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The Power 15 – Week 8

Last week I mentioned in the space if a 9-3 Notre Dame team could crash the BCS. Well…….screw that idea. After getting THUMPED by Navy, the Irish are lucky to have Tulsa & Army left on the schedule so they can get to a bowl eligible 6-6!

After a fairly raucous couple of weeks, Week 8 was fairly mild. Missouri pulled off a stunner in beating Oklahoma, but for the most part the teams that should win did & the BCS bowl is at least steady for a week if not much clearer. I made big mistakes last week not including Missouri, Wisconsin & Ohio St. in my power 15. I rectified those omissions & for the first time in a couple of weeks I feel fairly confident about my rankings. There is still quite a bit of football left to be played but I think we are at a point in the season where 10 or so teams have separated themselves out from the pack. Let’s take a look.

Just Missing Cut (in no particular order): Florida St., Iowa, South Carolina, Miami-FL, Arkansas, Virginia Tech, USC, Oklahoma St., Mississippi St., East Carolina

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Lost in a 7-point victory is the fact that Auburn outgained LSU by almost 300 yards! That’s borderline ridiculous when you consider that LSU came in with an extremely good defense & War Eagle put 526 total yards. The game plan had to be stop Cameron Newton & all he did was rush for 217 yards & 2TD! Auburn has to be #1 in the nation. They are an 8-0 SEC team with 3 wins over top-12 squads. There is no chance that they don’t make it to 11-0 when they visit Tuscaloosa.
#2 I was able to watch Oregon/UCLA on Thursday night & came away very impressed with Oregon. Oregon is the kind of team I think everyone should emulate. They have a high octane offense that is pretty much unstoppable & they play a ball-hawking type of defense that forces their opponents into lots of turnovers. UCLA isn’t fantastic, but putting 60 on them is insane. If Auburn is #1 then the Ducks are #1A & I only drop them because Auburn’s resume right now looks a touch better.
#3 The Broncos were off this week, but Hawaii & Fresno St. won convincingly. Hawaii is turning out to be a good team which helps Boise St. a bit. I don’t know if it could happen because they’ll all end up playing each other, but Nevada, Fresno St. & Hawaii need to win out somehow. I think Virginia Tech has a good shot at winning the ACC so Oregon St. needs to win some more games. If 2 of Mizzou, Sparty, Oregon & War Eagle win out then Boise is screwed, but there is still time here.
#4 Don’t forget that Michigan St. went on the road to a 5-1 Northwestern team & came away with a win despite being down 17-0 & potentially being down 24-0 if not for a Northwestern fumble on their own goal line! The win over Wisconsin looks amazing now that Wisky has beaten both Ohio St. & Iowa. The Spartans are winning the kinds of games that make you think this is a team of destiny. Pulling off great wins against Wisconsin, Notre Dame & Northwestern make you pause. If Sparty wins next week in Iowa City, they’ll get to 12-0.
#5 The Horned Frogs needed a win like this. Air Force isn’t at top echelon team, but there are things about them that are tough. The Falcons have a solid running game that TCU essentially shut down. For the season, TCU is giving up 9ppg & in their last 4 games, the Frogs have outscored their opponents 141-10! Andy Dalton isn’t passing the ball as well as he has in the past, but Ed Wesley is impossible to stop when he’s running the football & Dalton is chipping in there too with his legs. The defense is extremely special in my opinion.
#6 I shouldn’t have left out Missouri, Wisconsin & Ohio St. last week. I watched this game Saturday night & for me it felt like the first time that I’ve ever seen Missouri not back down from a team like Oklahoma or Texas. The Tigers started the game off with a KO return for a TD & really never let up. Oklahoma scored quickly afterward, but then Missouri did too. Both teams traded TDs until the 4Q where Mizzou took over. I’ve been on Gary Pinkel’s bandwagon forever. It’s great to see his team come up big b/c he’s one of the best coaches in the NCAA. Missouri is really really good.
#7 An incredibly efficient game for the Tide in Knoxville. Tennessee isn’t very good, but it’s still Neyland Stadium. The Vols scored first to make it 7-0 but then the Tide outscored UT 41-3 the rest of the way. Alabama’s defense came up with some turnovers while Greg McElroy, Trent Richardson, Mark Ingram & Julio Jones had great days. Jones had the best day of his life catching 12 balls for 221 yards! The Tide have responded well after the loss to South Carolina.
#8 I’d like to see Stanford beat Wazzou by more than a 38-28 margin, but 2 garbage TDs masked a 38-14 route for the Cardinal. Stanford did a great job running the ball with Stepfan Taylor & Andrew Luck had another stellar day at QB. At 6-1, I’ve giving Stanford more love than the polls, but their only loss is a road game to Oregon. Their schedule get a bit tougher as they play Washington, Arizona, California & Oregon St., but I’ve seen them play twice & I’m very impressed with Stanford. I think they could easily get to 11-1 & a BCS bowl.
#9 The wins over Ohio St. & Iowa are great. Playing Iowa in Iowa City is hard enough. That game was a back and forth affair that benefited Wisconsin having the ball last, scoring & winning 31-30. Ricky Stanzi & Adam Robinson played well & Wisconsin still won despite them not running the ball particularly well & giving up 30 points. They still have a game at Michigan, but Wisconsin is done with their tough teams. If Michigan St. runs the table to 12-0 & is a top-3 team, Wisky can argue they should be #4.
#10 Like Stanford, I’m giving Arizona a lot more love than the polls do. Nick Foles didn’t even play & yet Arizona was able to beat Washington 44-14! Washington 3-4 I understand, but that was a significant victory for the Wildcats. The loss to Oregon St. at home doesn’t make any sense & the win over Iowa is a bit tarnished due to Iowa having 2 losses now, but they came off the big win over Iowa & didn’t let down beating Cal 10-9. They’ve rebounded well after the loss & now the meat of the schedule awaits them. Foles has to get back in a hurry!
#11 After losing to Wisconsin, Ohio St. rebounded by beating a hapless Purdue team 49-0 in Columbus. Not a huge win for the resume, but it was a blistering performance by the Buckeyes defense. Wisconsin beating Iowa helps Ohio St.’s cause quite a bit. Ohio St. could easily win out & finish 11-1, but they could wind up 3rd in the Big 10 which would put them out of a BCS Bowl because conference can only send a max of two teams to BCS bowls. How often do you see 11-1 Ohio St. teams left out? Woulda, coulda, shoulda for Ohio St. in 2010.
#12 LSU was dominated statistically against Auburn, the the Bayou Bengals kept it close, losing only 24-17. It’s entirely possible #12 is way too low for LSU seeing how their only loss is to my #1 Auburn. Two problems with LSU for me. The first is that I would have begged Auburn to beat me through the air. Maybe they get blown out this way instead of running clock with Newton running so much, but screw it. The other is that LSU has no QB. How good can you be without a legit SEC QB?
#13 The Sooners are in the same boat with LSU. Losing to Missouri on the road in a close fight isn’t so bad if you think Missouri is a top-5 squad. Like LSU, how can you really bang Oklahoma for having one loss on the resume when that loss is to an undefeated squad on the road? I think Oklahoma lost their way a bit against Missouri. Roy Finch & Demarco Murray were running the ball well enough that Oklahoma didn’t have pass 2x as much as they ran. The game was close throughout. Touch loss.
#14 You have to really credit the resolve of QB Taylor Martinez for Nebraska. The freshman QB played horribly the week before at home against Texas as Nebraska lost their first game of the season. In the following week, the Huskers go down to Stillwater to take on an undefeated Oklahoma St. team. They win & Martinez passes for 323 yards & 5TD while running for 112. The loss to Texas hurts, but it’s still Texas & Martinez is still a freshman. If Nebraska beats Missouri this week, all will be well once again in Lincoln.
#15 Color me unimpressed that Utah beat a terrible Colorado St. team 59-6 at home. Utah is 7-0 & QB Jordan Wynn is all of a sudden playing out of his mind, but the polls have Utah as a top-10 squad & I don’t get it. They are 3rd in the NCAA in PS/G & 4th in the NCAA in PA/G so you can’t argue with the production. On the other hand their big win this year is against Pittsburgh. The best teams in the MWC besides Utah are TCU, Air Force, BYU & San Diego St. Utah has yet to play any of them. The Utes get all 4 & Notre Dame in the next 5 weeks. I’ll be more impressed with a decent win.

