Sunday, September 30, 2007

Look-Ahead Saturday

Are you a fan of a nationally ranked top 25 collegiate football program?

You might wanna take a deep breath before peaking at today’s scoreboard. Or what I have detailed below for all of you to cringe at (a round-up of the top 25 and the freefall the rankings will see in the next 48 hours).

In essence, it was a bloody mess this weekend for the “perceived” top 10. The damage even spread to teams ranked 10-20 and 20-25.

Nobody was spared.
Not even the Irish.

Credit: Yahoo! Sports

The carnage was consistent and unexpected, at least to the so-called experts.

So who or what is to blame? Weak early scheduling? Underachieving Heisman-hopefuls? Global Warming?

Slow down Al Gore. I have the answer. It’s looking ahead. Yep, looking ahead on the schedule. You can’t put it past even the nation’s top players and coaches. Everyone does it. Sometimes, to a costly degree.

That was definitely the case, whether in victory or near-defeat, for the numerous teams in the top 25, on Demolition Saturday.

Let’s take a look at the bloodbath that was the USA Today Top 25

#1. USC [Defeated unranked Washington 27-24 despite 3 turnovers and 16 penalties.]
Next Week – Stanford. Ever seen Jim Harbaugh’s menacing scowl? I’d be looking ahead too.

#2. LSU [Defeated Tulane 34-9 despite trailing 10-9 late in the second quarter,]
Next Week – Hosting #3 Florida. Well, they used to be #3.

#3. Florida [Lost at home to Auburn 20-17 after trailing 14-0 and giving up two game-winning field goals as time expired.]
Next Week – Traveling to #2 LSU in primetime. Auburn was the only team to defeat the National Champs last season too.

Credit: Yahoo! Sports

#4. Oklahoma [Lost at Colorado 24-27 despite holding a 24-7 second half lead.]
Next Week – Red River Shootout against the Longhorns. About them…

#5. West Virginia [Lost at South Florida 13-21 after QB Pat White went down with another injury against the Bulls.]
Next Week – Syracuse. So maybe that doesn’t matter. Then again, tell that to Louisville. What is important is that right now, Syracuse/UCONN/South Florida are tied for 1st in the Big East. Wow.

#6. California [Won at Oregon 31-24 behind a comeback week from WR DeSean Jackson.]
Next Week – Oregon State. Traveling to #11 Oregon and walking out a victor, despite a rather poor first half, is a strong statement for the likely #3 team in all polls next week.

#7. Texas [Lost at home to Kansas State 21-41 in a game Colt McCoy personally took the Longhorns out of with 4 INTs.]
Next Week – Aforementioned Red River Shootout with OU. Neither team is likely to be a national title contender after this weekend or next.

#8. Ohio State [Won at Minnesota 30-7 and should return to the top 5 on Monday.]
Next Week – Purdue, who is also 5-0 and tied at the top of the Big Ten. Looks enticing.

#9. Wisconsin [Just got by another opponent, this time Michigan State, 37-34 at home this weekend.]
Next Week – Illinois. Traveling to Champaign will be as tough as ever with Ron Zook sparking the Illini to an upset victory over Penn State today.

#10. Rutgers [Lost at home to unranked Maryland 24-34, their first game ranked in any poll in the top 10 ever. So you go up and lose? Nice!]
Next Week – Nationally ranked Cincinnati hosts the pride of New Jersey, in a game oozing with early-season bowl implication.

Credit: Yahoo! Sports

#11. Boston College [Victorious 24-12 over Massachusetts in a highly unimpressive effort; nevertheless, they’re likely to enter the top 10.]
Next Week – Hosting Bowling Green. Antonio Daniels sightings maybe?

#12. See above for California vs. Oregon.

#13. Clemson [Lost 3-13 at the hands of struggling Georgia Tech on the road.]
Next Week – Hosting Va. Tech. This weekend’s loss may only heighten the importance of this mid-season showdown between the Tigers and Hokies.

#14. Virginia Tech [Victorious over North Carolina 17-10.]
Next Week – Traveling to Death Valley to take on ACC-rival Clemson Tigers. Hey, at least Brandon Ore, 93 yards, almost eclipsed the century mark.

#15. Kentucky [Defeated Florida Atlantic 45-17 behind 5 TDs from legit Heisman-candidate QB Andre' Woodson.]
Next Week – at South Carolina. Finally! Somebody didn’t wait one extra minute to pound an inferior opponent into submission.

Credit: Yahoo! Sports

Georgia [Victory by means of a 45-17 victory over Mississippi.]
Next Week – at Tennessee. Like the Wildcats, UGA’s boys didn’t take very long to decide the victory of this game.

#17. Hawaii [Overcame 5 INTs from Colt Brennan to overtake Idaho 48-20.]
Next Week – Plaguing Brennan’s Heisman chances, Hawaii continues against winless Utah State to try and become this season’s Boise State.

#18. See above for West Virginia vs. South Florida.

#19. Penn State [Lost at Illinois 20-27 behind borderline putrid play by QB Anthony Morelli.]
Next Week – Iowa. The point is: Illinois is no longer a freebee on the Big Ten schedule, especially when playing in Champaign.

#20. Missouri [Defeated Illinois State 38-17.]
Next Week – Nebraska. Suddenly, this team is now among the favorites in the weakened Big Twelve.

#21. South Carolina [Defeated Miss. St. 38-21 to move to 4-1.]
Next Week – Hosting Kentucky. Talk about another statement game for the Ole’ Ball Coach. Think he wishes he’d had the chance to recruit Andre Woodson?

#22. Nebraska [Blew past Iowa State 35-17 at home.
Next Week – Traveling to Nebraska. With losses for OU and UT, NU suddenly controls its own Big XII destiny technically.

#23. See above for Wisconsin vs. Michigan State.

#24. Alabama [Lost at Florida State 14-21, perhaps ending Nick Saban’s early-season honeymoon in Tuscaloosa.]
Next Week – Houston. They weren’t looking ahead; but did they take the Noles seriously enough? Then again, who would’ve?

Credit: Yahoo! Sports

#25. Purdue [Victorious over 0-5 Notre Dame 33-19.]
Next Week – Ohio State. One of the biggest trap games of the weekend was avoided quite nicely. Haha to Irish fans. Haha.

And that’s a wrap!

Next week has plenty of drama, but the rankings sure will be different.

Fortunately for the fans, the week is still more than fine:

LSU vs. Florida, Texas vs. Oklahoma, Rutgers vs. Cincinnati, Kentucky vs. South Carolina, Georgia vs. Tennessee, Virginia Tech vs. Clemson, Ohio State vs. Purdue, and Nebraska vs. Missouri.

Until then…

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