October 5, 2010

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

Here is the first Rivals.com 1-120 ranking of the season.

How do we come up with the rankings? Well, obviously we like to wait a while to try to get a read on the teams. And there are numerous variables at play, chief among them who a team has beaten and where. But we also have a "what have you done for me lately?" mind-set, and consider the rankings a snapshot of the whole season, not just one game; that's why -- at times -- teams are ranked below a team they may have beaten. In addition, if a tiebreaker is needed, it's who we think would win on a neutral field.

We update these every Tuesday at 1:20 p.m. Eastern time, so if your team isn't where you think it should be, check back in a week.

On to the rankings:

Mike Huguenin's 120 at 1:20
1. Alabama (5-0)
BUZZ: The Tide's rebuilt defense has allowed just 45 points -- and 20 of those came in the win over Arkansas. NEXT: at South Carolina, Saturday
2. Oregon (5-0)
BUZZ: The defense might have some issues. But the offense is absolutely relentless. NEXT: at Washington State, Saturday
3. Ohio State (5-0)
BUZZ: The Buckeyes are just biding their time until they play Iowa on Nov. 20. NEXT: vs. Indiana, Saturday
4. Boise State (4-0)
BUZZ: Since the start of last season, QB Kellen Moore has thrown 50 TD passes and just four interceptions. NEXT: vs. Toledo, Saturday
5. TCU (5-0)
BUZZ: The Horned Frogs have won 28 of their past 31 games, and 23 of the wins have come by double-digit totals. NEXT: vs. Wyoming, Saturday
6. Oklahoma (5-0)
BUZZ: Four of the five wins have come by eight or fewer points. The other was a 30-point beatdown of Florida State. NEXT: vs. Iowa State, Oct. 16
7. Nebraska (4-0)
BUZZ: Coach Bo Pelini is channeling his inner Tom Osborne -- the Huskers have three players averaging at least 76.0 rushing yards per game. NEXT: at Kansas State, Thursday
8. Arizona (4-0)
BUZZ: Unlike in past seasons, it would be mighty interesting this season if Mike Stoops got to coach against his older brother. NEXT: vs. Oregon State, Saturday
9. Auburn (5-0)
BUZZ: QB Cameron Newton's arrival has energized the offense, but the defense still can get better. NEXT: at Kentucky, Saturday
10. Iowa (4-1)
BUZZ: The Hawkeyes have allowed just 51 points -- and 34 of those came in the loss at Arizona. NEXT: at Michigan, Oct. 16
11. Stanford (4-1)
BUZZ: Some defensive shortcomings were exposed by Oregon. Then again, Oregon can expose defensive shortcomings against just about anybody. NEXT: vs. USC, Saturday
12. Utah (4-0)
BUZZ: A lot of folks are assuming TCU will win the Mountain West. But don't forget that the Horned Frogs have to play at Utah. NEXT: at Iowa State, Saturday
13. Michigan State (5-0)
BUZZ: The Spartans are coming off an impressive win at home against Wisconsin. Now, they get a chance to put "big brother" in his place. NEXT: at Michigan, Saturday
14. Miami (3-1)
BUZZ: Forget about QB Jacory Harris' eight interceptions for a second and consider that the Hurricanes have allowed a nation's-low one TD pass. NEXT: vs. Florida State, Saturday
15. LSU (5-0)
BUZZ: Some say luck is the residue of design. Well, there was nothing in the final 30 seconds Saturday against Tennessee that was designed. NEXT: at Florida, Saturday
16. Arkansas (3-1)
BUZZ: The Hogs' most impressive performance this season probably was their narrow loss to Alabama. NEXT: vs. Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas, Saturday
17. Michigan (5-0)
BUZZ: QB Denard Robinson has been tremendous. And just think what he could do if he went against Michigan's defense. NEXT: vs. Michigan State, Saturday
18. South Carolina (3-1)
BUZZ: Coach Steve Spurrier knows what to do to take advantage of Alabama's inexperienced secondary. Alas, it has to go from his head to Stephen Garcia's, which means something is going to go awry. NEXT: vs. Alabama, Saturday
