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FanHouse Fab 40: Blowout Week

Sep 19, 2010 – 1:41 PM
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Brett McMurphy

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FanHouse national college football writer Brett McMurphy shares his weekly Associated Press Top 25 ballot along with his next 15 best teams for FanHouse's Fab 40.


SEATTLE – If there was any doubt that margin of victory is not rattling around inside the heads of the top-ranked head coaches, just check out these scores from Saturday:

62-13, 43-7, 51-6, 69-0 and 45-10.

That's an average winning margin of 46.4 points.

Those seal-clubbings were courtesy of the top five ranked teams on my Associated Press ballot this week: Alabama, Ohio State, Boise State, Oregon and TCU.

Needless to say, the top five teams on my AP ballot remain the same as last week. Nebraska moved up one spot to No. 6, but Arizona made the biggest leap – that's right Raising Arizona – to No. 7.

Other schools that shot up my rankings were Arkansas, Nevada and Michigan State. Iowa took the biggest drop. And sorry, Houston and Cal, but you're no longer among my Top 25 ranked schools.

Here is my AP ballot for this week. Last week's ranking in parentheses.

  • 1. Alabama (1)
    Duke actually had won two of its last three games against the defending national champions, but wasn't able to pull off the upset against the Crimson Tide (3-0). Running back Mark Ingram (knee injury) and defensive end Marcell Dareus (suspension) made their season debuts in Alabama's 62-13 win. Ingram went over 100 yards - in the first quarter - and finished with 151 yards and two touchdowns. Next: at Arkansas, Saturday
  • 2. Ohio State (2)
    Any fear that the Buckeyes would be flat after defeating Miami was quickly dismissed against Ohio as the Buckeyes took a 34-0 first-half lead on their way to a 43-7 victory. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor threw for 235 yards, including a school-record 16 consecutive completions, and two touchdowns. Over the next few weeks, the Buckeyes must find different ways to stay motivated with their next three games against Eastern Michigan, Illinois and Indiana. Wake me when the Buckeyes (3-0) visit Wisconsin on Oct. 16. Next: vs. Eastern Michigan, Saturday
  • 3. Boise State (3)
    By drubbing Wyoming 51-6, Boise State earned a visit from the ESPN College GameDay crew this weekend. The Broncos (2-0) held the Cowboys to 135 yards, including minus-21 yards rushing, and seven first downs. Quarterback Kellen Moore threw for 370 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Now it's time to bring on the Beavers. Next: vs. Oregon State, Saturday
  • 4. Oregon (4)
    Running back LaMichael James rushed for a career-high 227 yards on only 14 carries as the Ducks pummeled Portland State 69-0. Oregon (3-0) has outscored its non-conference opponents by a combined margin of 189-13. The Ducks had 69 points against the Vikings, despite not scoring in the game's final 18 minutes. Next: at Arizona State, Saturday
  • 5. TCU (5)
    Back in 2007, then-freshman Andy Dalton completed his first pass - and got his first win against Baylor. On Saturday, Dalton defeated the Bears again - this time 45-10 for his 32nd career victory, most in school history and most among active FBS schools. Dalton was nearly perfect, completing 21 of 23 for 267 yards and two touchdowns for the Horned Frogs (3-0). Next: at SMU, Friday
  • 6. Nebraska (7)
    Freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez's first road start at Washington was a breeze, a 56-21 wipeout of Washington. Martinez rushed for 137 yards, his third consecutive 100-yard rushing day, and threw for 150 yards. Martinez is the nation's leading rushing quarterback who bothers to tie his shoes. Only Michigan's Denard Robinson has better numbers. The Cornhuskers (3-0) held Washington's Jake Locker to only 71 yards passing on four of 20 with two interceptions. Next: vs. South Dakota State, Saturday
  • 7. Arizona (21)
    After 21 years, the Wildcats finally beat a top 10 ranked non-conference opponent, outlasting Iowa 34-27. Nick Foles threw for 303 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for the Wildcats. Arizona (3-0) also benefited from a plethora of big plays, including touchdowns from Trevin Wade (85-yard interception return) and Travis Cobb (100-yard kickoff return). Next: vs. California, Saturday
  • 8. Texas (8)
