Yesterday was one of those days of college football where you feel like your time could have been spent better. Sure, it’s college football and is enjoyable in its own right, regardless of the quality of the games but when you sit down with the intention of watching football for seven straight hours while randomly commenting on it, you have clearly set the bar high.
I’m breaking one of my own rules in even acknowledging as much. One of my pet peeves of The Big Dance is the constant end of day/end of round/end of tournament analysis, in which everyone attempts to quantify whether or not we were properly entertained. But at least I can justify my self-pity by acknowledging that the suspense missing from yesterday’s contests is directly reflected in our rankings. We can expect this for a number of weeks, probably. A bunch of losses amongst 11h-25th, virtually no movement at the top and very few teams entering or re-entering the top twenty-five.
Onto the rankings.
- LSU – With Jordan Jefferson back playing as well as ever, there really isn’t any flaws on this team. Well, other than the coach’s needlessly erratic play-calling. We saw some of that against Tennessee on Saturday, but even with a sub-par Vols squad it was impressive how they went into Knoxville and won effortlessly.
- Alabama – Struggling against Ole Miss in the first half is considerably worse than struggling with Tennessee. In other words, we might as well just start the countdown for when these two finally play each other in November.
- Wisconsin – On their bye-week, no one did anything to surpass them. They’re not going to lose.
- Oklahoma – That first half against Kansas was sort of embarrassing, but they regrouped and dominated in the second as they should have from the get-go. Which is good, if that second half had gone as bad as the first – with or without Kenny Stills – we would have dropped them below Boise State, at least.
- Boise State – It can’t be a good sign for their chances when they remain everyone’s darling, win by 50 points, and despite watching football for about eight straight hours last night we’re only hearing about it for the sake of these rankings.
- Oklahoma State – Definitely a convincing win against Texas, who may or may not be slowly improving back to their 2009 form. With the exception of maybe Kansas State, they’re en route to an inevitable undefeated showdown with Oklahoma.
- Stanford – How many more times do I have to hear about this team’s win streak of 25 points or more without anyone mentioning their opponents? At the rate Oregon is going they’ll be playing half a roster.
- Clemson – Their game against Maryland was one I tuned out of completely, was their any explanation for why they struggled so noticeably against a bottom-feeding ACC team? Taj Boyd played, so I have no choice but to drop them. It was too Tommy Bowden-esque.
- Oregon – Without their Heisman trophy finalist for the entire game and their starting quarterback, Oregon still managed to beat a ranked opponent, on the road, at night, rather convincingly. Their defense is lacking, but they’d be more than challenging for any of the team’s 3-8 in front of them.
- Arkansas – We’re at a point where we have to excuse any and all losses to Alabama and LSU, particularly if they were in Tuscaloosa and Baton Rouge.
- Auburn – And so continues the theme that any games between Auburn, Florida, Mississippi State, Georgia, Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee will be determined almost solely on who has home field advantage. All these teams beat Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Kentucky and lose to Alabama and LSU regardless of where they’re played.
- Kansas State – At a certain point undefeated is undefeated, and unlike Stanford they’ve beaten plenty of respectable opponents. I don’t expect them to finish here, but if either the Sooners play like they did against the Jayhawks in the first half or Oklahoma State Cowboys mails in their performance a la their game against Texas A&M, K-State can pull off the upset.
- West Virginia – With every passing week it’s more and more apparent they’re going to run away with the Big East. Even in weeks they don’t play.
- Virginia Tech – The pollsters hated the close win against Miami (and are probably tired of constantly over-ranking Virginia Tech preseason only to be proven wrong), but they’re over-compensating now. Miami is talented if sometimes dysfunctional, and they still only have the one loss to LSU. See: Arkansas.
- Michigan State – This team could lose to and beat anyone in the country (save for LSU and Alabama, and all the other teams they would clearly never lose too, like Akron). That seems sufficient enough for 15th in the country. Their pivotal game will come against Nebraska, to decide who will lose to Wisconsin again in the national title game (Sparty plays the Badgers next week at home, at night).
- Nebraska – Right now we have the Cornhuskers pegged to lose to Michigan State.
- Georgia Tech – As much as I liked them, they were overdue for a loss. Too thin on talent and too reliant on scheme. So when they play a team coming off a bye-week they have ample time to prepare for a triple-option, and they lose to Virginia.
- MichiganAgain, overdue. Their schedule has been relatively soft and they were on the road in tumultous weather (or more specifically, it was really windy). You would assume this would help a team that primarily runs the ball with their quarterback, and it does. But Michigan State has arguably the best defense in the conference and Michigan probably still has one of the three worst (Indiana and Minnesota are duking it out for the crown).
- Illinois – I picked them to lose to Ohio State, because as depressing as the Buckeyes loss was in Lincoln, Braxton Miller proved he had a fully-developed frontal lobe and the offensive line proved capable of run-blocking. What I didn’t expect was for Ohio Stat to only need one completed pass to beat the Illini.
- Penn State – 6-1 and still no one cares. We might be looking at a 3-2 finish when they play Ohio State. Hopefully it isn’t snowing.
- Houston – Undefeated but obviously lacking any national prominence. They’ll probably put them in a bowl game against Boise State while commissioners and shot callers from the six BCS conferences fill the stadium to point and laugh at their limited resources.
- Texas A&M – Big win against Baylor. Good luck doing that next year against the likes of, say, Arkansas. As for this year, the Aggies should have a great showing in the Alamo Bowl.
- Georgia – They’re treading water with close wins over Tennessee and Vanderbilt, but this is a team that is only going to improve as the season progresses. Right now I have them pegged for a 9-3 season, with a loss to Florida two weeks from now at the Cocktail Party.
- Arizona State – No one expected them to beat Oregon at night in Eugene, and they made a good showing of it. It might seem trite since I just mentioned how impressive Oregon’s win was with both LaMichael James missing the entire game and Darren Thomas missing a significant chunk of it, but obviously expectations fluctuate from team to team. And the Sun Devils dominated this game in the first half when Darren Thomas was playing.
- Toledo – Whatever. I’m running out of teams I can justify putting into a “ranking”.