Separating men from boys. It’s a trend that from week 6 and beyond that engulfs the College Football landscape whether we like it or not. This week alone, there were 4 match-ups featuring 2 ranked teams against each other, in 3 different conferences and Notre Dame against Stanford. The fog is as dense as it has been all season with the Associated Press/Coach’s Poll Rankings being shunned aside for the Bowl Championship Series Rankings being released for the first time all season. The BCS is preposterous as always, putting teams slightly above where they should or slightly lower than where they should and a few surprises here and there. I have been right, wrong, indifferent, and just plain reckless on many of my Power Rankings this season thus far, but it’s been a blast. So without further adieu, I give you Tyler Tjelmeland’s Week 7 Power Rankings. Or week 8. I am starting to lose my mind and lose track. That may be a good thing.
Honorable Mention: Texas Longhorns (4-2) I have to mention Texas bacause although Texas has dropped 2 games straight, Both of those losses came to quality opponents, and I have something to say about them. Unfortunately they were both conference losses and the Red River Rivalry loss to OU was ugly from the beginning for the second year in a row. I’m actually a Texas fan with this team because of David Ash. For being a Sophomore QB, I think he has the skill to be a top tier QB in the future in College Football, and possibly beyond. David Ash, not Case McCoy, and Jaxon Shipley remind me more and more of a Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley going forward and I like the role players on offense. The defense has a ton of work to do with youngsters all over the place, but the talent is there, as it always is for Mack Brown. Wins against Baylor and Kansas are essential, but come November, wins become tough to come by for the Horns. Tech and Kansas State on the road, Iowa State and TCU, all on the slate to go and it’s going to be an interesting conclusion to the year.
25 Texas A & M Aggies(5-1) Why won’t people start talking about A & M? They barely lost to Florida early in the year and then beat a nice team in Louisiana Tech this weekend. One of the best offenses in the land, coupled with a defense that is starting to find it’s identity each and every week, or so I thought. Louisiana Tech threw up a ton of points against the Aggies, but A & M came out victorious. Johnny Manziel is the most impressive young QB so far through the beginning part of the year as a dual-threat play-maker. For now I put them just ahead of Texas because of record and the fact that the only loss came to a great opponent in Florida. A & M has a nice chance to really prove themselves this week with LSU coming to town. How for real is this offense. That will be found out this weekend.
24 Iowa State Cyclones (5-1) The Cyclones have been impressive as one of the most consistent teams on the season. With its only 2 losses coming from Texas Tech’s great defense and Kansas State who could very well be the best team in the Big 12. I am not ready to anoint the Clones as a contender for the Big 12, but if they can win the next 2, in Stillwater and at home against Baylor, they are in a great spot. Jared Barnett controls the QB position after ultimately beating out Steele Jantz after the Texas Tech performance by Jantz and they have been great. It’s difficult to move a team into the rankings after a loss at home, but everyone else is losing and Iowa State is at least keeping its games close. Paul Rhoads is moving the program rapidly in the right direction and as Cyclone call-in show host and former ISU WR Jack Whitver, “Jack Trice was as loud as I’ve ever heard it on Saturday.” There is a buzz in Ames and for good reason.
23 Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-1) Texas Tech tore apart West Virginia’s incredible offense Saturday and they are in a great position right now after being slaughtered by Oklahoma a week ago. Men become boys or end up remaining boys in the coming weeks for Texas Tech with TCU, K-State, and Texas all lined up going forward. 2 out of 3 games becoming victories would keep Tech in the Conference Title Game hunt and in a good spot. Seth Doege continues to impress and if he can keep putting up numbers with the recklessness diminishing this offense can be as good as any in the conference.
22 Michigan Wolverines (4-2) The Wolverines have had an increasingly interesting season. Both losses come to top 5 teams and they are sitting at 2-0 in conference games with two blow out wins over Illinois and Purdue. Ohio State may be the best team in the B1G, but Michigan could very well be the team to end up victorious in Indianapolis at seasons end heading to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl. Denard Robinson continues to be a dominate force on the offensive side of the ball and he will be playing this week against Michigan State at the Big House. It gets very difficult for Michigan going forward with Sparty at home, Nebraska on the road, and Ohio State on the road to finish up the year. Brady Hoke would have liked to have his guys in a better position with 1 less loss, but right now The Wolverines can really make some noise and deserve to be considered, if not the favorite, in the discussion, for the B1G Title.
21 Ohio Bobcats (7-0) Ohio wasn’t sparkling in a win over Akron, but they got it done, which is ultimately all that matters for the firs team that became bowl eligible this year. Ohio has a nice opportunity to be undefeated going into the final week against Kent State. Unfortunately this team is not even really close to the caliber of the Boise State’s and TCU’s of the past and probably won’t be a BCS bowler if undefeated, but it’s a neat story after jumping into the rankings for the first time since 1968. Beau Blankenship could be an All-American at RB and he has been great for them and could lead them to a MAC Championship.
