Posts Tagged ‘Arkansas Razorbacks’

Apr
0

Silver lining for Arkansas may be Phillip Fulmer

From the unimaginable amount of dreck that has come from the Bobby Petrino mess at Arkansas, there could be a silver lining for Hogs fans, and that silver lining for Arkansas may be Phillip Fulmer.

Several news outlets reported today that the University of Arkansas and Phillip Fulmer have talked about the possibility of the former Tennessee coach replacing the disgraced Petrino. Now, it’s all very preliminary and there are some possible road blocks. First, others have expressed interest in the job, including a very surprising former coach – Steve Mariucci. I’m not sure why the Mooch would want to leave his cushy gig with the NFL Network, but hey, it’s out there now. Plus, you can make a case that promoting from within is a better option at this point in the offseason, since interim coach Taver Johnson knows the players and knows the system. Promoting Johnson would be less disruptive.

But the New Orleans Saints flirted with Bill Parcells before finally promoting Joe Vitt to be the interim coach with the Saints during Sean Payton’s suspension in 2012 (of course, that’s after Vitt serves his own six-game suspension). So the Razorbacks are doing their due diligence, as they should.

How do I see it? I think Fulmer is a great choice, no matter the time of year. Here are some reasons why:

Continue Reading…

Nov
0

The Walkthrough: Did Missouri do it right in the suspension of Gary Pinkel?

The Walkthrough is changing format starting this week. Now it’s five questions, followed by my five answers, and it appears every Monday and Friday. We’ll start this week with this question: Did Missouri do too much, too little or get it just right in the suspension of Missouri coach Gary Pinkel?

Probably just right, though if you really wanted to get it right you would have suspended him for two games, the same amount he suspended two Missouri players for a near-identical transgression. Pinkel’s suspension was handed down by the athletic director, Mike Alden. I applaud Alden for holding Pinkel to a similar standard that Pinkel holds his players to. Not every AD does. It’s actually a little refreshing. If you don’t think that’s enough, consider that Missouri has also frozen his salary for a year, required him to donate to a campus alcohol-awareness charity, must perform 50 hours of community service and is on probation for two years. It should be noted this is his first offense.

More on the Cotton Bowl’s ultimatum to texas, the head coaching search at Penn State and Houston’s chances of a BCS bowl bid after the jump.

Continue Reading…

Oct
0

You Want a True National Champion? Start a Playoff

Note: This series previously ran at RoadTripSports.com, but given the current climate of conference realignment, stoked by the Big 12, I feel this series of articles is as relevant now as it was a year ago. It will run every few days here at PigskinU.com. Check the PigskinU.com archives for Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4.

So in Part One I laid out an overview of building a better college game. In Part 2, we put our commissioner in charge with a mandate – change college football for the better. In Part 3 we re-drew conference lines, though not as radically as I originally intended. In Part 4 we talked about reducing the schedule to 11 games to allow all of our re-drawn conferences to participate in conference championship games.

But do you want a true national champion? Start a playoff. Here’s how.

Continue Reading…

Oct
0

PigskinU.com Top 25: Wisconsin makes a statement

Wisconsin WR Nick Toon and the Badgers are coming off a huge win over Nebraska.

Wisconsin made a statement Saturday night, and that statement was simple – we’re in it to win it.

It being the whole thing. As in the BCS National Championship.

I expected the Badgers’ Big Ten opener with Nebraska to be closer. But Nebraska faded as the game went along and the Badgers claimed a resounding 48-17 win over the Cornhuskers.

It was my first chance to really scrutinize the Badgers this season and I didn’t see many weaknesses. QB Russell Wilson, as I’ve written before, has added a different dimension to this pro-style offense that was already capable of pounding opponents with the run game. The defense turned the Husker offense impotent by halftime and QB Taylor Martinez was never comfortable after a solid first quarter.

Anyone who watched that game should have walked away with the idea that the Badgers are the team to beat in the entire Big Ten, not just their division. Frankly, I felt that way in August, but I resisted the temptation to come right out and say it because I just wasn’t sure about the QB situation. Could Wilson really go into that system and be a contributor that quickly? Apparently the answer was yes.

So here we are after five weeks and the Badgers are now on the short list of BCS National Championship contenders. Winning out may not be enough, though, as I think three other conferences could have undefeated teams this year. But winning out is the only way the Badgers will get in, if you ask me.

The Badgers only move up one spot to No. 6, since the five teams in front of them won and I don’t drop teams that win.

Meanwhile our PigskinU.com Top 25 took a hard hit this weekend, the result of the start of conference play for most leagues and a bevy of upsets. After you get outside our Top 6, all but two teams stayed where they were last week. It was a discombobulating weekend to say the least.

