I completely and totally agree with the BCS. No cause to even waste my time on these rankings…..
Got ya. Of course I will do my power rankings. This week in the College Football ranks we learned a lot about players, teams, and that national landscape as a whole. I don’t want to bore you with all of the introduction mumbo jumbo so I’ll just get right into the rankings. Strap in.
Notes: Texas had a great opportunity to impress me this week and although they were victorious, I would have liked to see more from them in a home victory. The BCS Ranks throw Wisconsin in the top 25 as well as Boise and I don’t think they have that edge for me yet. With a win next week, over Michigan State at Camp Randall in convincing fashion, it should be enough for me to put them in the top 25, but for now they just get mentioned here. They are improving a great deal, but I have to see more. As for the Broncos, if they beat San Diego State in 2 weeks I’ll make a consideration, but the strength of schedule is pathetic and even though they boast the 6th best points against, a large part of that is playing some of the worst offenses in the country, including Michigan State.
25 Penn State Nittany Lions (5-2) Putting the Nittany Lions in the top 25 this week is large in part of the fact that I saw them live on Saturday night at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. This is not your Grandparents Penn State team. After starting slow with losses to a very good Ohio team and Virginia on the worst kicking performance this year, the fighting Nittany’s are back. Matt McGloin currently leads the B1G conference in Passing and the rushing attack is a nice compliment. One of the best group of Tight Ends in the country who picked apart a solid linebacking core at Iowa. The defense is as stout as any, anchored my Michael Mauti, who has been all over the field for Bill O’Brien. After everything that happened, everyone thought Penn State would be horrendous. They were for 2 games and then they remembered that this same group of guys are still highly recruited and good at football.
24 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (6-1) Everyone was buzzing about Geno Smith from West Virginia not having a single interception until the game against Kansas State. The Bulldogs Senior Quarterback, Colby Cameron is the only passer besides AJ McCarron from Alabama to have over 100 passing attempts and no interceptions. Cameron also has nearly 1,000 more passing yards than McCarron. Louisiana Tech is truly the poor mans Oregon of old. If you don’t play defense, you might as well score a ton of points and the you can win games. In the top 15 in the important offensive categories and 1st in the nation in scoring, I think the Bulldogs are doing a pretty darn good job.
23 Ohio Bobcats (7-0) Beau Blankenship got back over 100 yards rushing for the 6th time this season. QB Tyler Tettleton threw 2 TD’s, caught a score, and used his legs all day long in the tight victory over Akron. The Zips scored 2 late Touchdowns to make it look close, but really, Ohio solidified the game in the 3rd. Until further notice the Bobcats are my favorite for the MAC.
22 West Virginia Mountaineers (5-2) Geno Smith threw his first interception of the season. That was a non-factor in the shellacking that they took to Kansas State in Morgantown Saturday. Defense is optional for West Virginia this year and they have chosen to not play it very often. Collin Klein had a field day scoring 7 times with just shy of 400 total yards and West Virginia got absolutely rocked. West Virginia went from a Big 12 Title Contender to a big fraud the past 2 weeks and it will be an interesting match-up in Morgantown this weekend when the Horned Frogs from TCU come to town after a triple Overtime thriller of a loss to Texas Tech.
21 Michigan Wolverines (5-2) They got it done for the first time against “not-so-little brother” in 5 seasons and it was a sweet one. The winningest program in College Football won for the 900th time Saturday against The Spartans and it appears each week more and more that the Wolverines could actually be a B1G contender. Oh wait, that isn’t saying much right now. Denard Robinson is hitting his stride and the defense is playing exceptional. People keep neglecting to remember that this team lost to the best team in the land and a great Notre Dame team on the road. At the mid-way point I’m picking the Wolverines to take on the Badgers in Indianapolis and ultimately win that game, punching its ticket to Pasadena. Wow, I didn’t even blink when I typed that. I’ve gone too far now to turn back.
20 Georgia Bulldogs (6-1) I’m a big fan of Aaron Murray at Quarterback and there’s an awesome tandem of young backs carrying the load for the Dawgs, but Mark Richt had a typical overlook game against Kentucky, narrowly escaping after a late score by the Wildcats. I dropped Georgia down quite a bit this week based on that, and because there was a lot of impressive wins happening around the country. Florida comes to town Saturday and if an upset happens, Georgia will shoot up the rankings here and in the BCS because that gives them the inside track to play in the SEC Championship game come seasons end with the Gamecocks falling two consecutive weeks to the Gators and Tigers of LSU.
19 Texas A & M Aggies (5-2) Johnny Manzeil would win rookie of the year if this were professional sports. What he did against LSU was turn the ball over and have his worst game of the season, yet A & M was still in the game at the end because they have zero propensity to score any points. With a nice break lined up for the Aggies this week against a horrendous Auburn team on the road, hopefully they will be able to get ready for the big ones the following weeks with Mississippi State and Alabama looming. It’s important that this group doesn’t overlook Auburn though. Remember who took LSU to the brink earlier this year? Yeah, the same team that has lost 4 straight including a loss to John L. Smith.
