October 4, 2011

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? First, and most important, we like to wait five weeks to try to get a read on the teams.

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?" mindset, and consider the rankings a snapshot of the whole season, not just one week; that's why -- at times -- teams are ranked below a team they may have beaten.

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 first Rivals 120 of 2011
1. LSU (5-0)
The buzz: The Tigers and their nasty defense are steaming toward a Nov. 5 showdown in Tuscaloosa. Next game: Saturday vs. Florida
2. Alabama (5-0)
The buzz: The Tide and their nasty defense are in Tuscaloosa waiting for that Nov. 5 showdown. Next game: Saturday vs. Vanderbilt
3. Oklahoma (4-0)
The buzz: The Sooners' offense is better than Alabama's and LSU's. But how many points could they score on those teams' defenses? Next game: Saturday vs. Texas in Dallas
4. Wisconsin (5-0)
The buzz: Why do we think N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien is going to get a lot of cheese platters for Christmas, courtesy of folks in towns such as Eau Claire, Kenosha and Whitewater? Next game: Oct. 15 vs. Indiana
5. Clemson (5-0)
The buzz: The Tigers have beaten three ranked opponents in a row, which is the first time in history that an ACC team has done that. Next game: Saturday vs. Boston College
6. Boise State (4-0)
The buzz: Boise's problem, yet again, is that its schedule isn't going to wow anyone Next game: Friday at Fresno State
7. Oklahoma State (4-0)
The buzz: The offense is national title-worthy. We still have questions about that defense, though. Next game: Saturday vs. Kansas
8. Stanford (4-0)
The buzz: The Cardinal have been quietly efficient thus far and shouldn't be tested until Oct. 22 against Washington. Next game: Saturday vs. Colorado
9. Oregon (3-1)
The buzz: The Ducks have put the LSU loss in their rear-view mirror -- and the way they move, it's way back there now. Next game: Thursday vs. California
10. Illinois (5-0)
The buzz: The Illini are 5-0 for the first time since 1951, and it wouldn't be a surprise if they were 10-0 when Wisconsin comes to town on Nov. 19. Next game: Saturday at Indiana
11. Texas (4-0)
The buzz: Imagine that -- a Texas team that is 4-0 but still flying under the radar. Next game: Saturday vs. Oklahoma in Dallas
12. Michigan (5-0)
The buzz: The defense has made some strides, but it still has a ways to go -- and it is going to be overrun one of these weeks. Next game: Saturday at Northwestern
13. Georgia Tech (5-0)
The buzz: The defense has issues. But, man, that offense can score in the blink of an eye. Next game: Saturday vs. Maryland
14. Arkansas (4-1)
The buzz: The Hogs bounced back in a big way from their loss to Alabama. Now they get an Auburn team that has been shaky against the pass. Next game: Saturday vs. Auburn
15. Auburn (4-1)
The buzz: For a team that already had been buried, the Tigers are quite alive, thanks. Next game: Saturday at Arkansas
16. South Carolina (4-1)
The buzz: Can someone explain why Steve Spurrier can't develop a quarterback with South Carolina. Next game: Saturday vs. Kentucky
17. Arizona State (4-1)
The buzz: The Sun Devils aren't always elegant, but they've managed to get the job done, for the most part. Next game: Saturday at Utah
18. Nebraska (4-1)
The buzz: Man, wouldn't it have been fun to have been a fly on the wall when Bo Pelini put on the Wisconsin game film. Next game: Saturday vs. Ohio State
19. West Virginia (4-1)
The buzz: Unless QB Geno Smith tosses four or five picks in a game, WVU should cruise through its Big East schedule until the "Backyard Brawl." Next game: Saturday vs. Connecticut
20. Washington (4-1)
The buzz: You know, before the season, a lot of folks thought the Huskies would miss Jake Locker. Next game: Oct. 15 vs. Colorado
21. Kansas State (4-0)
The buzz: The Wildcats have silenced some doubters with gut-check wins the past two weeks at Miami and against Baylor. Next game: Saturday vs. Missouri
22. Florida (4-1)
