Power 16: Week 5 Rankings Show Little Movement at the Top

RANK COMMENT
1 Although the Crimson Tide did not dominate Ole Miss, Nick Saban’s team did feel what it was like to trail in a game for the first time all season (for 15 whole seconds).
2 Just like last week, Oregon struggled for a half. Washington State played well but the Ducks are on a mission. One thing to watch: DeAnthony Thomas has to touch the ball more early in games for Oregon.
3 The ‘Noles did not roll South Florida, but they did end up with a double digit win. Florida State’s defense was impressive, but we should all remember that the Bulls fell to Ball State last week. 
4 Kansas State was idle this week after knocking off Oklahoma in Norman last weekend. The Wildcats take on Kansas next week. Their in state rivals probably will not provide much competition for Collin Klein & Co.
5 LSU always seems to fool around with teams the Tigers should destroy. Auburn and Towson are great examples of that, but knowing that should we punish Les Miles’ team for doing what they always seem to do? A trip to Florida emerges as gigantic this weekend.
6 Georgia was lucky to survive a game Tennessee team in Athens on Saturday. If not for Tyler Bray’s late fumble, the Bulldogs could have been in overtime. Instead, Georgia is 4-0 and ready to face 4-0 South Carolina in Columbia.
7 The first half wasn’t pretty (trailed 17-7 at halftime) but eventually Steve Spurrier’s offense woke up against Kentucky. If the Gamecocks were busy looking ahead to Georgia, I don’t blame them. Kentucky is one of the most inept offenses ever.
8 Florida was off this week after beating Kentucky 38-0 last week. The Gators take on LSU in Gainesville on Saturday afternoon. A Florida win would change expectations for this team that seemed to be forgotten about by most preseason publications.
9 Notre Dame was off this weekend after back to back wins over Michigan State and Michigan. Although the Irish’s wins do not look as good as they might have in the preseason, Notre Dame is at least beating good teams. This weekend the Irish take on Miami, who is surprisingly 4-1.
10 Geno Smith is clearly the Heisman frontrunner with 20 touchdown passes and 0 interceptions, but I refuse to move up a team that gave up 63 points to Baylor. 
11 Texas showed toughness that it has lacked in recent years with a big come from behind victory in Stillwater on Saturday night. Now, David Ash and the Longhorns host West Virginia in a huge Big 12 battle.
12   Oregon State’s three wins: UCLA, Wisconsin, and Arizona are among the best three wins any team in the country has this season. 
13   It is a shame that Urban Meyer’s team cannot play for a Big Ten championship, because five weeks into the season it is pretty clear the Buckeyes are the conference’s best team.
 14   Clemson struggled for a while at Boston College, but eventually the offense took over and pulled away from the pesky Eagles. Next week, the Tigers take on a Georgia Tech team that just fell to Middle Tennessee.
 15   I don’t want to move Stanford down too low for its loss to Washington, but the offense looked terrible. It makes it almost hard to believe that this team was able to beat USC.
 16   The Trojans might be in for a tough battle on Thursday at Utah, who will have a fiesty crowd on hand for the primetime battle with the Trojans. All of a sudden games against Washington, UCLA, and Notre Dame look tougher than they did three weeks ago.

