Published Monday, September 26, 2011 AT 9:38 AM / Updated at 6:28 PM
Sam McKewon’s Top 25, Week 4
Sam McKewon Omaha World-Herald

Here’s my latest top 25.

1. LSU: The Tigers stripped yet another team — West Virginia — of its ability to run the ball, and dominated the game before the Mountaineers scored a few quick touchdowns. LSU then pulled away again for a 47-21 win.

2. Alabama: Darn good win over Arkansas at home, as the Crimson Tide made big plays in all three phases of the game. ‘Bama nearly overtook LSU this week for me, and jumped ahead of Oklahoma.

3. Oklahoma: Bob Stoops wasn’t thrilled with a sluggish 38-28 win over a Missouri team that plays little defense, but the Sooners are still the nation’s most explosive team at home.

4. Boise State: Not losing this year. The Broncos can only hope Oklahoma loses, as LSU and Alabama play each other.

5. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys make the leap with one of the best wins of the year, a thrilling 30-29 comeback victory at Texas A&M. It was OSU’s defense that buckled down in the second half, forcing four turnovers and two punts.

6. Stanford: Idle this week, but the Cardinal has played good football thus far.

7. Wisconsin: As have the Badgers, who get their biggest test of the year next week. Here it comes, folks.

8. Oregon: Rolled Arizona 56-31 in a track meet. LaMichael James dropped 288 rushing yards.

9. Florida: Dominated Kentucky. LSU and Alabama are up next in back-to-back weeks. Remember my prediction: The Gators will pull the upset in one of them.

10. Nebraska: The Washington win looks even better now that the Huskies knocked off California, and Wyoming, with some breaks, could be a bowl team.

11. Clemson: Two solid, high-scoring home wins over Florida State and Auburn, both of whom might only be eight-win teams. We’ll see.

12. Texas A&M: There goes the national title hopes.

13. Virginia Tech: Hokies win another ho-hum style over Marshall. Not sure what to make of this team, but we’ll know much more when Clemson visits next week.

14. South Florida: Looks like a legitimate top 15 team to me, as an easy 52-24 win over UTEP showed.

15. South Carolina: Still not sold on the Gamecocks entirely, especially when the starting quarterback throws four interceptions in a 21-3 win over Vanderbilt.

16. Baylor: Dropped 56 points on Rice.

17. Arkansas: Smothered in every phase by Alabama. The Razorbacks just didn’t make the handful of huge plays — and they don’t have the Tide’s Trent Richardson, either.

18. Michigan: Solid 28-7 win over a San Diego State team that should win nine or ten games. The Wolverines are playing much better on defense. Watch out for these guys.

19. Illinois: Makes the rankings this week thanks to Arizona State’s pounding of USC Saturday night. ASU is a likely entrant in the Pac-12 Championship game. The Illini are still inconsistent, though, as seen by a narrow 23-20 win over Western Michigan.

20. Arizona State: Routed the Trojans 43-22 by forcing four turnovers and controlling the fourth quarter. Good teams do that.

21. Georgia Tech: A wingbone option attack leads the nation in total offense with 630 yards per game. It still works, folks, and the Yellow Jackets beat a previously undefeated North Carolina team.

22. Texas: Idle this week. At Iowa State next week. Could be fun. Win over BYU looks better now that Cougars beat a stingy Central Florida squad.

23. Notre Dame: Defense stood tall in a 15-12 win at Pittsburgh.

24. Houston: Routed Georgia State 56-0.

25. TCU: Just holding on; lots of teams knocking on the door.

Dropped out:

Florida State: Still no defense when it counts. How many more years of it? The offense also looks like a bunch of fast guys running around, without cohesion to it.

USC: Meltdown in Tempe.

West Virginia: Best win over Maryland looks like bunk now that Temple thrashed the Terps 38-7.

Navy: The Midshipmen are bumped this week, but could return next week.

Teams I’m watching:

Kansas State: Excellent road win at Miami. That’s a Bill Snyder special, right there.

Auburn: Futzed around with an awful Florida Atlantic team (winning just 30-14), but gets a game at South Carolina next week.

Iowa State: Home win over Longhorns would give them strong consideration.

Michigan State: Road win at Ohio State would do the same.

Washington: If Nebraska wins in Madison, and the Huskies win at Utah, I think you could see a jump here.

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. landon410 says:

    I agree with your ranking of Nebraska, right now I think we are in the 10-15 range. I also think Wisconsin will beat us by 10-14.
    However, I think by the time the big 10 champsionship rolls around we could be a 5-7 type team (as far as how well we are playing, what the ranking will really be could be close to that if we win out until the B1G’ship)

    I would just love to see Iowa State beat Texas!

  2. 5years3losses1degree says:

    You have to find room for ISU should Rhoads find a way to beat Texas again this year. Their wins are also looking pretty good with a combined 7-1 record among the defeated.

    Here’s hoping the show-prep that was the first 4 games of the year have the huskers ready. Lots of underclassmen will grow up this weekend with quality experience in WI.

  3. Chuck says:

    Wow. Notre Dame, still?? At 23, no less?? You must be Catholic or something. There is no reason a 2-2 Notre Dame should be in there, even over an Iowa State. Come on, Sam, enough with ranking them solely based on a title back in the ’89. They are not a good football team.

    1. J says:

      They lost two games against top 20 teams by very slim margins and appear to be improving every week. They also beat a top 20 Michigan State and a game Pitt. Notre Dame is a good team and does deserve to be ranked in the 20-25 range.

      1. Michael J says:

        Florida State deserves to be ranked a lot more than Notre Dame. South Florida (schedule) and Michigan (margin of victory) have hardly been overly impressive. Meanwhile, Clemson and Oklahoma are more legit. Regardless, a team that’s 2-2 does not deserve to be ranked unless they have an overwhelmingly impressive victory. Michigan St. is the closest Notre Dame has, but it’s too early in the season to call Michigan St. a solid team.

  4. Marv says:

    I really don’t want to get into this stupid discussion again but. Notre Dame is not a top 25 team and every single AP voter agrees with that thought except Sam. Pitt is a Bad team that they only beat by 3 and MSU is a mystery to everyone.

    If ND is a top 25 team based on playing a tough schedule then Tulsa should be ranked and Boise State should be dropped a few spots each week the rest of the season.

  5. The Huskers also do not deserve to be in the top 10 and the way the defense is playing after this Saturday they will never see the top 10 again this season and possible the top 20. They will be exposed this Saturday in Wisconsin.

  6. Skytown J says:

    Maybe it will be Wisconsin that gets exposed. They have played absolutely nobody yet. Bo will have them breathing fire when they come out. But it should be a wild atmosphere, i.e., fans have an entire day to OD on brats and beer. And regarding Okie St., if there is a top 10 for all-time ugliest uniforms, last Saturday’s Cowboy outfits were top 5.