Off the Unbeaten Path...
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.
Next Opponent: Missouri (Oct. 10)
With their 38-10 dismantling of the Rebels, no team made a bigger statement in week five than the Gators. With Will Grier tossing the rock for four touchdowns -- along with a defense that limited Ole Miss to just 69 yards on the ground -- this is a team that, all of a sudden, looks to be the emerging favorite to win the SEC East.
Next Opponent: Kansas State (Oct. 10)
After a high-scoring, white knuckle thriller last week against Texas Tech, the Horned Frogs took a more low-key approach against the hapless Longhorns, pummeling the corpse of Texas' storied football program 50-7. QB and WR tandem Trevone Boykin and KaVonte Turpin literally had a field day against the boys in orange: Boykin finished the game with 332 passing yards and five touchdowns, while Turpin wrapped up the day with four TDs and 138 yards on six receptions.
Next Opponent: Kansas (Oct. 10)
The Bears one-upped TCU with a 63-35 victory over the team that took the Horned Frogs to the brink in week four. Alas, even with Seth Russell lobbing it for four touchdowns and nearly 300 yards, you nonetheless have to ask some serious questions about a defense that gave up 500 yards against the Red Raiders.
Next Opponent: South Carolina (Oct. 10)
Leonard Fournette had another impressive stop on his campaign for the 2015 Heisman, as he racked up 233 yards and three touchdowns in the Tigers 44-22 win over non-contender Eastern Michigan. Despite racking up almost 400 yards on the ground, LSU did struggle with the passing game; QB Brandon Harris had only 80 yards on the day, with one INT and no touchdown throws.
Ohio State (5-0)
Next Opponent: Maryland (Oct. 10)
Saturday's way more competitive than it should have been 34-27 win over Indiana is yet another close call for the defending National Champions. With 245 yards, one TD and an INT, Buckeyes QB Cardale Jones was fairly unimpressive against the Hoosiers. Thankfully for the Columbus faithful, the running back corps bailed them out, as Ezekiel Elliot chugged along for 275 yards and three touchdown carries.
Michigan State (5-0)
Next Opponent: Rutgers (Oct. 10)
There is really no excuse for the Spartans' narrow 24-21 win over the now 1-4 Purdue Boilermakers. With just 139 yards and a solo TD pass, Connor Cook looked pretty ho-hum. Alas, as did their arch-rivals down in the state capital of Ohio, Michigan State managed to weather the storm with a solid run game; the team finished with 267 yards on the ground, with LJ Scott racking up 146 of them and two TD passes.
Next Opponent: Georgia Tech (Oct. 10)
Although DeShaun Watson had a forgettable showing stats-wise (he went 11 for 22 on passing and racked up just 97 yards on the day) his two touchdown passes and solo touchdown run was enough to power the Tigers passed Notre Dame 24-22 over the weekend. That said, Clemson's secondary performed poorly against the Irish aerial attack, ultimately giving up 321 yards over the course of the evening.
Next Opponent: California (Oct. 10)
The Utes took a breather this weekend, and they better have used their time off wisely: this weekend, they do battle with equally surprising California in a battle of the unexpected Pac 12 unbeatens.
Florida State (4-0)
Next Opponent: Miami (Oct. 10)
Sure, the Seminoles bested Wake Forest 24-16 on Saturday, but the Demon Deacons actually outran AND outpassed FSU in the ballgame. With offensive juggernauts like Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami on the schedule, one has to wonder if the 'Noles lackluster defensive is soon to do them in.
Next Opponent: Texas (Oct. 10)
Baker Mayfield was certainly the star of the Sooners 44-24 win over formerly unbeaten West Virginia. He had 320 yards and three touchdown passes, despite only completing 14 of 25 passes and tossing an INT. But give some props to the Oklahoma defense, too, as they were able to pick off Mountaineers quarterback Skyler Howard no less then three times for almost 100 yards.
Texas A&M (5-0)
Next Opponent: Alabama (Oct. 17)
Kyle Allen threw the hell out of the ball in Saturday's 30-17 win over Mississippi State. The Johnny Football successor had two touchdowns and 322 yards on the day, finishing the game with a 81.4 quarterback rating.
Next Opponent: Utah (Oct. 10)
It was a close one against the Cougars, but the Golden Bears remained to stay unbeaten Saturday night, as they bested Washington State 34-28. Cal QB Jared Goff had a career day, chalking up four touchdown passes and 390 yards. The downside for Cal fans? The Bears defense also allowed Cougars QB Luke Falk to rack up almost as many yards against them.
