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Top 25 News and Notes

1. Alabama

The defense and special teams looked darned good. However, the offense rang up only 14 of the Tide’s 35 points in the win over Virginia Tech. ‘Bama’s retooled offensive line had some issues as well. The Tide should be fine going forward, but keep an eye on the O-line. They now have a bye week before a trip to College Station in what is expected to be the biggest game of the year.

2. Oregon

Head coach Mark Helfrich’s debut went very smooth as the Ducks handled Nicholls State 66-3 in Eugene. Quarterback Marcus Mariota threw for 234 yards and a score, while De’Anthony Thomas ran for 128 yards and two touchdowns. They are heavy favorites this weekend at a Virginia team that just knocked off a solid BYU squad. The Ducks should still roll.

3. Ohio State

The Buckeyes doubled up Buffalo 40-20 in Columbus. Quarterback Braxton Miller registered two TDs and a pick and rang up 255 total yards. Running back Jordan Hall ran for 159 yards and two scores. Next up is a home tilt vs. a San Diego St. squad that just lost to Eastern Illinois in San Diego. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

4. Clemson

The Tigers notched a very impressive win over Georgia in Death Valley. Quarterback Tajh Boyd was nails as he threw for three touchdowns and ran for two. Star receiver Sammy Watkins hauled in 127 receiving yards and a score, while Roderick McDowell ran for 132 yards. The news got worse for UGA as receiver Malcolm Mitchell was lost for the year with a torn ACL after celebrating a touchdown.Mitchell was the team’s best receiver last year. Clemson should have no issues with South Carolina St. on Saturday.

5. Florida State

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Jameis Winston. The redshirt freshman QB is arguably the most hyped freshman QB in history, and he certainly lived up to it in his debut. He was 25-of-27 with 356 yards and four scores as the Seminoles crushed Pittsburgh. Winston also ran for a touchdown. Many are saying that Winston did it against a bad Pitt team. Those people will be eating their words as the year goes on. He will be a star for years to come. FSU has a bye week before hosting Nevada. Don’t look now, but Clemson and FSU have cupcake schedules before they meet up in Death Valley on Oct. 19. I can’t wait for that.

6. Stanford

The Cardinal kick off the campaign in Palo Alto this Saturday vs. a good San Jose St. team. San Jose St. has one of the best quarterbacks in the land that you haven’t heard of in David Fales. The Spartans also have a stud receiver in Noel Grigsby, and they return 12 starters from an 11-2 team. Last year San Jose St. nearly beat Stanford in the opener, falling 20-17. I love this Stanford team and its 14 returning starters from a 12-2 squad. I don’t see San Jose St. winning, but it could be close in the third or fourth.

7. South Carolina

Steve Spurrier’s bunch took care of a solid North Carolina squad and now has a huge matchup at Georgia. After the UGA game, the Gamecocks should have a really good chance at winning their next seven outings. They will be favored in all of those games by at least a touchdown. The game in Athens is also big for Georgia as the Bulldogs simply cannot afford to drop their second game. I like the Gamecocks in a close one.

8. Louisville

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater kicked off his Heisman campaign with 355 yards and five touchdowns as UL thrashed Ohio 49-7. Next up is in-state foe Eastern Kentucky. Louisville has no challenges until a Week 6 matchup vs. Rutgers – and the Cardinals should still win that game by double figures. The only other challenges are a home tilt vs. Central Florida and the season finale at a good Cincinnati team.

9. Texas A&M

Rice put an early scare into the Aggies as the Owls trailed A&M by only seven at the half. Then Johnny Manziel entered the game, and the Aggies went on to a 52-31 win. Manziel accounted for three touchdowns – and got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting. In addition, he arguably showed up head coach Kevin Sumlin on the sidelines. Stay classy, Johnny. The Aggies now host Sam Houston State before Alabama.

10. Notre Dame

The Irish took care of lowly Temple 28-6 behind a strong performance from quarterback Tommy Rees. The senior threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns while receiver T.J. Jones racked up 138 yards. We’ll get a great idea of what the ’13 Notre Dame squad brings to the table after a showdown at Ann Arbor this Saturday. The Irish are better than the Wolverines in several areas. However, it may not matter if Rees doesn’t have a good game. It all comes down to him making accurate throws and not turning it over. It should be a good game.

11. Oklahoma State

12. LSU

13. Georgia

14. Texas

15. Oklahoma

16. Florida

17. Michigan

18. Nebraska

19. USC

20. UCLA

21. Northwestern

22. Ole Miss

23. Baylor

24. Miami (FL)

25. Wisconsin

Around the Area:

Mizzou: The Tigers led by only one after a quarter before opening the flood gates en route to a 58-14 win over Murray State. Quarterback James Franklin threw for 318 yards and three touchdowns in the rout. The running game was on point as Henry Josey scampered for 113 yards and a score, while Russell Hansbrough accounted for 104 yards and two scores. Marcus Murphy also got in the act with a rushing touchdown. Dorial Green-Beckham led the receivers with 83 yards. The next game won’t be as easy for the Tigers as they host Toledo. The Rockets bring back 13 starters from a 9-4 team, and they trailed by only 11 late in the third in Gainesville on Saturday before falling. Mizzou is favored by 17, but I’m not sure the Tigers will cover that. Toledo has some nice weapons, and the MAC is a good conference. I’m interested to see how Mizzou looks on Saturday against a solid squad.

Illinois: The Illini barely got by Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, 42-34. Illinois had a huge day in the air as Nathan Scheelhaase threw for 416 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan Lankford and Josh Ferguson combined for 218 receiving yards. However, Illinois ran for only 49 yards and committed two turnovers. The Illini are 10-point underdogs at home this weekend against Cincinnati. Head coach Tim Beckman needs a signature win for the Illini. It would be huge if they could beat the Bearcats. Cincy has 13 starters back from a 10-3 team. It is very important for Illinois to get off to a great start and feed off the crowd. Illinois has a good shot at winning if it doesn’t have more than one turnover in the contest. I think the aforementioned offensive players will be big for Illini. This will be a close contest late, but I’m going with the Illini.

Finally, let’s give some love to the FCS, which knocked off seven FBS teams this past weekend. The most notable was Eastern Washington knocking off No. 25 Oregon State 49-46 in Corvallis, Oregon.  North Dakota State also knocked off Kansas State in Manhattan. Eastern Illinois spanked San Diego State in California, and McNeese State handled South Florida. This is becoming a trend. The smaller schools can play some ball.

About Marty Jenkins