Jeff Dantzler’s Top 25
by Jeff Dantzler
It was another great weekend of college football, highlighted by seven top 25 vs. top 25 match-ups. Florida, Alabama, Oregon and Kansas State all flexed their muscles. Oregon State and Mississippi State kept on winning, as did Notre Dame. There are some heavyweight showdowns on tap for this Saturday, including Mississippi State at Alabama, the big one in Jacksonville and the Irish visiting Oklahoma. The next Saturday is Oregon-USC and Bama-LSU.
1. Florida – What an awesome defense, special teams and power game for the
Gators. Florida has the most impressive hit list in America – by a way’s. They have
won three straight games while passing for under 100 yards. Yet Jeff Driskel threw
four touchdowns in a rout of South Carolina. Florida is licking its chops for sagging
2. Alabama – Nick Saban just keeps on churing out big wins for the Crimson
Tide. The schedule really toughens the next two weeks. Mississippi State heads
to the capstone in a battle of unbeaten, and then comes the trip to Baton Rouge.
3. Oregon – After a quick turnover and 7-0 hole in Tempe, it looked like the
undefeated Ducks may be in trouble on Thursday night. Check that. Halftime
score, 43-7. Ducks. Oregon may score 80 against Colorado, which took it on the
chin from Southern Cal Saturday. The following week, it’s the biggest game of the
year in the league, as Oregon goes to L.A. to play the Trojans.
4. Kansas State – Holy smokes are the Wildcats rolling. Collin Klein is at the
top of the Heisman Trophy list and Kansas State is rightfully dreaming mighty big.
Klein accounted for seven touchdowns in Morgantown! They absolutely jack-hammered
West Virginia and that porous defense.
5. Notre Dame – The Fighting Irish survived the tweener upset scare against
Brigham Young. This week is one of their toughest tests of the year, as Notre Dame
heads to Oklahoma. Notre Dame’s defense has been downright outstanding this
year, and ever since the second week of the year, the Irish have had some serious
6. LSU – The Tigers defense was outstanding in College Station, keeping
them in the game until the offense got cranked up. LSU has Saturday off, which
is big in this brutal schedule. Then Alabama comes to Baton Rouge for a megashowdown.
7. Oregon State – It has been over a century since the Beavers were undefeated
this late in the season. They are the unbeaten – along with Mississippi State
– that has gotten the least attention. Oregon State has an excellent defense that was
on high display in a late night 21-7 win over Utah.
8. Mississippi State – Dan Mullen has the Maroon Bulldogs playing excellent
football. Mississippi State is undefeated and all set for one of the biggest games in
school history on the capstone. If State could pull this off, Starkville will be the happiest
place on Earth.
9. Ohio State – Urban Meyer’s team was dead and gone in the Horseshoe
against Purdue, but the Buckeyes had a magic comeback touchdown and twopointer,
then won it in overtime. The Boilermakers had chances against the Irish
as well, but it got away.
10. Oklahoma – There was no letdown after humiliating their Red River
Shootout punching bag Texas. There was no look-ahead with Notre Dame coming
in. Oklahoma is on a roll, and Bob Stoops’ troops put a beatdown on Kansas.
11. Texas Tech – Tommy Tuberville has the Red Raiders rolling. Coming off
of that blowout over West Virginia in Lubbock, the Red Raiders went across the
state and survived an all-timer over TCU in Ft. Worth. Texas Tech is in the midst
of the teeth of the schedule, but nobody wants any part of the Red Raiders the way
12. Southern Cal – The Trojans blew out pitiful Colorado – as expected. Matt
Barkley had a spectacular showing, hitting 19 of 20 passes with six touchdown
passes. USC has come back and played well since losing to Stanford.
13. South Carolina – The bottom line is, in the Southeastern Conference, every
year there’s going to be a team from the East and a team from the West that gets the most
brutal schedule. This year it’s the Gamecocks. After their blowout of Georgia, they lost
a heartbreaker at LSU and then got blown out at Florida. It’s a tough bounceback, and
they better be ready for Tennessee.
14. Florida State – After losing so many one-point heartbreakers through the years
to Miami – costing the Seminoles at least two or national championships – it is always
a good feeling for Florida State to beat Miami. That N.C. State loss is really going to
linger if they win out.
15. Clemson – What a show for the Tigers, and tip your cap to Clemson for how
strong they’ve come back after that crushing loss at Florida State. And a 3-0 record the
last two seasons against Frank Beamer and Virginia Tech is especially sweet for the Clemson
16. Boise State – Chris Petersen is a hot coach. The Broncos lost all kinds of talent
– including Kellen Moore and Doug Martin – off of last year’s squad, but they are still
awfully good. Boise really gets after it on defense and they are physical in the running
17. Texas A&M – The Aggies jumped out to a 12-0 lead against tough and physical
LSU, but slowly but surely got beaten down. Sound familiar? The same thing happened
at home against Florida. They are really in the teeth of their schedule now.
18. Louisville – The Cardinals had their hands full with South Florida, but Charley
Strong’s team was able to pull out a two-point thriller. Louisville, Rutgers and Cincinnati
are the class of the league, though the Bearcats fell to in-state foe Toledo Saturday.
19. Rutgers – Things got a little scary against Temple, as the Scarlet Knights fell
behind 10-0. But they hung 35 straight to roll to another victory and stay undefeated.
This program used to be a laughing stock. Now they are one of the best in the big East.
20. Georgia – The Bulldogs escaped a scare against Kentucky, which fell to 1-7.
Aaron Murray had a big night throwing in Lexington. The Dogs have an enormous
chore, with the rollin’ Gators in Jacksonville. Georgia has a bunch of leaks to plug and
in a hurry.
21. Stanford – It was 30 years ago when Stanford was the victim of one of the most
famous plays in the history of college football. There was no magic for the Golden Bears
this year, as the Cardinal beat their arch-rival on the heels of a heartbreaking loss in
22. West Virginia – In two weeks, the Mountaineers have gone from a national title
contender with the Heisman Trophy front-runner in Geno Smith to a middle of the
pack Big XII team. Such is life in a major conference. Their weak defense has gotten
smoked two straight weeks by Texas Tech and Kansas State.
23. Louisiana Tech – After dropping that heartbreaking thriller 59-57 to Texas A&M
in Shreveport, the Ruston Bulldogs came back with a vengeance and pounded Idaho 70-
28. It’s 6-1 on the season and high times, despite what happened with the Aggies.
24. Duke – Not since Steve Spurrier led them to the 1989 Atlantic Coast Conference
championship have the Blue Devils been riding this high. Once-beaten in league
play and 6-2 overall, Duke has a legit shot to play in Charlotte. David Cutcliffe has done
a fantastic job in Durham.
25. Toledo – How about a little love for the Mid-American Conference?! Toledo
improved to 7-1 with a big win over previously undefeated Cincinnati. The Rockets give
the MAC another highly sought after scalp from a BCS Conference foe.