There was almost a major shakeup at the top of the rankings with Texas falling and Alabama coming so close before they were able to capitalize on a couple of fourth quarter interceptions that ultimately gave them the victory. As could be expected, Texas tumbles out of the top ten, West Virginia falls out of the top 25 following their loss to LSU and Stanford and Utah make their way into the top ten.
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
If Saturday's contest didn't cement Alabama as the top team in the nation, I don't know what will. They came back after being down 13 points in the third quarter to grab the win. The matchup with Florida this week is a must-see.
All the Broncos can do is keep winning and that's what they've done thus far. To a large extent, their destiny is out of their hands even if they're the only undefeated team in the nation when all's said and done. They overcame mistakes in the Oregon State game and held the Beavers to under 80 yards rushing and under 250 yards of total offense. Listen for chants of 'B-C-S' from the Boise State student section at every home game from here on out.
Ohio State has beaten a very good Miami team, whereas Boise State has beaten two good teams (Virginia Tech is still a good team) who are now unranked. The Buckeyes' other three contests, however, have been cupcakes. If they go unscathed through Big Ten play, it'll be hard not to put them ahead of the Broncos, though. Still plenty of season to be played.
TCU made enough mistakes in the first half and went down early by a touchdown against SMU. Then Jeremy Kerley returned a kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown, and quarterback Andy Dalton started making smart plays as TCU pulled away from the Mustangs to pull out the win 41-24. This was TCU's last out of conference game with the conference game against Colorado State coming up.
Oregon's blown a couple of teams out of the water and has survived scares from a couple more. They've demonstrated their offensive firepower, defensive prowess and resiliency when trailing early in games. Oregon's running game was surprisingly held for 145 yards, 235 below its average. They played well through the air, though, as quarterback Darron Thomas threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns.
The Cornhuskers continue to win, but they didn't look like the #6 team in the country Saturday against South Dakota State. They were far from impressive in the win, winning only 17-3. The Cornhuskers scored two consecutive touchdowns in the first half and almost nothing after that as the offense struggled. They'll have a game to work out the kinks before taking on Texas a couple of weeks later.
The Gators finally dominated a game in a way worthy of a top ten ranking. They put away Kentucky 48-14 on six scores from freshman quarterback/running back/wide receiver Trey Burton. Burton was involved in every offensive touchdown and reminded a lot of people of a certain former Gator quarterback. Burton, now wearing #8, ran for five scores and passed for another, breaking Tim Tebow's record of five touchdowns in one game. Look for the newfound star to be used plenty in next week's matchup with Alabama..
The Sooners had trouble putting away Cincinnati Saturday evening, winning for the second time this season by three points or less and for the third time by a score. Landry Jones passed for 370 yards and two touchdowns, but Demarco Murray was shutdown, carrying 28 times for just 67 yards. The defense let up 461 yards, but did manage to force four turnovers. The Sooners have struggled to a 4-0 start, and face a big test next week against Texas in the annual rivalry game.
Not many players get the opportunity, or are skilled enough, to play both offense and defense, but Owen Marecic has done just that this season as the starting fullback and linebacker. He scored two touchdowns 13 seconds apart, one on a rushing touchdown and the other on an interception returned for a touchdown. Andrew Luck threw two interceptions, but both were tipped. The defense held Notre Dame to just 14 points, the offense has not failed to score 35 points in a game this season and the Cardinal is 4-0. HUGE test against Oregon next week.
Jordan Wynn returned after sitting out the last two games with a thumb injury. He passed for just 124 yards and two touchdowns, but he didn't have to be Superman as the Utes scored 49 unanswered points after a 7-3 first quarter. Eight different players scored for Utah in the rout.
When the Auburn Tigers get rolling, they are tough to stop. They've have had their struggles, and if not for a double-clutch by the Clemson long snapper, Auburn could be a one-loss team. They've won by a score in all three matchups with FBS teams, but a win's a win no less and Cam Newton has this team on the right track. Newton was impressive as he rushed for 176 yards with three touchdowns and threw for two more scores in Saturday night's game. The defense also played well, holding star running back Marcus Lattimore to 33 yards and forcing four fourth quarter turnovers..
Just when it looked like the Badgers could struggle to live up to their lofty expectations, they laid 70 points on Austin Peay. Running back John Clay was not even the leading Badgers rusher, as that distinction goes to freshmen running back James White, who ran for 145 yards and four touchdowns (Clay rushed for 118 yards and a score). Their offense was rolling this week and didn't punt until the fourth quarter. Of course, the Badgers have struggled against all three FBS opponents this season and next week's matchup with Michigan State will be a telling test.
