Well, it’s happened. The unthinkable has happened. My good friend Troy (The Impact Panda), has burnt himself out on writing College Football blogs and with good reason. He is absolutely correct in saying that the College Football world this year just doesn’t have it. What it is, well I’ll tell you. Intrigue or interest. It has been put very eloquently by Mr. Panda that Oregon and Alabama are they only two reams I see as proven and they have played patsies. Kansas State and Notre Dame sit right behind them with the best resumes, but am I sold that either one of those teams could win a National Title? No. This week’s Power Rankings are going to be a little different. I’m going to get to the rankings in a bit, but first I’d like to give a quick synopsis of each conference as a whole and how things are looking as we progress into crunch time for College Football.
Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)
The ACC has been exactly what we expect from the football conference every year. Florida State was way over-hyped preseason, with numerous pundits from the Mothership picking them to play in the National Championship Game. Then they lost to NC State. Remember Clemson of 2011? Yeah, that’s the ACC.
1. #9 Florida State Seminoles 8-1 (5-1) ***
2. #13 Clemson Tigers 7-1 (4-1) ***
3. NC State Wolfpack 5-3 (2-2)
4. Maryland Terrapins 4-4 (2-2)
5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons 4-4 (2-4)
6. Boston College Eagles 2-6 (1-4)
1. Duke Blue Devils 6-3 (3-2) ***
2. North Carolina Tar Heels 6-3 (3-2) XIneligibleX
3. Miami(FL) Hurricanes 4-4 (3-2)
4. Virginia Tech Hokies 4-4 (2-2)
5. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 3-5 (2-3)
6. Virginia Cavaliers 2-6 (0-4)
Conference Overview: The ACC is interesting because it is really not interesting. The ACC Championship Game on the first weekend of December should feature Duke and Florida State, which, if last weekend was any indication, should be a slaughterfest. The clear-cut two best teams in the conference are Florida State behind a stout defense and QB EJ Manuel’s play-making ability, and Clemson who has a great offense, but a defense that norm is mediocrity. realistically the ACC should get a decent representation in the bowl season with Boston College, Virginia, Georgia Tech, and Wake and/or Maryland being the only teams from the 12 team conference to not be eligible. It’s unreal how Maryland has fallen off to what I though they would preseason. To be sitting at 4-4 overall and 2-2 without a single healthy QB on the roster is incredible. Florida State and Clemson will be both be vying for a BCS bowl bid, Clemson looking to be an at-large with FSU getting the automatic because of the tie-breaker and the Conference title.
Big Games this week:
#13 Clemson @ Duke Sat. 7:00PM et ESPN2
Virginia Tech @ Miami(FL) Thurs 7:30PM et
The Big 12
Oh woe is West Virginia. Collin Klein. Charlie Weis. 2 home-losses for Bob Stoops for the first time in his tenure in Norman. That’s the Big 12. Now wait, this is the Big 12.
1. #2 Kansas State Wildcats 8-0 (5-0) ***
2. #12 Oklahoma Sooners 5-2 (3-1
3. #24 Oklahoma State Cowboys 5-2 (3-1)
4. #23 Texas Longhorns 6-2 (3-2) ***
5. #18 Texas Tech Red Raiders 6-2 (3-2) ***
6. #21 West Virginia Mountaineers 5-2 (2-2)
7. Iowa State Cyclones 5-3 (2-3)
8. TCU Horned Frogs 5-3 (2-3)
9. Baylor Bears 3-4 (0-4)
10. Kansas Jayhawks 1-7 (0-5) XXX
Conference Overview: Kansas State is poised to strike at a National Title bid come seasons end with a much more favorable schedule going forward than its had thus far. Oklahoma has lost 2 games at home in a single season for the first time since Bob Stoops took over, but only one of those was a conference game and the other coming to the first team mentioned here. At the beginning of the season the Big 12 seemed to be a power conference with tons of offense, a small dose of defense and a heavy group of tough schedules. After last weeks games the Big 12 is in a nice spot to potentially get 7, possibly 8 of the 10 teams in with the exceptions most likely being Baylor with already impossible Kansas. Sorry Carlie Weis. Wait, not I’m not.
The Heisman race appears to be Collin Klein’s to lose at this point in the season, but that’s a topic for another day. Or later in this blog. A little Foreshadowing happening here.
