1. Alabama – Why not the Tide at #1? They have the second best ranked defense (behind Texas Tech, who will play five ranked opponents in a row), they only allow 7 PPG (1st) and QB A.J. McCarron has been playing great football.
Now for the race for #2 is a very messy one..
2. Oregon – Oregon’s defense may allow 365 YPG but they rank 18th in yards per play allowed on defense because they spend so much time on defense it seems. Marcus Mariota is the best QB IMO that Oregon has had since Dennis Dixon. Kenjon Barner averages 6.3 YPC and De’Anthony Thoams averages 9.6. Scary.
3. Florida State – E.J. Manuel has completed 73 percent of his passes and the Seminoles have rushed for 21 TDs as a team so far in 2012. Although their first two opponents were laughable, right now they are averaging 51 PPG and allowing 11.
4. Kansas State – Yes, that’s right – Kansas State is #4. But they may have the best two wins of any team so far. The 52-13 thumping of Miami looks much better since the U has picked up momentum ever since. Then a win over Oklahoma where they were mistake free and forced 3 TO’s.
5. Georgia – It’s scary to think that Georgia’s top two runningbacks have 400 yards at least each. It’s even more scary to know they are both true freshman. However, the Bulldogs rank in the 50s in Total Defense and YPP. Big game this week.
6. LSU – LSU has not looked impressive in their last two games, a 2-point win against a team that has a crappy offense, and a 16-point win over Towson, a team that got handled by Kent State, and at a point was beating LSU in the late 1st half. They have a big test at Florida this week.
7. South Carolina – The Gamecocks don’t jump out anywhere statistically except that they are 6th in points allowed. Lattimore is possibly the best RB in the nation and has quietly gotten 8 TDs this year. They host Georgia, then have to travel to Florida then LSU, so we’ll quickly learn a lot about the Gamecocks.
8. West Virginia – Yes, they have Geno Smith. Yes, he threw for 8 TDs. They have no defense. They will have to outscore teams to win games. They haven’t played anyone yet with a great defense: Marshall, James Madison, Maryland and Baylor. They give up 32.5 PPG which is scary.
9. Florida – Florida is about to enter the gauntlet. Their month of October: LSU, Vanderbilt, Georgia, South Carolina. Good luck, Gators. If they knock off LSU this week, it would be huge and build momentum which could drive them to a 4-0 month.
10. Texas – Like West Virginia, not too sure about their defense. They did put up 65 on Ole Miss and Alabama only had 33. Two big games in the next two weeks: vs WVU and a neutral site contest vs Oklahoma.
11. Notre Dame – Their defense has looked great, allowing 9 PPG but they have a tough October as well. I think Miami has a great shot of knocking off Notre Dame this week with the way the Canes have looked on offense these last couple weeks.
12. Oregon State – Oregon State has three solid wins to start the year: Wisconsin, UCLA and Arizona. Sean Mannion is throwing for 362 YPG so far this year.
13. Louisville – I probably shouldn’t have the Cardinals this high – their last three wins have all been under a TD or less but they have played three bowl-caliber teams: UNC, FIU and Southern Miss. I really like Teddy Bridgewater who is completing 73 percent of his passes this year.
14. TCU – TCU is allowing 7 PPG to start the year. Casey Pachall is playing well and Brandon Carter is a great WR and only a sophomore. Oh yeah, this team only starts 3 seniors and one on the 7th ranked defense in the FBS.
15. Oklahoma – The Sooners sleptwalk through a game vs. UTEP, beat an FCS team and lost to Kansas State. The Sooners have only played three games so this rating is almost a TBD on them. They lost to a K-State team which I think is a title contender at this point.
16. Clemson – Concerned about their defense – gave up 27 to Ball St., 31 to Boston College notably. Their offense is balanced ranking 22nd in passing and 32nd in rushing. Like others, their offense can bail them out and their schedule is pretty easy the rest of the way. They should roll into their SC matchup 10-1 on November 24th.
17. Ohio State – I’m not going to overrate Ohio State for being a fan. Ohio State used to have a dominant defense but ranks 59th in total defense and they are 105th against the pass. Braxton Miller is having a great year but the rushing game is beat up for the Buckeyes which can hurt them in the long run. Also they were outgained by UAB. UAB!
18. Washington – I value Head to Head wins in my poll, so the Huskies are this high because they beat Stanford. However, they rank below 100th in offense in passing and rushing. They got beaten bad by LSU, who has struggled ever since it seems like. They play Oregon this week and I don’t like their chances.
19. Stanford – Stanford almost lost to San Jose State week one then somehow, someway beat USC, who may not be all we thought they would be this year. Replacing Luck was going to be difficult but their defense and their running game beat USC. When Taylor didn’t back it up vs. Washington, they lost.
20. USC – Matt Barkley’s numbers are somehow much worse this year. Also, the Trojans opponents who they have beaten have 0 wins over FBS teams. Trap game at Utah on Thursday? Maybe.
21. Mississippi State – A win over an FCS school, a win over an FCS to FBS school, barely beating Troy and a win over Auburn. Nothing jumps out at me from those four games, but they should be 7-0 when they travel to Alabama.
22. Cincinnati – Cincy’s win over Virginia Tech was big. Munchie Legaux is a decent QB with a great name. Think they should be 6-0 when they face Louisville on Friday, October 26th.
23. Nebraska – Nebraska probably has the best offense in the Big Ten, and they run for 300+ a game as a team. We’ll see what they are made of @ Ohio State and @ Northwestern in their next two.
24. Louisiana Tech – Wins at Houston, at Illinois and at Virginia are good wins for a non-BCS conference team. Sonny Dykes is bound to take a big job if he wants to do so soon. Tech QB Colby Cameron is completing 68 percent of his passes w/ 12 TDs and 0 INTs. Could they beat Texas A&M on October 13th?
25. Northwestern – Kain Colter had been Northwestern’s QB to start the year, but the “QB” had 14 carries for 161 yards & 4 TDs and also caught 9 passes for 131 yards last week. NW had 700 yards of offense last week. They have some OK wins over Syracuse, Vandy and Boston College.
UCLA – Debated putting them in over LA Tech and Northwestern but went with the undefeated teams for now.
Texas A&M – They could go 0-2 in the state of Louisiana later this month.
Rutgers – Ranked in the 20′s in AP & Coaches with amazing wins over Tulane, Howard, USF (probably their best win) and Arkansas, who seemingly had their best game so far this year vs them.
Texas Tech – Ranked in Coaches, but not here. Wins over Northwestern State, Texas State, New Mexico and Iowa State tell me nothing.
Boise State – Ranked in Coaches. Not the Boise team of old. Barely beat New Mexico which is not good.
Ohio – Probably the best MAC team but struggled to beat UMass, who had looked bad so far this year. Really bad.
Nevada – If not for a loss to USF, they would be in the top 25. Instead, they aren’t getting mentioned. RB Stephon Jefferson has 877 yards rushing & 11 TDs. On pace for a huge year.