Published Monday, September 12, 2011 AT 8:54 AM / Updated at 4:47 PM
Sam McKewon’s Top 25, Week 2
Sam McKewon Omaha World-Herald

Fewer changes in week two after a tumultuous opening week.

But I expect week three could put this list on spin cycle.

Here’s the week two poll I submitted to the AP.

Prior polls: Week 1. Preseason.

1. LSU: At Mississippi State on Thursday. That’s a biggun.

2. Alabama: After a terrific first half against fired-up Penn State, the Crimson Tide offense sat on its lead while the defense flew around and caused pain. This practice works against punchless Big Ten teams. It’ll burn Bama inside the SEC.

3. Boise State: Bye for the Broncos, whose win over Georgia held up OK. Next week: Toledo. I think you’ll see that Boise is better than Ohio State.

4. Oklahoma: The Sooners have struggled on the road against top non-conference foes, but OU gets the slight nod heading into its tilt with Florida State. Should be a good one.

5. Stanford: The Cardinal shook off a sluggish start at Duke to roll on the road.

6. Arkansas: Another easy win, dominant win for the Razorbacks, who amassed more than 600 total yards.

7. Florida State: The Seminoles were last seen being relevant in a 14-2 loss to Oklahoma in the 2001 Orange Bowl. Look who’s coming to dinner.

8. Wisconsin: The Badgers’ defense rebounded nicely from a so-so showing vs. UNLV, and quarterback Russell Wilson played an error-free game. UW will be a tough out.

9. Virginia Tech: Frank Beamer won his 200th game against a East Carolina team that’s played the Hokies enough to know their M.O. Don’t let the 17-10 score fool you too much. It’s a good road win, as VT outgained ECU 332-112.

10. Texas A&M: Still in the Big 12.

11. Oregon: Took out its LSU frustration by pushing around a rebuilding Nevada team 69-20.

12. Oklahoma State: OK, readers. Justin Blackmon or Alshon Jeffrey. Who’s the better wide receiver?

13. Nebraska: The Huskers slide a little further in my poll but stay in the AP top ten overall.

14. Florida: The Gators have beaten two awful teams (Florida Atlantic and UAB) but looked really good in doing it.

15. South Carolina: The Gamecocks are living life to its fullest, skating by on sheer talent while the on-field play is inconsistent. Fun to watch, though, that 45-42 win over Georgia. Next is Navy. Don’t sleep on the Middies.

16. Michigan State: Allowed just one first down – for the whole game – to FAU.

17.  Ohio State: The Buckeyes seemed complacent for a half before tightening up on defense and nailing down a better win than you might think. Toledo will pose a test to Boise State, too. Still, OSU’s offense looked like it was stuck in 1988.

18. Auburn: Those plucky Tigers! Twice they’ve been outplayed on their home field – and twice they’ve survived by thin margin, this time with a goal line stand vs. Mississippi State.

19. Mississippi State: Not the Bulldogs fault that head coach Dan Mullen doesn’t know how to call a pass with ten seconds left in the game.

20. South Florida: The Bulls bounce Ball State 37-7, which beat Indiana the week before.

21. Houston: Routs North Texas as Case Keenum drops 458 passing yards and five touchdowns.

22. Baylor: The Bears’ biggest play this week was off the field.

23. TCU: Coasted past Air Force.

24. USC: This moment in gambling history: The Trojans’ 17-14 victory turns into a 23-14 win after blocked field goal return for a touchdown is counted several hours after referees disallowed it on the field.

25. Michigan: A bit of an emotional pick here – I suspect Arizona State could be the better team – based on a thrilling, potentially season-changing win over Notre Dame.

Dropped Out:

Notre Dame: The Irish could seriously go in the tank after losses to USF and Michigan. Or they could upset Michigan State at home. Would that put ND back in the top 25?

Penn State: Played really hard against Alabama, but this chicanery with the musical quarterbacks and the game management stuff – where PSU has to waste three timeouts on its opening drive because Joe Paterno and both offensive coordinators sit in the press box – has to change before the Nittany Lions return to the top 25. This is Coaching 101.

