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College Football Power Ratings -- Top 5

   by Bryan Leonard - 10/17/2006

We are halfway through the college football regular season and already there has been many highs and lows with teams rising and falling from the top 10. Two weeks ago No. 2 Auburn was knocked off by Arkansas. Then this weekend, Auburn got some revenge by knocking off the new No. 2 team, Florida. Of course, the one constant has been Ohio State, sitting in the top spot all season. Here's a look at the top teams in my college power ratings.

1. Ohio State (88 PR): The Buckeyes (7-0 SU, 6-1 ATS) came into this season No. 1 because of an incredible amount of offensive talent returning. The offense has been as good as advertised averaging 33 points, 155 yards rushing and 235 passing behind senior QB Troy Smith (68%, 17 TDs, 2 INTs), RB Antonio Pittman and speedy wide outs Anthony Gonzalez and Ted Ginn Jr.

What has been the big surprise is the defense, which lost its top talent from 2005. The defense has been stellar, allowing 9 points per game. It may surprise you but the Buckeyes are 6-1 under the total because of that defense. Just as impressive is that this team has faced its toughest competition already, winning at Texas and Iowa. Ohio State is 14-0 SU, 14-1 ATS its last 14 games going back to last season. The will have cakewalk schedule the rest of the way and should be 11-0 for the November 18 clash with Michigan, currently No. 2 in the nation. The Buckeyes have that game at home and they are 32-2 SU, 22-10-1 ATS their last 34 home games!

2. Michigan (84): Lloyd Carr really hasn't opened the offense up this season, as they are passing for less than 190 yards per game. He likes a balanced attack and they have one with QB Chad Henne and RB Mike Hart. However, the Wolverines have been winning with an exceptional defense. The front line has been spectacular, reminiscent of the 1997 national title team, allowing 40 yards rushing 1.7 yards per carry! They have risen to every challenge, winning at Notre Dame (47-21) and at Penn State on Saturday. They also should be unbeaten before taking on Ohio State, provided they get by Iowa this coming Saturday at the Big House. It still may be too early to look ahead, but last year Michigan lost 25-21 at home to Ohio State blowing a 21-12 fourth quarter lead. Conservatism kills in football! In that game, Ohio State had the edge in yards 418-255. Neither team ran well, so at this early juncture that game will likely come down to defense and the QB play.

3. Texas (84): The Longhorns would need help from Michigan to have a chance at repeating as champs. It's also difficult to see them repeating with a freshman quarterback. But this defense is very good and the ground game and offensive line are as good as you will find. They forced 5 turnovers in a 28-10 win over Oklahoma and just rolled through a decent Baylor defense Saturday in a 63-31 rout. However, remember Oklahoma held them to 232 total yards and just 3.9 yards per rush, while Ohio State manhandled them 24-7, passing for 269 yards. The toughest remaining test for the Longhorns will be Saturday at No. 21 Nebraska.

4. USC (83): So how good are these Trojans? Well, they are nowhere near as good as the last two years. In 2005 they averaged 50 points, in 2006 they average 30 points behind first-year starting QB John David Booty (13 TDs, 4 INTs). The only thing they have in common with one year ago is that no one has beaten them yet. If they get WRs Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett healthy, this offense has the best pair of wideouts in the nation. What should concern USC fans is a defense that has given up over 130 rush yards in three games. The last three games they've had to hang on for dear life to beat Washington State, Washington and Arizona State, as a favorite of 14, 19 and 19! Don't get your national title reservations just yet: USC still has to play team currently in the Top 20 in Oregon, Cal and Notre Dame.

5. West Virginia (83): The Big East is a toss-up between Louisville and West Virginia. Both are a threat to run the table which could upset any BCS title game plans for several deserving one-loss teams. The Mountaineers are a team no one wants to play, with their incredible backfield speed. Steve Slaton and Pat White are averaging over 7 yards a carry! November 2nd at Louisville is the game circle.

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