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JP Top 25: Week 9

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Note: J.P. Giglio is one of 65 voters in the AP Top 25. This is his ballot.

JP Top 25 archive
AP Top 25, BCS rankings

My gut tells me Alabama, with that offensive line and defense, is the best team in the country. But I’m not going to move Texas down after the Longhorns beat a top 10 team for the third straight week.

The Horns still have a better résumé than the Tide. That could change, and likely will, just not in the direction any sane person can predict.


1. Texas

Record: 8-0
Good wins: vs. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri
Loss(es): none
Last week: 1 (beat Oklahoma State, 28-24)
Next: @ Texas Tech

So are the offenses in the Big 12 that bad or are the offenses that good? Mack Brown's gotta be dying for Baylor or Iowa State to show up on the Big 12 schedule. Good thing they took the nonconference schedule off.

2. Alabama

Record: 8-0
Good wins: @ UGa, vs. Clemson
Loss(es): none
Last week: 2 (beat Tennessee, 29-9)
Next: Arkansas State

If you appreciate football, you appreciate the way Alabama plays. It's not "My quarterback has seven touchdowns at the half" impressive but more like "My big ugly is bigger and stronger than your big ugly."

You can make a large bet LSU will play its Super Bowl against the Tide, and former coach Nick Saban, on Nov. 8 in Baton Rouge.


3. Penn State

Record: 9-0
Good wins: @ Ohio State, Oregon State, @ Wisconsin, Illinois
Loss(es): none
Last week: 3 (beat Ohio State, 13-6)
Next: @ Iowa (Nov. 8)

Either Penn State deserves to play for the national title or it doesn't. And the Nits still have to beat Iowa, Indiana and Michigan State to make that a possibility.

But ABC analyst Kirk Herbstreit's notion that PSU should somehow be ordained a spot in the BCS title game because of Joe Paterno's age is as insulting as the coaches giving — a freakin' charitable donation — half of the 1997 national title to Nebraska because it was Tom Osborne's final season.

That type of politics has no business in the competitive arena.


4. Georgia

Record: 7-1
Good wins: @ LSU
Loss(es): Alabama
Last week: 8 (beat LSU, 52-38)
Next: vs. Florida @ Jacksonville, Fla.

This is exactly why I list the good wins and losses. Georgia beat LSU at LSU and lost to the second-ranked team in the country.

Florida beat LSU at home and lost to an unranked team.

Of course, this will all be solved on Saturday at the Cocktail Party but I shouldn't be the only voter with Georgia in front of Florida.


5. Florida

Record: 6-1
Good wins: LSU
Loss(es): Ole Miss
Last week: 4 (beat Kentucky, )
Next: vs. Georgia @ Jacksonville, Fla.

See No. 4 Georgia.

6. Oklahoma

Record: 7-1
Good wins: TCU, Kansas
Loss(es): Texas
Last week: 7 (beat Kansas State, 58-35)
Next: Nebraska

Thought about leaving Oklahoma State in front of the Sooners but OU's win over TCU (11) is better than anything on OSU's win column.

7. USC

Record: 6-1
Good wins: Ohio State, Oregon
Loss(es): @ Oregon State
Last week: 5 (beat Arizona, 17-10)
Next: Washington

If USC plays the same way against Stanford (Nov. 15) as it did against Arizona, the Trojans will lose.


8. Oklahoma State

Record: 7-1
Good wins: @ Missouri
Loss(es): @ Texas
Last week: 6 (lost @ Texas, 28-24)
Next: Iowa State

Like Purdue in the old Big Ten, the Cowboys are a novelty. Except the roles are reversed. In a conference that throws, the Pokes get it done on the ground.


9. Texas Tech

Record: 7-0
Good wins: Nebraska, @ Kansas
Loss(es): none
Last week: 12 (beat Kansas, 63-21)
Next: Texas

Good focus by the Red Raiders, not looking ahead to Texas and taking care of business against the Rock Chalkers, who busted out the battle red jerseys to no avail.

Enjoy Mike Leach, Guns Up, because this is the end of the road. He begged Miami to hire him, but the Canes were too cheap, promoting assistant Randy Shannon for half the price instead. Clemson won't spare any expense.

And Leach will follow the lead of Butch Davis and realize how easy it is to build a winner in the ACC, instead of pounding his head against the wall that is Texas.


10. Utah

Record: 8-0
Good wins: Oregon State, @ Air Force
Loss(es): none
Last week: 10 (bye)
Next: @ New Mexico

The Lobos will test the Utes, who might be looking ahead to a tilt with TCU next week.


11. TCU

Record: 8-1
Good wins: BYU
Loss(es): @ Oklahoma
Last week: 14 (beat Wyoming, 54-7)
Next: @ UNLV

Careful, Horned Frogs, the pesky Rebels almost beat BYU.


12. Boise State

Record: 7-0
Good wins: @ Oregon
Loss(es): none
Last week: 13 (beat San Jose State, 33-16)
Next: @ New Mexico State

I understand Boise's unbeaten but the Broncs get behind TCU, for now, because the Frogs beat BYU and their loss was at Oklahoma.