19. Florida (4-1)
BUZZ: Florida's defense is fine. But the offense still needs to find its identity. Here's a tip for offensive coordinator Steve Addazio: John Brantley should never run the option. NEXT: vs. LSU, Saturday
20. Air Force (4-1)
BUZZ: The Falcons have a solid rushing attack and a stingy defense; their only loss is by three at Oklahoma. NEXT: vs. Colorado State, Saturday
21. Florida State (4-1)
BUZZ: The Seminoles have looked quite good in four of their five games. The other, though, was an embarrassing loss at Oklahoma. NEXT: at Miami, Saturday
22. Oklahoma State (4-0)
BUZZ: The Cowboys have a lot of offensive weapons. That's good, because their defense isn't much. NEXT: at Louisiana-Lafayette, Friday
23. Wisconsin (4-1)
BUZZ: Last week's loss to Michigan State puts a huge crimp in the Badgers' Big Ten title hopes. They likely now are in spoiler mode because they don't look good enough to win out. NEXT: vs. Minnesota, Saturday
24. Nevada (5-0)
BUZZ: For the first time in a while, the Wolf Pack have a competent defense to complement a powerful offense. NEXT: vs. San Jose State, Saturday
25. Missouri (4-0)
BUZZ: The Tigers haven't played a true road game yet, and won't this week, either. NEXT: vs. Colorado, Saturday
26. Virginia Tech (3-2)
BUZZ: The Hokies started poorly, but look to have rebounded -- and it wouldn't be that big a surprise if they still won the ACC. NEXT: vs. Central Michigan, Saturday
27. West Virginia (3-1)
BUZZ: WVU really hasn't beaten anybody. But you know what? The Mountaineers could run away with the Big East title. NEXT: vs. UNLV, Saturday
28. N.C. State (4-1)
BUZZ: The Wolfpack have been a pleasant surprise. Can they keep it up? NEXT: vs. Boston College, Saturday
29. Oregon State (2-2)
BUZZ: The losses have come to Boise State and TCU, which is nothing to be ashamed of. NEXT: at Arizona, Saturday
30. Northwestern (5-0)
BUZZ: Junior QB Dan Persa is playing at a high level in his first season as the starter. NEXT: vs. Purdue, Saturday
31. Kansas State (4-0)
BUZZ: Are Bill Snyder's Wildcats for real? We'll find out Thursday. NEXT: vs. Nebraska, Thursday
32. UCLA (3-2)
BUZZ: That loss to Stanford sure stings a lot less now that the Bruins have rolled over Houston and Texas. NEXT: at California, Saturday
33. USC (4-1)
BUZZ: The Trojans started 4-0 and all seemed fine. But then came the loss to Washington, and there now are big-time questions about the defense. NEXT: at Stanford, Saturday
34. Texas (3-2)
BUZZ: Texas' offensive line was supposed to be prime beef. Instead, it's ground chuck. NEXT: at Nebraska, Oct. 16
35. Texas A&M (3-1)
BUZZ: A&M blew a chance for a nice victory at Oklahoma State last week. QB Jerrod Johnson needs to take much better care of the ball. NEXT: vs. Arkansas in Arlington, Texas, Saturday
36. Penn State (3-2)
BUZZ: The Nittany Lions are starting a true freshman quarterback, which goes to show you that Joe Paterno has mellowed in his old age. NEXT: vs. Illinois, Saturday
37. Georgia Tech (3-2)
BUZZ: The Yellow Jackets won the ACC title last season, but they don't look anything like a title team this season. NEXT: vs. Virginia, Saturday
38. North Carolina (2-2)
BUZZ: A mediocre start. An agents scandal. An academic scandal. Defensive line coach John Blake resigns under fire. What's it all mean? It means UNC fans only have to wait another 10 days until basketball practice begins. NEXT: vs. Clemson, Saturday
39. Notre Dame (2-3)
BUZZ: Notre Dame under Brian Kelly is a lot like Notre Dame under Charlie Weis -- good offense, lackluster defense. But give Kelly time; he knows what he is doing. NEXT: vs. Pittsburgh, Saturday
40. San Diego State (3-1)
