Upsets! Upsets! The Playoff Committee (POC) will be in chaos when their rankings are released Tuesday night. This poll is not. I don’t worry about boosting up conferences or teams (hello Penn State) for future polls or the Football Four. I reward teams and conferences that play defense. I am less concerned about won-loss records, more concerned about overall performance and how a team is currently trending. I’m also not afraid to rank teams from “lesser” conferences when they deserve it. If you like, you can see Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3 by clicking the links.
1. Alabama (10-0) @AlabamaFTBL (Last Week #1)
Can anyone beat them? Probably not. A whipping of the Mississippi State Bulldogs is their latest W. An exibition against Chattanooga this weekend, then it is a showdown with 7-3 Auburn in the Iron Bowl. . . . Auburn just lost to Georgia. . . . Roll Tide.
2. Ohio State (9-1) @OhioStateFB (6)
The Buckeyes have back-to-back 62-3 wins over Nebraska and Maryland. Next up is 3-7 Michigan State in East Lansing, then a freshly defeated Michigan in Columbus. Urban Meyer’s squad will likely stay at #2 until the Big Ten Championship Game – which they may not even be a part of if they win out, due to their loss in Happy Valley.
3. Louisville (9-1) @UofLFootball (5)
The Cardinals have jumped two spots this week because of the carnage last weekend. They will probably not remain here, unless more carnage occurs before Thanksgiving. Their remaining schedule is weak (@Houston, Kentucky) and their lone loss (to ACC Atlantic rival Clemson) will likely keep them out their conference title game.
4. Wisconsin (8-2) @BadgerFootball (7)
The Badgers are a better team than they were a month ago when they lost back-to-back games at Michigan (14-7) and in Madison versus Ohio State (30-23 in OT). If they face Penn State in the Big Ten Title Game, the world will see the Nittany Lions get a Badger induced mauling.
5. LSU (6-3) @LSUfootball (8)
The Bayou Bengals are the best 6-3 team in the country. Since Les Miles was fired, this team’s lone loss has been a 10-0 classic versus Alabama. They gave outscored their opponents 163-48 in their four post-Miles wins. They face big tests (v. Florida, @Texas A&M) to wrap the regular season. Much like the 2010 Alabama team that underachieved at 10-3 and destroyed MSU, 49-7, in the Citrus Bowl, I pity the team that has to face these 2016 Tigers in a bowl game.
6. Michigan (9-1) @UMichFootball (4)
I had the Wolverines ranked lower last week than both the POC (#3) and AP (#2). They have given up a combined 381 yards rushing to MSU and Iowa in their last two road games. That is a red flag which makes me think that against a team like Ohio State, Alabama or LSU, they could be in real trouble. Nevertheless, this team is still very good. Stomp Indiana in Ann Arbor and beat the Buckeyes in Columbus and the Wolverines will be back in my Top 4.
7. Clemson (9-1) @ClemsonFB (2)
The Tigers only ran for 50 yards versus Pittsburgh. They allowed the Panthers to run for 156 and gave up 308 yards passing and 5 TDs to Panther QB Nathan Peterman. Deshawn Watson had 3 INTs despite 580 yards passing and 3 TDs. Clemson had been whistling by the graveyard all season with their streaky play. It cought up with them last Saturday versus Pat Narduzzi’s Panthers.
8. Washington (9-1) @UW_Football (3)
The Huskies came back to earth versus USC Saturday. The Trojans’ athletes flustered UW QB Jake Browning, forcing him into 2 INTs and a couple of embrassing late falls as he scrambled from their pass rush. The Huskies could fall farther if they fail to rebound against Arizona State. Their Apple Cup showdown in two weeks versus red-hot Washington State will be for the Pac-12 North title.
