CFN 2011 Rankings
Sept. 12, Week 3
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Scoreboard & Game Recap
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- CFN 2011
Week 3 Rankings, No. 26-120
1. Alabama 3-0
Last Week: W, North Texas 41-0
Why Alabama Should Be No. 1: The Tide continued its defensive dominance on Saturday, shutting out the Mean Green and its gifted RB Lance Dunbar. The ornery Alabama D has now yielded just 18 points through the first three games.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: At this stage of the season, the Crimson Tide doesn’t have as impressive a resume as, say, Oklahoma or LSU. The Sooners won in Tallahassee over the weekend, and LSU has handled Oregon and Mississippi State outside of Baton Rouge. ‘Bama’s best win was over an average Penn State squad.
2. Oklahoma 3-0
Last Game: W, Florida State 23-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Sooners own the win of the year so far, knocking out the Seminoles in Doak Campbell Stadium. Oklahoma proved it can advance with defense, sacking Florida State quarterbacks six times, and making three key picks.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The OU offense is not unstoppable after all. Florida State had this game tied at 13 in the final quarter, with the Sooners struggling to put points on the board. They went a stretch of 46 minutes without reaching the end zone.
3. LSU 3-0
Last Week: W, Mississippi State 19-6
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Coordinator John Chavis’ defense is sensational, going the last eight quarters without allowing a touchdown. On Thursday night in hostile Starkville, the Tigers collected a whopping 15 stops for loss in 60 minutes of complete domination.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Tigers are clearly an SEC contender. To become a more serious national championship contender, however, they’ll need more offensive production. While the unit did enough to get a key road win, it also went the first 48 minutes without reaching the end zone.
4. Wisconsin 3-0
Last Week: W, Northern Illinois 49-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Badgers are a bona fide juggernaut on offense, slapping seven touchdowns and more than 600 balanced yards on the Huskies. As long as QB Russell Wilson keeps conducting like a maestro, it’s hard to imagine anyone shutting down this attack.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The only doubt about the Badgers right now hinges on the schedule. Wisconsin has trampled a MAC team, a Mountain West member, and Oregon State, which has a loss to Sacramento State this month.
5. Florida State 2-1
Last Week: L, Oklahoma 23-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Seminoles put forth a valiant effort versus the Sooners on Saturday night, tying the game in the fourth quarter despite the last 20 minutes without QB E.J. Manuel. The D was fantastic in frustrating one of the country’s most potent offensive attacks.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: While the Seminoles are terrific, they proved to be something short of championship caliber over the weekend. The offense, in particular, sputtered to just a single touchdown and 27 yards on the ground.
6. Stanford 3-0
Last Week: W, Arizona 37-10
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Cardinal really impressed in its Pac-12 opener, withstanding an early challenge on the road to jet past Arizona in the desert. The combination of QB Andrew Luck and RB Stepfan Taylor gives Stanford a perfect degree of balance on offense.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: While it’s hard to quibble with a Stanford defense that had five sacks of Nick Foles, it does continue to give up plenty of yards through the air. The Cardinal ranks 98th nationally in pass defense.
7. Oklahoma State 3-0
Last Week: W, Tulsa 59-33
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The game with Tulsa was delayed by three hours. The Cowboys offense was right on time. Oklahoma State continues to boast one of the country’s highest octane offenses, getting three touchdown passes from Brandon Weeden and three touchdown runs from Joseph Randle.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: What happened to the Cowboys run defense, which was absolutely shredded by Tulsa over the weekend. The Golden Hurricane churned out 365 yards on the ground, 173 from Ja’Terian Douglas and 159 from Trey Watts.
8. Florida 3-0
Last Week: W, Tennessee 33-23
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The young Gators defense came up big when it was needed most, creating turnovers and keeping Vols QB Tyler Bray relatively quiet. Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis is doing a nice job of maximizing the speed and explosiveness of versatile playmakers Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Florida is excited to have a healthy Caleb Sturgis back at placekicker. It just doesn’t want to use him so much on three-pointers. The Gators need to improve in the red zone by trading field goal attempts for a few more touchdowns.
