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Tag:Washington
Posted on: October 28, 2010 3:54 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2010 4:39 pm
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

Fourteen months ago they played in the season opener. It was one of those made-for-TV games moved to a Thursday night so the entire country could see Oregon take on upstart Boise State.

It wasn't a vintage Oregon team -- USC was favored to win the Pac-10 again -- but it would soon become an infamous one. Boise was in its fourth season under straight-ahead coach Chris Petersen. Oregon's Chip Kelly took the field in his first game as a head coach.

By the end of the night, Kelly probably didn't know if he'd make it to his second game. His world spun out of control after LeGarrette Blount committed one of the most heinous acts in the history of the game, punching Boise State's Byron Hout after Hout taunted him.

It's not easy to fast forward 14 months. It's mind-numbing. Boise won that night 19-8 showing further proof that it had "arrived." Oregon looked in disarray, the BCS being the BCS the Ducks could have lost all their non-conference games and still the Rose Bowl. They made it to Pasadena in much better shape setting the stage for this week.

The teams that took the field that night are now the two best in the country according to the human polls that a lot of folks put their faith in. It's complicated because the BCS standings say otherwise. For now let's embrace change as Oregon travels to USC. (Boise beat Lousiana Tech on Tuesday.) The last time a Pac-10 team other than USC was No. 1 was Washington in 1992. A WAC team hasn't been ranked this high since BYU won the 1984 national championship ...

Bad news for Auburn? In the middle of the Newtonian euphoria let WWL drop this curd in the punch bowl. Yes, Cam Newton can play quarterback in NFL, so says veteran personnel guru Gil Brandt. Bad news for Tigers everywhree: It could be after this season. Newton is four years out of high school and could, maybe should, leave after this season.

"If you drafted today and [Tim] Tebow was there and Cam Newton there who would you take?" Brandt said. "I can't compare him to anybody else." ...

Nebraska's Taylor Martinez can pass, you just didn't know it. The Huskers' quarterback entered the NCAA pass statistics this week for the first time since Week 2. Because Martinez hadn't averaged the requisite 15 passes per game to be listed in the NCAA stats, he wasn't listed in the top 100. But look at his newly listed pass efficiency numbers after a 23-for-35, five-touchdown performance against Oklahoma State: Martinez is 20th nationally, directly behind Oregon's Darron Thomas and Wisconsin's Scott Tolzien. Not bad company.

Martinez is (almost) a 60 percent passer who can run (at times). It adds up to inconsistency. If WWL were guiding Missouri's defense this week it would copy Texas' approach two weeks ago. Assign a second-level spy to Martinez and create a stalemate at the line of scrimmage. When Martinez is running wild, he takes advantage of overpursuing defenses with his 4.4 speed. Missouri's defense has better athletes than Texas. Will it matter? ...


Army (hosting VMI) is averaging 30 points (30.6) for the first time since 1985 ... What's the big deal in Chris Rainey returning to the lineup following his "time to die" blast? In the two games he did play, Florida's speedster had 16 yards in total offense ... Ole Miss' Jeremiah Masoli is one of four quarterbacks nationally to average 50 yards rushing and 180 yards passing per game. Cam Newton is not one of the four ... Missouri leads the country in red zone defense (11 scores in 21 opponents' penetration of the 20) ... It's never a good thing when the NCAA has to clear your best player two days before a game. Oklahoma State said Thursday the NCAA had cleared receiver Justin Blackmon of any NCAA wrongdoing stemming from his DWI earlier this week. The concern, no doubt, for the NCAA was where Blackmon got the tickets for Monday's Cowboys-Giants game. School officials say Blackmon was the designated driver with friends but police in Texas smelled alcohol in the car. Blackmon was cited for misdemeanor DWI for being underage. Props to coach Mike Gundy who swiftly suspended Blackmon for the Kansas State game ... Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly is having an All-American season. He leads the country with 13.9 tackles per game. Kuechly has made at least 10 tackles in 15 straight games ... TCU is the only I-A team that has not allowed a 200-yard passing game.

