Wednesday, October 21, 2015

2015-16 NCAA Football Top 25 Rankings (Week 7)

Don't forget: it ain't over 'til it's over.

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 (7-0)
Next Opponent: Rutgers (Oct. 24)

Another week and another impressive offensive showing from the reigning NCAA champions. With two touchdown passes and another two TDs on the ground, J.T. Barrett really made a strong case for starter in Ohio State's 38-10 beatdown of Penn State. 

LSU (6-0)
Next Opponent: Western Kentucky (Oct. 24)

It took some special teams trickery to seal it, but the Tigers nonetheless got the job done on Saturday, besting SEC East rivals Florida 35-28. Leonard Fournette put in another Heisman-worthy performance with 180 yards and two touchdowns, but give QB Brandon Harris some props too -- he had two TDs and 202 yards for the day. 

Baylor (6-0)
Next Opponent: Iowa State (Oct. 24)

Seth Russell looked absolutely incredible in the Bears' 62-38 victory over the Mountaineers, racking up 380 passing yards and five touchdowns (plus another rushing TD, just for good measure.) Alas, Russell didn't do it all by himself: receivers Corey Coleman (three TDs, 199 yards) and Jay Lee (two TDs, 89 yards) deserve their fair share of acclaim, too. 

TCU (7-0)
Next Opponent: West Virginia (Oct. 29)

Trevone Boykin went 27 for 32 against Iowa State, launching four touchdowns for 436 yards in the Horned Frogs' 45-21 rout of the Cyclones. Of course, the TCU defense also gave up quite a few aerial yards of their own, allowing Iowa State to chalk up 14.4 yards per reception

Utah (6-0)
Next Opponent: USC (Oct. 24)

The Utes exploded late against Arizona State, racking up 20 unanswered fourth quarter points in their 34-18 victory. Utah's rushing and its rush defense were the decisive factors over the weekend: Devonta Booker went 118 yards for two TDs, while the Utes secondary managed to hold the Sun Devils' running backs to just 15 yards of total offense.

Clemson (6-0)
Next Opponent: Miami (Oct. 24)

DeShaun Watson was a bit of a mixed bag on Saturday. While he posted a sterling 420 yards and three touchdown passes in the Tigers' 34-17 win over Boston College, he also lobbed two costly INTs. Give Clemson's defense plenty of credit, however, as they were able to limit the Eagles aerial attack to just 87 total yards. 

Michigan State (7-0)
Next Opponent: Indiana (Oct. 24)

Sure, it was an exciting finish, but that doesn't exactly exonerate the Spartans from some sloppy play before their miracle defensive putsch in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter against Michigan. With 328 yards and a solo TD, Connor Cook looked solid, but the run game -- even in victory -- looked sluggish, only able to muster 58 yards on the day.

Florida State (6-0)
Next Opponent: Georgia Tech (Oct. 24)

Everett Golson was stellar for the Seminoles, racking up 372 yards and tossing three touchdown passes in their 41-21 win over Louisville. Also looking impressive for the still unbeaten, defending ACC champs? Runningback Dalvin Cook, who had 163 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. 

Iowa (7-0)
Next Opponent: Maryland (Oct. 31)

The Hawkeyes just clobbered the hapless Northwestern Wildcats, limiting their adversaries to barely 200 total yards of offense in Iowa's dominant 40-10 victory. Akrum Wadley was an absolute offensive beast, racking up four touchdowns and 204 yards on 26 carries. With a defense this well-oiled and a run game this tight, don't be shocked one iota if this Iowa squad makes things very challenging for whoever walks out of the Big 10 East come early December...

Oklahoma State (6-0)
Next Opponent: Kansas (Oct. 24)

The undefeated Cowboys took a breather this week, as they look ahead to a tilt this weekend against an undermanned Jayhawks squad. From there on out, it's nothing but conference slugfests for Oklahoma State, with HUGE games against TCU and Baylor on Nov. 7 and Nov. 21, respectively. 

Memphis (6-0)
Next Opponent: Tulsa (Oct. 23)

The AAC darling Tigers were given the national spotlight, and they did not disappoint in their 37-24 upset of the Ole Miss Rebels. Paxton Lynch did his part to commandeer the offense, throwing for 384 yards and three TDs, while Memphis' defense limited the Rebels to just 40 yards on the ground. Of course, they also gave up more than 400 yards in the air, but come on! Let the little guys celebrate this one, why don't you?

Alabama (6-1)
Next Opponent: Tennessee (Oct. 24)

The Crimson Tide gleefully took the Aggies off the official roll of the unbeatens, pounding A&M 40-23 on their home turf. Once again, Alabama's running game and defense made all the difference: while halfback stud Derrick Henry chewed up the turd for 236 yards and two TDs, the 'Bama defenders grabbed three interceptions for touchdowns, all while limiting the Aggies to just 32 rushing yards all evening. 

