My College Football Top 25
RANK - LAST WEEK - TEAM - RECORD
1 (2) - LSU (9-1)
The Tigers had a very easy game yesterday against Louisiana Tech, but they won handily (58-10), and the alternative for the #1 spot (Oregon) didn't play at all. Like many, I now think that a matchup between LSU and Oregon for the National Championship is the most likely outcome, and while I think it would be interesting for a team like Kansas or Missouri to sneak into the national title game, I think LSU/Oregon would be the best matchup. The Tigers have the tougher road thanks to the need to win the SEC Championship game (most likely against Georgia), but they have relatively easy games against Mississippi and Arkansas left on the regular season schedule.
2 (3) - Oregon (8-1)
The Ducks were idle this week, but found themselves moving up anyway after Ohio State's loss. Oregon's road to the National Championship is not a particularly difficult one -- they have games remaining at Arizona, at UCLA, and home against Oregon State. So long as they don't get caught looking ahead, Oregon should be playing for the championship in early January.
3 (4) - Oklahoma (9-1)
The Sooners have methodically ripped their way through most of the Big XII this season, with their only stumble against a now 5-6 Colorado team. If the Sooners had taken care of business in Boulder, they'd likely be cruising to spot in the BCS Championship game -- instead, they're left hoping somebody above them stumbles. The remaining regular season matchups at Texas Tech and against Oklahoma State shouldn't prove too challenging for the Sooners; the really interesting question is how they'll fare against Kansas or in a rematch with Missouri in the Big XII Championship -- possibly with a shot at BCS Championship on the line.
4 (5) - Kansas (10-0)
What, you ask, does Kansas have to do to get ahead of one-loss Oklahoma? Well, it's pretty simple -- they need to beat them on the field. Oklahoma stumbled badly against CU and picked up a loss, but I still think they're a better team than the Jayhawks. Until and unless KU plays OU in the Big XII Championship and picks up a win, I won't credit Kansas with being the better team. Remember, Kansas' 10-0 record looks gaudy, but they haven't had to play Oklahoma OR Texas this season, making that 6-0 Big XII mark look a LOT less impressive.
5 (7) - Missouri (9-1)
Missouri had a good win this week over Texas A&M, while my alternative choices for the #5 spot (West Virginia & Ohio State) respectively struggled to pull out a win and lost. As a result, I'll stick Missouri here for now. The interesting thing is that of the 3-4-5 spots, at least 2 of these teams are guaranteed to lose again because of the schedule. That basically mean that the current #3 spot is reserved for the eventual Big XII Champion, while if West Virginia and Ohio State win out they'll end up at #4 and #5 (although I'm not sure of the order at this point). I could have put them there now, but until the losses actually happen, I'll give the Big XII teams a break.
6 (1) - Ohio State (10-1)
The Buckeyes loss was against Illinois, while West Virginia lost to a South Florida team that has lost its luster of late. Additionally, while the Big Ten is clearly in a downswing this season, I haven't been that impressed recently with the Big East, either. As a result, I'm putting Ohio State ahead of the Mountaineers in this poll, and will likely keep them there if they beat Michigan (unless it's a close win and WVU pummels their remaining opponents, in which case I might reconsider).
7 (6) - West Virginia (8-1)
West Virginia won this week, but still was moved down in my rankings because I finally got on board with Missouri. With games at Cincinnati, home against Connecticut, and home against Pitt remaining on the schedule, WVU still has a chance to move ahead of Ohio State, but barring a complete collapse by the teams ahead of them on the schedule, they have virtually no chance of playing in the BCS Championship game.
8 (8) - Virginia Tech (8-2)
A solid 40-21 win this week over Florida State keeps the Hokies in position to go to the ACC Championship if they win out against Miami and at Virginia. That would lead either to a rematch with Clemson (who they crushed earlier this year) or Boston College (to whom they lost) for a trip to a BCS game. At this point, they clearly look like the best ACC team standing, so a BCS bid is a good bet.
9 (9) - USC (8-2)
A 24-17 win over a fading Cal team was nice for the Trojans, but the November 22 battle at Arizona State will likely determine their fortune this season. With Oregon looking like a good bet to go to the BCS Championship, the Rose Bowl would be certain to grab USC as an At-Large if they stayed eligible. A loss to ASU or to UCLA to finish out the season would leave USC with a trip to a much less desirable bowl like the Holiday Bowl.
10 (11) - Arizona State (9-1)
The Sun Devils will have a chance to prove themselves on November 22 in the above-mentioned battle with USC, and if they win that game they will end the season against Arizona. As a result, they have a chance to back-door their way into the Rose Bowl just as USC does, and would actually be a better pick for it at 11-1. USC has certainly looked beatable this year, so we'll see if ASU can pull off what would have seemed unthinkable at the beginning of the season.
