October 12, 2009

Ranking them all: Rivals.com 120 at 1:20

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com.
He can be heard on Rivals Radio every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. ET and can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.
At 1:20 p.m. ET each Monday, Rivals.com releases the 120 at 1:20, Mike Huguenin's ranking of every major college football team in the nation.

Here is our first 1-120 ranking of the season. We like to wait until October to let the teams get five or six games under their belts.

As you'll be able to see, like everyone else, we think highly of the SEC.

How do we come up with the rankings? Above all else, it's who we think would win on a neutral field. But we also take into account who a team has beaten and where, and generally take a "what have you done for me lately" attitude, as well.

Enough of the introduction. On to the rankings.

Mike Huguenin's 120 at 1:20
1. Alabama (6-0)
BUZZ: The Tide's two "big" wins, over Virginia Tech and Ole Miss, trumps Florida's one. NEXT: Saturday, vs. South Carolina
2. Florida (5-0)
BUZZ: The offense has some issues. The defense doesn't. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Arkansas
3. Texas (5-0)
BUZZ: Get your No. 2 pencils ready, Longhorns. Here comes your first real test of the season. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Oklahoma in Dallas
4. USC (4-1)
BUZZ: The Trojans had the weekend off to prepare for the onslaught of passes they're sure to see come their way this weekend. NEXT: Saturday, at Notre Dame
5. Virginia Tech (5-1)
BUZZ: If the Hokies win this week's game, they should go ahead and make reservations for the Dec. 5 ACC championship game. NEXT: NEXT: Saturday, at Georgia Tech
6. Iowa (6-0)
BUZZ: The Hawkeyes always seem to do just enough to get by. This week's game is another big one. NEXT: Saturday, at Wisconsin
7. Cincinnati (5-0)
BUZZ: This week's game is a monster for the Bearcats, who have scored at least 21 first-half points in all five games. NEXT: Thursday, at USF
8. Boise State (5-0)
BUZZ: Tulsa isn't that good, but this might be Boise's toughest road game the rest of the way. NEXT: Wednesday, at Tulsa
9. Ohio State (5-1)
BUZZ: The next three games (Purdue, Minnesota, New Mexico State) will provide the opportunity for the offense to feel good about itself. NEXT: Saturday, at Purdue
10. TCU (5-0)
BUZZ: The Horned Frogs have a big one in two weeks, when they play at BYU. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Colorado State
11. Miami (4-1)
BUZZ: The Hurricanes play at Central Florida and at South Florida this season. Why in the world was that allowed to happen? NEXT: Saturday, at UCF
12. LSU (5-1)
BUZZ: The Tigers need to find a way to get their offense in gear. NEXT: Oct. 24, vs. Auburn
13. Oregon (5-1)
BUZZ: The Ducks continue to put that loss to Boise State in the rearview mirror. NEXT: Oct. 24, at Washington
14. Georgia Tech (5-1)
BUZZ: We might be mistaken, but wasn't that QB Josh Nesbitt running for 7 more yards against Florida State's overmatched defense? NEXT: Saturday, vs. Virginia Tech
15. Nebraska (4-1)
BUZZ: Thursday's win over Missouri wasn't exactly a thing of beauty. But the win made the Huskers the Big 12 North front-runner. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Texas Tech
16. BYU (5-1)
BUZZ: The best thing about the Cougars' four Mountain West road games this season? They're against UNLV, San Diego State, Wyoming and New Mexico -- the conference's worst four teams. NEXT: Saturday, at San Diego State
17. Penn State (5-1)
BUZZ: There's a nice record, no doubt, but who have the Nittany Lions beaten? The best win might be over Temple. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Minnesota
18. Wisconsin (5-1)
BUZZ: The Badgers need to bounce back quickly if they're to stay in the hunt for a New Year's Day bowl bid. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Iowa
19. Oklahoma (3-2)
BUZZ: Sam Bradford threw it 49 times against Baylor, so his arm appears ready for the Red River Rivalry. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Texas in Dallas
20. Houston (4-1)
BUZZ: The Cougars are 3-0 against the SEC and Big 12 this season. Now, they need to focus on winning their games against less-than-stellar Conference USA foes. NEXT: Saturday, at Tulane