So, without further ado, My PigskinU.com Top 25 poll after Week 5:

Continue Reading…

Sep
0

The Walkthrough: The Aggies Wave Goodbye to Tradition

Matthew Postins files The Walkthrough twice a week during the season at PigskinU.com. Early in the week, it’s a wrap-up of last weekend’s action. Late in the week, it’s a preview of what’s coming up that weekend. And it call comes with news, commentary and Postins’ dry wit and opinion.

The Aggies Wave Goodbye to Tradition. On Sunday the SEC announced that it was officially taking in texas A&M as its 13th member, starting with the 2012 season. The decision that, in part, set off all of this realignment mess of the past month is finally official.

Now, what does this mean to the SEC? Well, the rich certainly get richer. The Aggies are a well-known program that seems to finally be turning a corner after several years of mediocrity. They’ll provide access for the SEC to not only Texas’ fertile recruiting ground but also to cable networks and laptops via the SEC’s Digital Network. It’s definitely a big win for them. Continue Reading…

Sep
0

PigskinU.com Top 25: Oklahoma is MY No. 1 Team

So I have a problem with the Associated Press.

On Sunday the AP voted LSU as the No. 1 team, leapfrogging the Tigers over Oklahoma, which had been the nation’s No. 1 team since the preseason poll. Also, Alabama dropped to No. 3.

Why do I have a problem with this? It’s not that I don’t believe that LSU is a great team. The Tigers have proven that in spades the past month, beating three ranked teams in the process. It’s that in order to move LSU to the top the voters have punished Oklahoma and Alabama.

Yes, Oklahoma WAS No. 1 and Alabama WAS No. 2. Now they’re Nos. 2 and 3, respectively. They’ve done nothing wrong. Both teams have played their schedule, won four games and remain undefeated. Both the Sooners and Crimson Tide have beaten ranked teams and creampuffs alike, just like LSU. But instead of keeping the two teams where they were, the voters, collectively, chose to drop them.

I know it’s a voter’s prerogative. But this part of the AP poll process has always driven me nuts. This happens every year. A team gets a few wins under its belt, attains a ranking they deserve and then gets dropped a spot by another team that’s undefeated.

I don’t think it’s fair. I think if you’re undefeated and you reach a certain ranking that’s where you stay until you lose. Say you’re the nation’s No. 5 team and you’re undefeated. You’re 6-0 and then you drop a spot, even though your team hasn’t done anything to deserve being dropped.

You take care of your business and yet you get dropped? I don’t like it one bit. Sure, if you’re No. 5 and another undefeated team leapfrogs you to No. 4, I can deal with that, as long as you keep your No. 5 ranking.

But what happened to Oklahoma was wrong. The Sooners were No. 1, were 4-0 and yet, and yet, the voters fell in love with someone else, in this case LSU and were dropped.

So, in MY poll Oklahoma is my No. 1 team, Alabama is my No. 2 team and LSU is my No. 3 team, just like the past two weeks. You may agree, you may disagree.

But my logic is clear and I think I’m right. But I suppose that’s part of why we debate these things every week. Everyone thinks a little differently. But Oklahoma is MY No. 1 team until they lose. If the lose.

So, without further ado, My PigskinU.com Top 25 poll after Week 4:

 

1. Oklahoma (last week: 1): The Sooners opened Big 12 action by taking care of Missouri, a team that always seems to give the Sooners trouble. The Tigers did so on Saturday, but not nearly enough trouble to put the Sooners on the ropes. Ball State comes to Norman next Saturday, followed by the trip to Dallas for the Red River Rivalry game with texas.

2. Alabama (last week: 2): One down, one to go for Alabama and its early SEC landmines. I’m not surprised that the Crimson Tide took care of Arkansas the way it did. But I am a little intrigued by next weekend’s matchup with Florida, even though that’s more because I’m interested in seeing how the new-look Gators measure up than determining if the Tide are a Top 3 team. I think we know that by now.

3. LSU (last week: 3): QB Jarrett Lee is turning into the one thing Jordan Jefferson was never able to become – consistent. Now that September is over, the Tigers need to take care of business and get ready for the early November tilt with Alabama, one that appears as if it will decide the SEC West.

4. Boise State (last week: 4): I don’t think the Broncos have lost a home game against an unranked opponent since the Clinton Administration. Now the punishment begins. The Broncos start playing Mountain West opponents and its strength of schedule takes a nosedive until the Nov. 12 tilt with TCU.

5. Stanford (last week: 5): The Cardinal remains undefeated and QB Andrew Luck remains a top-flight Heisman candidate. Not a bad month’s worth of work. UCLA is up next.

6. Nebraska (last week: 6): Nebraska took care of business against Wyoming. Now it’s time for the game I’ve had my eye on since Ohio State fell from grace this summer – Nebraska at Wisconsin. The Big Ten opener for both teams. It’s the biggest game of the season (Oct. 1 edition).

7. Wisconsin (last week: 7): Wisconsin has either had it easy or made it look easy. That’s hard to gauge.  But the way QB Russell Wilson has assimilated into the offense so easily should scare the heck out of the rest of the Big Ten.