The buzz: The Gators go from the frying pan (last week's loss to Alabama) to the deep fryer (playing at LSU with a true freshman QB making his first college start). At least it's not a night game. Next game: Saturday at LSU
23. USC (4-1)
The buzz: The pass defense has been pitiful. Why can't Monte Kiffin get his DBs to actually cover someone? Next game: Oct. 13 at California
24. Florida State (2-2)
The buzz: The Seminoles remain somewhat of a mystery, as their vanquished foes are Louisiana-Monroe and Charleston Southern. Next game: Saturday at Wake Forest
25. Virginia Tech (4-1)
The buzz: The Hokies laid an egg against Clemson, their only legitimate opponent to date. Next game: Saturday vs. Miami
26. Texas A&M (2-2)
The buzz: Oh, if only games could be 30 minutes instead of 60. Back-to-back second-half collapses have the Aggies desperate for a win. Next game: Saturday at Texas Tech
27. Baylor (3-1)
The buzz: Robert Griffin III is one of the two or three most exciting players in the nation. But the Bears' defense isn't that good. Next game: Saturday vs. Iowa State
28. Notre Dame (3-2)
The buzz: Frankly, the Irish should be 5-0. Turnovers killed them in their two losses. Next game: Saturday vs. Air Force
29. Michigan State (4-1)
The buzz: The defense is stingy. But the rushing offense has been a big disappointment. Next game: Oct. 15 vs. Michigan
30. California (3-1)
The buzz: The defense again looks good, and the offense has some potency this season. Next game: Thursday at Oregon
31. Houston (5-0)
The buzz: The Cougars' offense is mighty potent. Too bad it can't go against the Cougars' defense -- the offense would put up monster numbers. Next game: Saturday vs. East Carolina
32. Missouri (2-2)
The buzz: It will be just their second league game of the season, but it would behoove the Tigers to win Saturday if they want to finish in the top four in the Big 12. Next game: Saturday at Kansas State
33. SMU (4-1)
The buzz: The Mustangs have a one advantage over Houston -- their defense is a lot better than the Cougars'. Next game: Oct. 15 vs. UCF
34. Georgia (3-2)
The buzz: The Bulldogs look to be gaining their stride offensively because of the emergence of true freshman TB Isaiah Crowell. Next game: Saturday at Tennessee
35. Iowa (3-1)
The buzz: QB James Vandenberg has thrown the heck out of the ball. But the rushing attack needs to come around. Next game: Saturday at Penn State
36. Pittsburgh (3-2)
The buzz: TB Ray Graham has been a yards-producing machine for the Panthers. Next game: Saturday at Rutgers
37. USF (4-1)
The buzz: The Bulls returned to earth with a thud Thursday against Pittsburgh. Next game: Oct. 15 at Connecticut
38. Texas Tech (4-0)
The buzz: Are the Red Raiders that good? Given their schedule thus far, we won't know until Saturday. Next game: Saturday vs. Texas A&M
39. Iowa State (3-1)
The buzz: The Cyclones play three of their next four on the road. Next game: Saturday at Baylor
40. North Carolina (4-1)
The buzz: The offense has been better than expected. But the pass defense has been surprisingly shaky. Next game: Saturday vs. Louisville
41. Penn State (4-1)
The buzz: Once again, the Nittany Lions' offense is as exciting as their all-white jerseys. Next game: Saturday vs. Iowa
42. Utah (2-2)
The buzz: Hmm -- maybe this Big Six conference thing isn't so easy, after all. Next game: Saturday vs. Arizona State
43. Tennessee (3-1)
The buzz: Despite an early loss to Florida, the Vols can put themselves squarely in the SEC East race with a victory Saturday. Next game: Saturday vs. Georgia
44. TCU (3-2)
The buzz: Remember how TCU used to be stingy against the pass? Well, those days are gone, at least for this season. Next game: Saturday at San Diego State
45. Miami (2-2)
The buzz: If Miami wants to make some noise in the ACC race, it will have the opportunity in each of its next three games -- Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and North Carolina. Next game: Saturday at Virginia Tech
46. Ohio State (3-2)
The buzz: Forgive Buckeyes officials -- and fans, for that matter -- if they're focusing more on the NCAA than on this week's game at Nebraska. Next game: Saturday at Nebraska