BUZZ: The Aztecs blew a chance for a big win at Missouri, but give coach Brady Hoke credit for turning this program around quickly. NEXT: at BYU, Saturday
41. Houston (3-1)
BUZZ: Losing star QB Case Keenum was bad enough. Then backup QB Cotton Turner was lost for the season, too. Can the Cougars maintain their focus? NEXT: vs. Mississippi State, Saturday
42. Temple (4-1)
BUZZ: Al Golden's team is a scrappy bunch. But the offensive coaches have to find a way to ramp up the passing attack. NEXT: at Northern Illinois, Saturday
43. Clemson (2-2)
BUZZ: The Tigers' close losses (Auburn and Miami) are more impressive than their wins (Presbyterian and North Texas). NEXT: at North Carolina, Saturday
44. Boston College (2-2)
BUZZ: Once again, BC has a tough defense. The offense? The Red Sox had a better chance of scoring 10 than the Eagles. NEXT: Saturday, at NC State
45. Iowa State (3-2)
BUZZ: The Cyclones are coming off a 52-point performance against Texas Tech, and they also own an impressive win over Northern Illinois. NEXT: vs. Utah, Saturday
46. Mississippi State (3-2)
BUZZ: If Dan Mullen had a quarterback who could throw the ball, the Bulldogs would be dangerous. As it is, they have to win ugly every time out. NEXT: at Houston, Saturday
47. California (2-2)
BUZZ: Blowing out Colorado doesn't erase the beatdown the Golden Bears endured at Nevada. NEXT: vs. UCLA, Saturday
48. Texas Tech (2-2)
BUZZ: Hey, I'll go ahead and say it -- Texas Tech misses Mike Leach. NEXT: vs. Baylor in Dallas, Saturday
49. USF (3-1)
BUZZ: USF has more than a few flaws. But in the Big East this season, the Bulls might be good enough to finish second. NEXT: vs. Syracuse, Saturday
50. Washington (2-2)
BUZZ: How did a team that won at USC lose to BYU, which is the Cougars' only win? NEXT: vs. Arizona State, Saturday
51. Southern Miss (4-1)
BUZZ: If the defense can play consistently, the Golden Eagles could win the East Division of Conference USA. NEXT: vs. East Carolina, Saturday
52. Connecticut (3-2)
BUZZ: The Huskies have been a big disappointment thus far. In their losses, the supposedly strong defense was trampled. NEXT: at Rutgers, Friday
53. Colorado (3-1)
BUZZ: Would a 6-6 season and a bowl bid save Dan Hawkins' job? We might get a chance to find out. NEXT: at Missouri, Saturday
54. SMU (3-2)
BUZZ: With Houston down to its third-string quarterback, the door is open for SMU to win the West Division of Conference USA. NEXT: vs. Tulsa, Saturday
55. Pittsburgh (2-2)
BUZZ: The Big East's preseason favorite has had tough sledding thus far. NEXT: at Notre Dame, Saturday
56. Baylor (4-1)
BUZZ: They're talking bowl bid in Waco. That would be an impressive accomplishment for coach Art Briles. NEXT: vs. Texas Tech in Dallas, Saturday
57. Maryland (4-1)
BUZZ: The Terps are one of the worst four-win teams out there. But so what? If they can pick up two more wins, they'll be going bowling. NEXT: at Clemson, Oct. 16
58. Indiana (3-1)
BUZZ: Indiana's offense can keep them in every game. Unfortunately, IU has to play defense, too, so figure on at least five or six more losses. NEXT: at Ohio State, Saturday
59. Ole Miss (3-2)
BUZZ: It took a while, but the coaches have figured out how to best use QB Jeremiah Masoli, and the points have come fast and furious the past two games. NEXT: at Alabama, Oct. 16
60. Illinois (2-2)
BUZZ: The Illini gave a nice accounting of themselves against Ohio State, but admit it -- at no point during that game did you think Ron Zook's team actually was going to win it. NEXT: at Penn State, Saturday
61. Northern Illinois (3-2)
BUZZ: NIU appears to be the best team in the West Division of the MAC. NEXT: vs. Temple, Saturday
62. Fresno State (3-1)
BUZZ: Fresno should be 7-1 when Nevada comes calling on Nov. 13 -- and if that's the case, that would be an intriguing showdown. NEXT: vs. Hawaii, Saturday
63. UCF (2-2)