Posted on: October 26, 2010 11:55 am
Edited on: October 26, 2010 1:47 pm
 

National Notes

All Cam Newton all the time? Seems like it especially with the question of the week that has risen up on various talk shows, Twitter accounts and in my brain:

Is Cam Newton better than Tim Tebow? At this point in time the answer is yes. Cammo is bigger (6-feet-6, 250 pounds), stronger (watch him bulldoze those linebackers) and faster than the Gainesville god known as Tebow. Newton won't approach Tebow's numbers because this might be his one and only season at Auburn.

The irony is that Florida had him and let him get away. Actually, Newton admits he let himself get away. The laptop incident didn't help but Newton was being redshirted and had an ankle injury in his final semester with the Gators. Tebow and John Brantley were ahead of him on the depth chart, making it easier for Newton to transfer.

After becoming the national juco player of the year, Newton found the perfect coach (offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn) with the perfect offense at Auburn. The rest you've watched each Saturday. The latest accomplishment was setting the SEC season rushing record by a quarterback -- with four games left.

"He's the best facilitator of the football as a college quarterback," said Pete Cordelli, a former Notre Dame assistant. "He runs his football team like he's a point guard. It's Showtime on the Plains. Who can you take and put on the other 119 teams  and make them better? Can you imagine him at Oregon or Oklahoma? Imagine if he was at Penn State, we wouldn't be talking about Paterno retiring. Imagine him at Ohio State?"

That's a lot of imagining but only one team has him. 


* The next question is whether Newton will go Prince on us and change his name to a symbol: N - mg = ma

(The equation is deciphered below)

* By the way, don't blame Urban Meyer. He's got enough problems. Critics want the Florida coach to get rid of lawbreakers (you might have heard there have been quite a few), but they want to blame him for letting Cam I Am for "getting away."

* If the top of the polls look unfamiliar, they should. Oregon is No. 1 for the second consecutive week in the AP poll. Other than USC, the last Pac-10 team to be ranked No. 1 in the AP poll was Washington in 1992 (five weeks). No. 2 Boise State is the highest ranked WAC team since BYU won the national championship in 1984.

* Boise rant of the week: At what point do 47-point beatdowns of WAC teams in some way equal a seven-point win over LSU. That's why I think Boise could win the SEC East, Big 12 and Big Ten.

* During this Alabama bye week, Nick Saban visited the Touchdown Club of Memphis. One snarky attendee  gave Nick his props and summed up the season properly -- at least from an Alabama perspective: "Congratulations on winning the BCS national championship last year and producing a Heisman Trophy winner. I know expectations are high in the state of Alabama and people expect another national champion and another Heisman winner. Fortunately, those expectations appear to be in reach. Auburn is No. 1 in the BCS and Cam Newton appears to be the leading candidate for the Heisman."

* What's the antidote for arrogance? Mack Brown is trying to figure that out. According to him, that's what Texas has been playing with for too long. Brown who called out his players after the Iowa State loss and, in the process, might have indicted his own motivation skills.

There is no excuse with bowl-bound Baylor coming in. The Longhorns roster routinely is comprised of the best players in Texas, some of the best in the country. Try to explain, then, how Baylor leads the Big 12 South eight weeks into the season. You can't.


* Sometimes we write too much about the winners, the BCS, bowl games, NCAA reprobates. This space is dedicated to the feel-good stories of late October.

Baylor clinched a bowl berth for the first time in 15 years after that Kansas State win. The season looked encouraging but Bears fans had learned not to assume anything. Quarterback Robert Griffin was coming off a blown-out knee. It lost at TCU by 35 earlier in the season.  Griffin now is arguably the best quarterback in the Big 12.
 