Oklahoma State (5-0)
Next Opponent: West Virginia (Oct. 10)
The Cowboys just barely escaped against Kansas State over the weekend, as OSU won a hard fought 36-34 contest against the Wildcats. While their run game was abysmal (they racked up just 49 yards all day long), there is NO denying the impressive performance put on by Cowboys QB Mason Rudolph, who finished Saturday's affair with 437 yards and three touchdown passes.
Next Opponent: Michigan (Oct. 10)
The Buckeyes and the Spartans may be hogging all the Big 10 glory, but the Wildcats are also among the conference unbeaten. Northwestern put on quite possibly their most impressive performance of the entire season so far this weekend, as their defense shut down Minnesota 27-0
Next Opponent: Illinois (Oct. 10)
Yeah, it wasn't pretty, but the Hawkeyes 10-6 victory over Wisconsin is still a "W" in the history books. Even more amazing? Somehow, Iowa was able to pull out the win DESPITE being out-passed by the Badger 234 yards to 77.
Next Opponent: Arkansas (Oct. 10)
And just like that, the Crimson Tide sent the Bulldogs season into a tailspin, crushing UGA at their own stadium 38-10. Bama's defense looked especially good in this one, intercepting Georgia's two-headed quarterback three times for 79 yards and a pick six.
Notre Dame (4-1)
Next Opponent: Navy (Oct. 10)
Even in a two-point loss to Clemson, the Irish still looked pretty damn good. DeShone Kizer had 321 yards, two TD throws and one touchdown run, while C.J. Prosise finished the game with 100 yards and a TD on just four catches.
Next Opponent: UCLA (Oct. 17)
The Cardinal hopped right back into the Pac 12 championship hunt, as UCLA fell to Arizona State while they themselves mercilessly pummeled Arizona 55-17. Stanford takes a respite this weekend, before going toe-to-toe with the Bruins in what should be a game with resounding, season-long repercussions.
Next Opponent: Northwestern (Oct. 10)
The Wolverines have won four straight and put on their best showing of the season so far against Maryland, mangling the Terrapins 28-0 on Saturday afternoon. The defense limited Maryland to just 105 yards of total offense; this Saturday's showdown against conference rival Northwestern ought to be one hell of a defensive showcase, no matter the victor.
Kansas State (3-1)
Next Opponent: TCU (Oct. 10)
The two-point loss to Oklahoma State was a heartbreaker, but the Wildcats offense still looks quite impressive. That said, when your defense gives up 441 yards by air, it's kind of hard to feel too optimistic about the remainder of the season.
Next Opponent: Army (Oct. 10)
Who'd thunk the Blue Devils would have been 4-1 at this point in the season? Yes, Saturday's 9-7 win over Boston College was uglier than homemade soap, but this is a team that, somehow, keeps finding ways to win games .... even when, as was the case this past weekend, they wind up getting outran 164 yards to 33.
North Carolina (4-1)
Next Opponent: Wake Forest (Oct. 17)
The Tar Heels 38-31 in over Georgia Tech is certainly one of the biggest upsets of the college football season thus far. The x-factor there? North Carolina's solid run game, bolstered by Marquise Williams and Elijah Hood, who combined for over 200 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
Next Opponent: Ole Miss (Oct. 17)
The AAC Tigers continue to impress, beating South Florida 24-17 over the weekend, as QB Paxton Lynch went 20 for 33 and racked up 305 yards and two touchdown passes. Taking a break this weekend, they return to the field in two weeks for a gigantic upset bid against Ole Miss.
Next Opponent: Notre Dame (Oct. 10)
In the Midshipmen's 33-11 win over Air Force, Keenan Reynolds did his best Mike Vick (circa 2002, anyway) impersonation, tossing the rock for 117 yards and rushing for 183. This 4-0 Navy squad may be a huge underdog, but don't be surprised if they give Notre Dame a much more difficult time this weekend than Vegas is predicting.
Next Opponent: Tulane (Oct. 10)
The undefeated Owls let the Charlotte 49ers rack up quite a bit of yardage on Saturday, but their defense didn't let 'em convert it into points as Temple won a 37-3 no contest. This is definitely a team to keep an eye on; they could pull off a gargantuan upset against the Irish on Halloween, and their Nov. 21 tilt against Memphis might just decide a top six bowl bid berth. No, really.