BUZZ: UCF had golden opportunities to beat NC State and Kansas State, but came up short late in the fourth quarter each time. NEXT: vs. UAB, Wednesday
64. East Carolina (2-2)
BUZZ: ECU's offense has adapted well to the "Air Raid" offense brought from Texas Tech by new coach Ruffin McNeill. Unfortunately for McNeill, he also brought along a porous defense from Lubbock. NEXT: at Southern Miss, Saturday
65. Arizona State (2-3)
BUZZ: The Sun Devils have yet to beat a FBS opponent. NEXT: at Washington, Saturday
66. Kentucky (3-2)
BUZZ: The Wildcats started 3-0, but their defense has been shredded in the past two games. That, of course, means that "Wildcat Nation" now can focus all its attention on whether Enes Kanter will be eligible to play for John Calipari this season. NEXT: vs. Auburn, Saturday
67. Navy (2-2)
BUZZ: We would say the Midshipmen have encountered rough seas early in the season, but that would be a rather weak attempt at humor. NEXT: at Wake Forest, Saturday
68. Tennessee (2-3)
BUZZ: The Vols have beaten UT Martin and UAB (in double-overtime); they almost beat LSU, but some supreme being obviously owed Les Miles for something, so ... NEXT: at Georgia, Saturday
69. Tulsa (3-2)
BUZZ: The Golden Hurricane have a potent offense. The defense is potent, too, in that it stinks to high heaven. NEXT: at SMU, Saturday
70. UTEP (4-1)
BUZZ: How in the world has UTEP started 4-1? Two words: great scheduling. The Miners have beaten a FCS team, winless New Mexico, winless New Mexico State and one-win Memphis. They have one-win Rice this week, then one-win UAB on Oct. 16. NEXT: vs. Rice, Saturday
71. Cincinnati (1-3)
BUZZ: Has a team ever gone from winning a Big Six league in back-to-back seasons to finishing last in that league the next season? NEXT: vs. Miami (Ohio), Saturday
72. Louisville (2-2)
BUZZ: The Cardinals don't have a lot of talent. But this team still could get to six victories because of its remaining schedule. NEXT: vs. Memphis, Saturday
73. Georgia (1-4)
BUZZ: The only win is over Louisiana-Lafayette, and this quickly is becoming the season from hell for coach Mark Richt -- though knowing Richt, he would call it "the season from h-e-double hockey sticks." NEXT: vs. Tennessee, Saturday
74. Virginia (2-2)
BUZZ: Both of the Cavs' wins have come over in-state FCS programs, but they will get two or three over FBS programs before this season is done. NEXT: at Georgia Tech, Saturday
75. Wyoming (2-3)
BUZZ: Coach Dave Christensen made his bones as the offensive coordinator at Missouri, but the Cowboys' offense is stuck in neutral for the second season in a row. NEXT: at TCU, Saturday
76. Toledo (3-2)
BUZZ: The Rockets' offense has been stuck on the pad (man, what an awful line, huh?), but the defense has forced turnovers at key times. It's not a stretch to think the Rockets could win six or seven games. NEXT: at Boise State, Saturday
77. Purdue (2-2)
BUZZ: The Boilermakers have lost their quarterback, their best running back and their star wide receiver to injuries. Gee, it's as if Robbie Hummel plays football, too! NEXT: at Northwestern, Saturday
78. Troy (2-2)
BUZZ: The Sun Belt title very well could be on the line tonight. Troy has won at least a share of the past four league crowns. NEXT: at Middle Tennessee State, Tuesday
79. Middle Tennessee (2-2)
BUZZ: The Blue Raiders get star QB Dwight Dasher back just in time for tonight's Sun Belt showdown. He was suspended for the first four games by the NCAA for receiving illegal benefits. NEXT: vs. Troy, Tuesday
80. Idaho (3-2)
BUZZ: The Vandals are averaging 3.4 sacks per game, which is tied for sixth nationally. But they're also surrendering 4.2 sacks per game, which is 118th nationally. NEXT: at Louisiana Tech, Oct. 16
81. Miami of Ohio (3-2)