Western Kentucky broke a nation-leading 26-game losing streak in beating Louisiana-Lafayette. Akron and New Mexico now share the national lead; each have lost eight in a row. Oh, and another warning for the next Vince Lombardi at Minnesota: The Gophers are next with a seven-game losing streak.

Remember when Ron Zook was on the hot seat? Illinois' coach is a respectable 4-3, having beaten Penn State in the process. Its three losses are no disgrace, to Michigan State, Ohio State and Missouri. Those schools have a combined record of 22-1.

No shame either for Iowa State's Paul Rhoads. The Cyclones are now 4-4, chasing a bowl after beating Texas. Their four losses are to Iowa, Kansas State, Utah and Oklahoma. Combined record: 23-5.

Seven games into his second season, Syracuse's Doug Marrone has the Orange at 5-2, in second place in the Big East, a half-game behind Pittsburgh. (Pittsburgh has beaten Syracuse already so it has the tiebreaker)

For only the second time and for first time in six years Baylor and Iowa State won a Big 12 Conference game on the same day. Also for only the second time in Big 12 history, Texas and Oklahoma lost on the same day when coached by Bob Stoops and Mack Brown.

* Why could Cameron Newton nickname himself "N - mg = ma"? That is more or less the mathematical representation of Newton's first law of motion: An object in motion tends to stay in motion. If I were Newton, Cam not Sir Isaac, I'd copyright that sucker.

 


Posted on: October 21, 2010 11:53 am
Edited on: October 21, 2010 11:56 am
 

Pac-12 divisions announced

The new Pac-12 divisional alignment is expected to be announced by commissioner Larry Scott during a Thursday afternoon press conference.

USC AD Pat Haden may have revealed the alignment speaking last week to a Trojan booster group. Haden reportedly told the boosters that the divisions would be split along what seem to be north-south lines. In one division would be Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Stanford and Cal. In the other division: USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah.

There is no word on the conference scheduling alignment. The SEC uses a 5-2-1, eight-game conference schedule with one designated rival from the opposite division. The Big Ten adopted the same scheduling model beginning in 2011. It will eventually go to a nine-game conference schedule. The Pac-12 is expected to stay with its current nine-game conference schedule when it splits into divisions next season.

The conference is still determining the location of the conference championship game. Scott will speak at 2:30 pm ET in San Francisco.

Posted on: September 24, 2010 4:24 pm
 

Mailbag 9/24


I'm going to give PlayoffPAC its due.

(cue sound of crickets chirping)

If you missed it, and you probably did, the political action committee out of Washington D.C. this week blew the lid off of the BCS bowl system. PlayoffPAC said those bowls' CEOs make too much money. They play fast and loose with their tax exempt status by offering perks and doing undisclosed lobbying. That's from the lead of the Associated Press' "exclusive" detailing PlayoffPAC's legal complaint against the Fiesta, Sugar and Orange bowls.

It probably didn't make your nightly news or even your in-box. Take the word of the Fiesta Bowl which called the accusations, "dated, tired and discredited." So why bring it up? Because I'm wondering what PlayoffPAC wants. It's one thing being a playoff proponent, it's another pouring over 2,300 pages of documents to "nail" these three bowls. Don't these people have families? I know a lot of people who favor a college football playoff. They don't have an unholy, demon-of-the-night compulsion to bring down the very system that would be the foundation of a playoff.

Look, I'll be the first one to say these bowls exist to keep themselves relevant and, yes, profitable. They think the bowl experience is unique and a playoff would wreck the system. I disagree, further evidence that no I'm a bowl honk. I've enjoyed these bowls' hospitality and stayed in really nice hotels set aside for the media. I've also walked back to my hotel at three in the morning after filing two stories on deadline. It's all part of the job. None of that changes if there is a playoff. Actually, I'm on the fence. A playoff would be fun, but it would have to be a 16-teamer from the start. Everything else has inherent exclusion problems that the PlayoffPAC folks should understand.

