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CFN Rankings No. 1 to 119 - Week 5, Sept. 30

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 30, 2007


You must rank teams based on how good you believe they are at the moment. That's the point when it comes to putting the teams in some order. However, once the year is complete, it's only fair to take the subjectivity out of it and go by what actually happened on the field.

There's one very important distinction in the CFN rankings: these are based on how good the teams are and NOT how they're going to finish. Some teams have easier schedules than others, some get tougher road games and some will need a little bit of time to jell meaning they might be better than their final record might indicate.

Rankings Coaches | CFN Preseason |
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

1. USC
(4-0)
W, at Washington, 27-24
next game: Stanford
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ...this is a banged up team that’s not exactly clicking. For the supposed no-brainer number one team, it came awfully close to blowing it against a Washington squad that was beaten badly by Ohio State. On the plus side, the running game is working as well as any in America.

2. LSU
(5-0)
W, Tulane. 34-9
next game: Florida
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … the team is able to turn it on whenever it’s had to. Would USC be able to run on this defense? With the way the Trojans are playing, the Tiger defense might dominate if the two played right now.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ...
the offensive line struggled early on against the Tulane defensive line. Tulane. Where was the pass protection? Chalk it up to going through the motions before facing Florida next week, but it has to be a little bit of a concern.

3. Ohio State 
(5-0)
W, at Minnesota, 30-7
next game: at Purdue
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … if you’re going by who’s playing at the highest level, right now, the Buckeyes have to get more consideration. Remember, they went into Washington and pulled away in the second half with ease, while USC struggled to close.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ...
beating Washington might not be that big a deal. The team has yet to be tested, and there’s still a major question about the offense against a good D.

4. California (5-0)
W, at Oregon, 31-24
next game: Oregon State (Oct. 13)
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … winning in Autzen Stadium right now is as impressive as it gets. The defense, which was supposed to get torched thanks to injuries and ineffectiveness, was good enough, while the offense, even with a banged up Nate Longshore, got the job done.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ...
it shouldn’t be. Beating Tennessee and Oregon right now probably should make the Bears third.

5. South Florida (4-0)
W, West Virginia, 21-13
next game: at Florida Atlantic
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … the win at Auburn now looks incredible. If you loved West Virginia as a top five team, then you have to give the Bulls their due.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ... it took the biggest game in the program’s history to beat a West Virginia team that lost Pat White halfway through the game. It’s not like the offense is humming, but it’s good enough.

6. Oklahoma (4-1)
L, at Colorado 27-24
next game: vs. Texas
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … the Sooners collapsed with a bad fourth quarter against Colorado. That still might not mean they’re bad. Remember how much they dominated over the first part of the year, especially against Miami. This still might be one of the three best teams.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ... losing to Colorado doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Sure, the Sooners could beat anyone in America, but somewhere out there is another poor performance from the secondary, and another meltdown, just waiting to happen. Get to Sam Bradford, and the offensive machine breaks down.

7. Oregon (4-1)
L, California, 31-24
next game: Washington State (Oct. 13)
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … Cal might be the third best team in the nation, and possibly number two. Oregon might be one behind. The Ducks played well in an even game, and came within a bad bounce of possibly pulling it out in overtime. Don’t forget how badly Michigan got thumped by this team at home.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ...
Arizona State and Wisconsin might be better. Cal might be terrific, but that was still a home game for Oregon. If the defense couldn’t figure out that DeSean Jackson needs double coverage at all times, what would it do against other top teams?

8. Arizona State (5-0)
W, at Stanford, 41-3
next game: at Washington State
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … everything is working. While teams are struggling all over the place, the Sun Devils are crushing everything in their path. Remember, they easily beat Colorado.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ... the best win is at home over Colorado. That might look great right now, but the jury is still out to see what would happen in any sort of a firefight.

9. Wisconsin (5-0)
W, Michigan State, 37-34
next game: at Illinois
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … while teams are crashing and burning left and right, the Badgers keep finding ways to win ugly. Even with all the problems, they still have the nation’s longest winning streak.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ...
the defense can’t tackle, the receiving corps has injury issues, and this is looking like another Texas; a team just waiting to get blasted by someone. Watch out for Illinois next week.
 
10. Kentucky (5-0)
W, Florida Atlantic, 45-17
next game: South Carolina
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … Andre Woodson is coming up with a special sort of season, carrying the offense and the team to big things. The defense has held it together surprisingly well.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ... it’s still a wait-and-see attitude. Beating Arkansas and Louisville might not be the big deal everyone’s making it out to be, but if UK can get by South Carolina and Florida over the next two weeks, then it’s time to really get fired up.

11. Florida (4-1)
L, Auburn, 20-17
next game: at LSU
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … the Auburn loss might have simply been a hiccup, as the Gators looked ahead to LSU. If they pull off the win in Baton Rouge, then they’re back in the national title hunt.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ...
the offense has been all about Tim Tebow, with a little bit of Percy Harvin thrown in, and that’s it. The running backs have decided to take time off. Considering how much Auburn has struggled, that’s not a game you lose at home if you’re supposed to be in the hunt for a title.