9. Western Michigan (10-0) @WMU_Football (13)
Last weekend’s upset-o-rama moves the Broncos into our Top 10. They are the cream of the Mid-American Conference and frankly of all the “Group of Five” conference teams. Last Tuesday, they spotted lowly Kent State 14-0 lead, then outscored them 37-7 the rest of the game. This Saturday, ESPN College GameDay comes to town as a reward for their 10-0 record. A New Year’s Six bowl birth remains in sight for the Colts from Kalamazoo. Like Houston last year, this team is no joke and could pull an upset on the national stage in come bowl season if P.J. Fleck’s boat floats until Christmas.
10. Washington State (8-2) @wsucougfb (14)
QB Luke Faulk was 36/50 for 373 yds and 5 TDs in their 56-21 win last Saturday versus Cal. The Cougars racked up 254 yards rushing, converted 8-of-11 on 3rd down and totals 654 yards of offense. They are 7-0 in the Pac 12 and winner of 8-straight. They face Colorado in Boulder this Saturday. Then it’s the the Apple Cup vs #8 Washington on November 25 in Pullman for the Pac-12 North crown.
11. USC (7-3) @USC_Athletics (22)
With their upset of the Huskies, the Trojans are riding a six-game win streak. Redshirt freshman, QB Sam Darnold, went 22/33 for 287 yds and 2 TDs in the win. He is getting better every week since being installed as starter on September 19. The Trojans wrap the regular season versus UCLA in the Rose Bowl and versus Notre Dame in the Coliseum. Like #5 LSU in the East, the Trojans are the one three-loss team West of the Pecos nobody wants to face come bowl season.
12. Penn State (8-2) @PennStateFball (12)
Is Penn State a Paper Lion? Their upset of #2 Ohio State was their biggest W in years. Then, they steamrolled Purdue, 62-24, in West Lafayette and Iowa, 41-14, at home. They now ride a six-game win streak after their 45-31 win at Indiana. But, Penn State could only muster 77 yards rushing versus the Hoosiers, while giving up 454 total yards. Indiana also gave the Nittany Lions and assist by losing 5 fumbles! PSU finishes the regular season with a road game at awful Rutgers and a Senior Day contest versus 3-7 Michigan State. If Penn State gets to 10 wins for the first time since 2009 – they will land in the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis if Ohio State beats Michigan on November 26.
13. Colorado (8-2) @RunRalphieRun (25)
I have been unfair to the Buffaloes. They hung tough with Michigan in Ann Arbor for a time back in September (a 45-28 loss). They also has a 12 penalty, 4 turnover disaster versus UCLA (a 20-10 win) two weeks ago. However, their only other loss to date is a 21-17 road defeat to USC back on October 8. The Buffaloes have won 4-straight since that L, outscoring their opponents 119-55 during the run. I said last week the Buffaloes would lose to Arizona. They won 49-24. Sorry Colorado. You are rewarded with 12-spot rise in this week’s rankings.
14. Utah (8-2) @Utah_Football (11)
The Utes are the opposite of Colorado, in that I have been too kind to them. They notched 21 fourth-quarter points to seal their 49-26 win last week versus Arizona State last Saturday. But their non-conference schedule included Southern and San Jose State. They also lost, 28-23, to defensive deficent Cal on October 1. The Utes have been put on notice.
15. Oklahoma (8-2) @OU_Football (16)
The Sooners remain one of the biggest dissapointments of the entire season. Losses to Houston and Ohio State still haunt them. Bob Stoops’ defense is full-on Big XII bad. They gave up 854 yards and 59 points to Texas Tech. Offensively, they have been streaky at times, only managing 2 field goals in the second half in a win against Iowa State. Nevertheless, they are 3-point favorites in Morgantown versus the Mountaineers Saturday. Hopes of making a New year’s Six Game likely hinges on a win.
16. West Virginia (8-1) @WVUfootball (17)
Another team from the Big XII who I wonder if I have ranked too high. They gave up 536 total yards to now 5-5 Texas last weekend. The winner of their game with the Sooners Saturday will unjustly be rewarded with a Top 10 ranking by the POC and the AP. Depending on the quality of defense in the game, I might drop the winner in next week’s rankings. Defense wins championships and the Big XII truly stinks on that front.
