Top 25 Teams Could Shuffle the Deck Today
A sprinking of intruige is scattered among the Top 25 this weekend with some teams in danger of dropping down and/or out of the rankings.
UCLA started the proceedings on Thursday, escaping with an exciting 34-27 victory at Utah. The Bruins got their usual good game from quarterback Brett Hundley -- who scored a touchdown rushing, passing, and receiving -- and held on to beat the Utes in front of a frienzied crowd.
Today, one of the eariler games has Maryland traveling to Florida State. Both teams are 4-0, but the Seminoles are ranked eighth while the Terripans have yet to hit the Top 25. Given that the Terps have never won in Tallahassee, they may still remain on the outside looking in.
Georgia is a strong favorite to beat Tennessee on the road. Michigan, however, has been struggling and now host Minnesota. The Gophers are coming off a loss to Iowa and need to win at Michigan to keep their conference season from spiraling away as it usually does this time of year.
Oklahoma State and coach Mike Gundy are coming off a bad loss to West Virginia, and a loss to Kansas State today would topple the pre-season Big XII favorites from the rankings.
LSU is another team coming off a tough loss, as they led Georgia until the final minute between the hedges. The Tigers travel to Mississippi State this afternoon, and Zach Mettenberger will have to have another great game to keep the the Bayou Bengals in the BCS hunt. Another SEC team, Florida, cannot afford to lose at home to struggling Arkansas if it wants to stay in the Top 25. The Gators now have Tyler Murphy at quarterback, as Jeff Driskel is out for the season.
Nôtre Dame is now struggling and hopes to drop a speedy Arizona State squad out of the rankings after Oklahoma did the same to the Irish last week. That game takes place at Jerry Jones' playpen in Arlington.
Fortunately, the service academies have been given the green light to play in spite of the government shutdown. That means Air Force and Navy will meet to begin this season's competition for the Commander in Chief's Trophy, and Army can keep its date with Boston College.
And one game that should be a guaranteed walkover could now have a bit of drama in it, as extreme weather conditions are occurring in Boulder again, which will have an effect on Oregon and Colorado.
The two big games on the slate take place later in the day.
Ohio State ventures to Northwestern, and do know the Wildcats have their attention. This is being billed as the biggest tilt ever to grace Evanston, where coach Pat Fitzgerald has gained a reputation of steeling his charges to protect their home turf. His team is well disciplined and is counting on its attention to detail to take advantage of whatever opening the Buckeyes give it.
On the Left Coast, Washington journeys to Stanford and will try to make it two in a row over the Cardinal. Andrew Luck and Jim Harbaugh are long gone, but David Shaw could well be the most underrated coach in the country. He's molded Stanford into a perennial BCS contender, and has now added speed to his roster of smashmouth scholars. The Huskies boast the nation's leading rusher by average in Bishop Sankey and have already conquered Boise State and Arizona.