TSC Top 25: Week 8

As I attempt to unsuccessfully rank teams, wrap your mind around how fast this season is going. Cherish it, these every-team-is-going-to-lose type seasons don’t come around often.

  1. Ohio State – until someone proves otherwise (perhaps this weekend in happy valley?) the Buckeyes will remain the top ranked team in the country. They can’t afford any blips the rest of the way as they’re entering the meat of their schedule. The defense is ready, but is the offense.
  2. Boston College – I’m feeling generous. Why? Because they’re about to pick up their first loss of the season and this is closest they’ll get to actually playing the championship game. Virginia Tech will roll them on Thursday night and make fans in Boston wonder why one of their teams lost a game for once. I hope they don’t dump all the tea into Boston Harbour. Remember the last team to hold the number two position (South Florida) also lost on a Thursday night.
  3. Oregon– How many of you actually saw the clinic Jon Stewart put on Saturday night in Seattle? He only ran for 251 yards in the victory. Any worries NFL scouts had about him carrying the load have been put to bed for now. The biggest game of the upcoming week, USC at Oregon might hand the Ducks their second loss of the season. But if they come away with the win there isn’t much else between them and a date in the national title game.
  4. Oklahoma – The Sooners have a great chance of being number one by Sunday afternoon. Any time a top five team gets a bye week it usually ends up paying huge dividends. The rest of the schedule is mediocre. The only problem is they’re behind Oregon and LSU in the BCS. What can they do to move up?
  5. LSU– A well deserved bye-week for the Tigers after a last second victory over Auburn could propel them even higher in the BCS standings. Traveling to Tuscaloosa to play Alabama might prove to be the undoing of this team however. Life is rough in the SEC. By the way, why do teams agree to keep playing at night in Baton Rouge. You aren’t going to win.
  6. West Virginia– Piscataway, New Jersey will be a great atmosphere for one of the biggest games in the Big East this season. West Virginia has to escape the turnpike to hold on to their national title, and conference title hopes for that matter. Rutgers looks to be playing their best football of the season, this one should be fun to watch.
  7. Arizona State– This doesn’t feel right. I understand that they’re undefeated but they’re going to lose the next four games in a row. Doesn’t that count for anything? Yeah yeah, “that’s why we play the games” whatever. Star running back Ryan Torain is out for the season. They’re done.
  8. Missouri– There should be no more questions about the defense after holding Texas Tech to TEN points. The same Tech team that is averaging 45 points per game and 337 passing yards. Don’t sleep on these Tigers, they are very real. BCS seems unlikely but they’ll be the best team left out of the five top bowls. Iowa State gave OU problems last week but that won’t be the case this week.
  9. USC– Mark Sanchez is showing why he was so highly recruited. Why Mitch Mustain transferred to SC is beyond me when a quarterback as talented as Sanchez has had to wait this long to get a meaningful snap. This is excellent preparation for next season’s SC offense, which is loaded of course. I can’t wait until they turn Joe McKnight loose. This year though might not be a great one for SC as Oregon and Cal will both try to knock them off their perch as Pac-10 champs. Of the two only Oregon is likely though as Cal is falling off the map.
  10. Florida– Fresh off a big win in Lexington, the defending champs are well on their way to the SEC title game. Both losses came against SEC west opponents. The cocktail party in Jacksonville this week is a big one and may determine the SEC east participant in the championship game. Steve Spurrior still gets to host them in November and that could prove costly for the Gators.
  11. Texas– The Longhorns won’t lose another game this season. Chalk up another 10 win season for Mack Brown, his sixth in seven years. This week’s Nebraska game will just be an excuse to discuss how far the Cornhuskers have fallen from pre-season expectations.
  12. Michigan– Look who’s creeping ever so close to the top 10. Those pesky Wolverines just won’t go away. I though Illinois would take care of them last week but were out classed instead. (While I think Zook screwed up by messing with Williams’ confidence, that’s another story) Minnesota does like to spread the field but they just don’t have the talent to beat a team like UM. The final three games will put the stamp on this season. Can they go on the road against MSU and Wisconsin in consecutive weeks and then beat Ohio State for the first time since 2003?
