Official Rant Sports College Football Top 25- Week Nine
Official Rant Sports College Football Top 25- Week Nine
Week Nine of the 2012 college football season changed the landscape of the Top 25 as we knew it during the season's first eight weeks. With several big games on the slate, there was plenty of movement in our weekly rankings, with a few teams at the top of the rankings further solidifying themselves as the country's best.
As the second-week of the BCS standings are released tonight, the national picture will become even clearer, as there is still plenty of question about just how separated the top four or five teams are at the top.
It's reasonable, really, to make an argument for Kansas State, Oregon or Notre Dame to be the second-best team in the country-- and under the right circumstances-- having a chance to play for a National Championship against the one team that's all but a foregone conclusion, the Alabama Crimson Tide.
There are some big games on the schedule for Week Ten, also, which could throw things into even more confusion, but for now, here's how we see the Top 25 teams in the country!
25. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs re-enter our Top 25 this week following a 28-14 win over the hapless New Mexico State Aggies. At 8-1, the Bulldogs are one of the country's top mid-major programs and face off against the 5-3 Texas San Antonio Roadrunners next Saturday in Shreveport.
24. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
The No. 24 Rutgers Scarlet Knights were handed their first loss of the 2012 season at the hands of the Kent State Golden Flashes on Saturday 35-23. Still the Big East's best team at this point, Rutgers has an outside chance at a BCS appearance, but will need to get back on track Saturday against Army at home.
23. Texas Longhorns
The No. 23 Texas Longhorns barely escaped Lawrence with a 21-17 win over the Kansas Jayhawks. Case McCoy saved the day for Texas with a late 4th-quarter scoring drive which made up for awful performances on both sides of the ball throughout. Texas travels to Lubbock to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday afternoon, in what should be a tough test for a defense that is struggling mightily.
22. Nebraska Cornhuskers
The No. 22 Nebraska Cornhuskers moved back into the rankings this week after dispatching the Michigan Wolverines 23-9 at home on Saturday. Nebraska's been up and down this year, but is riding a two-week win streak, which could easily be extended against a Michigan State Spartans team in Week 10 that has played well below their pre-season Top 10 expectations.
21. West Virginia Mountaineers
The West Virginia Mountaineers occupy the No. 21 slot on this week's Top 25 during the team's bye week. After a 55-14 throttling at the hands of Texas Tech-- which looks even worse considering how poorly Tech played against Kansas State-- Geno Smith and his squad will be looking to bounce back in Week 10 as they take on the TCU Horned Frogs at home this coming Saturday.
20. Texas Tech Red Raiders
Riding high off a 55-14 win over West Virginia-- as previously mentioned-- the Texas Tech Red Raiders came right back down to earth after being throttled by Kansas State on Saturday 55-24. Tech will be looking to bounce back against a fragile Texas Longhorns squad in Week 10, and should reasonably be favored to do so.
19. USC Trojans
The No. 19 USC Trojans have been the team's biggest roller-coaster this season, looking like world-beaters at time and totally pedestrian at others. In spite of a monumental individual performance yesterday by wideout Marquis Lee, the Trojans fell to a feisty Arizona squad on the road, 39-36. The 6-2 Trojans have their toughest match-up of the year on Saturday as they welcome the Oregon Ducks to Los Angeles for a primetime tilt on FOX.
18. Stanford Cardinal
The 6-2 Stanford Cardinal are No. 18 in this week's Top 25, following a vanilla 24-17 win over the struggling Washington State Cougars on Saturday. Stanford should pick up their seventh win of the season in Week 10 as they take on the Colorado Buffaloes at home who are arguably the country's worst major conference team.
17. Boise State Broncos
The 7-1 Boise State Broncos are No. 17 in this week's rankings. Boise throttled the Wyoming Cowboys 45-14 on the road Saturday and should pick up their eighth win of the season in Week 10 as they welcome the San Diego State Aztecs to town-- although it won't be as easy as those which have come before.
16. Texas A&M Aggies
The No. 16 Texas A&M Aggies have silenced those who doubted they could compete in the SEC in their first year as a conference member-- including myself. The 6-2 Aggies destroyed Auburn 63-21 yesterday on the road, but face their toughest two week stretch of the season in Weeks 10 and 11 as they travel to Mississippi State and Alabama. If A&M can split these two games, their first SEC slate should be considered a success.
15. Mississippi State Bulldogs
The No. 15 Mississippi State Bulldogs came crashing back down to earth this week, following a 38-7 loss to Alabama, and must turn right around and host a Texas A&M team next week that is full of confidence and looking to continue building their reputation. Dan Mullen's coaching and motivational ability will certainly be tested this week and how his team responds will tell the tale of the rest of the 2012 season for the Bulldogs.
