Plenty of movement in the rankings this week. Not in the top five, of course. That isn’t going to happen until two of them play each other or one of them loses outside one of their contemporaries. Even though LSU and Alabama eventually play later this season, given the unpredictability of that game, the team most vulnerable to a loss amongst the five best in the country appears to be Oklahoma. The Big XII actually has some talent to it this season (Texas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State & Baylor are all potential losses), and while the Sooners look exceptional, they’re far from invincible.
Wisconsin & Boise State? You guys are good. No need to worry. Or rather, if either of you lose a single game from here on out, with the schedules LSU, Alabama & Oklahoma have to bear, you’ll have no room to complain about a playoff should you lose even once and any of the other three go undefeated. Maybe that’s not a realistic expectation but it is perception, and when it comes to the BCS, that is reality.
Onto the rankings.
Beating Florida 38-10 in Gainesville earns them the top spot. Congrats, Alabama. Your over-recruiting and subsequent over-offering of scholarships has paid off, yet again. And with no downside or victims whatsoever!
Their one spot drop can be completely incidental. They play Florida at home this Saturday afternoon, if they can beat Florida as convincingly as Alabama did on the road, they can reclaim their temporary throne. But failing to cover against Kentucky had to have some consequences.
The only reason we can’t put Wisconsin past LSU or Alabama is 1) The top SEC teams have been consistently better than the top teams in every other conference for at least a decade, I haven’t seen any reason why that would change. And 2) One win against an overrated Nebraska team in a home night game does not compensate for their first four opponents. They’re legtimately great this year and (as suggested earlier) I believe they’ll go undefeated. But this might be the season their perennially weak nonconference scheduling comes back to haunt them.
Someone was pissy they fell in the rankings. Sorry, Sooner Nation. But you could have beaten Ball State by 100 points and we’d still have you at 4th.
- Boise State
Usually for this column, I go back and look at who a team beat and how they beat them before I set the rankings. In Boise’s case, assuming they played, they obviously didn’t lose; and whichever pushover they beat this week isn’t going to move them ahead of the four teams in front of them. You’re going to need them to lose to grab one of those top two elusive spots.
If Boise’s recent history wasn’t them always showing up for big games and Clemson’s wasn’t them choking away pivotal opportunities, the two programs would switch places. But, alas, that isn’t the case. Consider me completely sold on Clemson for this season, though. *Wait’s for them to lose to Wake Forest*
I’m starting to believe in Stanford for completely arbitrary reasons. Such as beating middling Pac-12 teams by thirty points.
- Oklahoma State
This was a fairly impressive week for a lot of teams in the top fifteen. I guess what I’m saying is, it’s tempting to drop them further over their bye-week. Expect them to fall again next week after they beat Kansas.
The offense is there, the defense isn’t. Still, expect them to wail on Cal tomorrow just like they did on Arizona last Saturday.
- Georgia Tech
Hey, 13th in the AP & Coaches polls, looks like everyone else is jumping on the bandwagon. Though beating NC State by ten (and giving up 35 points) isn’t instilling any confidence. Never the less, I expect both them and Clemson to be undefeated when they play on the 29th, and as far as talent gaps are concerned, Georgia Tech is going to play the David role. At least they get them at home, and it will probably be at night. Those swarms of engineering students will undoubtedly be fired up.
- South Carolina
With the way this team runs its offense, they’re vulnerable to close losses. Still, I’m on the Gamecock bandwagon. Expect them to be far improved by the time they’re losing in the SEC title game.
The one aspect of this team that instills confidence – in spite of their close wins to
subpar teams – is they’re undefeated, and they’ve won close and in routes, with both high and low scoring games. In other words, they’re not overly reliant on any one aspect of their team. They’re the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of college football this season.
Two convincing road wins over mediocre BCS conference teams has the pollsters convinced with top ten rankings in both. They’re in a precarious position here, in that they could lose Saturday afternoon and we’d still move them up.
Speaking of pollsters, they must have a really high opinion of both Alabama (understandable) and Texas A&M (why does everyone want this team to be better than it actually is?), because the Razorbacks are 10th and 12th in the two polls.
They could very well be housed by LSU this Saturday, it will be a good litmus test for Muschamp and how well he can motivate his team after what must be a completely dispiriting loss.
- Kansas State
They won that game against Baylor by the skin of their teeth, and because Bill Snyder remains the most underrated coach in the country.
Tough loss, but no one was under the impression they were running the table. Robert Griffin is still the quarterback in the country doing the most with the least.
Everyone is buying into this team as a legitimate conference title contender. But like everyone else in the Big Ten, they’re completely interchangeable in that if they make the Big Ten title game, they’ll be absolutely crushed if they play Wisconsin in the inagural conference title game (they don’t play in the regular season).
- Virginia Tech
Obviously I consider their loss to Clemson more a testament to the strength of Clemson than the weakness of Virginia Tech. But it would be nice if this program could just once live up to their preseason billing.
- West Virginia
Way to crush a MAC team in week five and move up by default.
- Florida State
A much needed bye week can only be a good thing for a plummeting Seminoles team.
- Michigan State
Not really sure why I have them in here, all they did was beat the worst Ohio State team since 2000 by a field goal. But it was on the road and they always lose at Notre Dame, so, no reason they couldn’t earn their way back in the top twenty-five.
This team has played a lot of marquee games and are still 4-1 (2-1 in said marquee games). I expect they’ll spend all season hovering in between 15th and here.
- Arizona State
If there were ever a team pegged for 8-4, this would be the team.
They’ve played a tougher schedule than about 90% of BCS conference teams and just took everyone’s Cinderella (Temple) behind the woodshed. Between the Temple win, the heartbreaker at Ohio State (which is admittedly looking less and less impressive each week) and the hosing in Syracuse, Toledo has earned this small bit of validation.