Dropped Out

#11 Iowa Hawkeyes: The loss to Arizona on the road doesn’t look horrible, but in reality Iowa should have won that game had they not started off so poorly. Being 5-2 is disappointing for Iowa at this point as some pundits (myself included) thought Iowa had a huge shot at running the table seeing how they got Wisconsin, Michigan St., & Ohio St. at home. The loss to Arizona blew it & then losing 31-30 to Wisconsin didn’t change anything. Iowa could certainly improve their lot by winning out & finishing 10-2. They take care of business at home that certainly can happen. Then again, I think Arizona is pretty good & Michigan St. is coming through on their promise. If Iowa winds up 8-4 with losses to Arizona, Ohio St., Wisconsin & Michigan St., could you argue they are top-15 squad & possibly a top-10 depending on how Ohio St. & Wisconsin finish up?

#14 Florida St. Seminoles: The Seminoles were idle this week which sort of hurt them. They did get a pretty big boost though with Miami-FL putting a beat down on North Carolina. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Florida St. as the year goes on. They are 6-1 right now & were #17 in the BCS coming into the week. I think they’ll move up a couple spots with Oklahoma St. & Iowa losing. FSU avoids Virginia Tech & if Miami-FL is any indicator FSU has a shot to get to 11-1 before taking on Virginia Tech most likely in the ACC title game. The ACC is fickle so whether they get there or not is open for debate. The loss to Oklahoma hurts a bit more now that the Sooners lost to Missouri, but I don’t expect FSU to be outside my Power-15 for long.

#15 Oklahoma St.: I really struggled last week with putting in OSU over Missouri, but up until this week the Tigers hadn’t beaten anyone. The loss to Nebraska hurts a bit, but really Oklahoma St. hadn’t played anyone. I’m glad I got to put them in the Power-15 when they were 6-0 because I really like the program. However, if they finish 7-5 I won’t be completely surprised. Games against Kansas St., Baylor, Texas & Oklahoma await. I think you have to give Mike Gundy some credit here. Oklahoma St. could have folded to Troy & Texas A&M but didn’t. The win in Lubbock was solid. So you lose to Nebraska by 10 points. The Cornhuskers should be 7-0. If you still believe Nebraska is a top-10 squad then you have to believe in Oklahoma St. a bit. At 6-1 it wouldn’t surprise me to see them finish 7-5, but it wouldn’t surprise me either if they made it 10-2.

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October 24, 2010 - Posted by | Alabama, Arizona, Auburn, Boise St., LSU, Michigan St., Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio St, Oklahoma, Oregon, Power 15, Stanford, TCU, Utah, Week 8, Wisconsin

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