Published Monday, September 9, 2013 AT 10:21 AM / Updated at 10:57 AM
Sam McKewon’s Top 25, Sept. 9
Sam McKewon Omaha World-Herald

One of the Omaha TV stations used to employ a weather alert so shrill and unmistakable that I can only begin to approximate it by trilling my tongue. This was not the Emergency Broadcast System notification. It was, to put in letters, closer to BLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL! It was awful and weird. It didn’t even suggest “bad weather.” It suggested a wavebeam designed to explode your head.

The wavebeam is roaming the halls of Texas and USC football as we speak.

The Trojans and Lane Kiffin fooled me once last year. They weren’t going to fool me again this year, so I had them at the bottom of my top 25. Dropping them was easy after a 10-7 loss to Washington State. I watched the second half the game, and never have you seen two top 100 quarterback recruits – Cody Kessler and Max Wittek, in this case – look so bad in the same game while having the best wide receiver in America – in this case Marquise Lee – as an option.

Texas, on the other hand, was a different sort of conundrum. I was ripped pretty good by local Husker fans for ranking the Longhorns No. 3 – my take is the Big 12 champion is generally one of the top five teams in the country, and UT was my selected Big 12 champ – and I heard from a few Saturday night as Texas’ defense struggled to stop the most basic zone-read play. Mack Brown’s never had me at hello, but he’s proven to be, over 15 years, a pretty decent head coach, and he had one of the most experienced rosters in the country. He still does after firing defensive coordinator Manny Diaz on Sunday morning in the wake of a 40-21 loss to BYU. Diaz couldn’t get his guys to stop BYU’s relatively basic running, and for that he’s dumped. Brown may be next if he drops several upcoming games.

In Compton, Kiffin nears the end of his USC tenure, and perhaps his head coaching career. There’s smoke and fire all around Kiffin wherever he goes, and I’d guess that’s not as much about incompetence as it is folks spilling the beans on a guy they just don’t like very much. Kiffin’s among a newer breed of coaches that appear to have disdain for anyone that doesn’t fit a utility in their lives. Kiffin will rebound somewhere – he’s a smart guy – but he appears to have spurious management skills.

Here’s the top 25 I submitted for the Associated Press:

1. Alabama
2. Oregon
3. Clemson
4. Louisville
5. Ohio State
6. Texas A&M
7. Florida State
8. Georgia
9. LSU
10. Michigan: The offense is ahead of any schedule I had for it. I’m impressed with Devin Gardner through two weeks.
11. South Carolina
12. Stanford
13. Oklahoma
14. Oklahoma State
15. Wisconsin
16. Miami (Fla.)
17. Washington
18. UCLA
19. Nebraska
20. Notre Dame
21. Arizona State
22. Northwestern: Can’t ignore the 48-27 thrashing of a Syracuse team that took Penn State deep into the fourth quarter.
23. Baylor: In after whooping Buffalo.
24. Ole Miss: Heads to Texas this week.
25. Florida: Offense still shoots itself in the foot.


Texas: Hideous defensive performance – we’re talking Big Ten Championship bad – in a 40-21 loss at BYU. UT gave up 679 yards.

USC: Just as bad on offense in a 10-7 loss to Washington State. Chants of “fire (Lane) Kiffin” rained down after the game.

Georgia Tech: I kept Florida in because a close loss to Miami (Fla.) – coupled with its win over Toledo – is better than GT’s rout of Elon. The Yellow Jackets are No. 26 this week.


Illinois: It’s sorta amazing I wrote that word. But the Illini beat Cincinnati 38-17, and get Washington in Chicago this week.

Tennessee: At Oregon and at Florida in the next two games. We’ll learn plenty.

Central Florida: Plays at Penn State this weekend after outscoring its first two opponents 76-7.

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.