20 Cincinnati Bearcats (6-0) Cincy got jumped by Stanford for me this week, simply because they just haven’t played anybody yet and I’m not totally sold on them. I like George Winn at Runningback and the defense has been good against lesser opponents, but they could lose to Toledo and Louisville the next couple weeks on the road and then fall off everyone’s radar. If the Bearcats can win 1 or both of those games then they can be in serious Big East discussion for a title, but for now it’s tough to put them in that. They have done enough, but at this point it isn’t quite enough to get them above 20.
19 Stanford Cardinal (4-2) Stanford is the best 2 loss team right now with both losses coming to tough opponents. The loss to Notre Dame could have gone either way and even though they sit at 4-2, they can still win the Pac 12. There is no doubt that they miss Andrew Luck and Coby Fleener and the consistency with those two guys, but Nunes is trying extremely hard to fill those shoes and he is making mistakes as a kid that hasn’t started before will do. Right now the schedule favors Stanford for a few weeks, but then then they get Oregon State at home and the Ducks in Autzen the following week.
18 Louisville Cardinals (6-0)Louisville can’t figure out how to impress everyone. South Florida, Cincinnati, and Rutgers are up next for this Louisville team led by Sophomore QB Teddy Bridgewater and a great tandem of backs with Perry and Wright. Jury is still out on this team as with every single other team in the Big East. It’s still amazing that this conference is an automatic BCS conference. It would be nice to see a team just go undefeated in this conference like Cincy did a few years back, until Brian Kelly showed his true stripes.
17 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-0) Rutgers got some respect in the BCS Rankings, coming out in the inaugural Rankings at 15th. I honestly think this defense can play with anybody in the country right now and Rutgers is going to win the Big East. Louisville was not incredibly impressive in the win over Pittsburgh. Although the Big East is extremely weak, it is going to be one of the more fun conferences to watch this year because nobody knows exactly how good or bad these teams truly are. The winner of the conference could be undefeated, but could also have 2 or 3 losses. Rutgers is my favorite.
16 Florida State Seminoles (6-1) Slaughtering Boston College is exactly what the doctor ordered for the Noles after dropping the one to NC State a week ago. I said it last week, but I’ll reiterate how important it was for Florida State to not let the early conference season loss dictate the season for them, and they didn’t. EJ Manuel is still one of the best QB’s in the country and Florida State has a nice chance to prove themselves coming up. Miami is not a patsy and neither is Duke coming up. The Florida game on November 24th will be the BCS Berth or Bust for Florida State.
15 Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-0) A nice win over Rocky Top puts them in a great position to continue success. One of the things about College Football is that it’s tough to teach a team to stop losing once they have started and Mississippi State will need to rely heavily on that going forward with Texas A & M coming to town sandwiched between trips to Alabama and LSU. Realistically, Mississippi State is probably the 5th or 6th best team in the SEC, but ultimately that could win them the ACC, Big East, and Big Ten. One of the weakest schedules thus far gets easier with Middle Tennessee this weekend, but after that we learn a lot about how for real the Bulldogs are.
14 Georgia Bulldogs (5-1) UGA lost in horrific fashion with the wheels falling off against South Carolina. The off week couldn’t come at a better time for Mark Richt, with a road trip to Kentucky, where they should be able to fine-tune things before the Gators come to town. The good news is that Georgia should be completely healthy in that game and after Florida plays against South Carolina they could be a little banged up. The opposite could happen to if the Gators get a big win and maintain the momentum coming into that game. It will hold many implications for the SEC Championship game if Florida happens to knock off the Gamecocks this week. Georgia has a solid defense, but they will ultimately live and die by being able to consistently score with other teams, whether that is low or high scoring. Aaron Murray is a quality kid at QB and has experience, which works because he is surrounded by young play-makers. Tests are to come for Georgia and how they respond will give us a better feel if they are BCS bowl ready or not.
13 West Virginia Mountaineers (5-1) Eventually the constant bleeding was going to catch up with the Mountaineers defense. I don’t think anybody thought that scenario would happen the way it did in Lubbock. The offense only put up 14 points, with 7 coming in garbage time and there’s more question marks in Morgantown now than on Frank Gorshin’s Riddler costumer and they don’t have a lot of time to recoil and recover. Up next for West Virginia? How about you go on home, lick your wounds for a week and then take on the best team so far in the conference. Colin Klein and Kansas State comes to town. This game will intrigue, because if West Virginia ends up bouncing back, they are only hurting the Big 12’s chances at throwing a team into the National Title discussion.