BUZZ: The RedHawks already have tripled their win total from last season, and they could end up having a role in the MAC title chase. NEXT: at Cincinnati, Saturday
82. Vanderbilt (1-3)
BUZZ: Vandy already has exceeded its SEC wins total from last season; given the Vandy administration's understanding of football, that may mean interim coach Robbie Caldwell will be given a lifetime contract. NEXT: vs. Eastern Michigan, Saturday
83. Wake Forest (2-3)
BUZZ: The Demon Deacons are going through quarterbacks like 7-year-olds go through a bowl of Skittles. Because of injuries, Wake already has used four signal-callers this season. NEXT: vs. Navy, Saturday
84. Utah State (2-3)
BUZZ: The season could end today and a lot of Aggies would be happy. Why? Utah State beat up on in-state bully BYU last week. NEXT: at Louisiana Tech, Saturday
85. Hawaii (3-2)
BUZZ: QB Bryant Moniz is throwing it around like ... well, he's throwing it around like June Jones still is the coach. NEXT: at Fresno State, Saturday
86. BYU (1-4)
BUZZ: BYU is having all sorts of issues on both sides of the ball. You'll have to forgive Mountain West administrators for their chuckling. NEXT: vs. San Diego State, Saturday
87. Army (3-2)
BUZZ: The Black Knights have beaten Eastern Michigan, North Texas and Duke, which have combined for one win over a FBS opponent. NEXT: at Tulane, Saturday
88. Tulane (2-2)
BUZZ: The Green Wave are coming off an upset win at Rutgers. The reaction in New Orleans? "Hey, I got tickets to the Saints' game!" NEXT: vs. Army, Saturday
89. Kansas (2-3)
BUZZ: You wonder if at some point during last week's 55-7 debacle at Baylor, first-year coach Turner Gill looked out on the field and said, "Man, I had more defensive talent at Buffalo." NEXT: vs. Kansas State, Oct. 14
90. Colorado State (1-4)
BUZZ: The Rams' offense has been a disaster. But is that really surprising, what with a rebuilt line, new receivers, a new tailback and a true freshman quarterback? NEXT: at Air Force, Saturday
91. Rutgers (2-2)
BUZZ: Why is Rutgers ranked so low? Simple: The Scarlet Knights lost to Tulane -- at home -- and have beaten a FCS team and winless Florida International. NEXT: vs. Connecticut, Friday
92. Minnesota (1-4)
BUZZ: Tim Brewster is hoping that the Minnesota Twins make a long playoff run so no one notices that his Golden Gophers actually could finish 1-11. NEXT: at Wisconsin, Saturday
93. Syracuse (3-1)
BUZZ: The record is deceptive. There are two wins over FCS programs, and the lone FBS win is over Akron -- which resides at the bottom of our poll. NEXT: at USF, Saturday
94. Louisiana-Lafayette (2-2)
BUZZ: The Ragin' Cajuns shocked Big 12 member Kansas State in Lafayette last season. Will lightning strike two seasons in a row? Uh, no. NEXT: vs. Oklahoma State, Friday
95. Buffalo (2-3)
BUZZ: The Bulls get preseason MAC division favorites Northern Illinois and Temple in their next two games. NEXT: at Northern Illinois, Oct. 16
96. UNLV (1-4)
BUZZ: New coach Bobby Hauck was a big fish in a small pond at FCS powerhouse Montana. At UNLV, he serves as chum for the big boys. NEXT: at West Virginia, Saturday
97. UAB (1-3)
BUZZ: The Blazers have played two one-point games and had another go to two overtimes. NEXT: at UCF, Wednesday
98. Arkansas State (1-4)
BUZZ: Sophomore QB Ryan Aplin has played well. But the run defense has been a huge problem. NEXT: at North Texas, Saturday
99. Bowling Green (1-4)
BUZZ: You don't have to be a math whiz to know that it's not good to rank 106th in total offense and 119th in total defense. NEXT: at Ohio, Saturday
100. Washington State (1-4)
BUZZ: There are some signs of life in Pullman (and, no, that's not a shot at the town). QB Jeff Tuel is a good passer, and the Cougars made UCLA sweat a bit last week. NEXT: Saturday, vs. Oregon
101. Kent State (1-3)