47. San Diego State (3-1)
The buzz: The outcome of the next two games -- against TCU and Air Force -- will determine how the Aztecs' season is going to go. Next game: Saturday vs. TCU
48. Mississippi State (2-3)
The buzz: Before the season, there was talk of the Bulldogs finishing third in the SEC West. Now, they better worry about avoiding the division basement. Next game: Saturday at UAB
49. Air Force (3-1)
The buzz: The Falcons took a big step toward their second consecutive Commander-in-Chief trophy by winning at Navy last week. Next game: Saturday at Notre Dame
50. Cincinnati (4-1)
The buzz: The offense is playing well, and the defense actually has shown some improvement. Next game: Oct. 15 vs. Louisville
51. Northwestern (2-2)
The buzz: The Wildcats blew a golden chance to win at Illinois by surrendering an 18-point second-half lead. Next game: Saturday vs. Michigan
52. Toledo (2-3)
The buzz: If not for Big East officials who were ... well, let's just say eyesight-challenged, the Rockets would be 3-2. Next game: Saturday vs. Eastern Michigan
53. Temple (3-2)
The buzz: The Owls followed up a beatdown of Maryland by getting smacked around by Toledo. Next game: Saturday at Ball State
54. Maryland (2-2)
The buzz: The opening win over Miami was a good one. Since then, though, the Terps haven't been all that good. Next game: Saturday at Georgia Tech
55. Navy (2-2)
The buzz: The Midshipmen are in a stretch in which they play three of four at home. Next game: Saturday vs. Southern Miss
56. UCLA (2-3)
The buzz: The Bruins actually have an offensive pulse this season, but the defense has to tighten up. Next game: Saturday vs. Washington State
57. Arizona (1-4)
The buzz: The record obviously isn't good. Then again, the losses have come against Oklahoma State, Stanford, Oregon and USC, so ... Next game: Saturday at Oregon State
58. Tulsa (2-3)
The buzz: Here's another team with a record that isn't that good. Then again, the losses have come against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Boise State, so ... Next game: Oct. 15 vs. UAB
59. BYU (3-2)
The buzz: The offense has been a disaster, and sophomore QB Jake Heaps looks to have regressed. Next game: Saturday vs. San Jose State
60. Wake Forest (3-1)
The buzz: Wake's passing attack has been excellent. The running game has been bad, though. Next game: Saturday vs. Florida State
61. Rutgers (3-1)
The buzz: For the second year in a row, coach Greg Schiano is playing musical chairs with his quarterbacks. Next game: Saturday vs. Pittsburgh
62. Ohio U. (4-1)
The buzz: OK, who is inhabiting coach Frank Solich's body? Solich loves to run, but the Bobcats have become a prolific passing team. Next game: Saturday at Buffalo
63. Southern Miss (4-1)
The buzz: The Golden Eagles are off to a good start. But losing to Marshall? Next game: Saturday at Navy
64. Syracuse (3-2)
The buzz: The Orange already have played three overtime games. And coach Doug Marrone has added some Big East officials to his Christmas card list. Next game: Saturday at Tulane
65. Western Michigan (3-2)
The buzz: Both losses were to unbeaten Big Ten teams, including a three-point setback at Illinois. Next game: Saturday vs. Bowling Green
66. Vanderbilt (3-1)
The buzz: The Commodores force a ton of turnovers. That's good, because the offense, once again, is hapless. Next game: Saturday at Alabama
67. Hawaii (3-2)
The buzz: Losing to Washington is one thing. But losing to UNLV? Next game: Oct. 14 at San Jose State
68. Ole Miss (2-3)
The buzz: Can Houston Nutt save his job? At the least, it likely will take getting to a bowl game. Next game: Oct. 15 vs. Alabama
69. Marshall (2-3)
The buzz: The Herd have good wins over Southern Miss and Louisville, but the three losses have been blowouts. Next game: Saturday at UCF
70. Louisiana-Lafayette (4-1)
The buzz: The Ragin' Cajuns were picked to finish last in the Sun Belt. Instead, they've already won at FIU, which was the preseason favorite. Next game: Saturday vs. Troy
71. Duke (3-2)
The buzz: The Blue Devils have won three in a row and it's not even basketball season! Next game: Oct. 15 vs. Florida State