    Sophomore quarterback Garrett Gilbert overcame three interceptions to lead Texas past Texas Tech 24-14. Gilbert finished with 227 yards passing as the Longhorns (3-0) won for only the fourth time in their past seven trips to Lubbock. The Longhorns held the Red Raiders to minus-16 yards rushing, their lowest amount in six years. Next: vs. UCLA, Saturday
  • 9. Oklahoma (9)
    The Sooners continued their Jekyll-Hyde routine, squeaking out a 27-24 victory against Air Force. Oklahoma edged Utah State by seven in the season opener, then routed Florida State by 30 and then nipped Air Force by three. The Sooners (3-0) defeated the Falcons despite being outgained by nearly 100 yards. Next: at Cincinnati, Saturday
  • 10. Arkansas (16)
    Ryan Mallett's 40-yard touchdown pass in the final minute at Georgia could be his signature Heisman moment. At worst, it lifted the Razorbacks (3-0) past Georgia 31-24, marking his first road victory as a starting quarterback. Mallett completed 21 of 33 for 380 yards and three touchdowns. With the confidence of having won his first road game, Mallett can now move onto an even bigger challenge this week. Next: Alabama, Saturday
  • 11. Utah (10)
    Utah became the latest team to thump New Mexico, rolling to a 56-14 victory. Making his second consecutive start, quarterback Terrence Cain completed 20 of 23 for 248 yards and three touchdowns. This marks the third time since 2000 the Utes have started the season 3-0. The other two times - 2004 and 2008 - the Utes finished the year unbeaten. Next: vs. San Jose State, Saturday
  • 12. South Carolina (11)
    South Carolina freshman Marcus Lattimore rushed for 97 yards as the uninspired Gamecocks took care of Furman 38-19. Quarterback Stephen Garcia was 13 of 20 for 150 points for the Gamecocks (3-0). "We played to their level," South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery said of Furman. "We have to play to our level." The Gamecocks are a win away from their first 4-0 start since 1991 when they were coached by Lou Holtz. Next: at Auburn, Saturday
  • 13. Stanford (16)
    What Stanford has done so far has nothing to do with Luck. Well, actually it has everything to do with Luck - quarterback Andrew Luck. The senior threw for 207 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 69 yards on three carries as the Cardinal crushed Wake Forest 68-24. The Cardinal (3-0) are off to only their fifth 3-0 start in the past 36 seasons. Next: at Notre Dame, Saturday
  • 14. Michigan (12)
    Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson had another big day, completing 10 of 14 for 241 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 104 yards rushing as the Wolverines held off UMass 42-37. Michigan (3-0) must improve its special teams after missing a 38-yard field goal and getting a punt blocked. The Wolverines might get away with that against UMass, but certainly not later in the year. Next: vs. Bowling Green, Saturday
  • 15. Florida (14)
    John Brantley became only the fourth Florida quarterback since 1990 to win his first start in Knoxville as the Gators defeated Tennessee 31-17. Brantley threw for 163 yards, but it was Omarius Hines' 36-yard run on a fake punt in the third quarter that sparked the Gators (3-0). Coach Urban Meyer improved to 6-0 against Tennessee and is now a combined 15-1 against Tennessee, Georgia and Florida State. Next: vs. Kentucky, Saturday
  • 16. Wisconsin (13)
    The Badgers needed a blocked extra point to edge Arizona State 20-19. Wisconsin allowed the Sun Devils 261 yards in kick returns, including a 97-yarder and a 95-yarder. John Clay (123 yards) topped the century mark for the ninth consecutive game, the longest active streak in the FBS. Wisconsin (3-0) has won 27 consecutive non-conference games, the nation's third-longest current streak. Next: vs. Austin Peay, Saturday
  • 17. LSU (18)
    The Tigers downed Mississippi State 29-7, their 11th consecutive victory against the Bulldogs. LSU (3-0) was outgained by the Bulldogs, but Josh Jasper's school record five field goals and LSU's five interceptions were plenty to keep Mississippi State winless in Baton Rouge since 1991. Next: vs. West Virginia, Saturday
  • 18. Iowa (6)
    The Hawkeyes roared back from a 20-point deficit in the desert, but still fell at Arizona 34-27. Iowa (2-1) lost its sixth consecutive game when playing west of the central time zone, a streak that dates back to 1987. A big reason was that Iowa's vaunted running game had only 29 yards. Quarterback Ricky Stanzi was sacked six times and finished with minus-six yards on nine carries. Next: vs. Ball State, Saturday
