Tuesday, October 23, 2012

College Football Week 8 Rankings

As good as some of the matchups were on paper this week, there were not a lot of terribly exciting games.  That said, there is always something to talk about in College Football, and this week's drama is humming out of the Pacific Northwest where their beloved Oregon Ducks were leapfrogged in the BCS standings despite a convincing road win over a solid conference opponent.

Personally, I get it.  Oregon has been the most convincingly dominant team I have seen this year.  There is some question about their schedule with them not having a significant non-conference win, but they have blown everyone out.  Honestly, most of their games have been over by halftime.  With that in mind, I totally understand their complaints, but if you want to be #1, in today's college football, you have to beat the big boys.  In recent years, the big boys have been the SEC, with the Big 12 coming in 2nd.  Oregon's only opponent from east of the Rockies was Arkansas State.  That said, the Pac-12 is getting some love this year, and if they can run the table, I will be absolutely shocked if they aren't in the title game.  Course, if K-State does the same in the Big 12, I might end up being shocked.

ON TO THE RANKINGS!!!!

1. Oregon Ducks 6.064
Speed kills.  The Ducks are the fastest team in the country, especially on offense, and they appear to have built an opportunistic defense. 

Fun stat for the day, De-Anthony Thomas is averaging over 9 yards a touch, and he is one of 6 Ducks who is averaging over 4 yards a carry with double-digit carries on the season.  Noone to this point has even been effective enough slowing down their rushing attack to make them pass, but Marcus Mariota has a completion percentage over 68% anyway.  If they are what they appear to be and they can run the table, it would be a crime to leave them out of the title game.

2. Alabama Crimson Tide 5.790
The Tide is the favorite for the national title, and it's not without good reason.  This is, at worst, the second best defense in the country.  With AJ McCarron becoming increasingly more effective, highlighted by his game against Tennessee with a 17/22 for 306 yard and 4 TD's.  If that is a sign of things to come, rather than a sign of how average Tennessee's defense is, Bama might well be head and shoulders above everyone else.

3. Florida Gators 5.780
How good are the Gators?  That's the 64 thousand dollar question.  Well, they looked awfully good against the Gamecocks last weekend, that's for sure.  This defense is for real, and this team is truly a reflection of their coach.  'Boom' Muschamp built a great defense at Texas, and he has done the same in Gainesville.  Toss in Jeff Driskel looking like he might have turned the corner, and this is looking like a damned solid team.  They don't have the scary playmakers on offense that they have had in recent years, but they are beating good teams.

4. Kansas State Wildcats 5.754
The feel good story of the season made a big statement last weekend.  You can say what you want about West Virginia's defense, noone expected to see them get shut down on offense in back to back weeks.  KSU dominated them from start to finish, and Collin Klein has his signature game for his Heisman campaign.  There is work left to do though, and this week's game against a better than expected Texas Tech team is huge in the Big 12 conference race.  If Tech wins, we have another logjam at the top of the Big 12, if KSU wins, they have, effectively, a 2 game lead on everyone.

5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish 5.646
The Irish just keep winning, and most of the credit has to go to that defense.  What would worry me, if I were an Irish fan, is how they tend to squeak by.  If you take the Miami game out, as an outlier, you see a series of relatively close games.  I tend to think that OU is going to find a way to score some points, and that Notre Dame is going to need more out of their offense than they have been getting.

6. Ohio State Buckeyes 5.483
Ohio State is breathing a cautious sigh of relief with the reports that there is no damage to Braxton Miller.  Do not be surprised to see more of Kenny Guiton this week after Miller left last week's game with an injury.  Guiton was very rusty when he came in, but he showed flashes of the kind of athleticism at QB that makes Urban Meyer's spread attack go.  Let's be honest, he is not Braxton Miller.  If he was, he would have been starting, but this was a big time recruit out of the Houston area, and they take football serious down there.  That said, Miller needs to be back before they close with Michigan and Wisconsin.  Well, actually, I guess it doesn't really matter this year does it.

7. Florida State Seminoles 5.285
The Seminoles look to be, easily, the best 1 loss team in the country.  But, they should not be a one loss team.  They are as talented as any roster in the country, but they have quarters where you just wonder what the hell is going on.  They had 2 of them in the second half against the Wolfpack which cost them their shot at the title game, and they had one against Miami that spotted the Canes a 10 point lead.  That said, they then rolled off a 33-3 run before Miami got a late, garbage-time, touchdown to make the game look closer than it was.  These kinds of inconsistencies have to be eliminated.

On the bright side, it's always good to hold a team with a dedication to running the football to 29 yards rushing.

8. LSU Tigers 4.970
Oh, if only they could throw the ball.  This is the team that makes people wonder if Bama has the best defense in the country, and they have a brutal rushing attack.  But, they cannot throw the ball.

9. South Carolina Gamecocks 4.748
And, South Carolina is, once again, an also-ran in the SEC.  They get some love for their strong showing against a brutal schedule, but they are what they are......

10. Texas A & M Aggies 4.526
The Aggies were sooooooooo close to having a statement win in their first season in the SEC, but you can't throw 3 picks and beat the Tigers.  Manziel is an amazing player though, and we need to remember that he is a freshman.  He will get a couple more shots at the Bayou Bengals, and I would bet he wins one of them.

11. Texas Tech Red Raiders 4.490
It never fails.  A week after the Red Raider defense is universally lauded for shutting down the high powered West Virginia passing attack, they are lit up by a backup QB making his first start of the season.  But, they did beat a very good Texas Christian team.

