Wednesday, September 9, 2015

2015 NCAA Football Top 25 Rankings (Week One)

By: Jimbo X

The Associated Press? The USA Today's Coaches Poll? Whatever jibber-jabber is being puked out over at ESPN and Bleacher Report? Puh-leeze, we all know those alleged "Top 25" countdowns are pathetic jokes penned by homers, Power Five loyalists and Notre Dame nuthuggers. That's why I decided to release my own weekly rundown of the best FBS college football squads in the States, completely devoid of all the usual fanboyism and corporate malarkey that makes lists of the like elsewhere so unbelievably annoying. 

Throughout the regular season, a new installment will go up every Wednesday morning, so you may want to bookmark this sucker for future reference ... and to show to all of your fellow NCAA football lovin' chums, so they can know that -- at least somewhere out in the tangled, endlessly frustrating World Wide Web -- there's someone on the Internet with some goddamn horse sense when it comes to ranking college 'ball teams. 

Ohio State (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

Boy, it sure is a good thing I totally did not guarantee that Virginia Tech would upset the Buckeyes in week one of the NCAA football season in a public forum, no? Jeez, if I had done that, I would have looked like quite the tard-ray, wouldn't I? Thankfully, Urban Meyer's Columbus crew played exactly the way we thought they would play, pounding the Hokies into submission 42-24 despite a shockingly close first half of play. All in all, the Buckeyes just looked tremendous, from Cardale Jones' solid throwing to the quarterback-slaughtering front seven to, of course, Braxton Miller's Madden-caliber spin moves. They may not have had the most numerically-dominant win of the week, but they certainly looked the most complete against a higher-quality team. This team drops at least 70 on Hawaii this weekend, or I shave my eyebrows off on YouTube. 

Alabama (1-0 Overall / 0-0 Conference)

The Tide steamrolled Wisconsin, accumulating over 500 yards in total offense while holding the Badgers to just 268, including a piss-poor 40 net yards rushing. With Wisconsin considered a near-lock for the Big 10 title game, I dare fathom what Nick Saban's squad is going to do to Middle Tennessee State. 

Auburn (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

There weren't a whole lot of competitive match-ups last Saturday, but the Tigers' close win over Louisville (who very well could be the ACC Champs at years' end) was one of the few pleasant exceptions. Auburn strolled to a facile 17-0 lead at halftime, but the Cardinals came storming back in the second half. Despite being outran and outpassed by Louisville, Auburn's D came up back when they needed to, and helped the team secure a razor thin 31-24 victory. Needless to say, expect them to have a much, much easier time against Jacksonville State this weekend. 

TCU (1-0 Overall / 0-0 Conference)

It was a much closer game than expected against Minnesota, with the Horned Frogs eking out a narrow 23-17 victory over the Golden Gophers last Thursday (I blame it on that damned "dramatic look gopher" video display board, myself.) QB Trevone Boykin may have been inconsistent, but the team as a whole still managed to chew up the field for 449 yards. Expect plenty of aerials this weekend, when TCU locks horns with non-contender Stephen F. Austin. 

Baylor (1-0 Overall / 0-0 Conference)

SMU didn't have a prayer against Baylor's explosive offense. With Seth Russell bombing it for 376 yards and five touchdowns, you've really got to start thinking this kid could be a Heisman candidate. The question now is, can the Golden Bears eclipse their 700-plus total yards feat against Lamar? (Spoiler: yes, yes they can.) 

Michigan State (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

The good news is that Michigan State was able to outrun lowly Western Michigan last Friday evening. The downside is that they got outgunned in the air, letting the Broncos post 365 passing yards. The Spartans' defense was able to save the day here, but will it be enough to hold off Oregon this Saturday?

Oregon (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

Vernon Adams looked pretty good against Eastern Washington, putting up 246 yards and chalking up two touchdowns in the Ducks' 61-42 victory. Running back Royce Freeman was certainly the other big offensive showpiece for Oregon, churning up 180 yards on 21 carries. Next up? A make-or-break trip to East Lansing, which very well could establish the trajectory of the team for the remainder of the season.