14. Oregon State Beavers
The Oregon State Beavers fall to No. 14 this week after a tough 20-17 loss to the Washington Huskies late Saturday night that derailed their perfect start to the 2012 season. The Beavers welcome the Arizona State Sun Devils to Corvallis in Week 10 and should be able to bounce back, and stay firmly in the race for the regular season Pac 12 crown with a win.
13. Oklahoma Sooners
Another one of college football's wildest roller coasters, the No. 13 Oklahoma Sooners were easily handled Saturday by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 30-13 in Norman, a place once thought to have mystical powers, but no longer. Oklahoma faces the Iowa State Cyclones for an early kickoff in Week 10-- a team that cannot be taken lightly and certainly won't be by Bob Stoops and his staff.
12. South Carolina Gamecocks
The No. 12 South Carolina Gamecocks had another tough break on Saturday as all-everything running back Marcus Lattimore suffered a horrendous leg injury-- tearing all four ligaments and breaking the fibula on left leg-- that will force him to miss the rest of the 2012 season. While SC still managed to hold on to post a 38-35 win over the struggling Tennessee Volunteers, the prospects of not having Lattimore-- in spite of a relatively easy finish to the season's schedule-- will be looming this week in Columbia.
11. Louisville Cardinals
The Louisville Cardinals are No. 11 on our Top 25 this week, coming off a hard-fought 34-31 overtime win over the Cincinnati Bearcats to stay perfect at 8-0 on the season. Cardinals QB Teddy Bridgewater just wins games, and should easily help rack up the Cardinals' ninth of the season as the team welcomes the Temple Owls to town for an early kick in Week 10.
10. Clemson Tigers
The No. 10 Clemson Tigers easily handled the hapless Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Saturday, 42-13, to improve their record 7-1 on the season. Tahj Boyd and Sammy Watkins continue to put up massive numbers, and should continue to do so against a Duke Blue Devils squad in Week 10 that was exposed by the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday, in spite of a strong start.
9. Florida Gators
After coming in at No. 2 in the initial BCS poll, the Florida Gators are sure to tumble this week following a tough 17-9 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs during Saturday's classic. The No. 9 Gators take on the Missouri Tigers at home in Week 10 and should bounce back with a victory.
8. Florida State Seminoles
The Florida State Seminoles are No. 8 in the Week Nine Top 25, fresh off a 48-7 pounding of the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday in Tallahassee. Jimbo Fisher's squad squares off against the disappointing Virginia Tech Hokies Thursday evening in Blacksburg in an effort to pick up their ninth win of the season.
7. Ohio State Buckeyes
The No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes remained undefeated for 2012 after a 35-23 victory over the Penn State Nittany Lions in State College on Saturday. Urban Meyer's team is playing like one of the country's best-- in spite of the fact they are not eligible for the post-season--and take on the Illinois Fighting Illini at home in Week 10, a game which should bring them a 10th win.
6. LSU Tigers
The No. 6 LSU Tigers come off the bye week in Week Nine to face the Alabama Crimson Tide in Baton Rouge on primetime Saturday night in a game that will certainly have the nation's attention and possible National Championship implications. It's always a question which LSU team will show up for the annual matchup with the Tide, but whichever does will determine the team's bowl fate as January 2013 rolls around.
5. Georgia Bulldogs
Mark Richt's Georgia Bulldogs picked up a huge signature win over the Florida Gators on Saturday, and enter this week's poll at No. 5. The Dawgs take on the Ole Miss Rebels at home on Saturday afternoon and should have eight wins prior to their matchup with the awful Auburn Tigers on November 10th.
4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish are relevant again, and it can be argued that college football is all the better for it. After a 30-13 thumping of the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman on Saturday evening, the Irish are in the thick of the National Championship conversation for the first time in years. Led by Heisman Trophy candidate Manti Te'o, Notre Dame welcomes the Pittsburgh Panthers to town in Week 10.
3. Oregon Ducks
The No. 3 Oregon Ducks are one thing for sure-- the nation's most exciting team to watch. Led by Heisman candidate Kenjon Barner, the Ducks' offense has yet to be slowed down, much less stopped, and will be as important as ever as Chip Kelly's squad faces off against the USC Trojans next Saturday in what promises to be an instant classic.
2. Kansas State Wildcats
If there was any doubt left that Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein is the Heisman front-runner, that doubt was erased on Saturday as the dual-threat stud methodically picked apart the Texas Tech Red Raiders, leading the Cats to a 55-24 victory in Manhattan. K-State welcomes the Oklahoma State Cowboys to town in Week 10 for another contest that promises to be a barn-burner.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
It's no surprise the Alabama Crimson Tide remain at No.1 on our Top 25. Alabama is far and away the best team in the country and continued to prove it by easily handling the Mississippi State Bulldogs 38-7 on Saturday. A Week 10 matchup against the LSU Tigers is the biggest test remaining for Nick Saban's squad, as their path again is paved with gold to another National Championship game appearance in January.