18 Stanford Cardinal (6-1) California has 2 pretty solid runningbacks. Combined, they averaged 1 yard per carry against this impressive Stanford defense. After the Washington loss and the 2 Overtime games, Stanford finally looked like the Stanford I thought they were going to be. if they could have snuck out with a win over the Irish last week (almost did, and some think they got snubbed), the Cardinal would be in a position right now to bust into the top 10 easily. 2 games against the worst of the worst in the Pac 12 coming up, the fine-tuning can begin before the Beavers come to town and they travel to Autzen with revenge from last year on their minds.
17 Louisville Cardinals (7-0) If a team can be mediocre, yet undefeated, Louisville emulates that. The Big East actually interesting and nobody is really talking about it. The favorite for me will appear further down on this list in Rutgers, but right now Louisville is doing everything that is asked of them. A big test comes Friday night this week when what should be an angry Cincinnati team comes to town. Getting a feel for these Big East teams is tough each year, and even more so this year.
16 South Carolina Gamecocks (6-2) Marcus Lattimore only carried the rock 3 times in the loss at the Swamp against Florida. South Carolina left with their feathers more than ruffled and are going to have to seriously bounce back against Tyler Bray and Derek Dooley’s Rocky Top Saturday. After the blow-out of Georgia, South Carolina is no longer in the drivers seat or in a nice position to match-up in the SEC Championship after dropping 2 straight. Getting Lattimore healthy and the defense fine-tuned the next few weeks is as important as anything for the Old Ball Coach before bowl season.
15 Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-1) Holy defense in the Big 12? Texas Tech plays maybe the best defense in the conference outside of Manhattan, Kansas and they are propelling themselves up in the hype ranks after the revenge loss to Oklahoma. Possibly the most underrated 1 loss team in the country right now. Seth Doege has his team in a nice place and after showing great resolve in the triple overtime thriller over TCU. Everything is working in Tech’s favor except the schedule. Kansas State and Texas lined up for the next two, but if they can pop through those 2 with a pair of wins or even just 1 win, they could be in a nice spot to finish top 3 in the conference.
14 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (7-0) I love Rutgers. I’ve been moving them up slowly, but surely into the ranks and after convincingly beating Temple this weekend. A quality, out of conference opponent coming up against Kent state, Rutgers should continue the dominance and move to 8-0. The Louisville game still looms large at the end of the year and will more than likely be for the Big East title. Interestingly enough, the offense will return a great deal of starters next year, and many of them have plenty of experience. The defense has been incredible over the past few seasons and Rutgers could end up being a BCS bowl team come seasons end. Crazy, right?
13 Florida State Seminoles (7-1) EJ Manuel was consistent, but not flashy. The good news is that the running attack was productive and the Seminoles produced a good victory against the Miami Hurricanes. Florida State has impressed on both sides of the ball, with one of the best defenses in the land. Not very often is the Duke game one that can be starred on the calender, but the Blue Devils are bowl-eligible already and this could be a tighter match-up than many may expect. Florida State needs a big victory and the schedule could allow that coming up at seasons end with Florida on the slate at home.
12 Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-0) Defense rules in the SEC and it has for quite some time now. The Bulldogs play some of the best defense in the land in 2012 and they are reaping benefit from a cupcake of a schedule so far. That changes this week. Bama, Texas A & M, and LSU. The two toughest games coming on the road. It’s been fun Mississippi State, but will it continue? I doubt that.
11 Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0) What the heck is Ohio State doing? Braxton Miller went out against Purdue and they almost got Boilered up at the Shoe. How does Purdue consistently give the Bucks a tough game? Right now Ohio State is ineligible for bowls and they could very well be the best team in the conference, but in all honesty, Penn State has been impressive as well. Oh wait, they aren’t eligible either. With Braxton Miller practicing early in the week, they should be ready for Penn State in Happy Valley.
10 Clemson Tigers (6-1) I’m still high on Clemson. The defense isn’t very good, but Tajh Boyd is exceptional, and the offense is as high-octane as they come. A favorable schedule for the next 3 if they can get through Duke, but NC State looms after defeating the Noles and they have the Gamecocks in the final week of the year. Clemson is good, but it’s unknown by anybody really how good they are or can be.
9 USC Trojans (6-1) I said last week that USC needed to slaughter an opponent or 2 in the coming weeks. Does 50-6 over Colorado count? Test passed Lane Kiffin. Test passed. Matt Barkley may be the first Heisman favorite to be flying under the radar mid-season. The guy is putting up nice numbers and USC has still only lost once. I dislike Lane Kiffin. I dislike the system that he runs, but he’s in a good situation in Los Angeles. Recruiting is easy when you have binders and binders of women all around. Yeah, that was a Mitt reference. I love it.