17. Texas A&M (7-3) @AggieFootball (10)
I said last week that this team could destroy their opponent in a bowl game – or they could sleepwalk for 60 minutes and get upset. That is exactly what they did Saturday against Ole Miss, being outscored 23-7 in the 4th quarter, at home, in a 29-28 loss.
18. Florida State (7-3) @FSU_Football (18)
Boston College blows. Jimbo’s Seminoles rolled them 45-7 last week. They are giving 20 points versus Syracuse Saturday in the Carrier Dome. Their November 26th showdown with the #14 Gators in Tallahassee will be their next real test.
19. Florida (7-2) @GatorsFB (19)
Florida beat a lame-o South Carolina team, 20-7, in Gainesville Saturday. In their last two game, the Gators have lost nine starters due to injury. With road games versus LSU and Florida State in the final two weeks of the season, the Gators will probably fall out of everyone’s Top 25 very soon.
20. Nebraska (8-2) @HuskerFBNation (20)
The Huskers rebounded from their Buckeyes’ beatdown with a 24-17 win over Minnesota Saturday. They collected 374 total yards and went 9-17 on 3rd and 4th down. Even if they win out in games verus Maryland and Iowa to reach 10 wins, they will likely finish second in the Big Ten West behind #4 Wisconsin.
21. Oklahoma State (8-2) @CowboyFB (23)
Mike Gundy’s Cowboys ride a six-game win streak. They surrendered 518 yards and 44 points to Texas Tech in a one-point win last Saturday in Stillwater. The Cowboys wrap the Big XII campaign with road games at TCU and Oklahoma. Even if they get to 10 wins, they will likely not make it into my Top 15. Did I ever mention I favor teams that play defense?
22. Auburn (7-3) @FootballAU (9)
The Tigers were 26-point favorites against Vanderbilt two-weeks ago and eeked out a 7-point win. They followed that up with a 13-7 dud versus a struggling Georgia, ruining their SEC title hopes. A 13-spot drop this week’s poll is their reward. They “scrimmage” Alabama A&M this week before their annual Alabama Iron Bowl showdown – this year in Tuscaloosa – on November 26.
23. San Diego State (9-1) @Aztec_Football (24)
The Aztecs moved to 9-1 with a 46-16 win over Nevada. In the win, RB Donnel Pumphrey surpassed 6,000 career yards rushing. He is now fourth-place on the FBS all-time list behind Tony Dorsett, Ricky Williams and Ron Dayne. He needs only 347 yards in the final two games to become the all-time leader. He has 9-straight 100 yard games, just one behind Marshall Faulk for the Aztecs record. They face Wyoming Saturday on CBS Sports Network.
24. Boise State (9-1) @BroncoSportsFB (NR)
Boise was 7-0 and ranked in our initial poll three weeks ago. Then they lost to Wyoming, 30-28, and dropped out. Two-straight wins and the multiple upsets last Saturday have let them back in. The Broncos have wins over Washington State, Oregon State and a tough BYU team on their resume. If they and San Diego State win out, they will face off in the Mountain West Championship for the right to remain in our Top 25.
25. Stanford (7-3) @StanfordFball (NR)
The only losses for the Cardinal this season are to #8 Washington (44-6), #10 Washington State (42-16) and #12 Colorado (10-5) in a four-game stretch betwen September 30 and October 22. Since then, David Shaw’s team has won three-straight, outscoring Arizona, Oregon State and Oregon 112-69. Stanford could get to 9 wins of they beat Cal in Berkley and Rice in Palo Alto on Senior Day. Amazing that 9 victories is now considered a down year now for this once morbid program.
Falling out of last week’s Top 25: North Carolina, Virginia Tech