  • 19. Auburn (17)
    The Tigers rallied from a 17-0 deficit against Clemson and then pulled out a 27-24 overtime victory. The win was Auburn's 14th consecutive against Clemson. After starting 2 for 8 with two interceptions, quarterback Cam Newton completed five of his last six passes for 145 yards for Auburn (3-0). Newton finished with 203 yards passing, averaging 14.5 yards per completion. Next: vs. South Carolina, Saturday
  • 20. West Virginia (19)
    A week after throwing for a career-high 316 yards against Marshall, Geno Smith threw a career-high four touchdowns as the Mountaineers defeated Maryland 31-17. Smith finished with 268 yards passing in his quest to become the first WVU quarterback to throw for 300 yards in consecutive games since Marc Bulger in 1998. The Big East has no quality wins this year, but the Mountaineers (3-0) get a shot this week. Next: at LSU, Saturday
  • 21. Nevada (NR)
    The Wolf Pack made their first appearance on my Top 25 ballot this week after crushing Cal 52-31 on Friday. Cal coach Jeff Tedford agrees with my vote. "If I had a vote, I'd vote for them," Tedford said. "They'd be competitive in the Pac-10." Quarterback Colin Kaepernick rushed for 148 yards and three touchdowns and threw for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Vai Taui added 151 yards rushing for Nevada (3-0). Next: at BYU, Saturday
  • 22. Michigan State (27)
    The play clock may or may not have expired, but all anyone will remember was coach Mark Dantonio's gutsy fake field goal call in the Spartans' thrilling 34-31 overtime win against Notre Dame. The difference was holder Aaron Bates' 29-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Gantt on a fake field goal in overtime. The victory was Michigan State's third in the past four seasons against Notre Dame. Le'Veon Bell rushed for 114 yards and Edwin Baker added 90 for the Spartans (3-0). Next: vs. Northern Colorado, Saturday
  • 23. Miami (20)
    Miami will have gone 11 days without playing - or without Tweeting - when the Hurricanes visit Pittsburgh. The Hurricanes (1-1) are hoping to avoid their first 1-2 start since 2006, which was Larry Coker's final season. That year, the Hurricanes also lost their third game of the season on the road at Louisville, also of the Big East. This is the first meeting between UM and Pitt since 2003 (a 28-14 Miami win), the Hurricanes' final season in the Big East before moving to the ACC. Next: at Pittsburgh, Thursday
  • 24. USC (22)
    After three games, the Trojans finally did it. They finally outgained an opponent in their 32-21 victory at Minnesota. Allen Bradford rushed for 131 yards on only 12 carries for the Trojans (3-0), who won their 11th consecutive game against a Big Ten opponent. Against Minnesota, the Trojans had 71 yards worth of penalties. For the season, USC leads the nation, averaging 107 penalty yards per game. Next: at Washington State, Saturday
  • 25. Penn State (25)
    Freshman quarterback Rob Bolden threw for 217 yards and two touchdowns as the Nittany Lions blanked Kent State 24-0. The Nittany Lions (2-1) held the Golden Flashes to 228 yards offense, including only 58 rushing. "We'll end up being a decent football team, but we've got a ways to go yet," said Penn State coach Joe Paterno, after picking up career win No. 396. Next: vs. Temple, Saturday
26. Temple (NR). Next: at Penn State, Saturday
27. Air Force (26). Next: at Wyoming, Saturday
28. Oregon State (28). Next: at Boise State, Saturday
29. Pittsburgh (29). Next vs. Miami, Thursday
30. Boston College (30). Next: vs. Virginia Tech, Saturday
31. Florida State (31). Next: vs. Wake Forest, Saturday
32. Kentucky (NR). Next: at Florida, Saturday
33. Fresno State (33). Next: at Ole Miss, Saturday
34. Oklahoma State (35). Next: vs. Texas A&M, Sept. 30
35. N.C. State (NR). Next: at Georgia Tech, Saturday
36. Missouri (36). Next: vs. Miami, Ohio, Saturday
37. Kansas State (38). Next: vs. UCF, Saturday
38. Texas A&M (NR). Next: at Oklahoma State, Sept. 30
39. Georgia Tech (NR). Next: vs. N.C. State, Saturday
40. Rutgers (NR). Next: vs. North Carolina, Saturday

Brett McMurphy is a national college football writer for FanHouse. Contact him at brettmcmurphy@gmail.com or please follow at Twitter.com/BrettmcmurphY
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