Many other teams could only wish that they lost to these 3 teams rather than some other lesser light. Say a prayer for the non-football victims at Happy Valley, and hope that the Penn State administrators and coaches show some compassion and better judgment in their future affairs. Kudos to the players who played through the tragedy that was no fault of their own.

24)  Houston (12-1) – The Cougars are not nearly as good as their record would indicate. It makes me tired just listening to who they DIDN’T play to get 12 wins.

25)  Iowa State (6-6) – Upset #3 Oklahoma State, and played the 2nd toughest schedule in the country. I respect that MORE than the effort put forth by West Virginia, Florida State or Cincinnati, all of whom could not beat even one Top 25 team.

Let the bowl games begin, and let’s see who will still be standing tall, or not at all. 

 

Ed Bagley’s Top 25 Poll – Week 13
 
Copyright © 2011 Ed Bagley

For the first time in 13 weeks, there were no surprises or upsets this week, making at least my first 14 picks easier.

1)  LSU (12-0) – Ripped #3 Arkansas 41-17 to end the regular season unbeaten. Plays Georgia in the SEC title game this week. It’s doubtful that the Bulldogs can hang with the Tigers for 60 minutes. I’d put my money on LSU to figure out how to win, and move on.

2)  Alabama (11-1) – Breezed by Auburn 42-14, and is making its case to play LSU for all the marbles.

3)  Oregon (10-2) – Took down Oregon State 49-21 in The Civil War. Only losses were to LSU by 13 and Southern Cal by 3. Big clue: No one wants to play Southern Cal right now.

4)  Stanford (11-1) – Beat Notre Dame 28-14. Only loss was to Oregon.

5)  Southern California (10-2) – Could beat both Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech next week, and end the year at 12-2. Way underrated at this point in the season.

6)  Oklahoma State (11-1) – Lost to a 6-5 Iowa State team. Am still trying to figure out who they have beaten that is a big deal. Lack of Cowboy defense is troubling. Think they will lose again to Oklahoma Saturday, and Oklahoma isn’t THAT good either.

7)  Virginia Tech (11-1) – Knocked off Virginia 38-zip. That said, the ACC is hardly the SEC, and the Hokies may find that out in their bowl game.

8)  Michigan State (10-2) – Just beat Northwestern 31-17 to finish the regular season. Now plays Wisconsin for the Big Ten title, and possible automatic BCS bowl berth. Get over my pick. I understand Houston is undefeated and Boise State is 10-1. I would like to see either of them beat Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin in 3 consecutive weeks. Call me up when either of them actually get into a league where they have to play real competition continually.

9)  Arkansas (10-2) – Was not a factor against LSU, and also lost to Alabama. Not too shabby when you lose to the current #1 and #2 teams in the country. It sure beats losing to Iowa State, Clemson, Texas Tech or Baylor. Let’s see if the Razorbacks can bounce back in their bowl game.

10)  South Carolina (10-2) – Thumped Clemson 34-13. Only losses were to Auburn and Arkansas. Beat Georgia in an away game. Will have a chance to gain more credence with a big bowl win.

11)  Georgia (10-2) – Dusted off Georgia Tech 31-17. Only losses were to Boise State and South Carolina in its first two games of the year, and now has won 10 straight, and feeling like they can put the hurt on LSU in the SEC title game. Well, Bulldogs, give it your best shot.

12)  Oklahoma (9-2) – Beat an Iowa State team that Oklahoma State could not, and now travels to Okie-State for a final game showdown for bragging rights in the Dust Bowl. I’m counting on Oklahoma to beat Oklahoma State, that ‘s how little I like the Cowboys’ porous defense.

13)  Michigan (10-2) – Finally beat Ohio State for the first time in 8 years. Any team that can beat Notre Dame, Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio State in the same year has to be pretty good.

14)  Wisconsin (10-2) – Crushed Penn State 45-7 in final regular season game. Faces Michigan State for the first, expanded Big Ten title. Seeks major revenge after losing to Michigan State 37-31 earlier in the season.

15)  Boise State (10-1) – Beat Wyoming 36-14 and keeps acting like it’s a big deal. Faces a 1-10 New Mexico team next. Good grief, will it ever end? The Broncos are the top contender for the Purification Bowl to be held at Barium, Utah.