Big Games this week:
#12 Oklahoma @ Iowa State Sat 12PM et ABC
TCU @ #21 West Virginia Sat 3:30PM et FOX
#23 Texas @ #18 Texas Tech Sat 3:30PM et ABC/ESPN2
#24 Oklahoma State @ #2 Kansas State Sat 8:00PM et ABC
The Big East
Typical Big East with a pair of decent teams at the top of the division in Rutgers and Louisville with a sprinkling of fair teams behind them. The Big East has slowly digressed from the BCS conference’s as far as relevance because it just seems to be a lackluster group year in and year out.
1. Rutgers Scarlet Knights 7-1 (4-0)
2. #10 Louisville Cardinals 8-0 (3-0)
3. Syracuse Orange 4-4 (3-1)
4. Temple Owls 3-4 (2-2)
5. Cincinnati Bearcats 5-2 (1-1)
6. Pittsburgh Panthers 4-4 (1-3)
7. Connecticut Huskies 3-5 (0-3)
8. South Florida Bulls 2-6 (0-4)
Conference Overview: There is now secret that the Big East is not a power conference by any means. If you can find me a team in this conference that is balanced on both sides of the ball. Louisville is undefeated, but it hasn’t impressed against a solid offensive unit yet, giving up tons of points to the decent offense of UNC. Rutgers hardly plays offense, but it’s defense is one of the best in the country. It’s not out of the question to see Louisville be undefeated come seasons end, but they could trip over Rutgers. It boggles my mind to think that a team in this conference gets to automatically play in a BCS bowl game.
Big Games this week:
Syracuse @ Cincinnati 12PM et Big East Network/ESPN3
The Big Ten
Ohio State can’t play in a bowl game. They might go undefeated. Penn State can’t play in a bowl game game. They could end the B1G season with 1 conference loss. Nebraska beat Michigan. Nebraska joins Ohio State as the only 2 ranked B1G teams after the Badgers lost, yet again, to Michigan State. This is the worst we have seen the B1G in a long long time, in a land far far away. It’s like a fairy tale with a not-so-happy ending right now in the Midwest.
1. #20 Nebraska Cornhuskers 6-2 (3-1) ***
2. Michigan Wolverines 5-3 (3-1)
3. Northwestern Wildcats 7-2 (3-2) ***
4. Iowa Hawkeyes 4-4 (2-2)
5. Michigan State Spartans 5-4 (2-3)
6. Minnesota Golden Gophers 5-3 (1-3)
1. #6 Ohio State Buckeyes 9-0 (5-0) XXX
2. Penn State Nittany Lions 5-3 (3-1) XXX
3. Wisconsin Badgers 6-3 (3-2) ***
4. Indiana Hoosiers 3-5 (1-3)
5. Purdue Boilermakers 3-5 (0-4)
6. Illinois Fighting Illini 2-6 (0-4)
Conference Overview: Without Ohio State and Penn State representing the conference in bowl games it is not unrealistic to think that the B1G may not be able to fill out its typical bowl obligations with only 2 eligible teams now and Illinoi/Purdue/Indiana all more than likely not going bowling. Iowa, Michigan State, and Minnesota are all within 2 games of being bowl eligible, but right now none of those teams are stepping up and it’s more than likely that at least one of those teams will not be bowling come December/January. That leaves Nebraska, Michigan, Northwestern, Wisconsin, and 2 of the 3 in Minnesota/Iowa/Michigan State. That’s only 6 teams. Half of the conference. Of those 6, how confident are you that 1 can win a Rose Bowl and any of the others can win Outback/Capital One/Gator bowls? Big Ten sucks. Plain and simple.
Big Games this week:
Michigan @ Minnesota 12PM et BTN
#20 Nebraska @ Michigan State 3:30PM et ABC/ESPN2
Mid American Conference (MAC)
The Impact Panda doesn’t usually address the MAC and with good reason. It’s a non-automatic qualifier and a non-BCS conference. With the MAC’s success this year it isn’t completely and totally out of the question to toss the MAC conference in front of the Big East and even the B1G as far as how the conferences rank. It’s amazing what teams like Kent State, Northern Illinois, and Toledo are doing. Before last week Ohio was sitting at undefeated. Kent State beat arguably the best team in the Big East. The conference has 6 eligible teams already and 4 already eliminated. It could actually be the most exciting conference going forward to see who ends up coming out.