From what I've read in this complaint, the bowls in question look like they might have to pay a fine. If the IRS threatens to remove their tax-exempt status, then some deal will be cut. Either that or the Cotton Bowl or Gator Bowl or Chick-fil-A Bowl will take their place. But that won't happen. 

It won't happen because these bowls aren't criminal enterprises. Like it or not, they have friends in very high places whether they lobby or not. The Sugar Bowl is part of the fabric of New Orleans and the SEC. After the Cardinals and the Suns, the Fiesta Bowl might be the most significant sports entity in the Valley of the Sun. As a non-profit they have donated millions to charities.  These are institutions to their region, not Enron.

I don't think this is a big deal because virtually no other media outlet picked up on it. The Fiesta Bowl was accused of much of the same stuff in a series of Arizona Republic stories. Read the first sentence of this latest AP story.

Opponents of how college football crowns its champion accused three of the nation's premier bowls of violating their tax-exempt status by paying excessive salaries and perks, providing "sweetheart loans" and doing undisclosed lobbying.

If I didn't know better, I could have sworn they were describing the NCAA. Excessive salaries for executives? Luxury perks? The NCAA, you should know, is a non-profit too. It distributes the overwhelming majority of the money it takes it to its members. Former president Myles Brand made more than $800,000 per year. Seems a bit steep for a non-profit, don't you think? While they're at it PlayoffPAC might want to look into the tax exempt status of the 120 Division I-A schools too.

Maybe it will. Maybe this is the beginning of the end. One thing, though. I almost glossed over it. The PlayoffPAC came after three bowls with a combined age of 175 years with six lawyers and an accountant. I've seen bigger legal teams in a Grisham novel set in rural Mississippi. In the big, bad world of DC politics, this is the equivalent of a six-man football team taking on the Redskins.

Nice try, guys. You may want to wait for a book generating a lot of buzz being released next month. It's called, "Death to the BCS". A death threat? I'll read that. There might be something to it.


From: John

Please continue to pick against Nebraska. We're just a bunch of dumb farmers and bandwagoners huh? We know a thing or two about talent and teamwork.

Better Corn Fed Than Dead:

Little bit presumptuous aren't we? Nebraska has beaten two corpses (Western Kentucky, Idaho) and a Pac-10 cellar dweller. Each time Nebraska strings a couple of wins together Big Red Nation has little red kittens. How'd that Bill Callahan thing work out for you? Actually, how have the last 10 years worked out for you?

While I was more than impressed with the Washington victory, Nebraska has to get back before it can be back. Check back with me after the Texas game.

 
From: Phil

I love college football and watch games from 11 a.m. CST until midnight. Nothing personal against Boise State but I cannot stand to watch their home games on that ugly blue turf. Bad enough that the field is blue. They add to my dismay by wearing all blue uniforms. Too bad that the NCAA permits crap like this and the red field at Eastern Washington. They can penalize someone for buying a kid a hamburger but let this crap persist.

Fashionista:

That's the first I heard of an extra benefit being compared to Field Turf but what do I know?

Paint is in. Fans paint their faces. Mike Leach paints a different picture of the coaching profession. You might have heard that Oregon State painted its practice field blue this week.  That tells me the Beavers are beaten before they take the field. They're intimating that Boise's blue jerseys on the blue turf make it hard to pick up the ball. Maybe, but 63 times since 2000? That's the Broncos' home record (opposed to two losses) in the last 10 years.

Don't hate the color, hate the playah. The Broncos are darn good.


From: Steve

This year there are 35 bowl games, so 70 of 120 teams will go bowling. This probably means sub-.500 teams will be going bowling. What are the selection rules for sub-.500 teams to go to bowls? i.e. do ALL the 6-6 teams have to select first before a 5-7 teams can be selected? Can a 5-7 team from a conference with lots of bowl tie-ins be selected before a 6-6 at-large team from another conference?