8 Oklahoma Sooners (5-1) OU has one loss. That loss came to the most underrated and impressive team in College Football thus far. Landry Jones and Kenny Stills have hooked up more than 5 times on 5 separate occasions this season. All of those times, but one, Stills ended up in the endzone. So often it gets overlooked that not every single team in non-defense conferences does just that. 3 of the top 20 defenses in the country are in the Big 12, including Oklahoma’s. They get after the ball and don’t give up a lot of points to quality offenses. The Notre Dame game this weekend in Norman will be very interesting to see which team can respond better to the big game. Each team plays very good defense, but OU has the offensive edge in early analysis. That’s why we play the games.
7 Oregon State Beavers (6-0) Sean Mannion went out after an incredible start to his sophomore campaign for the Beavers. They haven’t missed a beat since the QB went down 2 weeks ago. After blasting BYU, they were consistent and solid against Utah last week, the Beavers are in a great spot. Washington comes up in the late night game this week on the road. It’s a tough place to play, with a tough Washington team, whose record doesn’t reflect that. The real tests start for Oregon State coming up with Washington, Arizona State, then at Stanford and Oregon coming to town before the season wraps. If Cody Vaz can continue to remain mistake free or not make the big mistakes that can alter a game, the Beavers can continue to be the surprise of the season that isn’t Kansas State.
6 LSU Tigers (6-1) Defense is optional in the Big 12, football is optional in the B1G, and offense is non-existent at LSU. Les Miles knows how to win, make no mistake about that, but against quality opponents, Zach Metterberger lays an egg. They miss the Honey Badger,and they miss a lot of other guys on the defensive side of the ball like Morris Claiborne, but they have responded nicely. If the offense doesn’t start evolving, and quickly, they will lose another game in the regular season. I’m calling one if not both of the next 2 against Bama and Mississippi State.
5 Kansas State Wildcats (7-0) Collin Klein coming out party! 7 scores and a road victory in Morgantown and he is the next way to hyped up player for the Heisman Trophy. That isn’t to say, what he is doing isn’t special, but is Colin Klein the best player in College Football? Very well could be. I would submit that the correct answer is no. Let’s ask a better question. A more objective question. Does Bill Snyder have his Wildcats in a position to compete for a National Title? The answer to that one is a booming yes. The toughest games on the schedule going forward are both at home. Texas Tech’s jury is still out and the Horns got beat by 2 teams that K-State beat, embarrassing one of them. Kansas State has the inside track to a Big 12 Title. Hopefully they don’t pull a hammy.
4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-0) I’m sorry, but if you’re not sold on Notre Dame, I don’t know what more they can do. They are barely winning games, but they aren’t set up to slaughter teams not named Miami or Navy. They are a smashmouth, you hit me, I’ll hit you harder, football team. Manti Te’o is the best defensive player in the land and to me is quite frankly the best player overall. The offense can go stagnant at times, but they do just enough and Brian Kelly knows how to win those close games. So often it gets overlooked that these battle-tested teams are truly as good as their ranking or record. Notre Dame is.
3 Florida Gators (7-0) Kansas State was kind of impressive after the blow-out win over West Virginia. Florida did a little slaughtering themselves Saturday. The Swamp was rocking and South Carolina got killed. It seems like Jeff Driskel has been at Florida for 1 minute and the guy is leading his Gators to a pretty special season so far. Mike Gillislee is coming into his own as a senior and the defense is killing offenses much like LSU and Alabama were in 2011. Florida is good. Very good. Tough test against Georgia in Gainesville Saturday.
2 Oregon Ducks (7-0) Perfect scenario for upset alert. Thursday night game. Road-trip to Tempe to take on the Sun Devils. Oregon was winning 43-7 at half-time. The BCS will always love its SEC schools and surprise stories like Kansas State over Oregon, but Chip Kelly has something brewing in Autzen. This Mariota kid is good and with play-makers like Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas on offense with a stout defense, the Ducks are a force to be reckoned with.
1 Alabama Crimson Tide (7-0) Every season there is a front-runner for the majority of the year once the BCS Rankings come out. Last season it was LSU. Before that it was Auburn and Oregon interchangeably. Right now, the undisputed favorite is Alabama. It has been all season long. The Crimson Tide are experienced where they need to be, athletic everywhere and are the best coached team in the country under Nick Saban. Strength is everywhere and weakness is nowhere. The only downfall that I see with this team is that they have made mince meat out of every team they’ve faced so far and with visits from Mississippi State and the Johnny Manziel led Aggies, with a road-trip to Death Valley where revenge could be a storyline, sandwiched in between, Bama may not know how to respond to a close game. Who am I kidding? It’s Alabama. Roll Tide.