Teams I’m watching:

Arizona State: Couldn’t rank the Sun Devils after they and Missouri turned in four quarters of horrendous (albeit thrilling) football Friday night. Should ASU win at Illinois, however….

Clemson: The 2-0 Tigers host 2-0 Auburn.

Georgia Tech: Wide receiver Stephen Hill has seven catches – for 307 yards!

Illinois: Ron Zook’s bunch has a great offense – 496 yards per game right now.

Miami, Fla.: Hosts Ohio State this week.

Navy: Has no business hanging with South Carolina. Then again…it is Navy and the wingbone option.

Northwestern: Won again with backup QB Kain Colter, who’s thrown for 307 yards and rushed for 180.

Tennessee: Travels to Florida with a 2-0 record and the nation’s best-kept quarterback secret: Tyler Bray, who’s completed 51 of 65 passes so far for 698 yards and 7 TDs

Texas: Withstood thunderous boos from its own crowd to eke out a 17-16 win using three quarterbacks. UT has character, I think, given all the crap that’s rained down on it in the last year. It’s not the players’ faults, the Longhorn Network.

West Virginia: I’m stunned the Mountaineers are ranked No. 18 right now. A game at Maryland will reveal much more.



About Sam McKewon

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him at And follow him on Twitter at @swmckewonOWH. And call him at 402.219.3790.


  1. Randy Bartsch says:

    And 13 might be a little generous. . .

    Was there anyone not suprised at the D’s poor performance?

  2. NJW 73 says:

    How can you have Miami over Maryland?? I’m pretty sure Maryland beat them.

  3. Joe says:

    Agree with you mostly. Do not think that Auburn is a top 20 team. Are you basing these rankings off this year only??

  4. Tom says:

    Whatever happened to the Sam McKewon who used to deliver insight (from {or whatever that was}).
    What happened to HIM. What is this Sam McKewon’s Top 25 business? I guess I’m in the minority but I don’t really care
    what you think about the rest of the teams in the country. I do however care what you have to say about Nebraska. But all I ever see anymore (at least on-line) is “Nebraska slips three spots in my poll.” (And whose side are you on, anyway.)

    I just don’t get what you’re up to. It’s only me, but you lost a fan.

    1. escotch says:

      He’s an AP voter this year. It is pretty common that if a paper has a voter that they print their ballot every week. His NU insights are found in his columns like normal.

    2. Matt says:

      settle down. Its freaking football for god’s sake. Are you seriously suggesting that he’s now sold out because he dares discuss the strength of NU relative to other programs??

  5. KSU student w/red blood says:

    Glad somebody is dropping Nebraska in the polls. This team looked bad… REAL bad. I haven’t been that sick/perplexed/nervous about a football game since the Calahan games. I would get this stomach drop that comes form knowing your favorite football team was going to be embarrassed soon. Then kickoff happened, and the anger set in. The Husker team that took the field Saturday looked unfocused and unprepared. O-Line did not dominate, and Defensive secondary missed quite a few assignments. It would be better if we hadn’t seen the same uncorrected problems last week. But that’s just the opinion of an obsessed college kid.

    1. KSU student w/red blood says:


  6. Some Dude says:

    VT in the top 10? Don’t let the score fool you? The score is the only thing that matters…

    In that case, we won the first ever Big 12 Championship game… Don’t let that score fool ya, we almost doubled them in yards…

  7. Drinkin' Wit' Terrell Farley says:

    ASU and Mizzou is bad football, but Notre Dame and Michigan isn’t? Notre Dame and Michigan happened because two bad defenses got together and the Irish stepped on the banana peel last with the time left on the clock. There was nothing “epic” about that game. However, I do understand that maybe the deciding factor is Gary Pinkel having Franklin work out of the shotgun at the Devil 1 yard line and call timeouts for his own kicker, high comedy.

    If Relf would have pitched the ball instead of taking it himself or they would have looked at Vick Ballard’s highly probable TD the play before, Dan Mullen’s play call wouldn’t have mattered.

    I vote for Justin Blackmon, the Poke offense hasn’t skipped a beat losing Kendall Hunter and Holgorsen as some Chicken Little’s had expected it to. In fact I think it was that same irreplaceable guy that was trailing HBCU Norfolk State at half. Where is the sarcasm font when you need it?