21. Oklahoma State (4-1)
BUZZ: The Cowboys eventually will need WR Dez Bryant back in the lineup, so coaches better hope that NCAA appeal goes through. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Missouri
22. Utah (4-1)
BUZZ: After this week's road trip to Vegas, the Utes play three games in a row at home. NEXT: Saturday, at UNLV
23. South Carolina (5-1)
BUZZ: If the Gamecocks truly want to contend in the SEC, they need to win at Alabama this week. NEXT: Saturday, at Alabama
24. Notre Dame (4-1)
BUZZ: For the Irish to truly be taken seriously this season, they need to win this week. The offense looks capable. The defense? Uh, no. NEXT: Saturday, vs. USC
25. Kansas (5-0)
BUZZ: How good is KU? No one knows. And we won't know until the Jayhawks welcome the Sooners to town on Oct. 24. NEXT: Saturday, at Colorado
26. West Virginia (4-1)
BUZZ: The Mountaineers play their in-state "little brother" this week, and those types of games can be dangerous. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Marshall
27. USF (5-0)
BUZZ: The Bulls' three victories over FBS teams have come against programs with a combined three wins. NEXT: Thursday, vs. Cincinnati
28. Arizona (3-2)
BUZZ: The Wildcats had Washington beaten, until a pick-six in the final three minutes turned the tide. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Stanford
29. Pittsburgh (5-1)
BUZZ: The Panthers rallied from 15 down to beat Connecticut; that's the kind of game they would've lost in seasons past. NEXT: Friday, at Rutgers
30. Oregon State (4-2)
BUZZ: The Beavers started slow but have won two in a row. The next game is their toughest, though. NEXT: Oct. 24, at USC
31. Auburn (5-1)
BUZZ: Raise your hand if you thought Auburn's offense would be this productive but the defense this bad. Yeah, we didn't think so, either. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Kentucky
32. Texas Tech (4-2)
BUZZ: Coach Mike Leach, in another one of his bizarre moves, announces he will pull a student out of the stands, make him the starting quarterback, then watch him throw seven TD passes in a game. NEXT: Saturday, at Nebraska
33. Missouri (4-1)
BUZZ: Mizzou learned Thursday that beating Nebraska is more difficult than beating the likes of Furman and Illinois. NEXT: Saturday, at Oklahoma State
34. Stanford (4-2)
BUZZ: After this week's game, the Cardinal have just one more road game this season. NEXT: Saturday, at Arizona
35. Boston College (4-2)
BUZZ: Despite getting drilled at Virginia Tech, BC still is in good shape to win the ACC's Atlantic Division title again. NEXT: Saturday, vs. N.C. State
36. Ole Miss (3-2)
BUZZ: Once in the top 10, the Rebels now are reduced to spoiler mode. NEXT: Saturday, vs. UAB
37. Wake Forest (4-2)
BUZZ: All of a sudden, senior QB Riley Skinner has become Brett Favre, throwing it all over the place. NEXT: Saturday, at Clemson
38. Washington (3-3)
BUZZ: The defense looked bad at times Saturday against Arizona, but it also made the winning play in the waning minutes. NEXT: Saturday, at Arizona State
39. Michigan (4-2)
BUZZ: Good news for the defense is that this week's foe won't be too taxing. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Delaware State
40. Central Michigan (5-1)
BUZZ: This week's game looks to be the toughest remaining MAC game for the Chippewas. NEXT: Saturday, at Western Michigan
41. California (3-2)
BUZZ: After two ugly losses, do the Golden Bears lie down or play hard? NEXT: Saturday, at UCLA
42. Michigan State (3-3)
BUZZ: The Spartans have won two in a row, and the good news is that they have just two truly tough opponents left. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Northwestern
43. North Carolina (4-2)
BUZZ: The Heels' offense had been stuck in the mud, and a visit from FCS member Georgia Southern was just the tonic. NEXT: Oct. 22, vs. Florida State
44. Connecticut (3-2)
BUZZ: The Huskies must win this week to stay in the Big East title race. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Louisville
45. Georgia (3-3)
BUZZ: How pitiful is Georgia's defense? Tennessee's Jonathan Crompton looked like a good college quarterback on Saturday, that's how pitiful. NEXT: Saturday, at Vanderbilt
46. Minnesota (4-2)