16)  Houston (12-0) – Nation’s only other unbeaten team took down Tulsa 48-16. If there are players on a team that have more fun than the Cougars, I would like to know where they are. Houston has built its unbeaten record by playing in the West Division of Conference USA, and facing teams with a combined losing record of 61-82 (a 42% win percentage).

Houston leads the nation in passing offense, total offense and scoring offense, which sounds really impressive. When you realize that star QB Case Keenum is ranked #3 nationally in passing efficiency, and examine who he has faced, it looks a lot less impressive. Keenum has completed 73% of his passes for 4,726 yards with 43 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions.

And, as Paul Harvey would say, here’s the rest of the story: Keenum has faced such outstanding pass defense teams as Tulsa (ranked 118th among 120 major college teams), UAB (ranked 114th), North Texas (113th), Rice (111th), Marshall (100th), Louisiana Tech (94th), UTEP (92nd) and Tulane (85th). It is easier when you have all day to throw and do it against a lousy pass defense.

Does the Boise State AD lie awake at night figuring out who has the worst pass protection in the nation? Nah, they just play lame competition. And you wonder why I rank Houston at 16th?

After that research, and with the AP Top 25 Poll’s prestigious sportswriters and broadcasters ranking Houston #7 this week, I simply have to quit this nonsense at #16 Houston. Houston is certainly an exciting but modest little team, with much to be modest about.

There are probably a dozen other teams that could be ranked at 17th through #25 in this poll, but really, they are out in left field at this point in the season. Let’s see who wins the conference title games this weekend. It’s time for double shots of Jameson Irish whiskey.

 

Ed Bagley’s Top 25 Poll – Week 12
 
Copyright © 2011 Ed Bagley

The posturing, arguing, whining and complaining have begun. One unbeaten and three 1-loss teams that were among the top 7 teams vying to get into the BCS championship game lost this past week, proving why they should not be in the title game, and must move aside for a better team.

My first two picks this week represent better teams.

1)  LSU (11-0) – Whipped Old Miss 52-3 while unbeaten Oklahoma State was upset by Iowa State, Oklahoma was upset by Baylor, Oregon was upset by Southern Cal, and Clemson was upset by North Carolina State. It is clear that any of these teams that lost have no business being in the national championship game. 

2)  Alabama (10-1) – Beat AA Georgia Southern 45-21 while #22 Southern Mississippi was upset by UAB, and #23 Florida State was upset by Virginia. Alabama’s ONLY loss was to LSU, 9-6 in overtime. Should the Crimson Tide be in the national championship game against LSU? It sure seems like they are the second best team in the country. All other potential candidates have disappointed after this past weekend.

3)  Arkansas (10-1) – Just beat Mississippi State 44-17, and their only loss was to Alabama. Travels to LSU Saturday in a big SEC showdown game.

4)  Southern California (9-2) – Had a bad loss to Arizona State earlier in the season, and was beaten by Stanford in overtime, but you would not want to play the Trojans at this point in the season. Southern Cal just beat Oregon, 38-35. Oregon scored the last 21 points of the game, but it was not enough to keep the Ducks from losing.

5)  Penn State (9-2) – At least the Nittany Lions have a better defense than Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, Stanford or Boise State. Only lost to Alabama (like everyone else except LSU), and to Nebraska by a field goal. Travels to Wisconsin this week for a huge Big Ten showdown, and will either win or get beaten badly. We will see. Penn State has had a lot of bad but deserved publicity in the past two weeks, but none of it originates with the Nittany Lion football players.

6)  Michigan State (9-2) – At least the Spartans have a defense. They were beaten badly by Notre Dame and Nebraska, two games they should have won because they have better talent to go with their defense. Coach Mark Dantonio does not realize that he still has some losers on his team that will tolerate losing unnecessarily.

Consider these next 4 teams with one-loss records tied for 7th place.

7)  Stanford (10-1), Oklahoma State (10-1), Virginia Tech (10-1) and Boise State (9-1).

11)  Oregon (9-2) – Might have lost to LSU by 13 and Stanford by 23, but could beat Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, Boise State, Houston and Oklahoma. Hosts Oregon State this week in the Civil War, perhaps the closest thing to SEC play outside of SEC play.

12) Houston (11-0) – Giving the Cougars some props here. Houston remains the ONLY unbeaten team besides LSU. It is not easy to go undefeated, even against mediocre competition. And really, who is all that better from here on?

Put these next 8 teams at a tie for 13th.