  13. Kentucky– They might not get enough respect. But that’s probably a result of realism since they play in the toughest division of the toughest conference in football. It’s hard to look at this Kentucky team and say they’re going to be able to take on South Carolina, LSU and Florida in a row. And they still have Georgia and Tennessee to come. They’ll be favoured against UT but not between the hedges. I’d love to see this team playing a weaker conference, they might be the Oregon of the Pac-10.
  14. Virginia Tech– If the ACC didn’t look so bad and the Hokies weren’t blown out by LSU they’d be higher. The remainder of the schedule has to be a statement to the rest of the country. This is still a one loss team remember and they might be flying under the radar a little bit in terms of exposure. Thursday night in Blacksburg might change all that.
  15. South Florida– It’s a shame their Cinderella story had to come to an end. But wait, it’s not. With one loss and a fairly manageable schedule they still have a shot at the ultimate prize. Mind you they’d need a lot of help. At UConn might be a challenge this week if they’re still thinking about last week’s loss.
  16. Kansas– What’s wrong with conference schedules? Well for one, Missouri had to play OU while Kansas does not. Kansas also does not face Texas or Texas Tech. An undefeated season isn’t out of the question but winning the Big 12 championship game is about as likely as me playing quarterback for the New England Patriots. This week at Texas A&M could be the first of many losses but not if they’re focused.
  17. Penn State– This might look high at first. But if they can beat OSU this weekend (the last time OSU came to State College it was a 17-10 win) they’ll finish the season with the two losses. A BCS at-large bid won’t be out of the question.
  18. South Carolina– At Tennessee this week will be an SEC east elimination game. If the gamecocks aren’t eliminated there Florida comes to town in a few weeks. Losing to Vandy hurt their chances but I’m sure the ol’ ball coach has something left for this season.
  19. Georgia– I hope they had a productive bye week. Florida, Auburn and Kentucky are all going to take a shot. The furthest the Dawgs have to travel in their final five games is across the border to Jacksonville this week and won’t leave the state in the final four games. They might not be better than Tennessee, but they’ll finish with the better record.
  20. Hawaii – It’s impossible to rank this team properly. UH in the national title game is a sickening prospect. I never thought I’d say this but thank god for the east coast bias.
  21. California– After two consecutive losses the Bears are reeling. Traveling to undefeated Arizona State couldn’t have come at a worse time. They need time to regroup but won’t get it. For the good of mankind they need to shut up this ASU team.
  22. Alabama – Bama gets two weeks to think about the LSU game. And we all know how teams skyrocket in the rankings during a bye-week. LSU might bring them back to earth but if they can pull off the upset they’ll get a shot at the SEC title and their first BCS appearance since the ’99 Orange Bowl. Which come to think of it, could be a rematch of that game vs. Michigan if the Wolverines continue to win.
  23. Auburn– Yes this is the seventh SEC team in this set of rankings. By far the most in any conference. They were a second away from beating LSU last week and have already upset Florida. As the SEC goes, it’s a toss up in their final two games against Bama and Georgia. Visits from Ole Miss and Tennesee Tech in the next two weeks should be confidence boosters.
  24. Virginia – Escaping Maryland last weekend isn’t much to hang your hat on but a win is a win I suppose. They’ll continue to rise in the polls until Miami hands them another loss.
  25. Wisconsin– This is still a good football team. They lost to two other good football teams in Illinois and Penn State who were both playing great football at the time. That said, finishing the season unscathed will be difficult with both Michigan and Ohio State left to go. They can’t afford to sleepwalk through Indiana this week looking ahead to OSU or they’ll get beat down by the Hoosiers who have some talent on offense.

26th vote for UConn, because faking a fair catch signal and then running the punt back for a touchdown is a real classy move.

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