1. Kent State Golden Flashes 7-1 (4-0) ***
2. Bowling Green Falcons 6-3 (4-1) ***
3. Miami(OH) Redhawks 4-4 (3-1)
4. Ohio Bobcats 7-1 (3-1) ***
5. Buffalo Bulls 1-7 (0-4)
6. Massachusetts Minutemen 0-8 (0-4)
7. Akron Zips 1-8 (0-5)
1. Northern Illinois Huskies 8-1 (5-0) ***
2. Toledo Rockets 8-1 (5-0) ***
3. Ball State Cardinals 6-3 (3-2) ***
4. Central Michigan Chippewas 3-5 (1-3)
5. Western Michigan Broncos 3-6 (1-4)
6. Eastern Michigan Eagles 1-7 (0-4)
Conference Overview: The MAC is good. How good? Good. Ohio loses to an in conference opponent, and then Kent State beats a quality Big East team. The good teams win and the bad teams lose. Often times in College Football, that is a sign of a good conference. Not only are the teams good, but they have great players all over the place as well. 3 of the top 10 leading rushers on the season reside in Beau Blankenship (Ohio), David Fluellen (Toledo), and the nations leading rusher as a QB in Jordan Lynch (NIU). The Big Ten, you know the rushing capital of the College Football world has 4 players in the top 10. They run the ball, and don’t look now, but they play a little defense, especially at Bowling Green who boasts one of the best in the conference and even the country as far as scoring defense.
No Big Games this week.
Oregon had its first true test on the road of the season last week at Arizona State. They led 43-7 at half-time. USC was the conference favorite in the preseason, but they have been way less than impressive, with 2 losses, both coming to Stanford and Arizona on the road. Oregon State had been a nice surprise in the Pac 12 and UCLA has put together a quality season through 8 games, but the top teams are clear and the bottom teams are clearer.
1. #4 Oregon Ducks 8-0 (5-0) ***
2. #11 Oregon State Beavers 6-1 (4-1) ***
3. #14 Stanford Cardinal 6-2 (4-1) ***
4. Washington Huskies 4-4 (2-3)
5. California Golden Bears 3-6 (2-4)
6. Washington State Cougars 2-6 (0-5)
1. #17 USC Trojans 6-2 (4-2) ***
2. UCLA Bruins 6-2 (3-2) ***
3. Arizona State Sun Devils 5-3 (3-2)
4. #22 Arizona Wildcats 5-2 (3-2)
5. Utah Utes 3-5 (1-4)
6. Colorado Buffaloes 1-7 (1-4) XXX
Conference Overview: Jonathon Kincaid put it very well on his radio show Sunday when he said that Lane Kiffin got taken off of Chip Kelly’s Christmas card list after losing to Arizona last Saturday. Oregon would be in a great spot to end up in the BCS Title Game, if USC had won and remained relevant. With 2 losses on the year, they no longer possess the same kind of clout they had coming into the season. The schedule for Oregon could still be enough if they can win all of the next 4, 3 coming against ranked opponents, 2 of which are on the road at USC and Oregon State. After that Oregon will more than likely play in the Pac 12 Championship game. The conference starts and ends with Oregon because they have the best offense in America, and the most realistic chance to play in the BCS National Championship Game. Contrary to Oregon teams in the past, this one actually plays exceptional defense too. Big test on Saturday against USC.
Big Games this week:
#22 Arizona @ UCLA 10:30PM et Pac 12 Network
#4 Oregon @ #17 USC 7:00PM et FOX
Arizona State @ #11 Oregon State 10:30PM et ESPN2
Southeastern Conference (SEC)
If you think the SEC isn’t the best conference in College Football you know nothing about the subject matter. Alabama is the best team in the land. In a down year, LSU is even still a top 10 team. Florida is back. Georgia is where they need to be. South Carolina lost Marcus Lattimore in a horrific injury last week, but they are still in a decent spot going forward with a stout defense. The SEC is stacked.
1. #7 Florida Gators 7-1 (6-1) ***
2. #6 Georgia Bulldogs 7-1 (5-1) ***
3. #8 South Carolina Gamecocks 7-2 (5-2) ***
4. Vanderbilt Commodores 4-4 (2-3)
5. Missouri Tigers 4-4 (1-4)
6. Tennessee Volunteers 3-5 (0-5)
7. Kentucky Wildcats 1-8 (0-6) XXX
1. #1 Alabama Crimson Tide 8-0 (5-0) ***
2. #5 LSU Tigers 7-1 (3-1) ***
3. #15 Mississippi State Bulldogs 7-1 (3-1) ***
4. #16 Texas A & M Aggies 6-2 (3-2) ***
5. Ole Miss Rebels 5-3 (2-2)
6. Arkansas Razorbacks 3-5 (2-3)
7. Auburn Tigers 1-7 (0-6) XXX
Conference Overview: Alabama has the inside track to the National Championship Game. It’s not uncharted waters for Nick Saban and his staff with the clear-cut best team in the country at this point in time. The biggest game of the season this year comes this weekend with a game at Death Valley against LSU, but if they can make a statement against a team that wants blood, the doubters, if there are any, will be shut up. The SEC Championship game will more than likely be Georgia vs. Alabama unless the Tide don’t roll and Georgia gets upset badly. The SEC is the best conference in the land and it would be surprising if they don’t end up with 7 or 8 teams in bowl games come seasons end.
