A perfect 3-0 record in my picks has me sitting at 15-7 through the first seven weeks of the year, so I must know my stuff!
The bottom line is that you need to trust me, so here are the 10 best teams in the country as we prepare to begin the second half of the 2011 regular season.
1. LSU (Last week: No. 1) — The Bayou Bengals continue to roll towards that Nov. 5 date with Alabama that will likely decide the SEC. This week, it was Tennessee that served as a small speed bump for the LSU Title Train, a 38-7 victory for the Tigers in Knoxville. They look so much faster than all of their opponents, and they’re still my top team.
2. Alabama (Last week: No. 2) — The Crimson Tide also continue to roll, and despite a less-than-appetizing first half at Ole Miss, they went on to dominate the second half in a 52-7 victory. ‘Bama is the same as LSU to me — we’re just waiting until their game against LSU to make a more educated deduction about this team, but they look excellent.
3. Oklahoma (Last week: No. 4) — A 47-17 win at Kansas was exactly what the Sooners needed to do. There’s no need to over-exert against the mediocre teams … if Oklahoma runs the table, they’ll play for the national title. Simple as that. So why go for style points?
4. Oklahoma State (Last week: No. 6) — The Cowboys continue to impress me, and their 38-26 win at Texas last week was a bigger deal than most people thought. Texas came out looking to avenge an ugly loss at the hands of Oklahoma last week, and OSU still held them off. Their next big test will likely be Nov. 5 against Kansas State.
5. Wisconsin (Last week: No. 4) — Wisconsin was off this week, but Okie State gets the bump due to their resume.
6. Stanford (Last week: No. 5) — Washington State has been a better team than advertised this season, yet Stanford beat them 44-14 on the road. That’s an impressive victory for the Cardinal, and they’re still in the running for the national championship.
7. Oregon (Last week: No. 8 ) — The Ducks had the national spotlight on Saturday night, and without star running back LaMichael James, they still beat nationally-ranked Arizona State 41-27 in Eugene. A couple of tests still remain on the Ducks’ schedule, so they’ll have a chance to move up in the rankings if they continue to dominate (and a few teams above them lose).
8. Clemson (Last week: No. 7) — Clemson’s performance on Saturday night against Maryland earned them a demotion in my poll. They looked sloppy and depleted (quarterback Tajh Boyd appeared to be slowed by the hip injury he suffered last week), yet they still held on to a 56-45 victory over the Terrapins. The Tigers need to start playing better defense, because I don’t think they can keep scoring nearly 60 points per game.
9. Boise State (Last week: No. 9) — The Broncos won 63-13 at Colorado State (has Boise actually played a home game this season? I can’t remember one …), but I’m still having trouble moving them above other teams. Almost everyone above Boise is in the midst of a very tough stretch of games (or has already made it through a tough stretch), so I can’t help but give them the nod instead.
10. Arkansas (Last week: No. 10) — The Razorbacks managed to look really great … on their week off. To be blunt, everyone ranked right below them in last week’s version of my poll lost, so it wasn’t even a tough decision to keep an idle Arkansas in my top 10.