Dirty Dozen: ECU rises, Ohio State falls

Here we go with my first edition of college football's Dirty Dozen, a weekly ranking of the nation's Top 12 teams. This past weekend, the number of surprises were few, but one non-BCS team landed the biggest punch of all. The pride of Conference USA, East Carolina, stunned West Virginia, knocking WVU completely from my preseason Top 12 and sending the Pirates soaring up the rankings. Ohio State, meanwhile, saw its season nearly implode thanks to a lackluster showing against the Ohio Bobcats. But it is USC, by virtue of its impressive opening-season road win at Virginia, replacing Georgia atop the Dirty Dozen and setting the tone for next week's mega showdown with Ohio State.

1. Southern California (1-0) The Trojans spent a week on the sidelines prepping for their biggest non-conference, regular-season home game in years. Ohio State visits the Coliseum to face a fresh and invigorated USC team. Coach Pete Carroll had to be licking his chops watching OSU's game Saturday against Ohio University.

2. Georgia (2-0) The Dawgs got a 56-17 win over Central Michigan Saturday, which may sound ho-hum to some because the opponent was from the MAC. That's actually not a bad win because the Chippewas have an excellent QB (by the way, have you caught LeFevour yet?) and a decent shot at winning their league. Next, UGA faces its toughest test so far at South Carolina.

3. Oklahoma (2-0) The Sooners struggled at times against Cincinnati, but still put 52 points on the board. OU travels to Seattle this week to take on a reeling group of Washington Huskies, who've got to be licking their wounds following one of the worst calls in the history of college football officiating. My guess is that Washington won't have much left in the tank, and the Sooners will roll.

4. Florida (2-0) Why must we always have a sideline reporter talking about how Tim Tebow "helps" children in impoverished nations by spreading his religious message? I wonder if Sarah Palin considers Tebow part of the offensive and awful group of community activists and organizers she condemned Wednesday. The Gators beat a listless Miami squad and now get a bye before meeting Tennessee in Knoxville Sept. 20.

5. Missouri (2-0) The Tigers have scored 52 points in consecutive games to begin the season. With upcoming home games against Nevada and Buffalo, can we possibly see 52 points four straight weeks?

6. LSU (1-0) Hurricane Gustav's appearance meant the game between Troy and LSU had to be postponed until later in the season. The Tigers get another bye of sorts this week, facing lowly North Texas, which has allowed 101 points in two games so far this season. You can't spell PUNT without UNT, and punting is just about all UNT will be able to do this week against LSU.

7. East Carolina (2-0) If life was fair, East Carolina would be the #1 team in the nation this week in all of the polls. The Pirates won their third straight (dating back to last season) game against a Top 25 opponent Saturday, humiliating West Virginia in the process. ECU didn't squeak by. It was an old-fashioned whipping. Beating Virginia Tech and West Virginia on consecutive weekends has set the tone for what could be a BCS-busting season. Skip Holtz has quickly moved to the top of every school's short list of coaches should a vacancy open up.

8. Wisconsin (2-0) Things looked dicey early against Marshall Saturday as Wisconsin was staring at a 14-0 deficit early in the second quarter. No worries. The Badgers put up 51 points in a row in the rout, thanks to the play of QB Allan Evridge, who threw for 308 yards. A huge matchup takes place Saturday in Fresno when Wisconsin becomes the first Big Ten team to ever play at Bulldog Stadium. Fresno State beating Wisconsin is my upset pick of the week.

9. Texas (2-0) The Longhorns are one of those teams that looks a little better than predicted. The first two opponents haven't been the greatest, but they haven't exactly been pushovers either. Florida Atlantic and UTEP have been destroyed 94-23 by UT. Look for Texas to continue its winning ways against one of the worst 2-0 teams in the country -- Arkansas -- this week. The Razorbacks have struggled mightily before squeaking out narrow wins over Western Illinois and Louisiana-Monroe.

10. Ohio State (2-0) I'm not so sure the close call against Ohio University was a case of the Buckeyes looking ahead. The MAC's Bobcats exposed a lot of areas of concern for coach Jim Tressel. And those are not exactly the types of things a coach needs heading into a monster game at USC this week. Ohio State definitely needs Beanie Wells to play against the Trojans or it could get ugly.

11. Auburn (2-0) The Tigers jumped to a 24-0 lead against Southern Miss and then kind of just held on for a lackluster 27-13 win. A better performance will be needed on the road against Mississippi State Saturday, though the Bulldogs may not be as good as I earlier thought.

12. Oregon (2-0) The Ducks are averaging 55 points a game after a pair of wins. The eye-opener for me was in week one when Oregon dismantled Washington 44-10 despite learning starting QB Nate Costa had been lost for the season with an injury. Blowing out the Huskies the way the Ducks did is even more impressive now after seeing Washington hold its own against BYU. This Ducks team is for real, and the Pac-10 is looking great right now.

Just missed -- Alabama, Penn State, California, Fresno State, BYU, Wake Forest

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