Bowled Over:

Good questions. All the 6-6 teams will have to go before a 5-7 team. If there aren't enough bowl eligible teams to fill all 70 spots then a conference, or team, will have to apply to the NCAA for a waiver. They'll get it too. The NCAA has done the research and believes there will be enough .500-or-above teams. If there aren't, it's on the NCAA.

The exception might be the Sun Belt. It had its champion go to the New Orleans Bowl a few years ago at 5-6. I think it was North Texas. Sun Belt teams typically take guarantee games for the money. Sometimes good teams come into the conference season winless. Hope that helps.


From: Sam

Thought your UT Vols article was very interesting especially with the commentary from Fulmer. Phil needed to step away from the game since Tennessee had become stagnant. He would be a possible and interesting fit for Tennessee but not sure if he'd be the right one. Derek Dooley has his work cut out, but with so much promise from the first half of the Oregon game I look forward to see how all of the freshman squad grows together. I will give them a hug, most certainly! Go Vols!

Vol-ley:

It's clear that Fulmer is lobbying for the AD job. Don't know if you caught it last week but he ripped Lane Kiffin on CBS. This is a disguised shot at AD Mike Hamilton who, in hindsight, never should have hired Kiffin. I know Fulmer still wants to coach but there aren't many good fits out there for him.

I'm curious how the old coach would be accepted as the new AD.

From: Yossel

You write real good!

Yokel, er, Yossel:

You done made me proud.

 

Posted on: August 16, 2010 11:05 pm
Edited on: August 16, 2010 11:07 pm
 

Cleaning house at the NCAA

Tom Jernstedt was one of the top five most powerful sports figures in the country.

You might not have heard of him, but you knew his handiwork -- the NCAA Tournament, the College World Series, the women's tournament. Really, everything Jernstedt touched turned to gold -- literally. The NCAA executive vice president had brought billions of dollars to the association over his 38 years of service.

Apparently, new NCAA president Mark Emmert wants a newer, smaller, more efficient inner circle. As you can see, Jernstedt was let go by Emmert along with general counsel Elsa Cole and senior vice president Dennis Cryder. Jernstedt, though, was the shocker. He was a power broker among power brokers, taking the men's tournament from humble beginnings to its current multi-billion deal with TNT and CBS.

That's three fairly significant names in American sports. As mentioned, there are rumors that the new president prefers a small inner circle. The NCAA had power base was anything but small. This NCAA press release confirms Emmert's intentions.

The clear winner in this upheaval is Greg Shaheen who had been running the men's tournament. Shaheen has been named interim executive vice president in charge of all 88 championships. Look for him to get the permanent position in the future. 

The NCAA is trending younger and smaller. Judging from the enforcement staff's recent crackdowns, it might be trending better too.   

As for Jernstedt, it is like a head of state has passed away. The man is 65 and will be fine in whatever he does next but quietly the future of the NCAA is being shaped by Emmert, the current Washington and former LSU CEO.
Category: NCAAF
Tags: LSU, NCAA, Washington
 
Posted on: July 29, 2010 11:16 pm
 

Five things about the Pac-10

The latest from my preseason media day tour...

USC’s long road back. How long will it take? How painful will it be? USC is just beginning what promises to be one of the darkest periods in its history. It might get through the crippling NCAA penalties in as few as five years. We’re talking 2015 being the first year to be able to have enough talent to compete for a Pac-10 title again. But it won’t be easy. Oklahoma suffered similar penalties and was dead for 10 years. It took Alabama eight years to win a national championship after similar penalties in 2002. Watching Lane and the boys negotiate the loss of 30 scholarships and two postseasons will be the key thing. I’m sure Kiffin has a plan – he always does – but the program has to bottom out first. The embarrassment isn’t over in regards to Bush’s Heisman and the 2004 title. Both might still be taken away. After that, the 2010 Trojans could win the league have to watch the Rose Bowl on TV. It was one of the best dynasties in the history of college football and now it’s gone. For how long, we don’t know.

