Moving into college football's third week, former top-10 team Louisville saw its title hopes dashed in an embarrassing loss to Kentucky. Having a weak schedule, the Cardinals had smooth sailing until Rutgers and West Virginia. With the Kentucky loss, the Cardinals are out of the championship hunt and out of the top 10.
Penn State replaces Louisville in the college football elite and enters the USA Today Coaches' Poll at No. 10. They face their toughest road game of the season this Saturday at Michigan.
The Wolverines are fresh off a 38-0 thrashing of Notre Dame and haven't lost to the Nittany Lions since 1996. As Joe Paterno's career reaches its twilight, this is a must-win game if he wants to disprove doubters he's still got the magic in him.
Looking at the nine other top-10 teams in the Coaches' Poll:
The Trojans keep rolling. Nebraska kept up for about a quarter and a half before falling behind to USC's offensive juggernaut. They should have no problems hosting Washington State.
The Tigers sat out their starting quarterback Matt Flynn and No. 1 wideout Early Doucet in a demolition of Middle Tennessee. While Flynn could be ready for South Carolina, Doucet is likely hurt for several weeks.
The Gamecocks are undefeated, but they are not winning through the usual Steve Spurrier "fun 'n gun" offense of old. South Carolina grounded out wins against Louisiana-Lafayette and Georgia, relying on running and defense.
With LSU's injuries on offense, the game could turn into a defensive struggle, uncharacteristic of both teams' systems.
The Gators flew by ranked Tennessee, scoring points at will in the fourth quarter. Taking on Ole Miss who lost to Vanderbilt, it looks like to be another easy win for Florida.
The Sooners crushed Utah State. Going on the road to Tulsa, Oklahoma may have a little trouble in the first half but should dominate.
The Mountaineers were able to smash Maryland with the run in the second half. They now face East Carolina which gave Virginia Tech a little scare in Week 1. The Pirates won't surprise West Virginia as the Mountaineers will use the game as a tune up for South Florida.
The Bears looked sharp against Louisiana Tech and should do more of the same against Arizona.
After dragging their feet against Youngstown State and Akron, the Buckeyes went on the road and took care of business against a resurgent Washington. With Northwestern and Minnesota on tap the next two weeks, Ohio State can get itself in a groove before facing Purdue.
The Longhorns escaped a visit to Central Florida with a 35-32 win. With even more off the field distractions, Longhorn coach Mack Brown has a team in turmoil. Texas will cook Rice, but Kansas State and Oklahoma loom on the horizon.
With the Badgers giving up 31 points to the Citadel in last week's victory, Wisconsin has a leaky ship that is running out of time to make adjustments. They have a good shot at defeating Iowa which lost to Iowa State, but changes need to be made to stay afloat for the whole season
My sister Melanie's thoughts:
It's going to be a long year for the Gophers if they can't beat Florida Atlantic. Tim Brewster promised the stars, but now has a 1-2 record before even facing the Big Ten.
Brewster needs to tone down expectations. It's going to take several seasons to turn the program around, especially considering how bad Minnesota's pass defense is.
Arkansas should have never allowed Alabama to dictate the pace of the game, especially late. But what do you expect from Razorback coach Houston Nutt? Once Darren McFadden was hurt, Nutt didn't have a plan, living up to his namesake.
Michigan bounced back with a big win over Notre Dame. Entering Big Ten play against Penn State, surprisingly Michigan still has a shot at the Rose Bowl. But I think this is the year JoePa finally beats the Wolverines after a decade-long drought.
TREVOR WILLIAMS, sports copy editor, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5866.
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