There was only one top 25 matchup this week, but it was a good one that caused a little bit of a stir in the top part of the rankings. The Big East and ACC remain with just one team in our rankings, fewer than both the WAC and Mountain West, although NC State gave the ACC a nice win Thursday night and Clemson gave Auburn a run for their money on Saturday night.
Check back each week for the rankings and a bit of insight into why they shake out the way they do. Also be sure to tune in Fridays for Jared's College Football Preview for the week, and on Sundays, for Danny's College Football Saturday in 500 Words or Less columns.
Xtra Point Football Top 25 2010-11 NCAA Football Rankings
The return of Mark Ingram gives the Tide a devastating one-two punch on the ground. Quarterback Greg McElroy has looked good this season and the defense has had little trouble adjusting to the new personnel. There isn't much ground for disputing that Alabama is the top team in the country, but next week will prove crucial as they travel to Arkansas.
Should Boise State be ranked higher than Ohio State? We'll learn a lot Saturday night against Oregon State. This offense just doesn't quit whether it's through the air or on the ground. Meanwhile, the defense hasn't lost a step with 10 starters back from last season.
Ohio State dominated a much weaker opponent as they downed Ohio 43-7. Terrelle Pryor threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns, but threw two interceptions as well. The defense forced five turnovers and allowed only 158 total yards.
Playing against a defense that had not let up an offensive touchdown, TCU made it look easy against Baylor in winning 45-10. Quarterback Andy Dalton hit 21 of his 23 passes for 267 yards and two touchdowns. For those who don't think TCU is a valid BCS bowl contender, check out this stat: TCU has won six of its last seven and 15 of its last 18 games against opponents from BCS automatic qualifying conferences.
The Oregon Ducks have scored 189 points and let up just 13 so far this season, leading the nation in scoring offense and defense. If that doesn't earn you a top five ranking I don't know what does. They've played New Mexico, an FCS opponent and a rebuilding Tennessee team, but any questions of their accomplishments thus far will be answered if they can walk away with a win against a Sun Devils team hungry to put Saturday's missed opportunities behind them.
All eyes were on the quarterbacks this week, as Nebraska's Taylor Martinez outplayed Washington's Jake Locker. Martinez connected on 7 of his 11 pass attempts for 150 yards and a touchdown, but did more damage with his legs, running for 137 yards and three touchdowns. The Nebraska defense gave Locker fits as he put in one of the worst performances of his career. This was Nebraska's first real test of the season and they passed easily.
Attribute Texas' two-spot slide more to the play of TCU, Oregon and Nebraska than to their own struggles, which have been evident. The Longhorns haven't exactly asserted themselves as one of the game's elite teams thus far, but they'll have that chance with Oklahoma and Nebraska a couple of weeks out.
The Gators continue to struggle in the first half and particularly in the first quarter. It was close against Tennessee until coach Urban Meyer called for a fake punt that changed the momentum for the rest of the game.
Demarco Murray is putting in a nice season on the ground and as a part of the passing attack, but the Sooners, with the exception of the Florida State game, haven't exactly blown the competition out of the water. They had trouble putting away Utah State and Air Force never really went away on Saturday.
Ryan Mallett is making a strong case for the Heisman as he threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns, leading Arkansas to a 31-24 victory over Georgia. Mallett led an impressive drive late in the fourth quarter, throwing a 40-yard touchdown pass with 15 seconds remaining.
Jordan Wynn hasn't been able to go due to an injury, but former starter Terrance Cain has done a fine job of filling in, leading big wins over UNLV and New Mexico. This is the third 3-0 start for the Utes since 2000; they finished undefeated the other two seasons.
The Cardinal continues to churn out big performances. Andrew Luck has already thrown 10 touchdowns this season and the defense has looked good in shutting out UCLA and limiting Wake Forest to an early touchdown and a couple of late touchdowns on the ground when the game was already over.
It was a tale of two halves for Auburn this week. They looked flat in the first half, going down 17-0 early, but the Tigers battled in the second half, scoring 24 straight points that eventually led to an overtime win. Auburn will have to be on their toes this week as they take on an undefeated South Carolina squad.
The Badgers haven't looked great in winning their first three matchups. Is it only a matter of time before Wisconsin is exposed with a devastating loss that ruins a promising season? John Clay has looked good, but he hasn't been the Heisman contender that many expected him to be thus far.
What a win for this program. After an early lead, the Wildcats struggled to get things going on offense while Iowa was able to slowly but surely find their way back into the game. The offense put together a nice drive to take the lead in the fourth quarter and the defense won the game on the ensuing Iowa possession, sacking Ricky Stanzi three times.
The LSU defense, led by cornerback Patrick Peterson, dominated in the 29-7 win over Mississippi State. Peterson not only boosted his Heisman credentials, but also helped lead LSU to a win on a day the offense couldn't seem to do anything, as kicker Jordan Jasper hit five field goals in the contest. In a matchup you won't want to miss, LSU will take on a tough opponent this week with West Virginia coming to town.
South Carolina may have played to Furman's level a bit this week, going up early but having trouble putting the Paladins away. They came out with a win, but neither the offense nor the defense played exceptionally well. They'll have to play much better with Auburn and Alabama in consecutive games.
If not for a few early miscues, Iowa may have won this one. They controlled most of the game save for some early big plays and some problems in the latter half of the fourth quarter. They limited Arizona to just one real offensive touchdown (the first offensive touchdown came off of a blocked punt close to the goal line), but a loss is a loss and the Hawkeyes cannot make those mistakes and expect to win.
Miami had a week off to work out the problems from the Ohio State game. After an emotional speech from head coach Randy Shannon, the Hurricanes should be fired up coming into this one against a tough Pittsburgh team as they look to put themselves into a good spot heading into ACC competition.
Again, the Trojans have had problems separating from teams they should handle easily with the amount of talent on that team. They needed a kick return taken 97 yards for a touchdown by Robert Woods to get past Minnesota 32-21.
Quarterback Geno Smith is eliciting memories of Marc Bulger from the 1998 season when threw for 3,000 yards, becoming the only Mountaineers quarterback to achieve that feat. Smith is on his way to joining him, throwing for 800 yards thus far. He made it look easy against Maryland, putting up 268 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Noel Devine also played well, rushing for a season-high 131 yards. They'll have a tough one this week as they travel to Baton Rouge to face LSU.
The defense dominated, and freshman quarterback Robert Bolden regrouped a bit as Penn State beat Kent State 24-0. Penn State collected their first two interceptions of the year and stopped the run after getting stomped last week against Alabama.
Wow. What a call by Mark Dantonio to fake a field goal on 4th and 14 with his team down by three in overtime. The play he called "Little Giants" was successful, though, and Dantonio looked like a genius. The Spartans are 3-0 for the first time since 2007. Also, best wishes to Mark Dantonio as he recovers from a heart attack suffered last night.
Colin Kaepernick put on a show Friday night against Cal, connecting on 18 of 25 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns, and rushing for 148 yards and three touchdowns. He's thrown six touchdown passes, rushed for seven touchdowns and has yet to throw an interception this season.
The Wolverines had way too much trouble with UMass than they should have, but in the end Denard Robinson carried his team to the win. Robinson put up big numbers for the third straight week, throwing for 241 yards with two touchdowns and rushing for 104 yards and a touchdown..
That's how we see things shaking out after last week's performance folks. Here's how the major polls view the NCAA Football landscape.
* The weekly NCAA Div I Top 25 Football Rankings put out by Xtra Point Football is NOT a poll. The rankings and comments are the opinions of our College Football Editor, Danny Hobrock with assistance and contribution from staff writer, Jared Levine.
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