9. South Carolina 3-0
Last Week: W, Navy 24-21
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Good teams survive, even when they don’t play an “A” game. The Gamecocks have now won three straight games that it trailed at some point in the second half. It helps to have a horse, like RB Marcus Lattimore, who rushed for a career-high 246 yards and three scores on Saturday.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Navy? Really? The Midshipmen are a plucky bunch, but an elite SEC team shouldn’t need to rally in the fourth quarter in order to shake free from one of the service academies.
10. Arkansas 3-0
Last Week: W, Troy 38-28
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The next team to halt the Hogs offense will be the first. Behind the passing of Tyler Wilson and the running of Ronnie Wingo, Arkansas leads the SEC in scoring, passing and total offense.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Razorbacks need to step it up in pass protection, especially with a trip to Tuscaloosa up next. Troy got to Wilson three times over the weekend, and pressure him a bunch more times.
11. Oregon 2-1
Last Week: W, Missouri State 56-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Quack Attack is beginning to get cranked up once again. The up-tempo Ducks have hung up 125 points over the last two games, with Darron Thomas emerging as an extremely dangerous passer.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Okay, so Oregon has toasted Nevada and Missouri State in consecutive games. What exactly has that proved? We won’t know just how close it is to the 2010 version until the Pac-12 schedule begins in Week 4.
12. Texas A&M 2-0
Last Game: W, Idaho 37-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Aggies returned to action after its only bye of the year to easily dispose of Idaho. The offense has all of the tools, including an O-line that’s yet to allow a sack, to match up with any of the Big 12’s best attacks.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Texas A&M has beaten SMU and Idaho, neither of which is going to qualify as a true test. If the Aggies are a top 10 team, you’ll know it after this week’s visit from Oklahoma State.
13. Boise State 2-0
Last Game: W, Toledo 40-15
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Going on the road to play Toledo, which darn near upset Ohio State a week earlier, was a tougher test than it looked. The Broncos passed it easily, getting 455 yards and five touchdowns through the air from QB Kellen Moore.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Head coach Chris Petersen would like to see his team cut down on its mental mistakes as the season progresses. The Broncos suffered through bouts of sloppiness, getting flagged nine times on Friday night.
14. Clemson 3-0
Last Week: W, Auburn 38-24
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers were the first team since 2009 to hand a loss to Auburn, snapping the defending national champs’ 17-game winning streak. Coordinator Chad Morris’ offense, in particular, was fantastic in producing more than 600 yards of total offense.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Well, you don’t want to do too much nit-picking after a win of this magnitude, but Clemson needs to plug its holes in run defense. Auburn ran for more than 200 yards, producing a bunch of bursts of 10 or more yards.
15. Illinois 3-0
Last Week: W, Arizona State 17-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Illini proved its Top 25 mettle by beating the ranked Sun Devils on Saturday night. The defense was ferocious throughout the game, sacking QB Brock Osweiler six times and making a dozen stops for loss.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Illinois will need more consistency going forward from its offense after producing just 240 yards and turning the ball over three times. The vaunted running game managed only 105 yards on 45 carries.
16. Arizona State 2-1
Last Week: L, Illinois 17-14
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Sun Devils traveled to Big Ten country on Saturday evening and put up a great fight in Champaign. The defense played extremely well, holding the Illini to just a couple of touchdowns.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The offensive line needs a lot of work in the coming weeks. Arizona State was abused up front for six sacks, which resulted in turnovers and too many drives that produced no points.
17. Virginia Tech 3-0
Last Week: W, Arkansas State 26-7
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Hokies defense is on the verge of becoming impenetrable. It has allowed just 30 points all year, while ranking No. 4 nationally in both run defense and pass efficiency defense.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: After playing so well in the opener, the offense is going to need to turn things up a notch. It’s only managed 43 points in recent games with East Carolina and Arkansas State, sputtering in the red zone versus the Red Wolves last weekend.