12 USC Trojans (5-1)The girls at USC are pretty, but the football team is far from it so far. The Trojans would love to slaughter an opponent or 2 in the next couple against Colorado and Arizona. Getting the Ducks at home after those games will be a great match-up and Notre Dame coming to town November 24, the Trojans aren’t dead, but 1 more loss the best they can do is Pasadena come January, and that would be a disappointment for Lane Kiffin’s guys. Barkley won’t win the Heisman and USC won’t win a National Title. Unfortunate, unfortunate.
11 Clemson Tigers (5-1) I have to stick with my guns here and give Clemson the benefit of the doubt, yet again. The offense is one of the best, but week in a week out they continue to allow more points than they should. They haven’t blown anybody out, but the Florida State game, I saw something special about the Clemson squad and I won’t back down. Of course, that is said every year about the Tigers and then they lose to someone who has no business beating them. Will that happen? I don’t think so, but the competition level is down in the ACC in comparison to around the country (exclude the B1G joke) and Clemson will play down to the competition level of everyone else. They will lose a game, maybe 2, and I will drop them after that, but until then, I have to add some controversy.
10 Oklahoma Sooners (4-1) Where in the world did Oklahoma go for the Kansas State game? Is K-state that good or did OU just not show up? The Red River Rivalry game was lopsided yet again this year in favor of the Sooners and they appear to be gearing up to make a run at the conference coming up. With an incredible schedule, featuring 4 ranked opponents, including at Jack Trice in ames in 2 weeks, in Morgantown November 17th, and at TCU in Fort Worth to wrap the regular season, Oklahoma will have to earn its stripes. Kenny Stills is still working on finding his rhythm in the passing game, but Landry Jones remains constant, allowing plays to develop and the game to just happen. They score a lot and don’t give up a lot, and in the Big 12, that is going to be the formula for success. The win against Texas Tech seemed like a huge deal because of how good the Tech defense was supposed to be. Then everyone said that Tech’s defense must be skeptical. That Red Raider defense held the most potent offensive attack in the country to only 408 yards, which is mediocre at best for West Virginia this year. Oklahoma’s toughest test will come against Notre Dame, because it should showcase a high-octane offense in Oklahoma, pitted against one of the best defenses in the land. Mark 10/27 on your calendar. OU should kill Kansas. If they don’t I drop them out of the rankings for good.
9 Oregon State Beavers (5-0) Holy Oregon State Beavers? Mannion gets hurt and they toss up 42 points on one of the best defenses statistically in the country? This is slowly, but surely turning into a special season for Oregon State. With its own destiny in its hands, victories over Stanford on the road and Oregon at home would literally put this team in a spot to play in the Championship game. Not the Pac 12 Championship game. Not the Rose Bowl championship game. The BCS Championship game. That’s not going to happen and is a pipe dream to say the least for Mike Riley’s guys, but the aspirations are high and why not? One of the best WR core in the land for JR QB Cody Vaz to be tossing to and a good defense who is exceptional at stopping the run, Oregon State is proving week in and week out to not only be a fluke, but that they are a quality team. Big game in Corvallis this weekend, where Utah comes to town for the late game of the week on ESPN2, but if they can get to 6-0 and become bowl eligible the sky is the limit.
8 Ohio State Buckeyes (7-0) Holy hangover Ohio State. The Buckeyes thought they had it in the bag early with a 2 score lead over Indiana at the half, but the Hoosiers can’t be slept on with their high powered offense who can score on anybody. This game was the opposite of the Michigan State game last week, which was enough to build confidence for Indiana going forward. Braxton Miller may not win the Heisman in 2012, but he will surely be a front-runner in 2013 going in and Ohio State should be a force next year. “Green and Growing” is a term often used in the media and that is going to be true for Ohio State all season because let’s not forget that Urban Meyer is in his first year as the head coach in Columbus. First year. Ohio State remains ineligible, so this is much like a trial run to see how good they can be and they are the best team in the conference. Strap in B1G, it’s gonna be a wild ride in the coming seasons with this Buckeyes team.
7 LSU Tigers (6-1) Wait, Tyler, South Carolina hasn’t shown up on these rankings yet, and LSU is at 7? Did South Carolina drop out of the rankings then? No. Keep going. Hear me out. LSU is proving to be growing up each and every week. The win against SC was a huge confidence booster going forward with Texas A & M, Bama, and Mississippi State all lined up next. The confidence is huge, but I still don’t think LSU is the team that everyone thinks or wants them to be. They play solid defense as always, but the offense is still one big question mark. Freshman RB, Jeremy Hill exploded on the scene in the win over South Carolina with a cool 124 and 2 scores, but going forward the film says to stack 8 guys in the box and let Mettenberger throw the ball to the defense. Simply put, the LSU offense is one dimensional and South Carolina was unable to prepare for an unknown RB to break out in a hostile environment like that. Now, teams will be ready. Alabama could very well beat this team by 3 scores in Death Valley. Still not sold on LSU. A convincing 2-3 score win over Texas A & M could be just what the doctor ordered to remedy that for me though.
