Apparently, Georgia didn’t beat Georgia Southern bad enough in Week 1. At least, that’s what the voters in the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll thought.
USC is now the No. 1 team in both polls after throttling Virginia, 52-7. Georgia beat Division I-AA Georgia Southern, 45-21. All but seven of those Georgia Southern points came in the fourth quarter.
USC picked up nine more first-place votes this week than in the preseason poll, which put the Trojans ahead of the Bulldogs. Maybe USC is the best team in the country, but I don’t see how one week of a 12-game season changed that many minds.
To absolutely no one’s surprise, Pitt fell out of the poll this week after losing at home to Bolwing Green. Pitt fans can only hope that it doesn’t take another three years for the Panthers to get ranked again.
Before being ranked No. 25 in the preseason poll this year, the previous time Pitt held a ranking in the AP poll was the preseason of 2005. The Panthers also lost the season opener at Heinz Field that year, to Notre Dame, 42-21.
If the Bowling Green game was any indication, the Panthers will be hard-pressed to crack the rankings again this year.
But Pitt wasn’t the only ranked team to fall flat in the opener. Pitt was one of five ranked teams to lose in the opening week. Clemson, Illinois, Tennessee and Virginia Tech also lost. All but Illinois fell out of the rankings.
Pitt was the only one of those five to lose at home.
Here is the new AP top 25 followed by my ballot:
3. Ohio State
8. West Virginia
12. Texas Tech
15. Arizona State
17. South Florida
19. Penn State
20. Wake Forest
21. Fresno State
25. South Carolina
3. Ohio State
9. West Virginia
14. Arizona State
15. Penn State
16. Texas Tech
17. Wake Forest
21. South Carolina
22. Boise State
23. Fresno State
24. South Florida
25. East Carolina
First week analysis: The ACC stinks and the Big East isn’t much better. Whatever became of the notion that the ACC would develop into a superconference after raiding the Big East. Well, it’s five years after the raid and the ACC is the worst of the six Bowl Championship Series conferences.
- Clemson, the highest ranked team in the conference at No. 9 in the preseason poll, was non-competitive in a 34-10 loss to No. 24 Alabama in a game that was played at a neutral site.
- Virginia Tech, ranked No. 17 entering its opener, lost to East Carolina, 27-22, at a neutral site.
- USC went to Charlottsville and blitzed the Cavaliers, 52-7.
- In a conference with Miami and Florida State, Wake Forest is carrying the banner for the ACC. That ought to tell you how bad the league is.
- The Big East didn’t have it much better Week 1. In addition to the Pitt losing, Syracuse lost to Northwestern, Louisville fell to Kentucky and Rutgers lost to Fresno State.
- At the moment, West Virginia and South Florida look to be the only teams worthy of being mentioned among the nation’s elite. And I still have to be convinced that the Bulls can duplicate their success from last season.
New on my ballot: Fresno State, South Florida and East Carolina.
- Fresno State --The Bulldogs traveled cross-country and beat Rutgers on its home field. Now they’ll rest for a week and await a visit from Wisconsin Sept. 13.
- South Florida -- South Florida was close to being on my ballot in the preseason. With Pitt losing and the Bulls taking care of business against Tennessee-Martin, I slotted them in at No. 24.
- East Carolina -- The Pirates beat Virginia Tech in Charlotte and hope to use that momentum in the biggest game in Greenville this century. They play host to West Virginia this week.
On the cusp of my ballot:
- Utah -- The Utes went to the Big House and beat Michigan. Had Appalachian State not done the same thing a year ago, I would have ranked Utah. Since Michigan isn’t Michigan anymore, I’ll take a wait-and-see approach with the Utes.
- UCLA -- Yes, the Bruins beat a ranked team from the SEC, but their performance was less than dominating. QB Kevin Craft was intercepted four times in the first half and the Bruins had just 29 yards rushing for the game. They’ll get a chance to prove they’re for real Sept. 13 at BYU.
- Bowling Green -- While it was impressive that the Falcons came to Pitt and won, I still can’t get over the fact that they lost to Tulsa, 63-7, in the GMAC Bowl last year. Plus, the Falcons can prove they deserve to be ranked by beating Minnesota at home this week or by winning at Boise State the following week.