Power 16: Florida State Moves to No. 3, Kansas State to No. 4

RANK COMMENT
1 Alabama has been impressive, but the Crimson Tide’s opponents have not been. The best win between Michigan, Western Kentucky, Florida Atlantic, and Arkansas is against Kentucky (by the Hilltoppers).
2 The Ducks defense shined against Arizona and DeAnthony Thomas continues to throw his name into the Heisman discussion. Oregon figures to destroy Mike Leach and Washington State this weekend.
3 For the first time in a decade, Florida State appears to be living up to the hype. The vaunted Seminoles defense did not reach expectations against Clemson, but then again the Tigers aren’t Savannah or Murray State either.
4 Kansas State won in Norman against an Oklahoma squad that has  been living on the edge early this season, but give the Cats credit. They were picked sixth in the Big 12 this year after being a top 10 team last year. They deserve this kind of ranking.
5 LSU was not impressive in a 12-10 win at lowly Auburn on Saturday night, but the annual battle between the SEC’s Tigers always seems to be close. Let’s see how they rebound next week at Florida.
6 Now, that’s how you dominate a team that you should dominate. Vanderbilt went to Athens thinking upset and ended up getting destroyed. Georgia vs. South Carolina next week should be a dandy.
7 Connor Shaw showed on Saturday that he is the man for the Gamecocks at quarterback, dominating Missouri while completing 20 straight passes.
8 Stanford’s win over USC remains in my head and continues to impress. This team is a factor in the Pac 12 until they show some reason not to be given the respect they’ve earned after three consecutive contending seasons.
9 West Virginia has been dominating its competition, but now the Mountaineers enter Big 12 play for the first time. Baylor may not be a challenge, but Texas and Oklahoma will be.
10 The Gators continue to look better and better each week and quarterback Jeff Driskel is one of the main reasons why. Florida was not perfect against Kentucky, but the Gators defense allows for mistakes without scores.
11 Notre Dame shut down Michigan and Michigan State, but it isn’t like the Wolverines and Spartans are lighting up the scoreboard right now. Still, Brian Kelly has to love the 4-0 start.
12    Oregon State gets the big jump in the power rankings this week because the Beavers now have two incredible wins over Wisconsin and UCLA. We won’t know how good this team is until the grind of conference play actually begins, but their two wins stack up nicely right now.
13    This week we finally get to see how good the Horns are. Oklahoma State isn’t ranked, but the Cowboys have a lot of pride and still expect to compete in the Big 12.
 14    The Tigers nearly knocked Florida State out of the national championship race in Tallahassee, but eventually the defense wore down and the offense just couldn’t keep up.
 15    USC had ridiculously high expectations when the 2012 season began. A loss to Stanford lowered the expectations a little bit, but the fans may still be asking too much. The lack of depth will start to show later in the year and USC isn’t exactly destroying teams now.
 16   I’m not convinced that any team in the Big East or Big Ten is very good, but I’ll throw Ohio State here because the Buckeyes have shown the ability to beat halfway decent teams and show the potential to grow as the season progresses.

Power 16: Arkansas Tumbles Out; UCLA, Florida, Texas Enter

Each week Daniel Evans will break down the “Power 16″ in college football, a list of his own personal power rankings. Also check for updated bowl matchups each week.

RANK LW TEAM 2012 RECORD COMMENT
1 1 Alabama Crimson Tide 2-0 Alabama was not focused on Western Kentucky and it showed in a 35-0 game that could’ve put even the biggest Crimson Tide fan to sleep. After watching Arkansas lose to LA-Monroe, Alabama may be sleeping through this week too. It probably will not matter.
2 2 LSU Tigers 2-0 LSU was impressive in its victory over Washington and it watched Arkansas, one of its biggest challengers in the SEC West falter. Sounds like a good weekend for Tigers’ fans.
3 3 USC Trojans 2-0 Despite the rain delays, USC’ offense continued to roll against Syracuse. Matt Barkley strengthened his early stranglehold on the Heisman race with six touchdown passes.
4 4 Oregon Ducks 2-0 The Ducks had no trouble destroying Fresno State.  This week’s game against Tennessee Tech should not be any tougher.
5 5 Florida State Seminoles 2-0 This weekend’s game against Wake Forest may not be close, but at least it will not be a blowout like the first two.
6 14 West Virginia Mountaineers 1-0 West Virginia is likely to destroy James Madison this weekend. Geno Smith and the Mountaineers have to be ready to play more worthy opponents.
7 8 Georgia Bulldogs 2-0 Georgia’s offense turned it up in the second half on Saturday. Missouri got a good taste of what “old man football” is about for the Bulldogs.
8 11 Michigan State Spartans 2-0 Saturday we will learn a lot more about the Spartans when they take on Notre Dame. Running back Le’Veon Bell is a big game against the Irish from really breaking into the Heisman Trophy picture.
9 12 Clemson Tigers 2-0 Clemson benefits from other teams falling out of the power 16 after terrible performances, but give the Tigers credit for impressive wins over Auburn and Ball State without Sammy Watkins.
10 NR Texas Longhorns 2-0 Mack Brown’s team has not faced real competition yet, but Texas is rolling along against the likes of Wyoming and New Mexico.
11 15 Ohio State Buckeyes 2-0 Ohio State may not be getting enough credit for beating a very good UCF team by more than two touchdowns on Saturday.
12 15 Oklahoma Sooners 2-0 I really cannot wait to see how Oklahoma plays against real competition on September 22 against Kansas State.
13 14 South Carolina Gamecocks 2-0 Even without Connor Shaw at quarterback, South Carolina was very impressive in a beatdown of East Carolina.
14 NR Kansas State Wildcats 2-0 Collin Klein is finally back on track, rushing for three touchdowns in a drubbing of Miami (Fla.) on Saturday.
15 NR UCLA Bruins 2-0 Why not? UCLA has been very impressive on offense against Rice and Nebraska and the Bruins victory over the Cornhuskers should not be discredited. I doubt Johnathan Franklin can keep his current pace, but if he keeps anything near it he will be in New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.
16 NR Florida Gators 2-0 What a great win on Saturday, in College Station, over a pumped Texas A&M team. I’m not sure the Gators can beat Tennessee at Neyland Stadium after surviving the Aggies, but if they can this spot will certainly be earned. If not, there is plenty of room for the Vols.