8. Oklahoma State (last week: 8) : Well, now I think we know that the Cowboys are made of an especially tough kind of stock. Going into College Station and edging out the Aggies in a close game is fodder for making a case that the Cowboys should move up in this poll. But, since no one lost ahead of them, I’ll keep them here.

9. Virginia Tech (last week: 9): Virginia Tech made easy money out of Marshall. It’s been a pretty quiet month for the Hokies, which I assume they’ll take after last year’s 0-2 start with losses to Boise State and FCS’s James Madison. The Hokies’ ACC opener is against Clemson, which is really starting to gather steam after its win over Florida State.

10. Oregon (last week: 11): The Ducks seem to have rebounded nicely since their season-opening loss to LSU. Remember – the Ducks drew a significantly easier conference schedule than some of its Pac-12 North mates. The path seems clear from here to their Nov. 12 meeting with Stanford.

11. South Carolina (last week: 12): South Carolina made sure that Vanderbilt didn’t ruin their shot at an SEC East title. But here’s the thing – does the 21-3 result leave you more impressed with what James Franklin is doing at Vanderbilt or less impressed with the Gamecocks’ 4-0 start? They struggled with Navy the week before. That’s cause for concern for me.

12. Florida (last week: 13): Florida is 4-0 entering next weekend’s matchup with Alabama, a big one for seeing how much progress the Gators have made under first-year head coach Will Muschamp. Frankly, I don’t expect the Gators to win. But I want to see how close they make it. This is also a great game to take stock of QB John Brantley’s ability to handle a top-flight secondary.

13. texas A&M (last week: 10): The Aggies acquitted themselves pretty nicely against Oklahoma State, but they also dropped a 17-point lead in a game they could have won. I’ve felt all along that the Aggies were the No. 3 team in the Big 12, and that loss proves that I’m right. For once.

14. TCU (last week: 17): I expect a placid journey for the Horned Frogs to their Nov. 12 meeting with Boise State. The Horned Frogs ended up dismantling Portland State. But the slow starts are concerning me, and SMU has enough talent to take advantage of those slow starts. I expect TCU to win, but SMU could make it interesting. Just not Baylor interesting.

15. South Florida (last week: 18): QB B.J. Daniels is providing the Bulls with some salty numbers on the ground and in the air. This Bulls team steadily makes its way up our poll.

16. Michigan (last week: 20): Wolverine brass now looks very smart for hiring Brady Hoke, at least in the short term. And bonus points to the coaching staff for not trying to fit QB Denard Robinson into an offense that doesn’t utilize his best skills. Too many new coaches make that mistake.

17. Baylor (last week: 19): The Bears gave Rice the business to improve to 4-0 before starting Big 12 play. Now the fun begins. Are the Bears the best of what’s left after Oklahoma or Oklahoma State, or will they wilt now that they don’t have the element of surprise? I think their Rice could be very interesting, especially since the big teams don’t hit their schedule for a few more weeks.

18. texas (last week: 21): texas was idle this weekend and that gives their dynamic group of freshman some time to reflect before getting ready for their first Red River Rivalry game in two weeks. But before that it’s Iowa State, which is looking like a pretty interesting team right now.

19. West Virginia (last week: 15): First of all, the all-yellow uniforms need to go. Second, don’t totally panic over the Mountaineers’ loss to the Tigers. QB Geno Smith still has enough to carry the Mountaineers to a Big East title. But that South Florida matchup will be the biggee. 

20. Arkansas (last week: 16): So how far do you drop a team that just lost to the No. 2 team in the country. To me, Arkansas probably needs to be in the 20-25 range after losing to the Tide. They’re the third-best team in the West, but the chasm between the Hogs and the Top 2 is significant.

21. Florida State (last week: 14): Oh, what a drop for the Seminoles. The only thing that keeps me from dropping them out of my Top 25 completely is that QB EJ Manuel was hurt. But, goodness, losing to inconsistent Clemson doesn’t bode well for FSU winning its division, much less winning the ACC.

22. Michigan State (last week: 14): It’s time to find out what the Spartans are made of after they just dismantled Western Michigan. Still not ready to put them back in my Top 20 yet.

23. Illinois (last week: 24): Illinois is off to a 4-0 start. But I’m not moving them up after nearly being upset by Central Michigan. But, by my roles, the Illini don’t drop, either.

24. Clemson (last week: 25): A huge two week stretch for the Tigers, who were pegged by many as underachievers entering this season. The Florida State victory now puts Dabo Swinney’s crew among the leading contenders in the conference.

25. Georgia Tech (last week: unranked): I wasn’t high on the Yellow Jackets until they beat North Carolina last weekend, pulling the victory out late. They’re running the ball well, which isn’t unusual. But the defense looks better than the unit I saw play in the Independence Bowl last year.