18. Missouri 2-1
Last Week: W, Western Illinois 69-0
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Tigers made a quick recovery from its lone loss of the season, racking up more than 700 yards behind the passing of James Franklin and the prolific running of Henry Josey.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Mizzou failed its one test of the month so far, losing to Arizona State, 37-30. The defense has issues in the secondary that Western Illinois couldn’t highlight, but Oklahoma likely will this weekend.
19. Nebraska 3-0
Last Week: W, Washington 51-38
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: When the Huskers needed to score on Saturday, they did, putting up 51 points behind a potent attack. The offense is rolling behind QB Taylor Martinez, RB Rex Burkhead and a relentless ground game.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: What is going with the Blackshirts defense? For the second straight weekend, the Huskers were surprisingly soft, giving up four Keith Price touchdown passes and more than 100 yards on the ground to Huskies star Chris Polk. That level of play is not going to cut it once the Big 12 portion of the schedule begins.
20. Tennessee 2-1
Last Week: L, Florida 33-23
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Sure, the Vols lost a game, but it was in the Swamp and without one of its top weapons, injured WR Justin Hunter. The defense actually played pretty well, despite the final score, forcing four field goal attempts.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: If Hunter is out with a knee injury for an extended period of time, it’s going to severely hamper the Tennessee passing game, its calling card at this point. The young offensive line was abused in Gainesville, which could become a trend this fall.
21. Georgia 1-2
Last Week: W, Coastal Carolina 59-0
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bulldogs broke through for their first win of the season, taking out some frustration on an overmatched opponent. The program continues to look sharp on offense, scoring eight touchdowns, four on the ground and four through the air.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Beating an FCS team may have temporarily stopped the bleeding, but the patient is still on life support. Georgia still needs to prove that it can beat a quality following revealing losses to Boise State and South Carolina to begin the season.
22. West Virginia 3-0
Last Week: W, Maryland 37-31
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: Head coach Dana Holgorsen got his first big win with the Mountaineers, beating Maryland on the road in a shootout. His no-huddle offense delivered its best game of the month, generating career-high output from QB Geno Smith.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: The Mountaineers defense, while opportunistic, still allowed too many yards and big plays to Danny O’Brien and the Terrapins offense. And where’s the pressure? West Virginia didn’t get to the quarterback all day.
23. South Florida 3-0
Last Week: W, Florida A&M 70-17
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Bulls offense is gaining confidence exponentially with each passing week. RB Darrell Scott and QB B.J. Daniels have been tremendous in September, helping fuel an offense that’s scored 107 points over the last two games.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: South Florida has gotten fat on lightweights lately, blowing out Ball State and Florida A&M. And that bellwether win against Notre Dame in the opener might not have happened had the Irish been able to hold on to the ball.
24. Michigan 2-1
Last Week: W, Eastern Michigan 31-3
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Wolverines avoided the letdown the week following their emotional win over Notre Dame, cruising past Eastern Michigan. After a slow start, the offense got its typical big day from QB Denard Robinson, who accounted for three scores, while the D allowed just a field.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Eastern Michigan couldn’t poke a hole in the Michigan defense, but others will. This remains a vulnerable unit that was exposed for more than 500 yards a week earlier by the Irish.
25. Notre Dame 1-2
Last Week: W, Michigan State 31-13
Why The Ranking Should Be Higher: The Irish coasted against a Spartans team that was ranked when it visited South Bend. The defense was stout against the run, and only allowed Michigan State to reach the end zone one time.
Why The Ranking Should Be Lower: Notre Dame ranks last in the country in turnover margin, a problem that has devolved into a disturbing trend. If the Irish can’t get a better grip on the ball, it’s going to lose more games that it dominates in the stats columns.
Week 3 Rankings, No. 26-120