Southern California (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

Say what you will about Steve Sarkisian's after-hours antics, this is certainly a much improved Trojans squad on both sides of the ball. New QB Cody Kessler put up 236 yards and four touchdowns in their 55-6 drubbing of Arkansas State, while SoCal's secondary held the Red Wolves to less than 200 yards passing. Don't expect Idaho to give them any troubles when they fly in to L.A. from Potato Country over the weekend. 

Georgia (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

To be fair, there are ten minutes remaining in their lightning-postponed affair against UL-Monroe, but to be frank, I'm not quite sure the Warhawks really had it in them to post an epic 51-14 come from behind victory. While neither Greyson Lambert or Brice Ramsey really shined in the pocket, Nick Chubb certainly looked every bit the Heisman hopeful we expected, rumbling for 120 yards and two TDs. If they don't break 60 points against Vanderbilt this Saturday, I'm going to eat my own hat. 

Florida State (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

While Texas State University is hardly a football powerhouse, you nonetheless have to be impressed by the Seminoles, in particular Notre Dame transfer Everett Golson, who bombed it 302 yards for four touchdowns in their 59-16 victory over the Bobcats. FSU had far more fumbles than they should have, but when you record 636 yards of total offense, I have a hard time finding room to complain. It's a bold prediction, I know, but something tells me South Florida isn't going to be giving them any fits over the weekend. 

Notre Dame (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

Texas played like utter crap last weekend, putting up a pathetic 163 total yards in their 38-3 annihilation at the hands of the Irish. Notre Dame indeed looked fantastic, rolling to over 500 all-purpose yards, with 313 of them stemming from Malik Zaire's golden arm. The emerging Hesiman hopeful will have a chance to wow and woo the critics even more this Saturday, when the fisticuffin' leprechauns visit Virginia for what should be nothing less than a good-old-fashion Celtic drubbin.

Clemson (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

Quarterback Deshaun Watson had 194 yards and two touchdown passes as the Tigers clobbered Wofford 49-10 in the opening week. Defensively, they looked just as dandy, outgunning the hapless Terriers 533 all purpose yards to 213. This Saturday, they test their mettle against Appalachian State, in what should be the epitome of a "non-contest." 

UCLA (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

The PAC-12 has rarely been a model of consistency, but the Bruins certainly played consistently last week against Virginia. In UCLA's 34-16 stomping, new QB Josh Rosen racked up 351 yards in the air and signed, sealed and delivered three touchdowns. You also might want to take note of the Bruins' defense, as they held the Cavaliers-without-Lebron to less than 100 rushing yards. Next up? What should be a rather facile tilt against UNLV in Vegas. 

Texas A&M (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

Arizona State learned the hard way that even when the Aggies seem to be out, they're never really out. The unranked, SEC West afterthoughts scored the biggest upset of week 1 when they torched the Sun Devils 38-17. A&M wound up with 247 yards by air, with QB Kyle Allen launching two touchdowns and accumulating almost 200 yards on his own by game's end. Expect Allen to outdo his already-solid stats this Saturday against a lowly Ball State squad.

Georgia Tech (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

The ACC is wide-open this year, and the Jackets' 69-6 walloping of Alcorn State is a warning to everybody. Tech absolutely ran all day every day, putting up almost 500 rushing yards alone, the highlight being Marcus Marshall running for 184 yards and two touchdowns. Sure, you could squabble over the lack of a passing game, but when you can rack up so much on the ground, why bother diversifying your investments? This Saturday, the Jackets get to muddy up their cleats against Tulane, in what should be nothing short of a mauling. 

Ole Miss (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

Trustees at UT-Martin will likely have to double up on donations this year, since the Skyhawks will need at least a few months of emergency trauma counseling following their ghastly 76-3 mega-homicide at the hands, feet and helmets of Ole Miss. With 662 total offensive yards, I think it's safe to say the Rebels are a threat vertically and horizontally. Fresno State will pose a moderately more challenging foe for Mississippi this weekend, but after last week's massacre, who wouldn't?

Arkansas (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

As arguably the most loaded division in the most loaded conference in all of college football, Arkansas is going to have to scrap to like hell to earn respect and recognition this season. While UTEP is far from a top-tier team, you nonetheless have to be somewhat impressed by the Razorbacks' play over the weekend, as they chalked up a little under 500 yards en route to a 48-13 blowout victory.  We'll see how they fare against moderately tougher competition when they square off against Toledo on Saturday evening. 