The winner. Oregon might have been the favorite to defend its title until Jeremiah Masoli got stupid. USC might have been the favorite until Reggie Bush was stupid. What about Arizona, a program that has never been to the Rose Bowl? It has five of the nine conference games at home, including USC, Washington and Cal. Mike Stoops has to break through at some point. After consecutive eight-win seasons, it might be time for the Wildcats to break through.

East Coast bias. Don’t blame the media this time. There was an East Coast bias on the part of the players. This is back to being the year of the quarterback in the league. The Pac-10 took its top four quarterbacks to New York for an unprecedented media day on the East Coast – Andrew Luck, Jake Locker, Matt Barkley and Nic Foles. However, only Barkley and Foles made it to L.A. for the traditional Pac-10 media day. I don’t want to hear any griping from Stanford and Washington about national honors for their quarterbacks at the end of the season. Guys, you’ve got to take care of your local media first.

Divisional alignment. It seems to be a conversation piece around here as the league decides how to divide into two six-team divisions in 2011. There is the “zipper” alignment. Example: travel partners Oregon-Oregon State, Cal-Stanford ,USC-UCLA, Arizona-Arizona State and Washington-Washington State are split into separate divisions. There is my North-South alignment: Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Cal, Stanford vs. Colorado, Utah, USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State. Whatever the plan, everyone wants to play in L.A. because of recruiting. And with USC on probation, there are going to be plenty of players available in Southern California.

Hot seat. Paul Wulff at Washington State and Dennis Erickson at Arizona State. It's almost a hopeless case at Wazoo. Erickson has to win seven just to go to a bowl. ASU is playing two I-AAs. The wolves will be out if there is not significant improvement at each school.

Posted on: July 29, 2010 10:59 pm
 

A strange, fun look at Pac-10 media day

PASADENA, Calif. -- It was probably the first media day with complimentary sun screen, misting tents and towels. Don't forget the towels. They kept the sweat off the bald domes in the Pac-10 media crowd.

"You look like Al Davis carrying around those towels," Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said.

That hurt. Bad. I may be balding but I'm not that pathetic and wrinkled.

Am I?

If so, please don't let me near Lane Kiffin. He might freak.

Thursday was the West Coast version of the Pac-10 East Coast media swing. Coaches and players spent a few days this week making the rounds in New York, then rode G4s back to their ancestral homeland here in Cali.

"People knew who we were," Arizona State's Dennis Erickson said of New York.

That's startling considering the conference is generally ignored in the East. Some Pac-10 games start at 10 p.m. ET.  It's also another backhand winner down the line for commissioner Larry Scott. There was a lot of angst this summer over whether the Big Ten could get into the New York market  with expansion. Scott chartered a couple of planes and cabbed it into Times Square from the airport.

Bingo, Pac-10 on Park Avenue, ringing the ball on Wall Street, going through the "carwash" at ESPN and generally introducing itself to the biggest media market.

"We've been that Left Coast conference, kind of perceived as the finesse conference," UCLA's Rick Neuheisel said. "If I got into a conversation with somebody east of the Mississippi, they'd say, 'You play that throw-it-around ball.' It was a bold move. I'm not sure how it will work out but I think it is brilliant.


"We have a perception hill to climb. That's why I applaud commissioner Scott for taking the ball step to do that. I don't think any of us should rest until we're considered the top conference in the country."

 

Well, minus two of the biggest names in Pac-10 football on Thursday. Stanford's Andrew Luck and Washington's Jake Locker didn't show. Apparently they were good enough for ESPN but not for the media who actually cover them here out West.

There's my rant. It beat sitting in conference rooms with the thermostat set at 55 degrees listening to pimp references. I was impressed. No stunned. The media day was on the floor of the Rose Bowl. The San Gabriels were shining in the background. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. Think of it, this is the field where Reggie Bush played. He was well compensated but he did play here.

