I didn't make a preseason power rankings poll, because I'd much rather get at least one look at everybody before I started making up the board. Here is the look after week one.
The Gators were a huge disappointment this week. They failed to cover the 73-point spread against Charleston Southern, instead only winning 62-3. The Gators won’t be tested until the 19th against Lane Kiffin and Tennessee.
Colt McCoy was most impressive in the start to his 2009 Heisman Trophy campaign. He threw for two touchdowns in a 59-20 win over Louisiana-Monroe, but there will be much more more where that came from this season.
The biggest question coming into this game was if true freshmen quarterback Matt Barkley would handle San Jose State’s attacking defense. To say that he proved the doubters wrong would be the understatement of the year.
Barkley went 15-19 for 233 yards and a touchdown in the Trojan’s 56-3 rout of the Spartans. He looked every bit worthy of the hype surrounding him out of high school. The test comes this Saturday night, when the Trojans travel to Columbus to face the Buckeyes.
It wasn’t quite the woodshed beatdown they laid on the Clemson Tigers in the same game last year, but Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide looked very impressive in a 34-24 victory over Virginia Tech. Alabama’s defense looks just as stout as it did last season, allowing only one scoring drive that started in Virginia Tech territory. They held the Hokies to only 24 points, despite playing on a short field for much of the game.
Greg McElroy looks capable of running a powerful offense, led by Mark Ingram and Julio Jones, who is flat-out uncoverable. After seeing LSU hang on against Washington, and Ole Miss struggle with Memphis, the Tide look like the team to beat in the SEC West.
5. Oklahoma State
This is my national championship game team (along with Florida), and they made me look smart in game one. The Cowboys welcomed a green Georgia Bulldogs team into Stillwater and sent them home emphatically with a 24-10 win. The best part about the win for Cowboy fans was to see a vastly improved defense under new coordinator Bill Young. It won’t be long before the entire country is jumping on the Cowboy’s bandwagon; at least I can say I was there from the start.
6. Penn State
Joe Paterno’s squad handled its season-opener against Akron quite easily. The rest of the way, Penn State’s slate might be a bit easier than that of nearby Hershey High School’s. With the easiest schedule in the country, it looks like Daryll Clark will have enough receivers to throw to and Evan Royster will be the best back in the conference. This team looks very much like an 11-1, or maybe even 12-0 squad.
Don’t be fooled by the score of their visit to Washington. Even though they only beat the Huskies by eight points, they went into a tough environment against a motivated, much improved football team and came out with a hard-fought victory. Jordan Jefferson will be a solid quarterback, perhaps even a dangerous threat by mid-season, and the Tigers will be in the thick of the SEC race.
8. Ohio State
The collective sigh of relief the came from the Horseshoe after Brian Rolle’s interception on a Navy two-point conversion could be heard as far as Akron. The Buckeyes faced a game Midshipmen team that gave Jim Tressel’s bunch all they could handle. This game should not concern Buckeye fans too much, and in the long run this could prove to be a great test for their beloved team as they run into USC this weekend.
Anytime you beat an ACC team by forty not named UVA or Duke, you accomplished something. The Golden Bears turned the Terrapins into tadpoles at home Saturday night, winning 52-13. Jahvid Best looks just as his surname would indicate, and his 137 yards on only ten carries make him a legitimate Heisman threat. All it took was two touchdown runs within a minute of one another in the first quarter to show that Best was definitely the top back in the country.
10. Boise State
If it were not for a disgraceful episode after the game where Oregon running back LeGarrete Blount did his best…or maybe worst… Chuck Norris impression, a lot more people would be talking about Boise State as a top-notch football team. Although typically known for a high-powered offense, it was the Bronco’s defense that did not allow the Duck’s offense to make a first down until the second half. If Chris Peterson’s group is that strong defensively, it’s hard to imagine them losing a game the rest of the way.
11. Ole Miss
12. Virginia Tech
15. Notre Dame
17. Georgia Tech
19. North Carolina
25. Florida State