Cream rises, turds sink...
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 (6-0)
Next Opponent: Penn State (Oct. 17)
After a few rather unimpressive showings against lesser teams, the Buckeyes again played like National Champions, pounding Maryland 49-28. Cardale Jones looked especially good, going 21-for-28 on passing attempts and registering two touchdowns and 291 yards on the day. Even in victory, however, the team showed a potential Achilles Heel in their run defense, as they let the Terrapins' sluggish halfbacks chew up 253 yards.
Next Opponent: LSU (Oct. 17)
The undefeated Gators followed up last week's impressive defensive showing against Ole Miss with perhaps an even more impressive defensive showing against SEC East rivals Missouri. Despite the 21-3 victory, however, Florida's offense was a bit anemic at times, as now-suspended QB Will Grier had no touchdown passes and went 20-for-33 on his throws. We'll see if the Gators resurgent D will be enough to stop Leonard Fournette, as Florida prepares for a potential SEC Championship preview against LSU this Saturday.
Next Opponent: West Virginia (Oct. 17)
The Bears had a field day against the Kansas, pummeling their Big 12 adversaries 66-7 in a game which saw Seth Russell toss three TD passes and rack up 246 yards on the day before Jarrett Stidham stepped in to lob two more touchdowns late in the game. As explosive as the team's offense is, you also have to give credit to the D on this one: Baylor's defense limited Kansas to just 158 receiving yards, and only 69 on the ground.
Next Opponent: Florida (Oct. 17)
L-Four had an "off-day" in the Tigers' 45-24 win over the Gamecocks, "only" accumulating 158 yards and one TD. If anything, that just indicates how loaded LSU is in the run game, with "B-level" backs Derrius Guice (161, one TD) and Darrel Williams (61, two TDs) posting some impressive numbers on the ground themselves. All eyes are on Baton Rouge this weekend, as the Tigers go toe-to-toe with the Gators in the game that very well could decide the SEC championship.
Next Opponent: Iowa State (Oct. 17)
Another week, another last-second, come-from-behind Horned Frogs victory. It's hard to make heads or tails of Trevone Boykin's performance, despite his last minute heroics, as he finished the game with two touchdowns and two corresponding interceptions. Alas, he was also able to scramble like mad for two more TDs, pretty much single-handedly winning the game for TCU. The explosive offense makes this arguably the most fun team in all of college football to watch; that said, the team's lagging defense could ultimately prove their undoing and cost them a shot at the National Championship.
Michigan State (6-0)
Next Opponent: Michigan (Oct. 17)
The Spartans followed up last week's scare against Purdue with an even bigger scare against Rutgers. Connor Cook, however, was nonetheless able to deliver when it counted, racking up 357 yards and two touchdowns while back LJ Scott stuck endzone twice and walked away with 42 yards on nine carries. If anything was proven this past weekend, however, it's that Michigan State definitely has some gaps to fill in its run-game -- especially with huge games against some run-happy Buckeyes and Wolverines team yet to be played.
Next Opponent: Arizona State (Oct. 17)
It was a close one, but the Utes remain undefeated after besting Cal 30-24 on Saturday night. With two interceptions and just one touchdown, Travis Wilson played pretty bad, while Devontae Booker powered the team to victory with 222 yards and two TDs on 34 carries. The defense is vulnerable to potent passing games, however: the Bears ended up posting 340 yards by air in their losing effort, while the victorious Utes only mustered 170 of their own.
Next Opponent: Boston College (Oct. 17)
The Tigers Triple Threat reared its head again in Clemson's 43-24 win over Georgia Tech. Deshaun Watson, Wayne Gallman and Jordan Leggett all teamed up for four touchdowns, while the team's dominant D held the Jackets to just 159 receiving yards and only 71 yards on the ground.
Florida State (5-0)
Next Opponent: Louisville (Oct. 17)
The Hurricanes pushed the Seminoles to the brink, but Florida State still managed to outlast Miami in Saturday's 29-24 thriller. Offensively, the star of the show had to be Dalvin Cook, who had two touchdowns and 222 yards on 22 carries. The defense, however, is a tale of wild opposites: while FSU's D was able to hold Miami to just 20 rushing yards, their secondary also allowed them to rack up 405 yards in the air.
Oklahoma State (6-0)
Next Opponent: Kansas (Oct. 24)
Despite Mason Rudolph playing like utter crap (no touchdowns, an underwhelming 218 yards and a nearly fatal three interceptions), the Cowboys still managed to rally the troops in their 33-26 win over West Virginia. That the Mountaineers could post 256 rushing yards against the team, however, ought to give Oklahoma State fans plenty of concerns for the remainder of the season.
Texas A&M (5-0)
Next Opponent: Alabama (Oct. 17)
The Aggies took a breather over the weekend, which is much needed: this weekend, they host the Crimson Tide in a game that could not only decide the fate of the SEC West, but play a huge role in shaping the college football playoff final four come January.
Next Opponent: Northwestern (Oct. 17)
While Iowa gave up more passing yards in their 29-20 win over Illinois, the Hawkeyes also played much better on both sides of the run game; Jordan Canzeri had a solo TD and 256 yards on the day, while Iowa's D held Illinois to only 49 rushing yards.