Notre Dame (5-1)
Next Opponent: Temple (Oct. 31)

Kizer and Prosise continue to be one of the most consistent QB/HB tandems in all of college football, as they united for four touchdown and over 350 yards in the Irish's 41-31 win over the much-troubled USC Trojans. That said, you have to be more than a little concerned by the secondary, which allowed USC to rack up almost 450 yards in the air alone on Saturday.

Stanford (5-1)
Next Opponent: Washington (Oct. 24)

The singular Cardinal beat up on UCLA, pummeling the Bruins 56-35 in a relatively facile home contest that saw receiver Francis Owusu make what has to be the catch of the year. Alas, that overlooks the contributions of standout Stanford back Christian McAffery, who stormed up and down the field for 243 yards and no less than four rushing TDs

Florida (5-1)
Next Opponent: Georgia (Oct. 31)

The Gators, having just lost their "franchise" QB for the long haul, played considerably well in their close loss to the Tigers, with only a fancy-schmantzy trick play standing between them and at least an overtime duel. In his first outing for Florida, Treon Harris looked very good (two TDs, 271 yards), while the Gators run game slowed to a standstill, producing just one touchdown and a paltry 55 yards on the day. 

Toledo (6-0)
Next Opponent: UMass (Oct. 24)

Let's hear it for the non-Power-Fives! The Rockets remain undefeated for the 2015-16 campaign, racking up over 600 yards in their 63-20 win over Eastern Michigan. Sure, it's easy to write them off as superiors against weaker competition, but as validated by this weekend's Memphis/Ole Miss clash, there might just be a bit more to these high-powered off-branded schools than there appears

Temple (6-0)
Next Opponent: East Carolina (Oct. 24)

Jahad Thomas was unquestionably the Owls' MVP in their 30-16 win over UCF, racking up 199 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries. Defensively, Temple played just as well, limiting the Knights to just 134 all-purpose offensive yards for the afternoon.

Houston (6-0)
Next Opponent: UCF (Oct. 24)

Greg Ward's 222-passing-yards, one touchdown day may not have been all that impressive stats-wise, but there is no denying the kid has some serious legs -- dude ran for 77 yards and an additional three touchdown's in the Cougars 42-7 blowout of Tulane.

Texas A&M (5-1)
Next Opponent: Ole Miss (Oct. 24)

Backup QB Kyle Allen had a day to forget against the Tide, chucking three interceptions and just one TD in the Aggies' 41-23 loss to 'Bama. Even worse, the Tide's daunting D held A&M to just 32 rushing yards on the day. 

Oklahoma (5-1)
Next Opponent: Texas Tech (Oct. 24)

The Sooners rebounded from their unexpected loss to Texas  this weekend with a 55-0 blowout of Kansas State. Baker Mayfield went 20 for 27 for 282 yards and five touchdowns, while Oklahoma's defense held the not-so-Wildcats to an unfathomable 110 all-purpose offensive yards throughout the contest.

Pittsburgh (5-1)
Next Opponent: Syracuse (Oct. 24)

It was a close one, but Pittsburgh still prevailed 31-28 over Georgia Tech this weekend. Despite allowing the Yellow Jackets to run all over them to the tune of 376 yards, Panthers QB Nathan Peterman ran a tight ship, tossing the rock 162 yards for three touchdowns. With the victory, Pittsburgh finds themselves taking pole position in the ACC's Coastal Division, which has to be one of the biggest "get-out-of-here" plot twists thus far in the season. 

Duke (5-1)
Next Opponent: Virginia Tech (Oct. 24)

Taking a breather this week, the surprising Blue Devils go toe-to-toe with against a lackluster Virginia Tech team in Blacksburg this weekend. Since Duke doesn't face FSU or Clemson in the regular season, there is a very strong chance they could win every game on their schedule for the remainder of the season. Well, that is, up until they make it to the ACC Championship Game, anyway...

North Carolina (5-1)
Next Opponent: Virginia (Oct. 24)

The Tar Heels whooped up on Wake Forest, pummeling the Demon Deacons 50-14 on Saturday. Marquise Williams' play may be a cause for concern, however: even in a dominant performance, he still lobbed two costly interceptions and completed a just passable 14 out of 20 attempts for the day.

California (5-1)
Next Opponent: UCLA (Oct. 24)

The one-loss Bears had a week off, as they prepare for a Pac-12 slugfest against the reeling Bruins this weekend. Stats-wise, Cal is doing quite well for itself thus far into the season: averaging 518 yards a game, they are the 12th best offensive team in the country, ranking 11th overall in terms of passing and receiving. 

Michigan (5-2)
Next Opponent: Minnesota (Oct. 31)

It's not everyday you can say you lost a game on the very last play, especially one in which you had offensive possession. Alas, the Wolverines last-second fumble against the Spartans demonstrates the utter unpredictability of college football ... and how one butterfingered player can potentially doom an entire season. Michigan ain't out of the race altogether, but they are going to need a lot of help ... and frankly, some good luck bordering on divine intervention ... to get them back into the Big 10 title picture. 

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