Oklahoma (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

The same way U.S. society as a whole erred in the late 1990s by forgetting about Dre, the collective NCAA Football world may indeed be making a huge mistake by ignoring Oklahoma. Sure, TCU and Baylor are still considered the odds-on-favorite to secure the non-championship this season, but watching Baker Mayfield chuck the ball for three touchdowns and almost 400 yards definitely gives the Sooners faithful something to remain optimistic about. After creaming Akron 41-3, Bob Stoops and the boys have a chance to make a huge statement this weekend, as they challenge the resurgent Tennessee Vols in their home checkerboard. 

Northwestern (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

Stanford was going to be a PAC-12 powerhouse, the so-called experts said. Unranked Northwestern never got that memo, as they easily outscored the Cardinal 16-6 in a field-goal-heavy affair (although Clayton Thorson's 42-yard run towards paydirt was pretty sweet, too.) Over on the other side of the Big 10, things are a lot less predictable than they seem, and Northwestern very well could be the team that gains the most from early-season miscues from Wisconsin. Before we grant them official "Cinderella" status, however, let's just wait and see what they do against Eastern Illinois this weekend. 

Arizona (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

UTSA kept it a lot closer than it probably should have been, losing to the Wildcats 42-32. Even worse for 'Zona, All-America linebacker Scooby Wright appears to have sustained a knee injury during the game. That's a huge blow to the defense, which allowed UTSA to chalk up more than 500 yards of total offense last weekend. We will learn a lot about this team's future Saturday night, when they take on border state rival Nevada. 

Boise State (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

Washington State came roaring back, posting 13 unanswered to make it field-goal game. Alas, the Broncos' offense was able to come alive when it counted, and kept the Huskies from securing the comeback, early-season upset. Offensively and defensively, the blue-turfers played well, posting 337 offensive yards and holding Washington State to just 179 all-purpose yards. Alas, they also had a lot of special teams snafus, which is something they absolutely cannot commit against a resurgent BYU squad this weekend. 

Tennessee (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

The Vols are expected to have their most competitive season in years in 2015, and their 59-30 bludgeoning of Bowling Green certainly gives the Tennessee faithful something to be optimistic about. The Volunteers posted nearly 400 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, including a lovely 56-yard endzone scramble by Alvin Kamara. Take note of running back Joshua Dobbs, as well; with two TDs and 205 yards on the day, he very well could be the best all-around back in the SEC East. Yes, that SEC East. Alas, we'll get to see what the team's really made of this weekend, when they go mano-e-mano with the Sooners in Knoxville. 

Missouri (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

Somehow, someway, the Tigers always end up winning the SEC East. Alas, with much-improved UGA and Tenneesee squads in the same division, we'll just have to wait and see if history repeats itself in 2015. In their effortless 34-3 win over Southeast Missouri State, the Tigers racked up 417 total yards while holding their in-state foes to barely 200. Especially noteworthy was linebacker Kentrell Brothers, who finished the game with 16 tackles and a blocked punt resulting in a turnover TD. In what should be a non-contest, the Tigers travel to Jonesboro next week to lock horns with Arkansas State.

Utah (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

A lot of people were a little gunshy about Jim Harbaugh's new-look Michigan squad, and the Utes 24-17 victory over the Wolverines on opening night showed the masses were correct to be a little apprehensive. Ultimately, that could mean less that Michigan's an underwhelming team and more that Utah is a damn solid one, if not the dark, dark, DARK-horse to win the PAC-12 this season. Those of you looking for some Friday night 'ball are in luck, as the Utes go toe-to-toe with Utah State in what should be a fun little offensive spitball fight this weekend. 

BYU (1-0 overall / 0-0 Conference)

With their impressive last-second "Hail Joseph Smith" victory over Nebraska, the Cougars definitely owned the most memorable moment of the first week of NCAA football play. This Saturday they host Boise State in what is not only a rare example of interstate Mormon on Mormon pigskin violence, but an early-in-the-season affair that could have huge repercussions for both teams come bowl season. 


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