My Associated Press top 25 for week three features a little bit of shakeup near the top the list thanks to Oklahoma’s gritty win at Florida State. The Seminoles still lack that great presence at quarterback to get over the top — and, yes, I say that knowing Christian Ponder was taken in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
LSU stays on top thanks to two solid wins — vs. Oregon and at Mississippi State on Thursday night — to OU’s one win. The Tigers head right back on the road at West Virginia next week.
Nebraska, No. 9 overall in the AP poll, moves up to No. 11 in my rankings. I liked the Huskers’ third-quarter grit in a 51-38 win over Washington.
Several newcomers make their way onto the list at the bottom of the top 25, including a service academy. Always good to see Navy running that wingbone triple option to perfection.
1. LSU: Loved the grit, speed and power of the Tigers’ defense in the second half in Starkville. LSU is really feeling it on that side of the ball right now.
2. Oklahoma: Ryan Broyles is Oklahoma’s second-best receiver. How do I know? Because it’s Kenny Stills that burned Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship, and Stills who burned FSU Saturday night. The real star of the game was OU’s ultra-aggressive defense. The Sooners are playing the run like a kid riding his bike downhill.
3. Alabama: Hosts Arkansas next week. I’ll be in some car to Laramie about then, sigh. The Tide’s running angry right now. Do they even need a passing game?
4. Boise State: Let Toledo hang around for a cup of coffee before Kellen Moore broke off the Rockets on his usual performance. This team isn’t coming close to losing this year. Not. Close.
5. Stanford: Andrew Luck skewering Arizona and Mike Stoops’ defense is the best after midnight show around. He’ll have a legion of fans in Kansas City here real soon, too.
6. Wisconsin: Smothered Northern Illinois 49-7 at Chicago’s Solider Field. The Badgers look like Nebraska once did in the 1970s. And they probably could’ve beaten the Bears on Sunday, the way those jokers blocked for Jay Cutler.
7. Arkansas: Only beat Troy 38-24, but the game was never seriously in doubt, considering the Razorbacks raced out to a 31-7 lead.
8. Texas A&M: Outgained Idaho 517-187 in a 37-7 win. Ryan Tannehill completed passes to nine different receivers.
9. Oregon: The Ducks punched around Missouri State 56-7. Creighton and Wichita State are next on the schedule.
10. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys had to wait three hours through a lightning storm to start their game vs. Tulsa. And it was a 9 p.m. start. On Fox Sports Net. Get used it, OSU fans, if you move to the Pac-Pick Your Number
11. Nebraska: Rose Bowl 2012? Isn’t that just weird to think about?
12. Florida: In a word: Speed. The Gators are going to be a tough, tough out after beating Tennessee 33-23. LSU and Alabama are warned.
13. Virginia Tech: Unimpressive in a 26-7 win over Arkansas State.
14. Florida State: Have to see more offense from these ‘Noles. Even before he got hurt, E.J. Manuel wasn’t exactly providing it against the Sooners.
15. South Florida: That win over Notre Dame, lucky as it may have been, looks pretty good today.
16. South Carolina: Snuck by Navy 24-21. But, to the Gamecocks’ credit, they probably don’t win a game like this three years ago.
17. Baylor: Lightning-shortened game was called in third quarter with Baylor leading 49-0 over Stephen F. Austin. Just as the Bears have a real chance to compete in the Big 12, it could dissolve.
18. USC: Beat Syracuse 38-17. The Trojans are going to be a sneaky ten-win team, you watch.
19. West Virginia: Beat Maryland 37-31 in a track meet. Hosts LSU next week in what will be a epic southern party of beads and flaming couches.
20. Clemson: Any team that overcomes a 14-0 deficit at high noon to whip Auburn 38-24 deserves a little credit, I think. Good-looking offense. Same old Clemson on defense.
21. Texas: So shoot me. UT’s well ahead of where I’d thought it’d be, which is at 1-2. Easy 49-20 win at UCLA.
22. Michigan: Ho-hum 31-3 win over Eastern Michigan. That’s what you call a “Brady Hoke” kind of win.
23. Notre Dame: So shoot me again. The Fighting Irish have played three quality teams, lost two heartbreakers, and beat the other, Michigan State 31-13. I don’t care. ND’s a top 25 team based on performance.
24. Navy: Gotta love that triple option attack.
25. Houston: Trailed Louisiana Tech 34-7, and came all the way back for a 35-34 win. But that 38-34 win over UCLA looks worse now.
TCU: Futzed around with Louisiana-Monroe for much too long before pulling away.
Michigan State: And the Spartans don’t get back in until they win a big one. They’ll have a few chances.
Ohio State: The offense is blech.
Auburn: The defense is blech.
Mississippi State: What would you call the Bulldogs’ second-half game plan vs. LSU? Zero yards and a chunk of grass?
TEAMS I’M WATCHING
Illinois: No. 27 behind TCU. Nice 17-14 win over Arizona State.
Miami (Fla.): In the conversation.
Georgia Tech: Racked up more than 700 total yards on Turner Gill’s Kansas defense.