Dropped out: 23, Southern Cal.

Sep
0

PigskinU.com Top 25: Oklahoma is a worthy No. 1 team

Since the offseason, Oklahoma has been my No. 1 team. The game with Florida State, which OU won by 10 Saturday night, was the one trap game I saw before the mother of all Big 12 games this season against Oklahoma State. The win over FSU proves Oklahoma is a worthy No. 1 team.

The Sooners stay at No. 1 in this week’s PigskinU.com Top 25 poll, which is no surprise. But now that LB Travis Lewis is back, the Sooners could be dominating as they march to the end of the regular season and a potential BCS National Championship berth.

Who’s going to beat them?

texas? The longhorns are young and talented, and may be oblivious enough to the moment when they face each other in two weeks. But I don’t see it. OU has way too much experience and texas still has a lot of growing to do. It will be a closer game than I thought it would be a couple of weeks ago, though.

texas A&M? I’m still not totally sold and I expect the Aggies to lose to Oklahoma State this weekend, despite the fact that the game is in College Station. But the Aggies have enough firepower to make things very hard on the Sooners when they meet on Nov. 5.

Baylor? It SOUNDS enticing. But the Bears have already been exposed on defense (is everyone forgetting that TCU scored 48 points on them) and the Sooners have the talent to contain QB Robert Griffin III.

Oklahoma State, to me, is the one game that could ruin Oklahoma’s march to New Orleans. That game is Dec. 3 in Stillwater.

There’s a lot of football between now and then. But with Saturday’s win, everything is in Oklahoma’s favor.

So, without further ado, My PigskinU.com Top 25 poll after Week 3:

 

1. Oklahoma (last week: 1): Do you know what the Sooners did on Saturday night? Claimed their first road win against a Top 5 team in non-conference action since 1977. texas is now the Sooners’ only road block before their early November game with texas A&M. The Sooners could be No. 1 for a long time.

2. Alabama (last week: 2): Alabama did what it needed to do against North texas – get a win and stay healthy. The next two weeks will be testy as the Tide starts SEC action against two Top 25 teams – Arkansas and Florida.

3. LSU (last week: 3): The Tigers’ defense is just awesome. They made Mississippi State looked like it looked before Dan Mullen arrived. West Virginia should provide an interesting test, but the Tigers should be able to overcome it.

4. Boise State (last week: 4): You may not have looked at the game against Toledo as a trap game. I did, considering what the Rockets nearly did to Ohio State. But Boise State took care of business on the road. The Broncos are holding steady at No. 4, so someone has to falter.

5. Stanford (last week: 5): Stanford opened Pac-12 play with a nice victory over a pesky Arizona outfit with one of the nation’s most talented quarterbacks in Nick Foles. Next up is reeling UCLA and then Colorado, where I’ll get my first in-person look at Andrew Luck.

6. Nebraska (last week: 6): It was a scorefest against Washington, which was a bit surprising to me. The Huskers gave up 38 points to the Huskies. Don’t sleep on next week’s game, though. Wyoming is 3-0 and much improved. The Huskers better not be biding their time before Wisconsin on Oct. 1.

7. Wisconsin (last week: 7): I’m just impressed with how the Badgers have responded to the transition to Russell Wilson at quarterback. Plus, the defense is just playing lights out. Next up is a cupcake game against South Dakota before facing Nebraska.

8. Oklahoma State (last week: 8) : Oklahoma State had to wait three hours to play its game against Tulsa (more on that in the Walkthrough). Three games, three relatively easy wins for the Cowboys. Now, it’s texas A&M and we find out what OSU really has.

9. Virginia Tech (last week: 9): The Hokies’ relatively soft schedule continues next week against Marshall. After that, ACC play starts against Clemson. I don’t know, I look at this schedule and I see 12-0 and an ACC Title game berth, as long as the Hokies take care of business.

10. texas A&M (last week: 13): The Aggies leapfrog Oregon and South Carolina based on the quality of their wins this season. Oregon, of course, has a loss. South Carolina struggled with Navy. The Aggies look like they’re on the right track heading into next weekend’s game with Oklahoma State. Remember – I don’t drop teams that win, but I’m not opposed to moving them up in this fashion.

11. Oregon (last week: 11): After two sensational blowouts against relatively benign opponents, the Ducks start Pac-12 play against Arizona. This game’s in Tucson, so it’s a nice trap game for the Ducks, who need a long winning streak before they face Stanford in November.

12. South Carolina (last week: 12): C’mon, South Carolina – Navy? The Gamecocks needed a late touchdown to beat the Midshipmen, who are good, but shouldn’t be challenging an upper echelon SEC team. Of course, that’s assuming South Carolina is an upper echelon ACC team. Based on the first three weeks, I have some questions. Vanderbilt, now 3-0, may provide some answers.