Big Games this week:
#16 Texas A & M @ #15 Mississippi State 12:00PM et ESPN
Ole Miss @ #6 Georgia 3:30PM et CBS
#1 Alabama @ #5 LSU 8:00PM et CBS
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and the Underrated:
The Good: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame did what most people thought was impossible by going to Norman and beating an Oklahoma team that hadn’t lost 2 games at home in a single season during the Bob Stoops era. The best player in College Football is Manti Te’o. End of discussion. It took this week for everyone to finally call Notre Dame for real. I’ve been saying all season long that if Notre Dame could find a QB worth a damn, they could be scary. Welcome to the party Everett Golson. He hasn’t been amazing, but he has been good running the offense and Brian Kelly has a good thing going they are starting to develop a phenomenal defense/offense combination that very nicely compliments itself. Notre Dame gets the Good of the week.
The Bad The Auburn Tigers
No explanation needed.
Marcus Lattimore’s injured leg. Here is a list of all of the things that Marcus Lattimore broke/tore/ruined:
1. Broken Femur
2. Broken Patella
3. Torn ACL
4. Torn PCL
5. Torn MCL
6. Torn LCL
here is the video. Watch with caution.
It’s really too bad that a kid like Marcus Lattimore, who is one of the most fun players in the country to watch. Thought/Prayers or whatever else you want to send out to the family and friends, and more importantly to the young man, you should do so. I have been.
Underrated/Under-Radar Player of the Week:
Jordan Lynch (Northern Illinois Quarterback): In victory against Western Michigan Lynch threw the ball 28 times, completing 18 of those for 274 yards, 4 completions for scores. Not only did he throw the ball well, he took off on foot 21 times, scurrying for 136 yards, eclipsing the century mark all, but one week this season. Oh yeah, he also rushed for 2 Touchdowns.
25. Toledo Rockets (8-1) Could win MAC in 2012. Should win in 2013. Toledo is damn good.
24. Boise State Broncos (7-1) Youngsters that have learned what winning means. Boise back in Top 25
23. Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-2) Huge chance to make a statement this Saturday in Manhattan.
22. Texas Longhorns (6-2) You think Mack Brown’s guys were looking forward to Tech? I do.
21. Nebraska Cornhuskers (6-2) Huge win against Michigan Very overlooked right now nationally.
20. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (7-1) Poor-mans Oregon. Put Colby Cameron on Oregon he is the Heisman.
19. West Virginia Mountaineers (5-2) Best open week timing for anybody this year
18. USC Trojans (6-2) Lane Kiffin needs to just give the game to the players
17. Texas A & M Aggies (6-2) Johnny Manziel is kind of good. Kind of = Amazing.
16. Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-2) Win with defense. Not so much last week against K-State.
15. Stanford Cardinal (6-2) Both losses are solid to Notre Dame and @ Washington.
14. Oregon State Beavers (6-1) Washington is good at home. Mannion is back. Put less stock in the L
13. Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-1) Can you blame them for getting killed by Bama? I can’t.
12. OKlahoma Sooners (5-2) 2 Losses at home, both to top 4 teams.
11. Florida State Seminoles (7-1) The loss to NC State still bothers me
10. Clemson Tigers (7-1) Still convinced they are the best team in the ACC
9. Louisville Cardinals (8-0) They’re undefeated and will probably lose, but 8-0 in BCS Conference.
8. Florida Gators (7-1) Lost to Georgia, but can you argue that anyone else deserves to be ahead?
7. Ohio State Buckeyes (9-0) XXX
6. Georgia Bulldogs (7-1) Huge victory over Florida last week.
5. LSU Tigers (7-1) Hate it, but I have to at this point.
4. Kansas State Wildcats (8-0) Collin Klein.
3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-0) They’re for real.
2. Oregon Ducks (8-0) Most fun team to watch in America.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0) No doubt.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed my version of TIP’s blog. I actually enjoyed spending a little more time than usual with this stuff and I may continue while he is on his hiatus. Make it a great week or not and until time. Sayonara.