You're 'ol buddy JFish is back in the hizzy. Alright, that's my last attempt at sounding urban and cool. I promise. But I'm fresh off my beloved Longhorns huuuge victory over OU (sucks!), their ascension into the top spot in all major polls (not necessarily a good thing this season), and my recovery from the alumni association game watch party (always a good thing). As "The Godfather of Soul" sang, "Ow. I feel good." Speaking of the Texas Longhorns and feeling good...
1. Texas--You didn't think I wasn't going to follow suit with all the other polls, did you? What kind of graduate would I be? In all serious, I did have to think about this one. Alabama was No. 2 in my last rankings, and they were on a bye last week. You really shouldn't be jumped on a bye week, especially if you're an SEC team. But it was the sketchy performance against Arkansas that was the determining factor. That said, being No. 1 this season has been a death knell. The season is only 6 weeks old, and already we've had 4 different teams ascend the throne (Georgia, USC and OU being the others). The Red River Rivalry game last week was only the first of a four-game gantlet the 'Horns have to run. Next up is No. 11 Missouri, followed by No. 8 Oklahoma State (who just upset Missouri in Columbia), and finishing with No. 7 Texas Tech in Lubbock. Ewww!
2. Alabama--They stay here this week. But probably not for long. I'm continually impressed, with each passing week, with Penn State. I've said before that I didn't think the Crimson Tide would be this good, this fast. After their performance against Arkansas, I'm beginning to think that their first stumbling block is coming.
3. Penn State--This team has snuck up on everybody, including myself. JoePa has done a terrific job of realizing that his program was quickly falling behind the times over the past several years, and turning it around in a hurry. You'll definitely want to read my "Things I've Learned" section below for my bold prediction on the Nittany Lions.
4. Florida--I believe that Mr. Tebow stated after the Gators' loss to Ole Miss that there wouldn't be player in the nation that would play harder from there on out. Hanging 51 on the Bayou Bengals qualifies.
5. BYU--This is where I part from the pollsters. BYU still aren't getting the respect they deserve, largely because of the conference they play in. Fair enough. But the way they aren't just beating their opponents, but destroying them, leads me to believe that they can play with anyone in the country. I'm getting more and more excited for the BYU vs. Utah game on Nov. 22. And I never thought I would say that I was excited for a WAC game. Welcome to college football 2008!
6. Oklahoma--Their special teams aren't. It will keep them out of the National Championship title game. You can count on it.
7. USC--Gustsy performance last week by QB Mark Sanchez. But his lack of health will probably prove deadly to the Trojans again at some point in the season.
8. Georgia--I wanted to see how this young team reacted after their disastrous beat-down at the hands of Alabama. I liked what I saw in their victory over the Vols. Next up, Vanderbilt. That's actually two ranked opponents right now. Who thought you could say that about Vandy? Again, Welcom to college football 2008!
9. Oklahoma State--The Cowboys defense against Chase Daniel and Missouri was far better than anyone thought. But to put up that kind of performance on the road, ina hostile environment, was even more impressive. Speaking of the Tigers...
10. Missouri--Here's where the pollsters, and myself, part company. The pollsters have ranked Oklahoma State 8th this week (same as me). But they ranked Missouri out of the Top 10. I don't understand how you can, on one hand, say the winning team was a Top 10-caliber team, and then on the other hand, say that the losing team should fall from No. 2, all the way out of the Top 10 because of the loss. If the Tigers got beat by a Top 10 worthy team, they shouldn't have fallen out of the Top 10. If they got beat by a team not worthy of the Top 10, then they should have fallen out of the Top 10, but Oklahoma State shouldn't be in. The pollsters logic isn't. And I have just spen waaay too much time trying to elaborate that point.
THINGS I'VE LEARNED (In lieu of DORM NOTES, which will return next week)
Bold Prediction: Penn State WILL BE playing in the National Championship game. They are, hands down, the best team in the Big Ten. They will run the table in that conference, including a victory over Ohio State (prepare yourselves Buckeyes) and win the Big Ten. There is no conference tourney in the Big Ten; so there's no chance of them losing late. And eventhough the strength of schedule, because of the lowly Big Ten, will be a problem, they'll overcome it by being undefeated.
I have been consistenly ahead of the polls in most of my rankings (I had Missouri No. 2 sooner and I had the Sooners higher than anyone to start the season), but I"ve had two really, really terrible mistakes. I fell love with the intoxication of youth that is the Georgia Bulldogs, and I totally screwed up Jacquizz Rogers' name in my column 2 weeks ago. I'm still beating myself up over that one.
As mentioned earlier, no one likes the No. 1 slot. That doesn't bode well for my Longhorns.
Butch Davis will have North Carolina football competing for attention on campus with the North Carolina basketball team next season.
LSU was not who I thought they were
I actually felt bad when I saw that Vanderbilt lost last weekend. Here's hoping they finish the deal and finally go to a bowl game.
Tommy Bowden leaving Clemson was the right thing to do. The Tigers were never going to get over the hump while he was coaching.