13. Florida (last week: 16): The Gators have zoomed up in the PigskinU.com rankings the past three weeks and now have their sights on the Top 10. The offense has reacted well to Charlie Weis as offensive coordinator, QB John Brantley is playing much better and they took care of a game Tennessee team last weekend. The Gators warm up on Kentucky before a major test Oct. 1 against Alabama.

14. Florida State (last week: 10): The Seminoles have to drop after losing to Oklahoma. But they don’t need to drop that much. I still think they’re a Top 25 team and better than such teams below them as West Virginia, Arkansas and TCU. I don’t, however, think they’re better than Florida. The status of EJ Manuel is key to the Seminoles’ chances against an improving Clemson team.

15. West Virginia (last week: 15): I’m not terribly impressed with the Mountaineers’ 6-point win over Maryland. Something tells me the LSU Tigers won’t be impressed when they go to Morgantown this weekend.

16. Arkansas (last week: 17): Troy gave the Hogs a real good game, with Arkansas only winning by 10. It was a solid test and good preparation for the SEC opener against Alabama next weekend. A win would be huge for the Hogs, and debilitating for the Tide.

17. TCU (last week: 18): The Horned Frogs struggled a bit with Louisiana-Monroe before asserting themselves in the second half to claim their second win of the season. Portland State is easy pickings this weekend before hosting SMU to start October. There isn’t much standing in the Horned Frogs’ way of being a one-loss team heading into its trip to Boise State in November.

18. South Florida (last week: 19): The Bulls just overwhelmed Florida A&M. Not much else to say. The win’s worth a one-spot move, based on what happened above them. UTEP gives them a shot at a 4-0 start before starting Big East play with Pittsburgh.

19. Baylor (last week: 20): I saw Baylor’s rain-shortened 48-0 win over Stephen F. Austin and QB Robert Griffin III is the real deal. But more on that later this week. In the meantime, expect the Bears to be 4-0 after this weekend’s meeting with Rice.

20. Michigan (last week: 21): Michigan is 3-0 heading into a home game with San Diego State. The Aztecs are 3-0 and will be emotional, as Michigan coach Brady Hoke used to be their skipper. I think Michigan wins, but keep an eye on the emotions in this game.

21. texas (last week: 24): This texas team is getting younger and more dangerous. Joining redshirt freshman QB Case McCoy, freshman QB David Ash, freshman RB Malcolm Brown and freshman WR Jaxon Shipley is third-string TE D.J. Grant, who missed two seasons with redshirts and injuries and caught three touchdowns against UCLA.

22. Michigan State (last week: 14): To me, the Spartans have to take a steep drop after going into South Bend and losing to an 0-2 Notre Dame team. Any national title hopes the Spartans had likely went out the window with that loss.

23. Southern Cal (last week: 23): The Trojans handled Syracuse rather easily. They’re 3-0 as they get back to Pac-12 action against Arizona State in Tempe. I think this could be a trap game for the Trojans.

24. Illinois (last week: unranked): Hey now, look what Ron Zook is doing in Champaign. The Illini are 3-0 after beating a ranked Arizona State team. I’ll keep them at No. 24 for now, though Big Ten play will likely expose them as a middle-of-the-road team. But, for now, embrace the optimism Illini fans.

25. Clemson (last week: unranked): That was an impressive win over a ranked opponent for the Clemson Tigers and it allows them to sneak into our Top 25. Now, can they beat Florida State? If EJ Manuel doesn’t play, maybe. Otherwise, no.

Dropped out: 22 Arizona State, 25 Ohio State.

Outside looking in: Iowa State and Vanderbilt are two of the most surprising teams in the nation. Both are 3-0, but I don’t think they’re Top 25 teams. Florida International slipped by a solid Central Florida outfit to remain 3-0. Houston is out there too, but it struggled with Louisiana Tech before winning by a point. Wyoming is also 3-0 but isn’t ready for prime time. Notre Dame is out there, but I can’t put a 1-2 team in my Top 25.

 

Sep
0

PigskinU.com Top 25: Turnover at the Bottom

This week’s PigskinU.com poll is a little unique in how it worked out.

The Top 15 remained unchanged. Either every team in my Top 15 won was idle, such as Oklahoma. I don’t know that I’ve seen a poll remain so static like that at the top.

The bottom 10 of the Top 25 is another story entirely. There was plenty of turnover at the bottom.

Five of my teams from Nos. 16-25 lost this weekend, and those losses necessitated them dropping from the poll. It’s obvious that I, like many, bought into the Notre Dame hype. I gave them an extra week in the bottom tier of my poll to try and show me they deserved to stay. But the Irish’s loss to Michigan confirmed that they’re still miles away from being a Top 25 team, and I’m not even sure I would put them back in the poll if they manage to beat Michigan State next week.

So for that reason a couple of SEC teams, plus a Big East team, took a big jump in the poll, while my final six teams in the poll were unranked next week. It’s a strange course correction for my poll and one of the most volatile turnovers I’ve ever seen.