72. Florida International (3-2)
The buzz: FIU got off to a 3-0 start but has dropped two in a row -- and both of those were at home. Next game: Saturday at Akron
73. UCF (2-2)
The buzz: We think the Knights probably are better than this, but the offense has struggled against legit foes. Next game: Saturday vs. Marshall
74. Washington State (3-1)
The buzz: The Cougars really haven't beaten anyone of note, but that in itself is noteworthy because they didn't beat anybody -- of note or not -- the past few years. Next game: Saturday at UCLA
75. East Carolina (1-3)
The buzz: The Pirates can't run or stop the run, which is a bad combination. Next game: Saturday at Houston
76. Fresno State (2-3)
The buzz: All three losses are to Big Six schools. The Bulldogs either need to ease up on their scheduling or start winning some of those games again. Next game: Friday vs. Boise State
77. Ball State (3-2)
The buzz: When it comes to first-year coaches doing a good job, don't forget the Cardinals' Pete Lembo, who arrived from Elon. Next game: Saturday vs. Temple
78. Kansas (2-2)
The buzz: The offense? It's solid. The defense? It's putrid. Next game: Saturday at Oklahoma State
79. Colorado (1-4)
The buzz: Coach Jon Embree was mad at his team for coughing up a late lead to Washington State. He knew what was next: consecutive games against Stanford, Washington, Oregon, Arizona State and USC. Next game: Saturday at Stanford
80. N.C. State (2-3)
The buzz: Both wins have come over FCS foes. ... Gee, I wonder if Russell Wilson has noticed that stat? Next game: Saturday vs. Central Michigan
81. Louisville (2-2)
The buzz: This season isn't going well. But at least Louisville beat Kentucky. Next game: Saturday at North Carolina
82. Troy (2-2)
The buzz: "Defense? What's that?" The Trojans are averaging 470.0 yards per game -- and they're surrendering 465.0 yards per game. Next game: Saturday at Louisiana-Lafayette
83. Nevada (1-3)
The buzz: Ahh, memories: The Wolf Pack went 13-1 last season. Next game: Saturday vs. UNLV
84. Army (2-3)
The buzz: Who needs to throw? The Black Knights have completed 13 passes this season. Next game: Saturday at Miami of Ohio
85. Kentucky (2-3)
The buzz: UK is anemic on offense and not that good on defense, either. Next game: Saturday at South Carolina
86. Virginia (3-2)
The buzz: Turnovers (13 of them) are hurting the Cavs, whose best win is over Indiana. Next game: Oct. 15 vs. Georgia Tech
87. Central Michigan (2-3)
The buzz: The defense has allowed at least 41 points in each of the past three games -- and one of those was a win. Next game: Saturday at N.C. State
88. Northern Illinois (2-3)
The buzz: Can you say "extremely porous defense"? We know the Huskies can. Next game: Saturday vs. Kent State
89. Wyoming (3-1)
The buzz: Two of the wins are over FCS foes; the other is a one-pointer over Bowling Green. Next game: Saturday at Utah State
90. Bowling Green (3-2)
The buzz: QB Matt Schilz is having a solid season, and a season after finishing last nationally in rush offense, the Falcons can run it now, too. Next game: Saturday at Western Michigan
91. Louisiana Tech (1-4)
The buzz: The Bulldogs could have (should have?) beaten Houston, Southern Miss and Mississippi State. Next game: Saturday at Idaho
92. Arkansas State (3-2)
The buzz: QB Ryan Aplin is a productive passer, and if the Red Wolves can play consistent defense, they could make some noise in the Sun Belt. Next game: Saturday at Louisiana-Monroe
93. San Jose State (2-3)
The buzz: Other than a loss to Stanford, the Spartans have played solid football. Next game: Saturday at BYU
94. Colorado State (3-2)
The buzz: Teams that want to go to bowls don't lose at home to San Jose State. Next game: Oct. 15 vs. Boise State
95. Utah State (1-3)
The buzz: What's that saying: "If ‘ands' and ‘buts' were cookies and nuts ... the Aggies would be 4-0." But they seem to have the late-game collapse down pat. Next game: Saturday vs. Wyoming
96. UTEP (2-3)
The buzz: If the Miners were in a 7-on-7 flag-football league, they might win every game. Alas, eventually the defense has to get on the field. Next game: Oct. 15 at Tulane