BUZZ: How good are the Golden Gophers? We'll find out the next two weeks, when they play Penn State and Ohio State -- both on the road. NEXT: Saturday, at Penn State
47. Arkansas (3-2)
BUZZ: The Hogs scored seven points in a loss at Alabama. What will they do in Gainesville? NEXT: Saturday, at Florida
48. Clemson (2-3)
BUZZ: Dabo Swinney's bunch better win this week, or any ACC division title hopes fly out the window. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Wake Forest
49. Navy (4-2)
BUZZ: This past weekend, Navy went to Houston and ripped apart Rice. This weekend, the Midshipmen get to visit Dallas. NEXT: Saturday, at SMU
50. Rutgers (4-1)
BUZZ: The Scarlet Knights haven't beaten anyone with a pulse this season. They get a chance to do so Friday night. NEXT: Friday, vs. Pittsburgh
51. Fresno State (2-3)
BUZZ: Fresno's losses have come to teams that are a combined 15-1 (Boise State, Cincinnati and Wisconsin). NEXT: Saturday, vs. San Jose State
52. UCLA (3-2)
BUZZ: This week's game looms large for the Bruins if they want to legitimately contend for a bowl bid. NEXT: Saturday, vs. California
53. Tennessee (3-3)
BUZZ: The Vols' offense was in high gear against Georgia. Will that carry over for their visit to Tuscaloosa? NEXT: Oct. 24, at Alabama
54. Florida State (2-4)
BUZZ: Yes, Bobby Bowden built this program. But who out there can deny that he's also overseeing its demolition? NEXT: Oct. 22, at North Carolina
55. Arizona State (3-2)
BUZZ: The Sun Devils better discover some offense, or a 5-7 (or worse) season looms. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Washington
56. Mississippi State (2-4)
BUZZ: The Bulldogs' four losses have come to teams with a combined four losses. NEXT: Saturday, at Middle Tennessee
57. Texas A&M (3-2)
BUZZ: Three of the next four are against Big 12 North bottom-feeders, and the Aggies need to sweep those to have a legit shot at a bowl bid. NEXT: Saturday, at Kansas State
58. Baylor (3-2)
BUZZ: The Bears without Robert Griffin are a different animal. If they don't win this week, they likely don't win again this season. NEXT: Saturday, at Iowa State
59. Northwestern (4-2)
BUZZ: A victory this Saturday and barring a complete collapse, the Wildcats are all but assured a bowl bid. NEXT: Saturday, at Michigan State
60. Kentucky (2-3)
BUZZ: The loss at South Carolina dropped the Wildcats to 8-29 on the road in SEC play this decade. NEXT: Saturday, at Auburn
61. Air Force (3-3)
BUZZ: The Falcons' bowl hopes may hinge on beating Wyoming. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Wyoming
62. Tulsa (4-1)
BUZZ: The Golden Hurricane lost by 45 to Oklahoma. Can they keep it closer against unbeaten Boise State? NEXT: Wednesday, vs. Boise State
63. Idaho (5-1)
BUZZ: The Vandals are one of the best feel-good stories of the season. They should clinch bowl eligibility this weekend. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Hawaii
64. East Carolina (3-3)
BUZZ: Losing to North Carolina and West Virginia is excusable. Losing to SMU? That's not. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Rice
65. Colorado State (3-3)
BUZZ: Good news for the Rams is that after this Saturday, they already will have played BYU, Utah and TCU -- the three best teams in the Mountain West. NEXT: Saturday, at TCU
66. Northern Illinois (3-2)
BUZZ: A win this weekend makes NIU a legit contender in the MAC West race. NEXT: Saturday, at Toledo
67. Nevada (2-3)
BUZZ: The Wolf Pack finally seem to have gotten their offense untracked. Of course, it helped that the schedule eased up a bit. NEXT: Saturday, at Utah State
68. Ohio University (4-2)
BUZZ: The next three opponents for Frank Solich's team have a combined two victories. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Miami University
69. N.C. State (3-3)
BUZZ: The Wolfpack have just one win over a FBS program, but it was an impressive one against Pitt. NEXT: Saturday, at Boston College
70. Western Michigan (3-3)
BUZZ: If the Broncos want to win the MAC West, this weekend's game is a must-win for them. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Central Michigan
71. Troy (3-2)
BUZZ: The Trojans are in great shape to once again win the Sun Belt title. NEXT: Saturday, at Florida International
72. Southern Miss (3-3)
