Wednesday, September 7, 2011

HTR's Top 25: Week 2

Here's what I've got after a week of play in which we learned almost nothing about most teams in the top 25. Some minor, somewhat random shuffling going on here...that should settle out after the end of the non-conference schedule or the first week of conference play.

Florida State
Boise State
Virginia Tech
Texas A&M
Oklahoma State
Ohio State
South Carolina
West Virginia
Mississippi State
South Florida
Penn State
Michigan State

  • Might as well get it out of the way...I was 1/2 on the two primetime games last week. I thought that LSU's defense would contain Oregon's high octane offense pretty well, and they did. As expected, the quarterback situation is irrelevant; Jarrett Lee is not a quarterback insomuch as he is a walking conduit for Les Miles's absurdist voodo strategy. On the other hand, I was wrong about Boise State-UGA, so so wrong. I'll admit that part of that pick was imbued with a decidedly anti-Boise State bias that clouded my judgment a bit and perhaps tricked me into thinking UGA is better than they are. While I still refuse to slot BSU in the top 5, I'll put them at 6. They deserve it. 
  • As for the Irish...oh man. I was definitely in the "USF could beat them if ND doesn't show up" camp, but I had ND down for 9 or 10 wins on the season, and you can bet that one of those wins should have come last Saturday. Dr. Saturday runs down the Irish's performance nicely, coming to the conclusion that ND can still have a "big season" if they limit the egregious, game-changing, talent advantage mitigating mistakes they made in the USF game. I agree. I still think can win 9 games. Will they? Get back to me after Saturday. 
  • Verdict on Wisconsin thus far? That offense will be hard to stop, and Wilson is a much better athlete than I thought he would be. The defense, on the other hand, looked a little soft at times against a bad UNLV team. Thankfully for the Badgers, they have three more tune-up games before having to try to stop Taylor Martinez on October 1st. 
  • Alabama's quarterback situation not being settled is a little worrisome for a consensus top 2 or 3 team, but either way I think they'll be fine. Alabama doesn't require greatness from the quarterback position. Ultimately, I think McCarron wins that battle over Phillip Sims. Penn State will be a solid test for Alabama this week, and the environment in Happy Valley in and of itself will prepare whomever the starter ends up being for future trips to Florida and Auburn. I didn't watch much of their game so I can't really explain Richardson's weak stat line, but I'm sure the Tide will feed him the ball quite a bit this week. 
  • Notre Dame, TCU, and Georgia all drop out after horrible weekends for each. I think Notre Dame and Georgia will salvage their seasons despite starting off with ugly losses (the former because they won't play that poorly every week and the latter because BSU is pretty good), but as of right now they don't deserve to be in the top 25. TCU on the other It'll be interesting to see if that was just a case of RGIII's brilliance or an overestimation of Gary Patterson's defensive genius. 
  • Michigan State looked entirely unimpressive but I left them as is, mostly because it's just one game and they performed in a similarly mediocre fashion against FAU last season en route to an exceptional year. I was also tempted to drop USC after they looked pretty uninspired against a bad Minnesota team that is not even close to USC in terms of talent. So far, Kill is looking like a pretty good hire for the Gophers (and certainly better than his predecessor). 
  • Ohio State impressed me enough to move up significantly, as did Florida. Even though the Buckeyes didn't exactly face the toughest opponent in the world, their defense was impressive despite missing #1 corner Travis Howard (in addition to all the NFL departures). Florida looks fast, as usual. 
  •  Other than that, a lot of teams played East Nobody State so there's not too much to go on. I showed Northwestern some love after winning on the road at BC without Dan Persa, easily the Big Ten's best win of the week. I also put Penn State in there just because, I guess. Silas Redd looks like he should be a good one for PSU, but with the QB situation what it is I have a hard time seeing any scenario where PSU moves the ball with any consistency next week against the Crimson Tide. USF and Baylor also pop into the top 25 due to upset wins which may or may not mean nothing if TCU and ND continue to look incompetent. 
  • South Carolina is the epitome of a Jekyll and Hyde team. I really have no idea what to expect from from week to week, but they are definitely not as bad as they looked this past week against ECU. Giving up 37 points is kind of a red flag, though, and they could very easily lose next between between the hedges at UGA if they're not focused and ready to go, which, let's be honest, is a huge if for a Garcia-led team. 

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