You’ll notice that some of the more traditional powers that I left out the last two weeks – texas, Michigan, Southern Cal and Ohio State – are in the poll this week. Of the four of them, I think that Ohio State is probably the weakest after it struggled with Toledo. texas would be next, which is why these two schools occupy the bottom two rungs.

So, without further ado, My PigskinU.com Top 25 poll after Week 1:

 

1. Oklahoma (last week: 1): The Sooners were off and preparing for their big Sept. 17 contest against Florida State. Win that game and I believe there’s nothing standing between the Sooners and being undefeated in December when they face Oklahoma State.

2. Alabama (last week: 2): Alabama looked fine in dispatching Penn State in Happy Valley on Saturday. The Crimson Tide gets one more tune-up at home this weekend against North texas before diving into SEC play against Arkansas.

3. LSU (last week: 3): LSU made it look easy against Northwestern (La.) State and the Tigers are 2-0 heading into Thursday’s contest with Mississippi State. It’s the SEC opener for the Tigers and a game that the Bulldogs really need to win after losing to Auburn.

4. Boise State (last week: 4): Boise State took the week off after beating Georgia. The Broncos’ next game is against Toledo, and after the Rockets pushed Ohio State to the brink on Saturday, Boise State should enter this game well-focused on avoiding an upset.

5. Stanford (last week: 5): Another week, another blowout for the Cardinal, which defeated Duke. This weekend’s Pac-12 opener with Arizona should be a bit more challenging for Stanford.

6. Nebraska (last week: 6): Nebraska had some trouble with Fresno State before it claimed their second win of the season. QB Taylor Martinez looked great. The Huskers get Washington next, a game that Nebraska seems likely to win.

7. Wisconsin (last week: 7): Wisconsin shut out Oregon State, 35-0, to improve to 2-0. QB Russell Wilson is settling in nicely as the starter. Every single member of Badger Nation should put North Carolina State head coach Tom O’Brien on their Christmas card list. O’Brien is the early candidate for bonehead move of the year, on-field category.

8. Oklahoma State (last week: 8) : Oklahoma State rolled to a nice win over Arizona. Tulsa shouldn’t be a real issue this weekend. Then it’s texas A&M.

9. Virginia Tech (last week: 9): First off, East Carolina is a very dangerous team. I made that point last week when it played South Carolina. So the close score isn’t that surprising. But the Hokies still won and the Hokies stay where they are.

10. Florida State (last week: 10): Well, the Seminoles beat Charleston Southern without issue and they haven’t given up a point in two games. That should change this weekend against Oklahoma. I know most polls have FSU higher, but they’ve proven nothing. Yet.

11. Oregon (last week: 11): The Ducks got back to blowing people out this weekend, defeating Nevada 69-20. The Wolf Pack picked a bad week to play the Ducks, smarting from their loss to LSU. More points away against Missouri State this weekend.

12. South Carolina (last week: 12): Boy, it was close, wasn’t it? Georgia really pushed the Gamecocks in the SEC opener for both teams before South Carolina held on.  Plus, it appears as if Stephen Garcia has reclaimed the QB job. Beware Navy this weekend. The Middies have talent and that offense is hard to defend.

13. texas A&M (last week: 13): The Aggies had the week off to prepare for their home game against Idaho this weekend. Chances are, the Aggies are sneaking a peek at Oklahoma State for their meeting on Sept. 24.

14. Michigan State (last week: 14): Michigan State should feel pretty good heading into its contest with Notre Dame this weekend. Of course, the Spartans should be troubled by how pesky the Irish have proved in losses to South Florida and Michigan. Beware, MSU.

15. West Virginia (last week: 15): Now we find out what the Mountaineers are really made of. Despite their God-awful uniforms, Maryland is a solid team that could end West Virginia’ early undefeated season.

16. Florida (last week: 23): The Gators dispatched UAB pretty easily last weekend, and I don’t see them having much trouble with Tennessee this weekend. The volatility at the bottom of this poll allows them to team up seven spots. But they’ll need to show me something more before I can move them up into the Top 15.

17. Arkansas (last week: 22): A big jump for the Hogs. They were ranked ahead of both Auburn and Florida last week, so I had to keep them ahead of at least one of them. Something tells me the Gators are a little better than the Hogs right now, and Auburn is not quite as good.

18. TCU (last week: 19): The Horned Frogs had to move up at least one spot after beating Air Force to even its record at 1-1. I know Florida and Auburn took big jumps over TCU, but I don’t think the Horned Frogs are better than either one of those teams right now.

19. South Florida (last week: 25): The Bulls get some help from turnover at the bottom of the poll. But they took care of a Ball State team that surprised Indiana last week and look to have an easy path to 4-0 before its Sept. 29 Big East opener against Pittsburgh.