Oh, and congrats to Seth Doege on his spectacular, 7-TD passing day.  Take you time and read that sentence again....7 PASSING TOUCHDOWNS, and they needed every single one of them.

12. Georgia Bulldogs 4.371
God Bless the Georgia Bulldog fans.  This team is too good to struggle like they do.  They need someone to step up and be the leader of the team.  You cannot play down to the level of an inferior opponent.

13. USC Trojans 4.370
 It's time for the fun to start for the Trojans.  They envision themselves as the class of the Pac-12, and the next month and a half gives them the chance to prove it.  In order, Arizona, Oregon, Arizona State, UCLA, and Notre Dame.  5 good teams, all of whom have been ranked this year, and 2 in the top 5 of the BCS currently.  How would you like that, plus a conference title game for your home stretch.  They have firepower, but personally I just don't see any way that they can run the table. 

14. Oklahoma Sooners 4.260
The last time the Sooners saw a defense in the league of the one the Fighting Irish are bringing to town next week, they picked up their only loss of the season.  There is a big difference between the Notre Dame offense and the K-State offense though, at least on paper.  The Irish would be wise not to underestimate what OU puts out on the field.  They think they should be Notre Dame, and they are going to come out swinging.

15. Oregon State Beavers 4.177
The little team that could just keeps on winning.  But I get the feeling that is about over with though.  They have Stanford and Oregon in the next 5.  I expect the will lose at least one of those.  And there is no shame in that.  This is a very good year by a team that few expected anything from.

16. Clemson Tigers 4.050
Virginia Tech held the Tigers to their lowest scoring total of the season, and were the recipients of the Tigers best defensive performance...by far.  If they are starting to figure out Brent Venables system to the point where they can hold decent teams under 20 points, the next few years could be very interesting for a squad that already touts one of the most effective offensive attacks in the country.  But remember, the Hokies offense is not exactly Oregon.

17. Mississippi State Bulldogs 3.976
Well, the fluffy section of the Bulldog schedule is done.  Now comes the real test with the big road trip to Tuscaloosa with the Crimson Tide waiting.  Mississippi State's offense has looked it's best the past 2 weeks against inferior teams, and that peak could not be better timed.  However, Bama's defense is not inferior.  A perfect game might not be good enough to knock off the Tide.

18. Stanford Cardinal 3.764
The Cardinal gets to play the doormats of the Pac-12 the next 2 weeks.  They should throttle Colorado and Washington State, and rest their starters as much as they can before they face off with Oregon State, Oregon, and UCLA to finish the season.

19. Michigan Wolverines 3.729
If you like running quarterbacks, be sure to tune in the Wolverines' game with the Cornhuskers this next week.  Denard Robinson and Taylor Martinez are 2 of the best and neither defense can say the same.  It should be explosive.

20. Wisconsin Badgers 3.638
I just don't know what to say bout this team, other than I am disappointed.  I know a Badger fan who thinks they have turned the corner, well here comes the bet run defense in the conference....If Montee can do this thing against Sparty I might think about believing.

21. Toledo Rockets 3.623
I tried to warn the BearCats to worry about the Rockets.  But they listen?  Oooooh No, nobody listens.  Now the true weakness of the Big East has been laid bare for all to see.  Now, the Rockets have their place at the table and they have a good shot to run the table.

22. Texas Longhorns 3.611
LOL, Texas is ranked behind Toledo.....if you would have told me that before season I would sprayed bourbon out my nose....so thanks for not telling me that.

23. Boise State Broncos 3.603
Boise State's defense is this damned good.  Their offense is bad, historically bad by their standards, but their defense is just shutting people down.  The scary thing is, they have had about a half dozen defensive players get drafted in the last 2 years, including most of their front 7 from last year.  They are reloading folks.

24. Arizona State Sun Devils 3.584
How long does it take to recover from being eviscerated?  Watch the Sun Devils and find out.  They gave up 43 points in about a quarter and a half, and then Oregon was kind and took the air out of the ball.  They should send them thank you's.

25. Rutgers Scarlett Knights 3.583
Rugers controls their own destiny and has been a pleasant surprise out of the Big East.  They have a chance, but they are finishing against the other 3 of the top 4 in the Big East with their last 3 games being against Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Louisville.  The latter of those looks like it could be for the conference title.

26. Cincinnati BearCats 3.570
See #21.

27. TCU Horned Frogs 3.506
Well, on the bright side of losing your first 2 home conference games, the Horned Frogs are 2-2 after 4 games and look like they will survive the loss of Casey Pachall.  Trevone Boykin made a few mistakes in his first start, but there is no denying his talent or heart.  He kept fighting and so did his team.  They just couldn't slow down Seth Doege.

28. Penn State Nittany Lions 3.420
Good for these boys!!!  This could have been an easy season to go in the tank.  You lose your coach, your school is vilified, your best running back, wide receiver, and tight end transfer.  So, what do you do?  Lose one early and then get your @#$% err...act together.  Right now they are tied for the second best team in the Big 10, which is already an accomplishment.  The rest if gravy...which should make them scary.

29. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 3.402
I am going to go ahead and say it.  The Bulldogs have their one, and only, loss of the season.  This offense can score on, and with, anybody.  The rest of their schedule does not have near the firepower on either side that they will need to even scare this team...though the Utah State game has a chance to be interesting.

30. Louisville Cardinals 3.331
This team needs Teddy Bridgewater to keep it up.  The young man is playing nigh perfect ball most weeks, and the Cardinals keep squeaking out wins.
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