 

There was a short promotional film to kick things off. The narrator, with one of those Captain Big Boy voices, said, "Here, on the western edge of the New World ..." I expected a ship full of Spanish conquistadors to pull up in San Pedro and start pillaging cruise passengers.


Best line of the day came from Washington coach Steve Sarkisian. As a former USC coach, he was hurt by the NCAA penalties. I asked him if Reggie Bush can ever come back to campus.

"In this day and age he can," Sark said. "Our president [Bill Clinton] faced the country. Guys face the music. Look at Andy Pettitte and look at Roger Clemens. One guy owned up, he's still getting standing ovations. The other guy is social outcast. It's how he embraces it."

California sun, veggie subs and a Slick Willie reference. It was not a bad day.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: July 7, 2010 4:50 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2010 5:51 pm
 

Preseason mags' top 25

We love the polls. College football polls to be specific. Preseason college football polls to be exact.

There is the annual cry to get rid of them. Hogwash. First, the Associated Press isn't going to disappoint its subscribers by scrapping one of its most popular offerings of the year. Second, there would be no preseason magazines without preseason top 25s.

And last time I checked, the magazines aren't going away either. We need them. We want them. The likes of Athlon and Lindy's are selling better than ever. There are regional editions. Sure, some of them outdated by the time they hit the stands. (USC No. 3, Athlon? Really?) That's OK. The sport is year-round now. It's not going to stop for a printing press.

The mags' arrival officially stirs the juices. Suddenly, it's OK to break down the Sun Belt, predict the WAC. Argue about the SEC East. That's why this blog is devoted to one of my annual obsessions -- a combined poll from all the preseason magazines.

I combined five polls, from The Sporting News, Phil Steele, Lindy's, Athlon. Yahoo Sports and CBSSports.com. Our official preseason poll won't come out until late August. For this purpose, then, I'm using my post-spring top 25.

A few notes, rules and notifications:

*Each school was assigned a number in descending order. Twenty-five points for a No. 1 ranking, 24 for No. 2, etc.

*Schools are then ranked from highest-point total to lowest.

*I also included an average poll rank, mostly because not all the schools were named in all five polls. Example: Oregon State finished No. 25 because it got 11 points from being ranked No. 15 in The Sporting News.  The likes of Cincinnati (eight points) and Utah (five) were ranked in two polls but finished with fewer total points than Oregon State.

*Thirty seven schools received votes.

*Alabama was not a consensus No. 1. Phil Steele made some waves by picking Oklahoma No. 1.

The annual compilation:

1. Alabama: Duh. Haven't lost an SEC regular-season game since 2007. Highest rank, No. 1. Lowest, No. 3 (148 points, Avg. rank between No. 1 and No. 2)

2. Ohio State: The Big Ten is back. Ohio State never left. Highest rank, No. 2. Lowest rank, No. 3. (142 points. Avg. rank between No. 2 and No. 3)

3. Boise State: Should be a consensus top five pick with major polls debut next month. Highest rank, No. 2. Lowest rank, No. No. 6. (136 points. Average rank between No. 3 and No. 4)

4. Florida: Fastest team in the country, again. Highest rank, No. 4. Lowest rank, No. 7. (123 points. Avg. rank between No. 5 and No. 6)

5. TCU: Nation's best defense the past two seasons. Highest rank, No. 4. Lowest rank, No. 11. (113 points. Avg. rank between No. 7 and No. 8)

6. Nebraska: Fitting that these two are tied. They hate each other. Highest rank, No. 5. Lowest rank, No. 11 (112 points. Average rank between No. 7 and No. 8)

7. Oregon: Most talent in the Pac-10. Highest rank, No. 6. Lowest rank, No. 15 (111 points. Avg. rank between No. 7 and No. 8)