20. Baylor (last week: Unranked): The more I look at the landscape, I should have had the Bears in my Top 25 last week. My reasoning was that they gave up 48 points to TCU. But, after watching Mississippi State, Penn State and Utah all fall, it’s hard to keep the Bears out of the poll now.

21. Michigan (last week: Unranked): Of Michigan, texas, Ohio State, Southern Cal and Arizona State, it’s hard to peg where they should be slotted. But let’s look at it like this – Michigan, Southern Cal and Arizona State beat ranked teams. So they get the higher nods. I think Michigan is a bit better than Arizona State and Southern Cal right now.

22. Arizona State (last week: unranked): Smothering UC-Davis didn’t prove much to me. Beating Missouri did. The Sun Devils should be able to defeat Illinois next week before it faces Southern Cal in Week 4.

23. Southern Cal (last week: unranked): The Trojans struggled mightily against Minnesota, but won in Week 1. Then they went out and beat a ranked team in Utah in Week 2. The Trojans weren’t even in my poll to start the season, so I don’t face the embarrassment of having to re-insert Southern Cal into my poll this week, unlike AP or the coaches. That’s why you don’t drop winners.

24. texas (last week: unranked): The longhorns beat BYU messily and may start a freshman QB next week. Their time in the poll may be short-lived. But they did enough to sneak into my Top 25 for the first time this season.

25. Ohio State (last week: unranked): I’m not real wild about this. I went into this season believing that Ohio State was not a Top 25 team. But with so many losses in the bottom half of this poll, the Buckeyes get in almost by default. I know most polls have them at No. 15, but I’m comfortable with ranking them No. 25.

Dropped out: 16, Missouri, 17. Mississippi State, 18. Penn State, 20. Notre Dame, 21. Utah.

Yep, plenty of turnover. But these teams are waiting for the opportunity to get back into the poll. You can also count Central Florida and Houston among other teams on my Top 25 radar now.

 

Sep
0

PigskinU.Com Top 25 FBS Poll: Week 1

You’ll probably notice that my PigskinU.com FBS Top 25 differs a little bit from the AP Top 25. Well, they’re 100 or so voters. I’m just one man, and I can only do what one man does.

For one thing, Southern Cal is still in my Top 25. In the AP poll, the Trojans dropped out. I also have TCU higher than the AP pool, and I only have one new team – South Florida. First of all, if you read my poll last week, you know that I don’t drop teams from their previous week’s ranking if they win. The worst they’ll ever do is stay in the same place. I just don’t think it’s fair to drop a team if they win. And I never will.

I’m also pretty conservative when it comes to dropping a team in the poll if they lose. To me, if you’re a Top 25 team, it should take more than one loss to drop you into the bottom half of the rankings, or out of the rankings entirely. If you’re in the Top 25, you’re there for a reason. You’re not a placeholder. You’re a quality football team, and by the end of this season there will be plenty of quality one-loss and two-loss teams.

There isn’t much variance between last week and this week in my poll for another reason. I saw the AP poll dropped Alabama a spot from No. 2 to No. 3, while it moved LSU above them. I don’t dispute that LSU should be ranked in the Top 5 after beating Oregon. But I would point out that even though Alabama took on a creampuff opponent in Week 1 that they’re no less a team than they were when the season started. I mean, that’s logical, right? So in my poll Alabama stays at No. 2. Again, that goes back to not punishing winners, no matter how weak the win may be perceived.

As for my newcomer, South Florida, it was a toss-up between Baylor and USF. But it came down to two things. First, USF beat Notre Dame on the road, while Baylor beat TCU at home. Second, Baylor still gave up 48 points. USF only gave up 20. After looking at those numbers that made my decision a little easier. But I think Baylor, with another win or two, makes it into my Top 25.

So, without further ado, My PigskinU.com Top 25 poll after Week 1:

 

1. Oklahoma (last week: 1): The Sooners beat Tulsa, 47-14, and looked great doing it. The Sooners could be settling in for a long run at No. 1, as long as Florida State doesn’t trip them up in two weeks.

2. Alabama (last week: 2): Kent State amounted to a happy meal for the Tide, as they won, 48-7. A potential trap game in Happy Valley awaits when Alabama goes to Penn State on Saturday.

3. LSU (last week: 4): LSU overcomes the suspension of Jordan Jefferson to ease away from Oregon, 40-27. Next up? Northwestern (La.) State, one of my alma mater’s rivals in the Southland Conference. LSU could start its reserves and still win.

4. Boise State (last week: 5): Boise State just keeps on showing that they’re worthy of a place in an automatic BCS qualifying conference. Their 35-21 win over Georgia, in my opinion, wasn’t an upset.

5. Stanford (last week: 6): The Cardinal demolished San Jose State, 57-3. Oregon’s loss moves Stanford up a spot and makes it the highest-ranking Pac-12 team.

6. Nebraska (last week: 7): Nebraska only beat Chattanooga, 40-7. I say only because I expected a larger margin of victory. But, a win is a win.