11 (15) - Georgia (8-2)
The Bulldogs have been overlooked since they lost to South Carolina in the second week of the season, but the team's only two losses were to the Gamecocks and Tennessee. Yesterday's win over Auburn was very convincing, and they now are in position to face LSU in the SEC Championship game (and maybe make the Big XII's day by beating them). They should be ranked in the top 10 by the time they face LSU, but games against Kentucky and Georgia Tech remain on the schedule and could be potential traps.
12 (12) - Hawaii (9-0)
The Warriors did exactly what they needed to do by beating Fresno State 37-30 yesterday. It wasn't particularly pretty, but Fresno is a solid team and Hawaii stayed undefeated, so they're in good shape for now. Games remain at Nevada and at home against Boise State (and how fun is that going to be to watch?) and Washington. If Hawaii wins out, they'll be in the top 10 in the BCS and will be heading to a Bowl Game -- and the experts are looking to the Sugar Bowl.
13 (14) - Texas (9-2)
The Longhorns will play out the string with a game against Texas A&M on November 23 -- but while there is no longer a real chance that they will get to play for the Big XII Championship, that actually could turn out all right. Texas should finish 10-2 and BCS eligible, and they're very likely to be picked as an at-large.
14 (17) - Florida (7-3)
Really, Florida is here because I wasn't sure quite where to put them. They were clearly better than the three teams just ahead of them who lost (Boston College, Michigan, UCONN), but they also don't quite seem like a top 15 team anymore. Nonetheless, I also didn't feel anybody behind them deserved to get moved up, so here they are. Unexciting games against Florida Atlantic and Florida State remain on the schedule, so Florida should finish 9-3 without difficulty.
15 (22) - Clemson (8-2)
Big jump this week for the Tigers, who walloped Wake Forest 44-10 to put themselves in position to possibly earn an ACC Championship game berth. Next week's game against a reeling Boston College squad will determine whether that happens, and whether Clemson will get a chance to avenge their lopsided loss to Virginia Tech from earlier this season. The regular season will come to a close at South Carolina a week later, but the ACC Championship berths will have been determined by then.
16 (23) - Virginia (9-2)
The Cavaliers get next week off as they prep for a huge game with Virginia Tech on November 24. That game will determine who wins the ACC Coastal division and gets a trip to the ACC title game, and while I don't have much faith in Virginia, I hope they at least make that game interesting. The off week leading into the game should help.
17 (20) - Tennessee (7-3)
The Volunteers had no trouble against Arkansas this week, winning 34-13 to get their 7th win. Games against Vanderbilt and at Kentucky remain on the schedule, and if Georgia stumbles, the Volunteers could potentially still find themselves in the SEC Championship game.
18 (19) - Boise State (9-1)
Boise State destroyed winless Utah State 52-0 this week, and should do the same next week against a punchless Idaho squad. Everyone will be watching when Boise State faces off against (hopefully still unbeated) Hawaii on November 23, however -- as the winner has a very good chance to crash the BCS.
19 (NR) - Illinois (8-3)
In case you weren't paying attention, the Illini just took out the #1 team in all the land. That's good enough when coupled with a solid 8-3 record to get back into the top 20. Illinois will end their regular season next week against Northwestern, so they should finish up 9-3 and get a reasonable Bowl bid.
20 (21) - BYU (7-2)
Another week, another win -- the Cougars took out once-mighty TCU 27-22 to get to win #7 (remember when TCU was being touted as a BCS gate-crasher early this season?). Games remain at Wyoming, home against Utah, and at San Diego State.
21 (24) - Cincinnati (8-2)
The Bearcats just ended Connecticut's dreams of sneaking into the BCS, and so deserved to move up a bit. Reality should set in again next week, however, when Cincinnati hosts West Virginia -- but at least the season will end with a very winnable game in Syracuse, giving Cincy a chance to get to 9-3.
22 (10) - Boston College (8-2)
Two losses in a row will tarnish a team's reputation a wee bit, as the Eagles are finding out. They need to regroup quickly with Clemson next up on the schedule -- a loss would be disastrous, as it would kick them out of the ACC Championship game berth that seemed like a sure thing a couple of weeks ago. The season will close with a very winnable game against Miami -- and a win in that game could end up keeping Miami out of a bowl game of any kind.
23 (25) - Penn State (8-3)
The Nittany Lions for some reason had Temple on the schedule this week, and predictably dominated them 31-0. The season will close next week at Michigan State, and a 9th win would give Penn State a chance to compete against teams like Illinois in the Bowl battle that will go on in early December.
24 (NR) - Wisconsin (8-3)
The Badgers exposed a Michigan squad that I've been touting for the last few weeks, and that deserves to shoot them back into the rankings. Next week, Wisconsin plays the joke that is the Minnesota Golden Gophers, so 9-3 looks like a lock.
25 (16) - Connecticut (8-2)
They still have only two losses, so I'll keep them in the rankings this week. Next week, they should be able to beat Syracuse -- but the season will end with a game against West Virginia, and that will probably take UCONN out of the rankings for good. Still, 9-3 would be nothing to sneeze at for a program that wasn't expected to much of anything this year.
Labels: College Football Rankings