With three weeks in the bag, things are starting to shake out. But there are plenty of teams in the 12-25 range that could end the season in the top seven or eight and it isn’t going to surprise anyone. There seems to be a lot of parity at 6-20 and 21-40 this year, but the top five, at least for the moment, seem to be a cut above the rest. So yes, we’ve had a lot of movement from last week, almost all of which is arbitrarily based on the most current results.
There’s essentially nothing separating LSU and Alabama: they both have loaded defenses and skill position players, and their biggest weakness is their quarterback. LSU has the lesser coach, but Alabama has yet to beat anyone noteworthy. So the Tigers get the top spot.
See above. It’s good you beat North Texas, but I doubt the Sun Belt will compete for a representative in the national title game this season.
It seems like they’re the #1 team in both the AP & Coach’s polls because everyone wants the best team in the country to be from somewhere other than the SEC, as do I. But I don’t need to embarrass myself in those hopes. That’s what my picks article is for. Anyway, they beat an overrated Florida State team, which is as much as anyone has done at this point in the season. Congratulations on benefiting from the safe scheduling of 90% of college football’s marquee programs.
Their four seed is due entirely to default, margin of victory and eye-test. As much as any game in the country, I’m excited to see them play Nebraska.
- Boise State
Crushing Toledo on the road would be a lot more impressive if the Rockets didn’t continually drive the ball down field (two turnovers in the red zone) and Boise wasn’t coming off a bye-week.
- Oklahoma State
It says a lot about Arizona that of the three games the Cowboys have played, they have scored the fewest by 19. OK State’s other two opponents? Tulsa & Louisiana-Lafayette. Way to tackle the national titans, Oklahoma State. T. Boone Pickens must be thrilled with these victories.
Essentially, the only reason they’re ranked lower than Oklahoma State is they’re working with a new coach and coming off a banner season in 2010. But their offense produces just as much and their opponents thus far have been just as abysmal.
They’ve won their last two games 125-27, that’s the good news. The bad news? They’ve been against Nevada and Missouri State, whose logo resembles Rorschach likeness of the “Only You Can Stop Forest Fires” bear. Also, being that Oregon is in the top thirteen in both polls and I have them 8th despite the opening & convincing loss, it represents just how imperative it is to be ranked high in the preseason.
- Virginia Tech
This is why LSU gets the #1 spot in my rankings, they’ve scheduled non-conference games tougher than Appalachian State, Arkansas State & East Carolina. Also, it says something that even with this schedule and how much stock I put into quality of wins/opponents, the Hokies are still ranked 9th. The only time they played a school without the word “state” in their name, they only won by seven. East Carolina is respectable, but they can’t be your best win, particularly if you play in the ACC.
Their win over Tennessee was far more convincing than the 33-23 score would lead you to believe.
- West Virginia
In an inverse of everything we know about West Virginia stemming from the Rich Rodriguez era, this team’s leading rushers average fewer than 3.5 yards per carry, meanwhile their quarterback has already thrown for seven touchdowns and over 1,000 yards. Still, they’re probably going to lose convincingly this weekend.
- South Carolina
The Ted Kennedy of the SEC. Not in the accidental manslaughter, in that they’re the overachieving member of the conference that no one acknowledges. Twelfth seems high when we’re talking about about a team that beat Navy by a field goal, but pickings are already slim.
Not exactly the strongest outing from the Razorbacks this past weekend, but these are all relative. Based on 2011 resume, there’s only two or three teams named after Arkansas I could even consider ranking ahead of them. How they perform next week against Alabama next week will speak volumes about their legitimacy. Also, it will give me a game to watch while Ohio State struggles against Colorado.
- Texas A&M
It appears the pollsters think Texas A&M is already in the SEC, that’s why everyone has them ranked in the top ten. Because otherwise it makes no sense whatsoever.
Up until last week Illinois had simply taken care of business and even exceeded expectations, something that no other Big Ten team has done this side of Wisconsin and Michigan. This past Saturday, they upset a ranked Arizona State team, who was fresh off an impressive overtime win against ranked Missouri. Ron Zook has always been a solid recruiter (Urban Meyer’s first title at Florida was with Zook’s players) but something of a joke as a game coach. Maybe this year, he finally has a legacy past this picture of him water skiing. Maybe, but probably not.
- Georgia Tech
Yep, still on the bandwagon after they beat Kansas, 66-24. They play undefeated North Carolina next week, if they can beat the Tarheels, we might have a legitimate BCS contender on our hands.
A 51-38 home win against Washington is better than losing, and that’s about all you can say about it. Remember how we said Illinois has been exceeding expectations? Yeah, Nebraska has managed to win all their games but in about the least convincing manner possible. Right now there isn’t any reason to think they’re winning in Madison on October 1st.
- South Florida
Their win against Notre Dame only improved these last two weeks. The Bulls have never shown any long term sustainability in the past, but with 37-7 & 70-17 wins, they haven’t gotten too confident since.
Speaking of teams that always disappoint their fans, Clemson finally pulled out a win against the apparently hot-and-cold Auburn. They’re as talented as anyone in their conference, but 35-27 at home to Wofford leads me to believe this year will be more of the same.
- Florida State
No reason to completely destroy the Seminoles for losing to what many regard as the best team in the country, but still, that was at home, at night, and it never felt competitive. We’ll see if they can rebound against Clemson, but I’m skeptical.
Have they played since beating TCU? Oh, they shutout Stephen A. Austin to the tune of 48-0. Well, that’s good enough for more or less neutral.
Now that their quarterback situation is resolved and they managed to beat UCLA this year, Texas feels overdue for a resurgence. Though to be honest, this team has never won under Mack Brown without a Heisman caliber quarterback (Vince Young & Colt McCoy). They might want to pick up the slack, if they want to keep ESPN happy with that absurdly destructive contract.
This team sneaks into the rankings because 1) So many fell out, and 2) they pass the eye test. They just look so much more competent on defense and versatile on offense from last year. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still completely dependent on DeMarcus Robinson, but some of his teammates are actually included in the game plan.
A close loss on the road with multiple suspensions, a dominating win at home against Ohio State…Yeah, regardless of Ohio State’s quarterback and coaching woes, the win was convincing enough to sneak them into the 24th spot.
- North Carolina
Given our own stated criteria, they should probably be higher in our rankings as they’ve beaten two BCS conference teams. But I haven’t had a chance to watch them they’re dealing with a new coach and multiple suspensions. In other words, the wheels should fall off eventually.