Sunday, October 20, 2013

College Football Power Rankings (Week 8)

Another great weekend of college football games has come and gone, which means it's time for some top 10 power rankings. The deck has been reshuffled, as 5 teams in the top 10 lost. This definitely separates the men from the boys, which left us a nice slew of legitimate, elite squads in it for the long haul; the men. But first, the boys; teams that lost in lackluster showing this week, effectively eliminating themselves from both my top 10 and probably the national title conversation.

Clemson: Oh boy. More on this game later, but wow. An egg-laying of this enormity brings me back to Notre Dame in the National Championship against Alabama, a day I usually try to forget as an Irish fan. This was also a huge game, the first ever matchup between these two teams when both were ranked in the top5. Tajh Boyd will probably be a decent NFL quarterback, but for now he should work on those ACC defenses. He struggled with BC earlier this season. Good bid, Clemson, but see ya.

Louisville: Teddy Bridgewater's slim BCS chances ended with an ugly loss to University of Central Florida, though maybe his Heisman credentials didn't. He did nothing to hurt his cause there, not to mention his draft stock, but his 341 passing yards with 2 TDs were not enough. With a commanding 28-7 lead midway through the 3rd quarter, cruising to victory, the previously 2nd best defense in the country decided that the game wasn't interesting enough, and proceeded to give up 3 Td's in the next 4:20. Not how you win a football game, boys.

UCLA: Not a horrible loss by any means, but a wakeup call to a program that is definitely on the rise. Everyone drinking the "Bears for the BCS Championship" kool aid can calm down a little, after a 24-10 loss to the Stanford Cardinals.

LSU: Zach Mettenberger may not shave his legs, but absolutely hobbled Ole Miss team (they were missing 5 defensive starters) taught him a thing or two. He threw 3 picks in the first half, including 2 in the end zone, on the way to a 27-24 defeat to the Rebels. Previously sixth ranked LSU can stop dreaming of the SEC title game, if they were before.

Texas A&M: Despite some tough hits from a surprising Auburn team, Johnny Football still managed to drop a 41 spot, but it wasn't enough for the Aggies to pull out the win, in a 45-41 loss to an Auburn team that looks very good without Gene Chizik.

So there you have the top 10 teams who fell this week. So here is my updated top 10:

1. Alabama: AJ McCarron is averaging 40.7 points a game, while a stingy SEC defense is allowing 9.7, good enough for 1st in college football. They're not stopping anytme soon, as Arkansas knows too well, as they lost 52-0 on Saturday.

2. Oregon: Another obvious pick, after a 62-38 point drubbing of Washington St. It seems like it's normal for Oregon to do this, sometimes I forget how ridiculous scoring 60 points is. It's not normal, I have decided.

3. Florida State: I'll admit, I toyed with the idea of bumping them into #2, after an incredible game against a vaunted Clemson team. I had picked the Tigers, as I'm never one to go with youth in big college football games, but boy was I wrong. Famous Jameis Winston had himself a nice 51 point day and the Seminole defense surprised everyone, limiting Heisman hopeful (no longer) Tajh Boyd to a paltry 14 points. The Seminoles, finally, are for real. I understand why they are now hailing this FSU freshman as the Messiah in the south. He threw for 44 yards, and his 51 points were the most points ever scored against Clemson in Death Valley.

Now here it gets really tough, but when you see some unimpressive teams up here, keep in mind how many good teams lost this past week.

4. Stanford: I know, I know, quite the jump (they have leap-frogged 9 teams in these power rankings) for a one loss team, but they easily handled an impressive UCLA this week, and despite a really ugly loss to Utah last week, they are one of the best teams in college football not named Alabama or Oregon. Stanford's running game and stellar defense showed up to play, as Tyler Gaffney ran for 171 yards and 2 TDs against the Bears. UCLA quarterback Brent Hundley was completely smothered by Stanford's defensive unit.

5. Baylor: My one very unorthodox pick, but a previously 12th ranked Baylor did nothing to hurt their cause. By nothing, I mean a 71-7 steamrolling of Iowa State. Considering the theme of this year has been good team struggling against terrible ones, Baylor is here by virtue of not messing it up. What an offense!

6. Missouri: A good looking win over a pretty tough Florida team (36-17) has the Tigers riding high, at least higher than their Detroit counterpart (sorry, the Red Sox fan in me...). Anyways, they are riding the momentum of 2 impressive wins over ranked opponents, and and are able to move up after so many teams lost this past Saturday. They are now at the top of the SEC East,  over Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia, 3 perennial powerhouses who have struggled so far this year.

7. Ohio State: Now I know some will say it's unfair to drop a team 3 slots, especially after 19 straight victories, but the Buckeye's strength of schedule (or lack there of) has condemned them here. They beat a 4-3 Iowa squad by just 10 points, but boy were thing interesting. Only a stellar 2nd half by studly RB Carlos Hyde (24 rushes for 149 yards and 2 second half touchdowns, including one highlight-of-the-year 19 yard run) could save Urban Meyer's unblemished record. This makes it 2 suspect wins in a row, after a 10 point victory over Northwestern squad that would then lose to Minnesota. For OSU fans, the 4 team playoff can;t get here soon enough, but for me, they can say goodbye to a top 5 spot. For now.

8. Miami: A generous jump (previously ranked 10th)for a team after a 27-23 win over North Carolina, but an upcoming interstate game against Florida State will quickly end Miami's undefeated season. Meanwhile, Miami has all the losers previously mentioned to thank for this ranking. Losers who are, coincidentally, better teams, but have to be dropped from the rankings for at least one week.

9. Texas Tech: Freshman quarterback Davis Webb made school history in his first road start, becoming the first Red Raider quarterback to throw for at least 400 yards in his first two starts. For now, these guys are up here because they are undefeated in the Big 12 and were ranked 16th before Saturday's win. I challenge you to find a better team to fit in here (You won't. I tried).

10. Texas A&M: Ok, I lied. I said they were out of my top 10, but between them and Fresno State, for example, I have to honestly go with the better team. A&M looked like the strongest loser this week, and no one is forgetting the scare they gave Alabama. A&M has 3 really soft opponents ahead, but then will finish the season at LSU, and then at Missouri. Circle those games on the calendar, as great SEC match ups that won't count for anything in the conference; however, the winner of those games will probably end up in a BCS bowl game, so some pretty darn good football will be played.

And there you have it, a week in college football about as crazy as I've seen. As a top 10 list, this feels more like a top 3, followed by everyone else. For the fans who want a wide open race, I'm sorry to say I don't see anything but Alabama-Oregon in the National Championship, but man is that going to be a good one. More on that later. Thanks for reading.

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