13. Florida State

Record: 6-1
Good wins: Virginia Tech
Loss(es): Wake Forest
Last week: 23 (beat Virginia Tech, 30-20)
Next: @ Georgia Tech

To clarify last week's remarks about FSU:

I wrote the Noles are winning in spite of their coaching, not that they are poorly coached.

The offense, despite the shaky line play, is predictably improved in Jimbo Fisher's second season but the coaching situation at FSU remains volatile.

There's the head coach (Bobby Bowden), the coach-in-waiting (Fisher), the executive assistant associate head coach (Chuck Amato) and the defensive coordinator (Mickey Andrews).

Bowden's a figure-head who brought Amato back to help him run the program. The university president (T.K. Weatherall) hired Fisher to get a head start, and ostensibly check behind old man Bowden.

Then there's the dynamic between Andrews and Amato, who famously agree to disagree.

That's a lot of egos and lot of messengers. The players shouldn't need a scorecard to keep up with which coach to listen to.

To the credit of all of the coaches involved, the Noles are 6-1 and in control of the confusing ACC.


14. Ohio State

Record: 7-2
Good wins: @ Wisconsin, @ Michigan State
Loss(es): @ USC, Penn State
Last week: 9 (lost to Penn State, 13-6)
Next: @ Northwestern (Nov. 8)

The Bucks are playing for 2009 now. Should be interesting to see how they react to being out of the BCS and Big Ten title chases.

15. LSU

Record: 5-2
Good wins: none
Loss(es): @ Florida, Georgia
Last week: 11 (lost to Georgia, 52-38)
Next: Tulane

The Tigers have allowed 103 points in their two losses. So much for the "They won't miss Glenn Dorsey" rhetoric.


16. BYU

Record: 7-1
Good wins: none
Loss(es): @ TCU
Last week: 17 (beat UNLV, 42-35)
Next: @ Colorado State

The luckiest team in America.

17. Ball State

Record: 8-0
Good wins: Navy
Loss(es): none
Last week: 18 (beat Eastern Michigan, 38-16)
Next: Northern Illinois (Nov. 5)

An national Wednesday showcase is up next for the Cards.

18. Tulsa

Record: 8-0
Good wins: none
Loss(es): none
Last week: 19 (beat UCF, )
Next: @ Arkansas

The AP didn't wait for the Hurricane's Sunday game, a low-scoring affair by Todd Graham's standards.


19. Missouri

Record: 6-2
Good wins: Illinois, Nebraska
Loss(es): Oklahoma State, @ Texas
Last week: 20 (beat Colorado, 58-0)
Next: @ Baylor

So much for that "the North will be better than the South" in the Big 12 this season. The Tigers are the only ranked team from the North, compared to four in the top 10 in the South.

20. Minnesota

Record: 7-1
Good wins: @ Illinois
Loss(es): @ Ohio State
Last week: 24 (beat Purdue, 17-6)
Next: Northwestern

Get your scouting report now, ACCers, the Golden Gophers could be in Orlando for the Champs Sports Bowl.

21. Maryland

Record: 6-2
Good wins: Cal, Wake Forest
Loss(es): @ Middle Tennesse, @ Virginia
Last week: Not ranked (beat N.C. State, 27-24)
Next: @ Virginia Tech (Nov. 6)

Good news: Virginia Tech has two injured quarterbacks.

Bad news: Virginia Tech's unbeatable on Thursday night (unless you're BC).

Maryland's last Thursday night date with VT — a 55-6 loss in Blacksburg in '04.


22. UNC

Record: 6-2
Good wins: Boston College, Notre Dame
Loss(es): Virginia Tech, @ Virginia
Last week: Not ranked (beat BC, 45-24)
Next: Georgia Tech (Nov. 8)

Good time for a bye week for the Heels, who'll need to get creative in how they use Hakeem Nicks going forward because no team will repeat BC's mistake of single covering the wideout.


23. Oregon State

Record: 4-3
Good wins: USC
Loss(es): @ Stanford, @ Penn State, @ Utah
Last week: 25 (bye)
Next: bye

Same reason as last week. The Beavers are ahead of Oregon because they beat USC and Oregon did not.


24. Oregon

Record: 6-2
Good wins: none
Loss(es): @ USC, Boise State
Last week: Not ranked (beat Arizona State, 54-20)
Next: @ Cal

Pretty good for a team with their fifth-string quarterback.


25. Michigan State

Record: 7-2
Good wins: Northwestern, Notre Dame
Loss(es): @ Cal, Ohio State
Last week: Not ranked (beat Michigan, 35-21)
Next: Wisconsin

A bunch of Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia and USC fans just jumped on the bandwagon.


Out: Pitt (15), South Florida (16), Boston College (21), Georgia Tech (22) 

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About the blogger

Joe Giglio covers the ACC for the News & Observer, where he has worked since 1997.