And so the day has finally arrived where the Crimson Tide, led by Nick Saban, charge past Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators for the right to be called Josh Parcell’s top-ranked team. The parade and award ceremony is scheduled for this Friday in downtown Tuscaloosa.
All it took for ‘Bama to unseat the Gators was the uncertainty of Florida’s quarterback situation. With the uncertainty of Tim Tebow’s health, the Gators simply aren’t the best team at this point. Greg McElroy continues to look like an All-SEC candidate (sorry Jevan Snead), and Saban’s defense just won’t give up any points.
From the looks of things five weeks into the season, Alabama is the team to beat in the SEC.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all over John Brantley and his six thousand touchdown passes in high school. I also think that Florida has a better chance of winning at LSU if Brantley is the quarterback on Saturday instead of a banged-up Tebow.
I also think that Florida could run the table in the SEC without Tebow, although it would be much more difficult. That being said, these rankings are based on who I think are the best football teams right now, and without Tebow, Alabama has the edge by the slimmest of margins.
As Kirk Herbstreit would put it, the Longhorns are “sneaking around the chicken coop.” Not that many people have seen Texas play yet this season, save for a shaky performance against Texas Tech, but the Longhorns are clearly the third best team in the country. All it takes to realize that is the fact that Texas throttled UTEP 64-7, who then lit up Houston for 57 points the following week.
The Longhorns may not be flashy, but they play great defense and have, in my opinion, the best quarterback in the country. As I’ve been saying though, check back on a real report for the Longhorns after the Oklahoma showdown in a week and a half.
I’m all but ready to throw out the Washington loss as a huge upset. Aaron Corp is horrible, and Washington is proving they are a very good football team. With Matt Barkley back under center for the Trojans, the offense is clicking once again, and the defense pulverized Jahvid Best and the Cal Bears. If any of the current one-loss ran the table and had a shot at the BCS title, it would be the Trojans.
5. Virginia Tech
I’m not putting too much stock in the Hokies win against Duke, which was rough around the edges to say the least. Even though I thought Tech would come out and make a statement that they are a legitimate top-five team, the subpar performance was no surprise.
The offensive line looked like it had finally worked out all the kinks when they paved the way for Ryan Williams to run for 150 yards against Miami. Instead, they allowed the Blue Devils defensive line into the backfield frequently.
If the line can just allow Williams to get to the line of scrimmage, he’ll probably take the ball another six yards at least. It’s when there are three defensive linemen swarming him as he is handed the ball that he gets in trouble.
Tech still has a few opportunities to show the country they belong in the national championship picture, starting this week against Boston College, who has looked better than anyone would have imagined thus far.
6. Boise State
Here we go: the Broncos inevitable plummet through the rankings begins this week, when a 20-point win over FCS opponent Cal Poly was enough of a lackluster performance to be surpassed by USC and Tech in this week’s ranking.
The Broncos don’t have to worry about much if they run the table. An undefeated season would absolutely put them in the Fiesta Bowl, but right now, the rest of the top ten would have to probably lose half their team to swine flu to vault the Broncos in the championship game.
7. Ohio State
Another team that is hanging around without much hoopla is the Buckeyes. Don’t forget, they were 60 seconds from beating USC before Matt Barkley turned into Tom Brady.
If they were to manage the rest of their schedule unscathed, they would be able to make a case of their own for a championship game appearance. Of course, the Trojans would have to lose again, but besides USC, the Buckeyes have as a good of a case as any other once-beaten team to have a championship opportunity.
Forget moment of truth, November is the month of truth for Jim Tressel and company, as they face Iowa, Penn State, and Michigan in the season’s closing weeks.
The Bearcats are for real. Tony Pike enjoyed another great game Saturday against Miami of Ohio, leading up to the October 15 showdown with South Florida. The winner of that game will be in the driver’s seat in the Big East. Right now, the Bulls have not looked as impressive as Cincinnati, so the pressure is on Pike and the rest of his team. If they beat the Bulls next week, this ranking will be warranted, and they may even sneak up a spot or two.
If you had told anyone before the season that the Hurricanes would make it out of the first month of the season 3-1, nobody would have believed you, except maybe Michael Irvin. Jacory Harris recovered from a horrid start to lead Miami past Oklahoma in the vaunted (cough) Land Shark Stadium.
That game would have been much more interesting had Sam Bradford been under center for the Sooners. Instead, Miami’s defense held Oklahoma’s second-string offense to 20 points. Bradford and tight end Jermaine Gresham were both missing (Gresham is actually out for the entire season). Nevertheless, it was an impressive win and Miami is still alive for a BCS bowl.
Finally, LSU gave us a reason to think they might be as good as advertised. Charles Scott woke up from his four-week slumber to rush for over 90 yards and the game-winning touchdown in the final minute against Georgia. The Tigers defense shut down Joe Cox and A.J. Green for much of the game, despite Green’s late heroics that nearly won the game for the Bulldogs.
With the performance on Saturday, it gives people more reason to believe the Tigers can continue their 31-game home winning streak this week against Florida. I wouldn’t start laying down stacks of cash on Les Miles’ bunch, but the game is more compelling than it looked to be a week ago.
18. Notre Dame
21. South Carolina
22. South Florida
24. Oklahoma State
25. Boston College