8. Texas: Adding physicality to offense. Highest rank, No. 4. Lowest rank, No. No. 11 (110 points. Avg. rank between No. 7 and No. 8)

9. Oklahoma: Rebuilding into Big 12 and national power again. Highest rank, No. 1. Lowest rank, No. 12. (106 points. Avg. rank between No. 8 and No. 9)

10. Virginia Tech: Class of the ACC until further notice. Highest rank, No. 8. Lowest rank, No. 13. (94 points. Avg. rank between No. 10 and No. 11)

11. (tie) USC: Two-year bowl ban begins. Does the dynasty continue? Highest rank, No. 3. Lowest rank, No. 16. (90 points. Avg. rank No. 11)

Iowa: Sexy dark horse pick in the Big Ten. Highest rank, No. 8. Lowest rank, No. 14. (90 points. Avg. rank No. 11)

13. Wisconsin: Fresh from pounding Miami. Factor in Big Ten. Highest rank, No. 6. Lowest rank, No. 23. (82 points. Avg. rank between No. 12 and No. 13)

14. Miami: Starting to look like Canes of old. Highest rank, No. 4. Lowest rank, No. 14. (79 points. Avg. rank between No. 12 and No. 13)

15. Florida State: New coach, healthy quarterback. Great prospects. Highest rank, No. 14. Lowest rank, No. 20. (60 points, Avg. rank No. 16)

16. Arkansas: Petrino starting to work his magic with Ryan Mallett. Highest rank, No. 16. Lowest rank, No. 21. (50 points, Avg. rank between No. 17 and No. 18)

17. North Carolina: Nation's best defense? Highest rank, No. 12. Lowest rank, No. 24. (48 points. Avg. rank No. 18)

18. Pittsburgh: Coming first 10 win season since 1981. Highest rank, No. 14. Not ranked by Steele. (45 points. Avg. rank No. 17)

19. LSU: Les Miles on the hot seat? Highest rank, No. 18. Not ranked by Steele. (35 points. Avg. rank No. 19)

20. Georgia Tech:
Defending ACC champs seem to have gotten better. Highest rank, No. 13. Not ranked by Steele, Yahoo and Athlon. (30 points. Avg. rank No. 16)

21. Auburn: Chizik not ready to cede state to Alabama. Highest rank, No. 15. Not ranked by Lindy's and Yahoo. (29 points. Avg. rank between No. 18 and No. 19)

22. Penn State: JoePa going for No. 400. Highest rank, No. 18. Not ranked by Sporting News. (27 points. Avg. rank No.  20 and No. 21)

23. Georgia: New AD could be the least of Dawgs' problems. Highest rank, No. 15. Not ranked by CBSSports.com and Sporting News. (24 points. Avg. rank No. 20)

24. West Virginia: Noel Devine could carry 'Neers to a BCS bowl. Highest rank, No. 19. Not ranked by Athlon and Yahoo. (16 points. Avg. rank No. 22)

25. Oregon State: Mike Riley always has Beavers in contention. Highest rank, No. 15. Not ranked by CBSSports.com, Steele, Lindy's and Athlon. (15 points. Avg. rank between No. 18 and No. 19)

Other teams receiving votes: Notre Dame, Connecticut, Missouri, South Carolina, Cincinnati, Utah, Houston, Clemson, Arizona, Stanford, Washington, Navy.

Notes: To no one's surprise the SEC led all conferences with six teams in the top 25 (Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Georgia) ... To everyone's surprise, the ACC was second with five teams (Virginia Tech, Miami, Florida State, North Carolina, Georgia Tech) ... The Big 12 had three of the top 10 (Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska) ... The ACC, Big Ten and Big 12 each had three teams in the top 15 ... Every national champion since 1999 is represented in the top 25 ... Six states had multiple teams in the poll. Florida led all states with three (Miami, Florida, Florida State).

 

 
 
 
 
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