Dirty Dozen: Bama on fire

It was a hot and cold week for the Dirty Dozen with upsets galore. Top-ranked USC went cold at Oregon State, continuing its trend of losing at least one game a season when it's heavily favored. Georgia went cold at home, then turned hot against Alabama in the second half, only to fall in the end. And speaking of hot, the one game I attended this weekend was a very hot one (though slightly off the Dirty Dozen radar). Fresno State became the first non-BCS team to defeat UCLA at the Rose Bowl in 25 years on a sizzling Saturday with temperatures well into the 90s and the on-field temperature reaching triple digits. Over 800 people in the crowd of 74,000 were treated for heat-related illness and 13 were hospitalized in the largest medical response in Rose Bowl history. In this week's poll, Alabama soars to the top and deserves the title of the nation's hottest team.

1. Alabama (5-0) The Tide is rolling like no one could have predicted when the season began. Much of the credit goes to new offensive coordinator Jim McElwain who continues to work his magic on a team that struggled to score in recent seasons. Putting up 41 points at Georgia shows how far this team has come. Bama has now won on the road against Georgia, Clemson and Arkansas by a combined 124-54 score.

2. Oklahoma (4-0) The Sooners dispatched of TCU 35-10, but Oklahoma's schedule thus far has paled in comparison to Alabama. This week's game at Baylor shouldn't be too difficult, but this season is starting to resemble 2007 when none of the top teams were safe.

3. LSU (4-0) Rising in the polls almost by default, the Tigers stand at #3 this week. The 34-24 home win over Mississippi State was less than impressive. LSU won't play again until the Oct. 11 game at Florida, which suddenly doesn't look as tough as it once did.

4. Missouri (4-0) It doesn't seem right to have a team jump three spots during a bye week, but Mizzou makes the move thanks to all of last weekend's upsets. The next three games will tell us a lot about the Tigers, beginning Saturday at a good, but not great, Nebraska team.

5. Texas (4-0) After four straight "exhibitions" against inferior opponents, the Longhorns get into the meat of their schedule now. Texas faces Dan Hawkins' resurgent Buffs in Boulder Saturday, followed by the showdown with Oklahoma on Oct. 11.

6. Penn State (5-0) The Nittany Lions are looking like the Big Ten favorite at this point following the win over Illinois. Something tells me though that JoePa's team won't make it through the next two weeks (at Purdue, at Wisconsin) unscathed. I can't remember a Big Ten race being this wide open in years.

7. Southern California (2-1) I'll give the Trojans the benefit of the doubt... for now. Thursday night ESPN games can be strange for teams that seldom play on weeknights. However, the Trojans had the same "deer in the headlights" type look that Sarah Palin had in her Katie Couric interview.

8. Boise State (3-0) Another team rising by default is the Broncos, who actually got some additional credibility this week when Oregon blasted Washington State 63-14. Boise State's win over Oregon will look good at season's end. The Broncos host a decent Louisiana Tech team in a mid-week ESPN game on Wed., Oct. 1.

9. Brigham Young (5-0) The Cougars look for their third consecutive shutout win Friday against Utah State. Prediction: BYU will win but won't get the shutout.

10. Georgia (4-1) The second-half comeback against Alabama was good but didn't result in a win. It's clear that Georgia is not living up to preseason expectations, but this is not a bad team. The Southeastern Conference is so loaded, though, that there are several tough games (and potential losses) still on the schedule.

11. South Florida (5-0) The Bulls turned in a strong performance in a 41-10 road win over NC State. It's beginning to look like this team could be unbeaten heading into the Dec. 6 finale against West Virginia.

12. Texas Tech (4-0) They're unbeaten but the Red Raiders haven't played anyone of note. The first real test won't come until Oct. 25 at Kansas.

Dropped out -- Then-#4 Florida, then-#6 Wisconsin.

Moved in -- South Florida, Texas Tech.

Just missed -- Florida, Utah, Kansas, Wisconsin, Fresno State, Auburn, Oregon.

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