BUZZ: Injuries have really hurt -- no pun intended -- the Golden Eagles this season. If they want to stay in C-USA East Division race, they need to win this week. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Memphis
73. Virginia (2-3)
BUZZ: Hold off on those "Groh Must Go" signs. A win this Saturday and the Cavs give themselves a shot at a bowl bid. NEXT: Saturday, at Maryland
74. Duke (3-3)
BUZZ: QB Thaddeus Lewis carved up N.C. State's secondary to help Duke snap a winless streak on the road that dated to 2003. NEXT: Oct. 24, vs. Maryland
75. Louisville (2-3)
BUZZ: Coach Steve Kragthorpe still is feeling the heat, though a win over UConn would cool his seat a bit. NEXT: Saturday, at Connecticut
76. Syracuse (2-4)
BUZZ: The Orange have played just one road game this season, and their next two are at home, too. NEXT: Oct. 24, vs. Akron
77. Marshall (4-2)
BUZZ: The Herd would like nothing more than to beat their in-state "big brother" this weekend. NEXT: Saturday, at West Virginia
78. Bowling Green (2-4)
BUZZ: Tyler Sheehan has been one of the most productive quarterbacks in the nation this season. NEXT: Saturday, at Ball State
79. Arkansas State (1-3)
BUZZ: The Red Wolves need to get back on the winning track against a league foe. NEXT: Tuesday, at Louisiana-Monroe
80. Middle Tennessee (3-2)
BUZZ: The Blue Raiders already have beaten one Big Six school this season, winning at Maryland. MTSU goes for its second such victory this season against an SEC squad. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Mississippi State
81. Maryland (2-4)
BUZZ: The next two games (Virginia and Duke) are eminently winnable. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Virginia
82. Purdue (1-5)
BUZZ: The Boilermakers need more playmakers, on both sides of the ball. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Ohio State
83. Temple (3-2)
BUZZ: After an embarrassing season-opening loss to Villanova, the Owls actually have played solid football. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Army
84. Toledo (3-3)
BUZZ: The next two games -- NIU, then Temple -- will tell how the Rockets' season is going to go. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Northern Illinois
85. Indiana (3-3)
BUZZ: As bad as the Hoosiers are, a victory Saturday keeps their bowl hopes alive. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Illinois
86. Colorado (1-4)
BUZZ: Not to be a smart-aleck, but in the grand scheme of things, it appears some of those Buffs players would be better off playing intramurals than trying to compete in the Big 12. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Kansas
87. Louisiana-Lafayette (3-2)
BUZZ: The Ragin' Cajuns' two losses have come against LSU and Nebraska, and they beat Kansas State. NEXT: Saturday, at Western Kentucky
88. Kansas State (3-3)
BUZZ: K-State's secondary still has to be shell-shocked by what happened against Texas Tech. A&M's Jerrod Johnson should strafe them, as well. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Texas A&M
89. Iowa State (3-3)
BUZZ: The Cyclones already have won more than they did last season, so in some respects, this season already has been a success. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Baylor
90. Louisiana-Monroe (3-2)
BUZZ: The Warhawks can prove they're a legit Sun Belt contender if they can beat the Red Wolves on Tuesday night on ESPN2. NEXT: Tuesday, vs. Arkansas State
91. Illinois (1-4)
BUZZ: The Illini have Indiana and Purdue back to back, so the potential exists for back-to-back wins. Then again, this is Illinois, so the potential also exists for back-to-back losses. NEXT: Saturday, at Indiana
92. UTEP (2-4)
BUZZ: The Miners are good enough to beat Houston but also bad enough to get whipped by Buffalo and Memphis. NEXT: Oct. 21, vs. Tulsa
93. Wyoming (4-2)
BUZZ: The record is good; the teams the Cowboys have beaten, though, are awful. NEXT: Saturday, at Air Force
94. Buffalo (2-4)
BUZZ: If the Bulls want to have any kind of shot at defending their MAC East title, they have to win this week. NEXT: Oct. 17, vs. Akron
95. SMU (3-2)
BUZZ: The Mustangs' upset of East Carolina was their most impressive win in a while. Can they follow it up with another upset? NEXT: Saturday, vs. Navy
96. UCF (3-2)