12. Boston College  (5-0)
W, Massachusetts, 24-14
next game: Bowling Green
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … this might be the class of the ACC. That might not be saying much, but the dominant win over Georgia Tech looks a lot better right now.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ... the team has looked mediocre against Army and UMass. Can it just turn it back on again? With Bowling Green up next, who’ll wing it around for four quarters, BC had better be prepared to actually play, and not just look ahead to Virginia Tech.

13. Missouri
(4-0)
No Game This Week
next game: Nebraska
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … this is one of the few teams in America that hasn’t shown any real holes. Now the opening day win over Illinois, that was a dominant victory for about 50 minutes, looks fantastic.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ... everyone’s waiting for the shoe to drop. If the Tigers beat Nebraska, then it’ll be time to talk about the top ten. If they also beat Oklahoma in Norman, then it’s time to talk national title contender. Based on the program’s past history, no one’s holding their breath.

14. West Virginia (4-1)
L, at South Florida, 21-13
next game: at Syracuse
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … it took a nutso, sold out crowd and a jacked up performance from the South Florida defense to pull off the win, and that was with Pat White on the sidelines. Jarrett Brown played extremely well, and even with all the problems, the lack of a running game, and the turnovers, the Mountaineers still had a chance late.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ...
the running game got shut down, opening the door for all the critics who wondered what would happen against a top D. USF might be terrific, but if the offense didn’t exactly click in Tampa, how would it do against most of the teams ranked in the top 25?

15. South Carolina (4-1)
W, Mississippi State, 38-21
next game: Kentucky
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … Chris Smelley appears to be the answer at quarterback. The D keeps rolling on, and now the offense is improving by the week. However ….
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ... … we’re not exactly talking about a high-octane juggernaut here. The offensive line was terrific against Mississippi State, but it’s still a work in progress. Eventually, the loss of star LB Jasper Brinkley will prove costly.

16. Kansas (4-0)
No Game This Week
next game: at Kansas State (Oct. 6)  
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … this is a speculative ranking. If you’re going just by what happened over the first four games, without looking at the schedule, no one was more impressive than KU. There wasn’t even a hint of a hiccup.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ...
KU hasn’t proven anything yet, while Georgia, Kansas State, and several other have wins over living, breathing teams.

17. Georgia (4-1)
W, Ole Miss, 45-17
next game: at Tennessee
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … things appear to be coming together. The running game blasted its way through Ole Miss, and now the offense appears to have its identity. The O line came up with a tremendous performance. A win over Florida in a few weeks might mean the East is there for the taking.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ...
Ole Miss isn’t exactly a killer. It’s nitpicking, but let’s just wait and see what the Dawgs do over the next few weeks. If they win at Vandy, at Tennessee, and in the Cocktail Party, then the loss to South Carolina might be forgotten about on a national scale.

18. Purdue (5-0)
W, Notre Dame, 33-19
next game: Ohio State
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … Purdue’s offense is humming when it needs to. Curtis Painter is playing at an All-America level, and RB Kory Sheets is running extremely well. This is no longer the Big Ten’s deep sleeper.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ...
there’s absolutely no reason to get fired up over beating Notre Dame. Purdue might be 5-0, but now come the real tests against Ohio State and Michigan.

19. Kansas State (3-1)
W, at Texas, 41-21
next game: Kansas  
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … winning in Austin is always impressive, even if the Longhorns aren’t playing well. The defense is playing at a ridiculously high level, while Jordy Nelson has turned into the best offensive weapon you probably haven’t heard of.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ... the special teams aren’t going to return two kicks for scores every game. There’s still the Josh Freeman question. KSU didn’t need to do much on offense against Texas, and didn’t, thanks to the play of the special teams and defense. What will happen if Freeman has to turn it loose and start making things happen? We’ll know this week against the Jayhawks. Pull that off, and watch KSU rocket up the rankings.

20. Cincinnati (5-0)
W, Marshall 40-14
next game: at San Diego State  
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … this might actually be the best team in the Big East the defense is playing at a South Florida-like level, while the offense keeps on humming along. No one wants to face USF, and no one wants anything to do with the Bearcats right now.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ... it’s now game on. At Rutgers, Louisville, at Pitt and at South Florida are the next four games. If this team is the real deal, it wins at least two of them. If it’s a true Big East title contender, it throttles Pitt, beats Louisville, and splits on the road against the Scarlet Knights and the Bulls.

21. Florida State (3-1)
W, Alabama, 21-14
next game: NC State
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … the win at Colorado now looks terrific, and beating Alabama is probably better than many will give it credit for. The defense is playing well, while the possible emergence of Xavier Lee could finally kickstart the offense.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ... the running game still isn’t there, and it’s hard to believe the offense will be consistently solid throughout the year. The team is going to struggle to put up points against any defense with a pulse.