97. Oregon State (0-4)
The buzz: A lot of folks thought the Beavers would vie for a top-three finish in the Pac-12 North. The way it's going, last place is theirs for the taking. Next game: Saturday vs. Arizona
98. Connecticut (2-3)
The buzz: In both their wins, UConn held their opponent to three points. We're not sure if the defense can do that again this season. Next game: Saturday at West Virginia
99. Boston College (1-4)
The buzz: We assume BC coaches know you have to play offense. But we all know what happens when you assume. Next game: Saturday at Clemson
100. Tulane (2-3)
The buzz: The Green Wave looked overmatched against Army (Army!?!?), and that bodes ill. Next game: Saturday vs. Syracuse
101. Louisiana-Monroe (1-3)
The buzz: Despite their record, the Warhawks should contend for a top-three finish in the Sun Belt. Next game: Saturday vs. Arkansas State
102. Rice (1-3)
The buzz: The Owls beat Purdue and still have some winnable games left in conference play, starting with Saturday's contest. Next game: Saturday vs. Memphis
103. Purdue (2-2)
The buzz: The Boilermakers aren't good, but they still have games left with Minnesota and Indiana, which appear to be even worse. Next game: Saturday vs. Minnesota
104. Middle Tennessee (1-3)
The buzz: The Blue Raiders barely held off Memphis for their first win. Next game: Thursday vs. Western Kentucky
105. North Texas (1-4)
The buzz: TB Lance Dunbar finally looks to have gotten on track, and that bodes well for the rest of the season. Next game: Saturday vs. Florida Atlantic
106. New Mexico State (2-3)
The buzz: The offense has looked good at times, which lends hope for the rest of the season. Next game: Oct. 15 vs. Idaho
107. Minnesota (1-4)
The buzz: Coach Jerry Kill's medical issues trump the Golden Gophers' problems -- and there are a lot of them. Next game: Saturday at Purdue
108. Miami of Ohio (0-4)
The buzz: The RedHawks won the MAC last season. Uhh, that ain't happening this season. Next game: Saturday vs. Army
109. Indiana (1-4)
The buzz: The lone win is over a FCS foe, and the Hoosiers have lost to a MAC team and a Sun Belt team. Next game: Saturday vs. Illinois
110. UNLV (1-3)
The buzz: The Rebels shocked Hawaii, then got blown out by a FCS team the next week. Next game: Saturday at Nevada
111. UAB (0-4)
The buzz: There is hope, as the past two losses have come by a combined six points. Next game: Saturday vs. Mississippi State
112. Kent State (1-4)
The buzz: The Golden Flashes are last nationally in total offense and scoring offense. The defense is OK, but, hey, you have to score to win. Next game: Saturday at Northern Illinois
113. Idaho (1-4)
The buzz: The Vandals took Virginia to overtime, which has been the highlight of the season thus far. Next game: Saturday vs. Louisiana Tech
114. Eastern Michigan (3-2)
The buzz: Why is a team with three wins ranked this low? Two of the wins have come against FCS foes and the other against Akron, which, right now, is the equivalent of a FCS foe. Next game: Saturday at Toledo
115. Buffalo (1-4)
The buzz: The schedule is such that the Bulls likely won't win again until November. Next game: Saturday vs. Ohio
116. Florida Atlantic (0-4)
The buzz: Two losses are to SEC teams and another to a Big Ten squad. The fourth loss was by three, to a conference foe on the road. Next game: Saturday at North Texas
117. Memphis (1-4)
The buzz: The Tigers put up a good fight at Middle Tennessee on Saturday. Still, they lost. Again. Next game: Saturday at Rice
118. Akron (1-4)
The buzz: The lone win is over a FCS program. And since there are no more FCS foes left on the schedule ... Next game: Saturday vs. Florida International
119. Western Kentucky (0-4)
The buzz: How bad are things for the Hilltoppers? They have lost 18 in a row at home. Next game: Thursday at Middle Tennessee
120. New Mexico (0-5)
The buzz: A winless season looms for Lobos, who already have fired coach Mike Locksley. Next game: Oct. 15 at Nevada

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

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