BUZZ: The Golden Flashes lead the nation in rush defense, allowing just 59.0 yards per game. Alas, they're 110 spots worse in rushing offense. NEXT: vs. Akron, Saturday
102. Memphis (1-4)
BUZZ: Things could be worse for new Tigers coach Larry Porter: He still could be on Les Miles' staff at LSU and answering questions about clock management. NEXT: at Louisville, Saturday
103. Marshall (1-4)
BUZZ: The Herd had in-state rival West Virginia beaten back on Sept. 10. But they gave it away late, and you wonder if they've gotten over that loss. NEXT: vs. UCF, Oct. 13
104. Ohio U. (2-3)
BUZZ: The Bobcats have played the past three games on the road, but now get to play four of their next five at home. NEXT: vs. Bowling Green, Saturday
105. Ball State (2-3)
BUZZ: Ball State beat Central Michigan last week, and the Cardinals get two more Michigan directional schools in their next two games -- Western, then Eastern. NEXT: vs. Western Michigan, Saturday
106. Duke (1-4)
BUZZ: New starting QB Sean Renfree has thrown for 1,464 yards and 10 TDs, which is good. But he also has tossed nine picks, and you don't have to be a Duke grad to know that is bad. NEXT: vs. Miami, Oct. 16
107. Louisiana Tech (1-4)
BUZZ: New coach Sonny Dykes arrived with the reputation as a good offensive coach. But the Bulldogs are struggling on that side of the ball. The defense isn't that good, either. NEXT: vs. Utah State, Saturday
108. Central Michigan (2-3)
BUZZ: It's safe to say the Chippewas miss Dan LeFevour because not just anybody can lose at home to Ball State. NEXT: at Virginia Tech, Saturday
109. Rice (1-4)
BUZZ: Rice's best player might be P Kyle Martens. And that gives you an idea why the Owls are 1-4. NEXT: at UTEP, Saturday
110. North Texas (1-4)
BUZZ: The Mean Green are feeling blue; they already have lost their top two quarterbacks for the season and have lost twice by one point. NEXT: vs. Arkansas State, Saturday
111. Florida Atlantic (1-3)
BUZZ: FAU has a returning 1,000-yard rusher, but a rebuilt offensive line has meant that RB Alfred Morris has had no room to run. NEXT: at Louisiana-Monroe, Saturday
112. Florida International (0-4)
BUZZ: FIU opened with four consecutive games against Big Six opponents; now, they move into conference play. NEXT: vs. Western Kentucky, Saturday
113. Western Michigan (1-3)
BUZZ: The Broncos play their next two games in the state of Indiana. First, they travel to Ball State, then they become the first MAC team to play Notre Dame. NEXT: at Ball State, Saturday
114. Louisiana-Monroe (1-3)
BUZZ: The Warhawks' only win was by one point over a FCS team. NEXT: vs. Florida Atlantic, Saturday
115. New Mexico (0-5)
BUZZ: If the Lobos don't win Saturday, just go ahead and stick a fork in this season. NEXT: at New Mexico State, Saturday
116. Western Kentucky (0-4)
BUZZ: The Hilltoppers opened the season with four consecutive Big Six opponents; now, they get to start playing teams of similar status. NEXT: at Florida International, Saturday
117. New Mexico State (0-4)
BUZZ: The Aggies can't score (118th in scoring offense); they also can't stop their opponent from scoring (119th in scoring defense). NEXT: vs. New Mexico, Saturday
118. San Jose State (1-4)
BUZZ: Man, you have to feel for new coach Mike MacIntyre. His team, which isn't exactly loaded with talent, already has played road games against Alabama, Wisconsin and Utah. The next two games? Nevada and Boise State. NEXT: at Nevada, Saturday
119. Eastern Michigan (0-5)
BUZZ: The Eagles play five of their next six on the road and are looking at a second consecutive winless season. NEXT: at Vanderbilt, Saturday
120. Akron (0-5)
BUZZ: The Zips easily could go winless this season, the first for coach Rob Ianello. NEXT: at Kent State, Saturday

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




 

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