13)  Oklahoma (8-2), Georgia (9-2), South Carolina (9-2), Wisconsin (9-2), Kansas State (9-2), Michigan (9-2), Clemson (9-2), and TCU (9-2). Show me something and you will move up.

Ditto these 5 for 21st.

21)  Baylor (7-3), Nebraska (8-3), Notre Dame (8-3), Virginia (8-3) and Georgia Tech (8-3). Let’s see Notre Dame beat Stanford this weekend, or Virginia beat Virginia Tech, or Georgia Tech beat Georgia.

Here are the two games to watch this week that really fricking matter: Arkansas at LSU, and Alabama at Auburn. If LSU and Alabama win, they should, hands down, play each other again in the national championship game. All other teams bring excuses, but not the performance necessary for a national championship contender—they had their chances and failed. Period.

Let’s face reality—the result of every football game is one of two things, results or excuses. They are also called wins and losses, or I keep my job, or I lose my job.

I’m out of here, time for some Jameson Irish whiskey.

 

Ed Bagley’s Top 25 Poll – Week 11
 
Copyright © 2011 Ed Bagley

Only 3 of the 120 major college teams now remain unbeaten—Louisiana State, Oklahoma State and Houston. Three guesses about which team should be No. 1 in the nation. And the answer is . . .

1)  LSU (10-0) – It is not Oklahoma State (10-0) or Houston (10-0). The LSU Tigers just whipped Western Kentucky 42-9, and next up is a trip to Mississippi to face a 2-8 Ole Miss team. Let’s just say that LSU is favored.

2)  Alabama (9-1) – Only loss was to LSU by 3. Just beat Mississippi State 24-7, and hosts Georgia Southern next, a AA scheduling travesty. There is no way the Crimson Tide should be playing Georgia Southern at this point in the season. It is just ridiculous.

3)  Oregon (9-1) – Yes, Oregon. The Ducks just pounded a very good Stanford team at Stanford, 53-30. They run the no-huddle, spread-option offense better than anyone in college football, and have the speed of a cheetah, the fastest animal on land. Just ask Stanford. Oregon’s only loss was to LSU by 13. The Ducks travel to Southern Cal next.

4)  Oklahoma State (10-0) – Swamped Texas Tech 66-6, and travel to Iowa State Saturday, looking for victory No. 11. I’m not drinking the Cowboy kool-aid. Okie State has beaten exactly one currently-rated AP Top 25 team. LSU has beaten 2, Alabama has beaten 2, and Oregon has beaten 1. I think LSU, Alabama and Oregon could beat Oklahoma State any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

5)  Oklahoma (8-1) – Took down Texas A&M 41-25, and travels to Baylor Saturday. The Sooners want to dispatch Baylor and Iowa State, and then show Oklahoma State who is best in Okie Land.  

Things really fall apart from here on. The next 4 are tied at 6th; all 4 are at 9-1, not in the same class as the first 5, but their star shines brighter than most.

6)  Stanford, Arkansas, Clemson and Virginia Tech.

The next 10 are tied at 10th; all 10 are at 8-2 and are certainly ahead of the bottom feeders.

10) Michigan State, Southern California, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Georgia, TCU, Kansas State, Penn State, Michigan and South Carolina.

20)  Boise State (8-1) – Played a decent team—TCU—and lost 36-35. Knew it was coming; it was just a question of when.

21)  Houston (10-0) – Unbeaten, but has not played anyone. Now must host Southern Methodist. Beware Cougars, the Mustangs have some proving to do.

22)  Southern Mississippi (9-1) – Just slipped by Central Florida 30-29, but did beat Southern Methodist 27-3 earlier in the year. How much will Houston beat Southern Methodist by?

23)  Notre Dame (7-3) – Has quietly won 7 of 10 games. Should beat a 3-7 Boston College team Saturday, but then must travel to Stanford—good luck on that one.

24)  Baylor (6-3) – Squeaked by Kansas 31-30 (not exactly a barn burner) and hosts Oklahoma next. Best thing about the Bears: They have played the 9th toughest schedule in the country.

25)  Washington (6-4) – Has looked good and bad, but when you play the 17th toughest schedule in the nation, you are not afraid. All of the Husky losses have come against Top 25 teams—Nebraska, Stanford, Oregon and Southern Cal. I wish that Boise State and Houston had the balls to play those 4 teams this year.

 


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