7. Wisconsin (last week: 8) : QB Russell Wilson looked terrific in his first start as a Badger, as they defeated UNLV, 51-17. Can’t wait for that Big Ten opener against Nebraska.

8. Oklahoma State (last week: 9): I was in Stillwater to watch the Cowboys dismantle Louisiana-Lafayette, 61-34. Arizona comes to town this weekend. Expect a closer game, but a Cowboy victory.

9. Virginia Tech (last week: 10): No upset special this year. The Hokies stepped on a very good Appalachian State team, 66-13. Wonder what Appy State thinks about moving up to FBS now?

10. Florida State (last week: 11): Florida State blanked Louisiana-Monroe, 34-0. What else is there to say? The Seminoles were supposed to win and looked great doing it.

11. Oregon (last week: 3): The fall is hard when you’re ranked that high and you don’t look so hot in a loss to open the season. The Ducks seem to have trouble running the ball against elite teams. That’s a real problem when you’re trying to win a national title.

12. South Carolina (last week: 13): On the surface, a 56-37 win over East Carolina would worry me. But two things. First, it was a neutral site game. Second, East Carolina has one of the best offenses in FBS. This was destined to be a shootout.

13. texas A&M (last week: 14): The Aggies destroyed SMU, 46-14. But I’m still not as high on the Aggies as the rest of the country. Let’s see how they do in three weeks against Oklahoma State.

14. Michigan State (last week: 16): The Spartans struggled a bit with Youngstown State, 26-7. That was probably one of the more curious scores of the week.

15. West Virginia (last week: 17): West Virginia took the opener with Marshall, 34-13, in a game marred by rain and a student being struck by lightning. It certainly wasn’t the biggest win in the Big East last weekend.

16. Missouri (last week: 18): Missouri was only able to beat Miami of Ohio by the score of 17-6. QB James Franklin didn’t look great, but he did account for two TDs and he has room to grow.

17. Mississippi State (last week: 19): Dan Mullen’s Bulldogs didn’t need to be at full throttle to beat Memphis. But it sure helped, as the Bulldogs took the Tigers easily, 59-14. Next up? The SEC opener with Auburn.

18. Penn State (last week: 20): The Nittany Lions easily took care of Indiana State, 41-7. PSU’s solution to its quarterback quandary? Split snaps between Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin and run the ball behind Silas Redd. We’ll see if that works next week against Alabama.

19. TCU (last week: 12): Well that defense needs A LOT of work, Gary Patterson. Just didn’t expect Baylor to hang 50 on the Horned Frogs. Of course, TCU scored 48 points, so at least it can score points.

20. Notre Dame (last week: 15): That loss to South Florida was a stunner. It’s not that I didn’t think South Florida was a good team. It’s that I thought Notre Dame was a little better.

21. Utah (last week: 22): Utah handled Montana State pretty easily, 27-10. RB John White could end up being a real big find for the Utes after his 150-yard debut.

22. Arkansas (last week: 23): Arkansas handled Missouri State, 51-7. Punt returner Joe Adams is the early leader for special teams player of the year after returning two punts for touchdowns.

23. Florida (last week: 24): Florida Atlantic was no problem for the Gators, as they won, 41-3. Chris Rainey had a rushing, receiving and return touchdown, the first player to do so since 1996.

24. Auburn (last week: 25): The Tigers struggled with Utah State before winning, 42-38. Next up? Mississippi State. Uh-oh.

25. South Florida (last week: unranked): The reward for beating Notre Dame on the road? A spot in our Top 25. The Bulls are going to make things very hard for West Virginia in the Big East this season.

Dropped Out: Georgia (No. 21): The Bulldogs had what amounted to a home game and lost to Boise State. I didn’t expect them to win, but they were unable to keep it close and that earns them a ticket out of the Top 25 for now.

Sep
0

Oklahoma is the best team in the nation, preseason edition

Football season for me starts on Thursday night in Nacogdoches, texas, when my alma mater, Stephen F. Austin, takes on McMurry. Then, two nights later it’s off to Stillwater for Oklahoma State’s game with Louisiana-Lafayette. And then it’s wall-to-wall football until December. At the moment, I have only two weekends with no games on my schedule.

So that brings me to my Top 25 for 2011. You’ve seen just about everyone else’s by now. I’ve put together my own poll for PigskinU.com and the other Website I work for, RoadTripSports.com. I’ll bring you this poll every Monday during the college football season. Because, you know, you need another opinion to clutter up your brain, don’t you?

A couple of ground rules: First, I absolutely hate it when a pollster drops a team a spot or two in his poll, even when the team wins. It’s like saying, “Well, you didn’t beat that team BADLY enough.” I don’t subscribe to that theory. To me, if you win, then you don’t do any worse than stay where you are. I will NEVER punish a team for winning. It’s downright un-American. Continue Reading…