6 South Carolina Gamecocks (6-1) I am not ready to give up South Carolina yet. I find it extremely hard to believe that if the loss against LSU isn’t in Death Valley, the Cocks don’t get a victory. They kept their noses down and tried to mount a comeback later in the game, but LSU’s tough defense was too much. Change the atmosphere in reverse fashion and throw some noise at Mettenberger and that LSU offense and they become stagnant. See Florida game. South Carolina has the tools to be explosive and actually end up in a position to win the SEC. LSU does not. That’s why I put them ahead of the Tigers. South Carolina rights the ship in Gainesville (unlikely) and they are exactly where they need to be going forward in the conference. With the already convincing win over Georgia and a Florida victory, the LSU loss doesn’t hurt South Carolina one bit and they are in a much better spot to play for a Conference Title. I think they are a better team than LSU, regardless of what the scoreboard said on Saturday. Sorry, but I’m not.
5 Kansas State Wildcats The teams I think are elite continue to lay eggs the week after I get sold on them. West Virginia appeared to have everything going for them, yet laid more than an egg against the Texas Tech defense who is more misunderstood now than those people that think Idaho isn’t really a state. Yeah, they exist. Kansas State had a tough time with Iowa State on the road in Ames, but Iowa State continues to be more and more impressive each week, as evident by them cracking into the top 25 in the BCS and here as well. Collin Klein is a play-maker. Colin Klein, could ultimately get to New York and come away with the trophy if Bill Snyder’s team keeps winning on his legs and arm. Separating men from boys was a trend. That’s what happens for the team from Manhattan the next few weeks with a trip to Morgantown and Texas Tech coming into Manhattan a week from Saturday. Good news: Each of the next 6 games is winnable for Kansas State. Bad news: each of the next 6 games is losable for Kansas State.
4 Florida Gators (6-0) Typical hangover game against a tough opponent in a tough environment at Vandy. Jeff Driskel surpassed Tim Tebow as the all-time leading QB rusher in Florida history. The defense is good. The offense is starting to catch stride and Will Muschamp is rapidly approaching, if not in the middle of the light at the end of the tunnel in Gainesville. HUGE game coming up against what will be a very angry Gamecocks team after its loss to LSU this Saturday. Florida wins its next 2 and it will be playing in the SEC ship game against Alabama. Could still have a loss against the Noles in late November, but SEC ship game nonetheless. Could we have a repeat of last season, with 2 SEC teams in the title game? Florida has that fate to decide.
3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-0) Hail Mary full of Grace, Notre Dame has emerged as an elite team again. The Irish have done something that often gets overlooked in the College Football world and that is win close games. I hate using Iowa Hawkeye references, but that’s what I know. Look at the 2009 Iowa Hawkeyes Orange Bowl Champions. That team narrowly beat Northern Iowa at home. Notre Dame barely scraped a win out in South Bend. Iowa won on a last second TD score in East Lansing. Notre Dame this season took Overtime to beat Stanford. Close wins help build team chemistry and Notre Dame is clicking. The tough test for this defense comes in 2 weeks with a game in Norman to take on the Sooners who seem, for all intensive purposes, to be back. Can Manti Te’o be the first defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy since Charles Woodson? Unlikely, but he’s putting together one heck of a season. Irish at 3 is next logical step for me to admitting I have a problem. I get it.
2 Oregon Ducks (6-0) I understand that the official BCS polls have Florida ahead of Oregon and that makes sense because the BCS often time stands for an acronym involving sexual acts towards the South Eastern Conference, but Oregon has been my number 2 all season long and I am sticking to my guns here. The Ducks should easily win the next 2 contests and continue to get Frosh QB, Mariota more experience in the high powered, go for 2 for no reason, offense that is Chip Kelly. The open week comes at a nice time for Coach Kelly because he can get them ready for ASU and Colorado in order to fine tune before going to the Coliseum and taking on what should be an angry USC team. With the toughest road coming up in the Pac 12 and the experience continuing for the youngsters on both sides of the ball, Oregon continues to impress me and remains in the 2 spot.
1 Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0) Roll Tide. Bama rolled out the welcome mat for Missouri who continues to struggle mightily and is still questing for its first SEC victory of the year. Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon are more than likely the most powerful 2 back combo in the country and with AJ McCarron never throwing to defenders it’s looking more and more like this team, with yet again the best defense in the land, could very well be better than last years Tide. Scary, huh?