Power 16: Alabama Remains No. 1, Nebraska & OKST Join Top 10

Each week Daniel Evans will break down the “Power 16″ in college football, a list of his own personal power rankings. Also check for updated bowl matchups each week.

RANK LW TEAM 2012 RECORD COMMENT
1 1 Alabama Crimson Tide 1-0 Alabama showed the world what it expected to see on Saturday night: A dominating win against a Michigan team not built to stop it. In two weeks, they will be tested against at Arkansas. That one may be a touch closer.
2 2 LSU Tigers 1-0 It was not pretty, but the Tigers ran over North Texas. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger did not live up to the hype in game one, but against Washington he will get a chance to shine on a national stage.
3 3 USC Trojans 1-0 I’m sure USC saw what Northwestern (42 points) was able to do against Syracuse’s defense. Matt Barkley & Co. have to be thinking about scoring video game type points against the Orange.
4 4 Oregon Ducks 1-0 Marcus Mariota flawlessly led Chip Kelly’s offense in a beatdown over Arkansas State. The Ducks had 50 points with plenty of time left to play before halftime. Imagine what they would have scored if they had not called off the dogs.
5 6 Florida State Seminoles 1-0 The ‘Noles play an embarrasing early season schedule because West Virginia pulled out of a primetime type game, but I can’t punish them for beating Murray State 69-3.
6 14 West Virginia Mountaineers 1-0 In West Virginia’s last two games (Clemson, Marshall), the Mountaineers have scored 139 points. Geno Smith looked like a Heisman Trophy candidate on Saturday against the Thundering Herd.
7 13 Arkansas Razorbacks 1-0 The Hogs also get a big bump up the Power 16, because in John L. Smith’s first game as head coach the offense still looked very powerful. The game was against Jacksonville State, but at least Arkansas’ played better than OU, UGA, and S. CAR. Let’s give them credit for that.
8 7 Georgia Bulldogs 1-0 The Bulldogs’ defense has some work to do, but freshman Todd Gurley (three touchdowns) and the offense looks powerful enough to give Georgia a grant chance to win every game on its schedule.
9 NR Nebraska Cornhuskers 1-0 Nebraska gets a huge jump in the rankings for beating a quality opponent in Southern Miss by 29 in its opener. Did anyone see what Taylor Martinez did? 5 touchdowns? Wow.
10 NR Oklahoma State Cowboys 1-0 I didn’t expect to give the Cowboys any credit for a win over Savannah State, but this team showed no signs of slowing down after the losses of Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon. Plus, they won 84-0. How can they not be rewarded for that?
11 12 Michigan State Spartans 1-0 Michigan State’s victory over Boise State was anything but pretty, but give the Spartans credit for grinding out a win against a team that they really received no gain from playing. Running back Le’Veon Bell looked like a Heisman contender.
12 16 Clemson Tigers 1-0 Tahj Boyd and the Tigers picked up a huge victory over Auburn on a neutral field without their most talented player, Sammy Watkins. That has to be a confidence boost for the rest of the season.
13 15 Ohio State Buckeyes 1-0 Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes looked bad in the first quarter, but in the last three Ohio State looked like a team that could win double digit games. Braxton Miller was fantastic on the ground. If he improves his passing ability, he will be one of the toughest guys to slow down in college football.
14 8 South Carolina Gamecocks 1-0 I know that any win in the SEC is a tough one, but South Carolina was very lucky to survive Vanderbilt on Thursday. At times, the Commodores looked like the better team. Credit the Gamecocks for pulling through with an injury to QB Connor Shaw impeding the offense.
15 5 Oklahoma Sooners 1-0 Let me see if I can make this as clear as possible: Oklahoma did not deserve to win at UTEP on Saturday. This team looked unfocused and terrible on offense, but give the Sooners some credit for pulling out a win and making it look worse than it was in the fourth quarter. OU seems to struggle in openers every year.
16 11 Michigan Wolverines 0-1 I expected the Wolverines to be dominated by Alabama and that is exactly what happened. The disturbing part of the game was that Michigan never competed in the game, because it was 21-0 in the first quarter. It’ll be interesting to see how this team bounces back.