22. Texas  (4-1)
L, Kansas State 41-21
next game: vs. Oklahoma
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … the defense did a fine job against Kansas State. The offense struggled, and the special teams were abysmal, but this is still a talented team with the potential to turn things around with one big win over the Sooners.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ...
no one actually believes Texas can stay within 24 of the Sooners if it plays like it has over the first five games. This was a team on the verge of getting blasted by someone. Rankings-wise, it was getting by mostly on brand name. However, beat OU, and with Iowa State and Baylor to follow, everything could quickly change.

23. Michigan  (3-2)
W, at Northwestern
next game: Eastern Michigan
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … all the parts are coming back together. Sort of. Chad Henne had a nice day against Northwestern, and when it had to, the offense turned it on to come away with the road win.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ... this ranking is a gift. The Penn State win doesn’t appear to be that big a deal anymore, and it took way too much effort to beat a bad Northwestern team that was missing Tyrell Sutton. One more week of being mediocre, even in a win, and it’s out of the top 25.

24. Virginia Tech (4-1)
W, North Carolina, 17-10
next game: at Clemson
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because … the defense is the Virginia Tech defense. It’s doing what it’s supposed to do, and on that alone, the Hokies could beat about 100 teams.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ... this ranking is a gift. The offense struggled way too much against North Carolina, and will likely be dominated by any defense with a pulse.

25. UCLA (4-1)
W, at Oregon State 40-14
next game: Notre Dame
The Ranking Should Be Higher Because …
this might just be the sleeper team in the Pac 10 race. There’s enough explosion to tag one of the big boys if everything breaks right. The Bruins did what they were supposed to do against Stanford and Washington, and blew out Oregon State in Corvallis.
The Ranking Should Be Lower Because ... Utah stinks. Are we just supposed to blow off the shockingly ugly loss to the Utes a few weeks ago? When will the Bruins come up with another clunker?
 

26 Miami (4-1)
27 Nebraska (4-1)
28 Tennessee (2-2)
29 Michigan State (4-1)
30 Virginia (4-1)
31 Alabama (3-2) 
32 Arkansas (2-2)
33 Georgia Tech (3-2)
34 Clemson (4-1)
35 Maryland (3-2)
36 Illinois (4-1)
37 Rutgers (3-1)
38 Oklahoma State (3-2)
39 Auburn (3-2) 
40 Texas Tech (4-1)
41 Colorado (3-2)
42 Texas A&M (4-1)
43 Louisville (3-2)
44 Washington (2-3)
45 Hawaii (5-0)
46 Oregon State (2-3)
47 Penn State (3-2)
48 Boise State (3-1)
49 Connecticut (5-0)
50 Mississippi State (3-2)
51 Wake Forest (2-2)
52 BYU (3-2)
53 Air Force (3-2)
54 UCF (3-1)
55 Indiana (4-1)
56 Wyoming (3-1)
57 Tulsa (3-1)
58 Washington State (2-3)
59 Iowa (2-3)
60 TCU (3-2)
61 Fresno State (2-2)
62 East Carolina (2-3)
63 Vanderbilt (3-1)
64 New Mexico (3-2)
65 Southern Miss (2-2)
66 Ole Miss (1-4)
67 Stanford (1-3)
68 Northwestern (2-3)
69 Nevada (2-2)
70 Houston (2-2)
71 Ball State (3-2)
72 North Carolina (1-4)
73 Bowling Green (3-1)
74 UNLV (2-3)
75 Notre Dame (0-5)
76 Pitt (2-3)
77 Colorado State (0-4)
78 Baylor (3-2)
79 Troy (3-2)
80 Navy (3-2)
81 Arizona (2-3)
82 New Mexico State (3-2)
83 Utah (2-3)
84 Florida Atlantic (3-2)
85 Minnesota (1-4)
86 Miami University (2-3)
87 Western Michigan (2-3)
88 Louisiana Tech (1-3)
89 NC State (1-4)
90 Akron (2-3)
91 UTEP (3-2)
92 Kent State (3-2)
93 Ohio (2-3)
94 Toledo (1-4)
95 UAB (1-3)
96 Arkansas State (2-2)
97 Iowa State (1-4)
98 Duke (1-4)
99 Syracuse (1-4)
100 Memphis (1-3)
101 Central Michigan (2-3)
102 SMU (1-4)
103 Middle Tennessee (1-4)
104 Army (2-3)
105 Eastern Michigan (2-3)
106 Northern Illinois (1-4)
107 Idaho (1-4)
108 San Jose State (2-3)
109 San Diego State (1-3)
110 UL Monroe (0-4)
111 North Texas (0-4)
112 Tulane (1-3)
113 Buffalo (1-4)
114 Marshall (0-4)
115 UL Lafayette (0-5)
116 Utah State (0-5)
117 Temple (0-5)
118 Rice (0-4)
119 FIU (0-5)