BUZZ: The Knights can get the most significant victory in school history this weekend. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Miami
97. UNLV (2-4)
BUZZ: Coach Mike Sanford's days with the Rebels appear to be numbered. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Utah
98. Army (3-3)
BUZZ: The Black Knights already have surpassed their victory total from last season, and they have a few more winnable games on their schedule. NEXT: Saturday, at Temple
99. Vanderbilt (2-4)
BUZZ: Coach Bobby Johnson was drawing praise for getting Vandy to a bowl last season. But things are back to normal this season. NEXT: vs. Georgia
100. Louisiana Tech (2-3)
BUZZ: Any hope of finishing at .500 in the WAC likely requires a win this weekend plus one next weekend over Utah State. NEXT: Saturday, vs. New Mexico State
101. Washington State (1-5)
BUZZ: The Cougars are the worst Big Six conference team in the nation. NEXT: Oct. 24, at California
102. UAB (2-3)
BUZZ: The Blazers play their next three and six of their final seven games on the road. NEXT: Saturday, at Ole Miss
103. Memphis (2-4)
BUZZ: RB Curtis Steele ran wild against UTEP, and he'll need to do the same if the Tigers are to win this weekend. NEXT: Saturday, at Southern Miss
104. Hawaii (2-3)
BUZZ: Man, that Sugar Bowl berth is fading farther and farther into the background. NEXT: Saturday, at Idaho
105. Tulane (2-3)
BUZZ: The Green Wave have some defensive issues. That's not good with a prolific Houston team next on the schedule. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Houston
106. San Diego State (2-3)
BUZZ: A new coaching staff seems to have the Aztecs playing with more purpose. The problem is a lack of talent. NEXT: Saturday, at BYU
107. New Mexico State (3-3)
BUZZ: The Aggies snapped an eight-game WAC losing streak by squeaking past Utah State this past weekend. NEXT: Saturday, at Louisiana Tech
108. Kent State (2-4)
BUZZ: The Golden Flashes let one get away this past weekend. Their secondary was torched by Bowling Green QB Tyler Sheehan. NEXT: Saturday, at Eastern Michigan
109. North Texas (1-4)
BUZZ: Other than a blowout loss at Alabama, the Mean Green have acquitted themselves well this season. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Florida Atlantic
110. Florida International (1-4)
BUZZ: This week's game will be a good measuring stick as to how far FIU has to go before it can be a legit Sun Belt challenger. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Troy
111. Utah State (1-4)
BUZZ: The Aggies dropped their 10th consecutive road game over the weekend. At least their next two games are at home. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Nevada
112. Akron (1-4)
BUZZ: The Zips might not be that good, but freshman LB Brian Wagner has been a tackle machine. NEXT: Saturday, at Buffalo
113. San Jose State (1-4)
BUZZ: The Spartans are in the midst of a stretch in which the play the WAC's four best teams (Idaho this past weekend, then Fresno State, Boise State and Nevada). NEXT: Saturday, at Fresno State
114. New Mexico (0-6)
BUZZ: It would be an understatement to say this season has not gone the way new coach Mike Locksley has wanted. NEXT: Oct. 24, vs. UNLV
115. Florida Atlantic (0-4)
BUZZ: The Owls have made back-to-back bowl appearances. Suffice it to say, if they lose this week, there isn't going to be a third consecutive bowl bid. NEXT: Saturday, at North Texas
116. Rice (0-6)
BUZZ: The Owls went to a bowl last season, but it's not inconceivable they go 0-12 this season. NEXT: Saturday, at East Carolina
117. Ball State (0-6)
BUZZ: The Cardinals started 12-0 last season. Since then, they've lost eight in a row. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Bowling Green
118. Miami University (0-6)
BUZZ: Have some sympathy for QB Zac Dysert, who has been sacked 17 times in the past two games. NEXT: Saturday, at Ohio U.
119. Eastern Michigan (0-5)
BUZZ: EMU gave up 521 yards and 56 points this past weekend to Central Michigan, which never punted. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Kent State
120. Western Kentucky (0-5)
BUZZ: The Hilltoppers' first season as a full-fledged FBS member looks as if it will finish 0-12. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.




 

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