Over the last two weeks, the Wildcats' offense hasn't been clicking the way many thought it would. Still, Arizona continues to find a way to win, as Nick Foles led a late touchdown drive following a Cal missed field goal to give 'Zona the 10-9 victory. A bye week will give this team time to recover, regroup and prepare for Oregon State the following week.
It was hard not to laugh as cornerback/return man Patrick Peterson struck the Heisman pose after returning a punt for a touchdown. His stats are far from laughable, though, and he's by far the defensive/special teams player most worthy of Heisman consideration at this point in the season. Steven Ridley is an underrated running back who has rushed for 434 yards and three touchdowns so far and the LSU defense and special teams are most responsible for the 4-0 start. Quarterback play needs to get better with Florida, Auburn, Alabama and Arkansas on the docket.
Ryan Mallett was having what looked to be shaping up as a defining game in his career until he tossed two costly late interceptions that allowed Alabama to take the lead and then end a late-game comeback bid that ultimately sealed the victory. There's work to be done in terms of closing games, but this is still a very good football team. Was it a "moral victory" for the Razorbacks? Mallett doesn't think so and quickly negated the idea.
The 'Canes didn't get much of a challenge from Pitt Thursday night, but the defense looked very good and the offense was, for the most part at least, clicking. Miami shut out Florida A&M of the FCS, held the Ohio State offense in check despite being put in several bad spots and had little trouble holding Pitt to three points.
The Hawkeyes were able to bounce back after the loss to Arizona last week, scoring 45 points and blanking Ball State. Iowa needed this type of performance as they face a gauntlet of Big Ten matchups with Penn State, Michigan, Wisconsin and Michigan State in consecutive weeks.
Lane Kiffin is now the fifth Trojan head coach to go 4-0 following the win over Washington State. USC dominated and Stanley Havili was the player of the game. He ran for 80 yards and caught five passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns. USC hadn't looked good in their first three games of this season, but they gained 613 yards on offense on Saturday, albeit against the worst team in their conference.
Dropping the Wolverines to 25th was admittedly influenced too much by the scare that UMass gave them. Wolverine Nation stopped breathing for a while as star quarterback Denard Robinson went down with a knee injury, but he ended up ok and so did Michigan without him. Next up, Big Ten play.
UCLA played well. Texas didn't. They're actually quite lucky to remain in the rankings. Mack Brown summed up the game quite well, calling the loss "a rear-end kicking." The Longhorns haven't been the same team this season in large part due to some key losses at quarterback, wide receiver and all over the defense. A lot's been made of Florida and Alabama's losses with little national attention paid to the key losses that Texas has endured. The losses have been evident without a Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley on offense, but the defense has held up quite well, ranking second nationally in total defense..
South Carolina is an outstanding team, but they couldn't finish in the fourth quarter. Marcus Lattimore, the talk of the town in Columbia coming into the game, was held to 33 points while Alshon Jeffery caught eight passes for two touchdowns and nearly 200 yards. He's quietly become the NCAA leader in receiving yards. The Gamecocks have a week off before they take on Alabama in Columbia. The Tide will be coming off a big game against Florida...could be a big one.
The Spartans followed a thrilling win over Notre Dame by blowing out Northern Colorado. They rushed for 200 yards for the fourth straight game, improving on last season when they managed just one 200 yard rushing game. Quarterback Kirk Cousins played well, too, throwing for 290 yards and two touchdowns. Tests against Wisconsin and Michigan provide opportunity to jump ahead in the top 25 or possibly fall out completely.
The Nevada offense continues to prove one of the best in the nation. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick and running back Vai Taua lead the way and were both effective in Saturday's win over BYU. The Wolf Pack, many believe, are the biggest test for Boise State as they continue their bid for a BCS National Championship berth. The two meet November 26.
Penn State was trailing at half to Temple, but turned it around to win 22-13. Kicker Collin Wagner tied a school record with five field goals, as the offense only scored one touchdown. Penn State has quietly managed the eighth ranked scoring defense, allowing 14, 24, 0 and 13 points so far this season..
North Carolina State won again this week, improving to 4-0. Quarterback Russell Wilson played well again, throwing for a career high 368 yards and three touchdowns. Want a stat to consider? Wilson's interception in the fourth quarter was his first in 379 consecutive attempts dating back to his freshman year. That's an NCAA record. NC State has the opportunity to prove they're worthy of a top 25 ranking as they take on Virginia Tech this week..
Also considered (in no particular order): Florida State, Missouri, West Virginia, Air Force, Oregon State
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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