Here are our thoughts on who the Top Ten teams in America are after 2 weeks of college football:
1) LSU- While the Tigers' defense remains one of the most entertaining units in the country to watch with an awesome combination of speed, size, and great schemes, the offense was the story against Virginia Tech. The Hokies never had a prayer, as new offensive coordinator Gary Crowton opened up the LSU attack like he was known for doing at BYU and Oregon. Most importantly, the O-Line, which we deemed a question mark last week, opened up lots of holes for the Tigers' RB-by-committee and gave Matt Flynn plenty of time to throw.
T2) Oklahoma- This is a team that doesn't look to have many flaws. They took Miami behind the woodshed on Saturday in what was supposed to be ou's first real test. Granted, Miami is not what it used to be--but true freshman QB Sam Bradford has been mighty impressive in his first two collegiate starts and does not seem to be easily rattled. Texas will have to put some serious pressure on him in October to win that one.
T2) USC- It is quite likely that after their trip to Lincoln on Saturday, Southern Cal will move back into at least a tie for the top spot here. But for now, all SC has done is beat Idaho one week and watch a bunch of games on TV the next, so we don;t know much about them yet.
4) Florida- The defending national champions have looked sharp in two tune-up games, and QB Tim Tebow is showing why he was so highly sought-after as a high school senior. The Gators play Tennessee this weekend, which will teach us at least a little bit more about what kind of team they are--although it certainly appears to be a down year for the Volunteers.
5) Texas- Against TCU, the Longhorns looked in the first half like they'd end up off this list completely. But in the second half, the burnt orange finally started clicking the way we'd all been waiting to see since the Kansas State game last year. We loved the way the defense looked, especially the aggressive style employed by the coaches. As mentioned above, that attacking style will be vital in the Horns' quest to win the one-game season in October. But what really made us breathe a sigh of relief was Colt McCoy's apparent return to top form in the third quarter. The offensive line played its best half yet, although the loss of Adam Ulatoski for (insert amount of time unknown to anyone outside the program here) could be a problem.
6) West Virginia- You can officially call us skeptical about the Mountaineers after their lackluster performance against Marshall. It is impossible to say whether Marshall legitimately exposed Mountaineer weaknesses--most glaringly in pass coverage and against a scrambling QB--or if this was one of those emotion-driven performances by the Thundering Herd that usually peter out eventually, as this one did. Marshall was hosting its much larger and higher-profile cross-state rival for the first time in many years, so this may be one where you have to credit WVU for not catching the upset bug and move on. We'll learn more Thursday night against Maryland.
7) Wisconsin- We have formed the belief that the winner of the Penn State-Wisconsin game will probably win the atrocious Big Ten by default this year. UW was lucky to escape Vegas with a win over UNLV, and they just haven't shown a whole lot of elite play on either side of the ball. "Then why do you idiots have them in the Top Ten?" you ask. Good question; it's a cautious wait-and-see with the Badgers right now.
8) Cal- The Golden Bears have played two games and shown two different levels of performance. Cal was dominant in Week 1 versus Tennessee, and if that's the way they play the rest of the way then they will be a force to reckon with in the Pac-10. But against a less-than-stellar Colorado State team, they escaped with a 34-28 win last Saturday. There are no questions about the effectiveness of the offense, especially with All-Everything RB DeSean Jackson in the backfield; but the Rams exposed possible weaknesses in the defensive secondary that the top teams in the league (read: USC) will try to exploit.
9) Penn State- The Lions destroyed Notre Dame on Saturday, which is at least somewhat more impressive than shellacking FIU in Week 1. As always, PSU has a sick defense--it has allowed 3 points through 2 games, and those 3 only came as a result of a punt return to the Penn State 7 yard line and an ensuing goal line stand. So the defense has not allowed a scoring drive through two games. For that reason, the Nittany Lions will almost certainly be in a position to win every game they play, if only because they ought to hold any opponent to a manageable point total. But the offense has to show more consistency, and that all comes back to QB Anthony Morelli and his...questionable decision-making.
10) UCLA- Keep an eye on the Bruins. BYU last week was a definite upset alert type of game, and the Gold and Blue responded nicely with a 10-point victory. The Cougars made them sweat a little in the 3rd quarter, but the UCLA "D" stiffened and the offense produced an insurance TD late in the 4th to seal the deal. However, the game does bring up a cause for concern: BYU had 23 first downs and 435 total yards to UCLA's 15 and 236, respectively. The big stat in helping to determine the game's outcome was a 3-1 turnover advantage for the Bruins. UCLA will have to move the ball against much better defenses than BYU's if they want to make any noise this season.