Next Opponent: Texas A&M (Oct. 17)
Even with Jake Coker's two interceptions, the Crimson Tide had no problems beating Arkansas, eventually pounding the Razorbacks 27-14. Alabama outran Arkansas 134 yards to 44, while its aerial attack outnumbered the Hogs 262 yards to 176. Their next game, a stop by College Station, is a big 'un: a win there and 'Bama's hopes for a national championship berth got a big shot in the arm. Meanwhile, a loss more or less factors them out of the quest for the SEC West title, let alone the national trophy.
Next Opponent: Michigan State (Oct. 17)
The Wolverines continued their five game victory streak, crushing Northwestern 38-0 on Saturday. Although the run game could only produce one TD, it nonetheless keep Michigan in control of the clock, as the wound up kicking eight field goals to wipe the Wildcats off the role call of college football unbeatens. The Big House will definitely be rocking this weekend, as the Wolverines look to make a gigantic statement against their other arch-rival, the Michigan State Spartans.
Notre Dame (5-1)
Next Opponent: USC (Oct. 17)
While DeShone Kizer underwhelmed in the Irish's 41-24 win over Navy, C.J. Prosise continued to look fantastic, pounding the rock for three touchdowns and 129 yards. That said, some defensive deficiencies still made themselves apparent. While Notre Dame was able to hold Navy to just 22 yards receiving, they also let the Midshipmen run all over them, eventually collecting three touchdowns and 318 yards on the ground.
Ole Miss (5-1)
Next Opponent: Memphis (Oct. 17)
There's not a whole lot say about the Rebels 52-3 mudhole stompin' of New Mexico State. Chad Kelly had three touchdowns and 384 yards, while no less than four Ole Miss backs found the endzone on a collective 265 yard day. They have one of the most suprisingly important games of the season next week, as they do battle with AAC unbeaten Memphis at the Liberty Bowl.
Next Opponent: UCLA (Oct. 15)
With only the out-of-nowhere Utah Ute currently porting about an undefeated record in the Pac-12, the division is still up in the air. Following a breather this week, they travel into Bruins territory this weekend for a pivotal conference clash against one-loss UCLA.
Next Opponent:UCLA (Oct. 22)
Despite their close defeat at the hands of the Utah Utes, the California Golden Bears remain one of the better offensive and defensive units in the Pac-12. Unfortunately, they'll be doing battle with another versatile conference team in two weeks time, as they go mano-y-mano with the Bruins in L.A.
Next Opponent: Stanford (Oct. 15)
It's hard to predict the trajectory of the Pac-12, and right now, UCLA is up there with about four or five other teams who have a strong possibility to win the conference (and perhaps a spot in the National Championship playoffs.) After taking a week off, they'll have a major test against Stanford in a Thursday night, with an equally important tilt against Cal a week later.
Next Opponent: Kansas State (Oct. 17)
The good news for Oklahoma is that nobody has really ran away with the Big 12 yet. The bad news, of course, is that losing to a then 1-4 Texas Longhorns squad definitely does not look good if and/or when the conference championship tiebreaker discussion arises. It may not technically be a do-or-die game against the Wildcats this weekend, but if the Sooners drop this Saturday's game against KSU, they could be seeing their National Championship dreams fluttering out the window before Halloween even rolls around.
Next Opponent: Virginia Tech (Oct. 24)
Following a 44-3 pummeling of Army, Duke gets a week off in preparation of their next contest, a tricky away game against Virginia Tech on Oct. 24. Things won't get easier for the Blue Devils from there, as they tackle Miami, North Carolina and Pittsburgh in succession immediately afterwards.
Next Opponent: vs. Ole Miss (Oct. 17)
The undefeated Tigers, who had a bye this past weekend, have their toughest challenge of the season on Saturday, as they open up the Liberty Bowl to the high-scoring Ole Miss Rebels. Needless to say, a Memphis win here would be a HUGE upset and spark plenty of conversation about the validity of some of the non Power-Five teams in Division I (and also, make the SEC an even bigger muddle than it already is.)
Next Opponent: UCF (Oct. 17)
Having crushed Tulane 49-10 over the weekend, the undefeated Owls prepare for a non-factor Central Florida team this weekend. Following what should be another gimme game against East Carolina, the team gears up for their biggest contest of the season on Halloween, as they open Lincoln Financial Field to Notre Dame.
Next Opponent: Tulane (Oct. 16)
Thanks to a fairly facile schedule, the Cougars remain unbeaten five games into the 2015 NCAA college football season. With gimme games against the likes of Vanderbilt, Cincinnati and UFC, that steak should keep chugging along for a few more weeks. Then, there's the all-important Nov. 14 home game against Memphis, whose outcome should have not only major repercussions on the ACC, but really, the entire NCAA Division I world. No, really.
Boise State (5-1)
Next Opponent: Utah State (Oct. 16)
Following week two's loss to BYU, the Broncos have been on a roll, not only going undefeated but outscoring their opponents 204-24, with two shutouts with margins-of-victories north of 40 points. With very few threatening teams left on their schedule, Boise State is in complete control of their own destiny. While a playoff bid is unrealistic, they might just earn themselves another big-name opponent in one of the Big 6 bowl games -- that is, if they don't throw away a gimme game against the likes of Air Force and UNLV before then.