College Football Power 16: Preseason

Each week Daniel Evans will break down the “Power 16″ in college football, a list of his own personal power rankings. Also check for updated bowl matchups each week.

RANK TEAM 2012 RECORD COMMENT
1 Alabama Crimson Tide 0-0 Until the defending champions lose, let’s put them in the No. 1 spot. Michigan will provide an early test, but can the Wolverines slow down Alabama enough for Michigan to have a chance?
2 LSU Tigers 0-0 Zach Mettenberger is already being tossed around in Heisman discussions and he has not even started a game at LSU yet. The suspension to Tyrann Mathieu may end up making a difference over the course of the season, but it is not likely to matter against North Texas.
3 USC Trojans 0-0 Lane Kiffin has done a fantastic job at USC. Despite the lack of scholarships, he has a team that could win it all in 2012. Matt Barkley and Robert Woods figure to find the endzone quite a bit in 2012.
4 Oregon Ducks 0-0 New quarterback Marcus Mariota won the starting job, but the spotlight in Oregon will be on the running backs. De’Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner are no longer behind LaMichael James, who is now with the San Francisco 49ers.
5 Oklahoma Sooners 0-0 Last season, Oklahoma entered the year ranked No. 1 and expected to compete for a BCS national title. A shocking loss to Texas Tech ended that talk. Can the Sooners avoid the stinging upset in 2012 that seems to plague them every season?
6 Florida State Seminoles 0-0 Can E. J. Manuel be a Heisman contender? Can Florida State win a national championship? The schedule–life in the ACC isn’t so bad–sets up very nicely for the ‘Noles.
7 Georgia Bulldogs 0-0 After an 0-2 start to the season, Mark Richt and the Bulldogs turned things around. In 2012, an opener against Buffalo assures a better start. The more important question is whether Georgia can find a dependable running back to replace Isaiah Crowell in the backfield.
8 South Carolina Gamecocks 0-0 A lot of people seem to forget that before Marcus Lattimore’s injury, he was among the frontrunners to win the Heisman Trophy last season. Expect a bounceback performance from a hopefully healthy Lattimore. The Gameocks have a tough test in Nashville to start the season.
9 Texas Longhorns 0-0 Mack Brown feels rejuvenated and I expect it to show for the Longhorns. David Ash is the starter at quarterback, a position that Texas has not had a definitive starter for since Colt McCoy left. Texas needs Ash to play well so that the team does not have to hear about the quarterback battle all season long.
10 Wisconsin Badgers 0-0 Montee Ball had a monster season in 2011, but those numbers are going to almost be impossible to duplicate this season.
11 Michigan Wolverines 0-0 Denard Robinson will have to take his game to another level for the Wolverines to defeat Alabama in Cowboys Stadium on Saturday.  Can he complete enough passes for the game to be competitive?
12 Michigan State Spartans 0-0 Although there are a lot of questions marks on offense for the Spartans, Michigan State might end up having the best defense in the entire Big Ten. The opener against giant killer Boise State will tell us a lot.
13 Arkansas Razorbacks 0-0 The loss of head coach Bobby Petrino puts the Razorbacks into a really tough this season. If John L. Smith loses a couple of games early, will he lose this team because of his “lame duck” status?
14 West Virginia Mountaineers 0-0 The Mountaineers enter the Big 12 in 2012 and they will probably fit in just fine with Geno Smith at the helm of the offense. If you don’t believe me, ask Clemson.
15 Ohio State Buckeyes 0-0 As much as I hate contributing to the pressure on Urban Meyer in his first year at Ohio State, I agree with most in thinking that his offense will thrive in year one with Braxton Miller running it.
16 Clemson Tigers 0-0 With wide receiver Sammy Watkins out of the opener against Auburn, Clemson’s other playmakers will have to step up. His suspension really levels the playing field.