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: vs. South Carolina
The undefeated Tigers rolled over Wake Forest, winning an anti-contest 33-13 over the weekend. Deshaun Watson had 343 yards, three touchdowns and two trivial interceptions in Clemson's dominant performance, while their defense limited the Demon Deacons to just 113 passing yards and only 39 on the ground.
Next Opponent: vs. Nebraska
With their 40-20 win over Purdue, the Hawkeyes improved to 11-0 on the season, making them one of the last two unbeaten Division I teams in the land. Living up to his namesake, C.J. Beathard did indeed beat the Boilermakers hard, lobbing three touchdown passes for 213 yards, while Iowa's backs posted three touchdowns and 174 yards down in the trenches.
Next Opponent: vs. Auburn
The Tide murder-death-killed Charleston Southern to the tune of 56-6. Jake Coker went 11 for 13 for 155 yards and two touchdowns, while Alabama's running back corps tacked up 195 yards and four touchdowns. The dominant D, however, was perhaps the most impressive 'Bama attribute: they limited the hapless Buccaneers to just 85 yards rushing and 49 yards receiving.
Next Opponent: vs. Oklahoma State
It was a razor thin victory, but the Sooners nonetheless vanquished hated Big 12 adversaries TCU over the weekend, 30-29. Although Baker Mayfield's numbers were a bit humdrum (127 yards and just nine for 20 on pass attempts) he still tossed two TDs, while criminally underappreciated halfback Samaje Perine torched the field for 188 yards and a touchdown run.
Michigan State (10-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Penn State
The Spartans bumped the Buckeyes off the rolls of the unbeaten over the weekend, thanks in no small part to a tremendous run game that saw Gerald Holmes, LJ Scott and the rest of the crew chalk up 203 yards on the ground. Michigan State's defense absolutely shut down Ohio State in their 17-14 win; by game's end, the defending National Champions had just 86 rushing yards and a mere 46 by air.
Notre Dame (10-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Stanford
Boston College gave the Irish all they could handle in Saturday's narrow 19-16 Notre Dame win. DeShone Kizer posted 320 yards and two touchdowns, but he also lobbed three interceptions. Meanwhile, the Irish rushing attack looked a bit more sluggish than the norm, accounting for only 127 total yards and no scores. The thing that has to be really concerning for the South Bend faithful, however, has to be the team's slacking defense. Seeing as how the Irish let BC rack up 214 yards on the ground, you have really got to start wondering if the regular season finale against Stanford has "upset" written all over it.
Ohio State (10-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Michigan
The Buckeyes tasted defeat for the first time on Saturday, as the Spartans stunned "the" Ohio State with "the" last second field-goal to give "the" Michigan State "the" 17-14 victory. Offensively, Ohio State sputtered (combining for only 132 passing and rushing yards) while the Spartans ran all over them, to the tune of 203 yards.
Next Opponent: vs. TCU
After a heartbreaking loss to Oklahoma, Baylor waltzed into Stillwater and had no problems knocking off the formerly undefeated Cowboys in their own stadium. In the Bears' impressive 45-35 victory, two-headed quarterback Jarrett Stidham and Chris Johnson combined for 396 passing yards and 3 touchdowns, while Baylor's rushing attack collected 304 yards in the trenches and an additional three scores.
Oklahoma State (10-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Oklahoma State
Although Mason Rudolph tossed 430 yards and three touchdown passes, it wasn't enough to give the Cowboys an edge against Baylor, who bested Oklahoma State on the road, 45-35. The Cowboys' defense was lackluster (allowing 700 total offensive yards) and their run game was just pathetic; at the final horn, the 'Boys had just eight yards rushing, thanks in no small part to Mason Rudolph's combined negative 38 yards attempting to run the ball.
Next Opponent: vs. Florida State
Seeing as how the Gators already have a date with Alabama locked up at he Georgia Dome, perhaps Florida's sloppy performance against Florida Atlantic can be excused. Then again - in a game in which the Owls both outpassed and outran the Gators, that additionally took Florida overtime to win - you really have to wonder how this team is going to fare in an (essentially) meaningless tilt against FSU this weekend ... and whether that's going to leave them too banged up to mount a sound game against the Crimson Tide come the first week of December.
North Carolina (10-1)
Next Opponent: vs. NC State
Pending some absolutely freaky stuff happens this weekend, the Tar Heels are pretty much guaranteed a date against Clemson in two weeks. Alas, North Carolina's sloppy play against the Hokies over the weekend does not bode well for their chances against the consensus number one team in the country; in UNC's 30-27 overtime victory, although the boys in powder blue had 240 yards rushing, they also let subpar QB Michael Brewer rack up 273 aerial yards.
Next Opponent: vs. Houston
The Midshipmen's impressive play continued over the weekend, as Keenan Reynolds (55 yards passing with a score and 81 yards rushing with another TD) stomped Tulsa 44-21. While Navy did let the Golden Hurricane (yes, it is singular) rack up 278 yards, they effectively shut down their rushing game, allowing them just 78 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Navy absolutely obliterated the turf with their own run game, as they collectively mulched the field for five rushing touchdowns and 469 yards.
Next Opponent: vs. Navy
The Huskies ended Houston's unbeaten dreams Saturday, as UConn upset the Cougars 20-17. Kyle Postma was all right (190 passing yards and a TD, with an additional 52 yards on the ground), but the run game struggled, putting up only 110 yards. Meanwhile, Houston's D did little to stop UConn's rushing attack, as they racked up 156 yards on 43 carries.
Next Opponent: vs. Western Michigan
The Rockets won their sixth in a row last Tuesday, besting Bowling Green 44-28. Phillip Ely had 208 yards passing and went 1-to-1 in touchdowns-to-interceptions thrown, while Toledo's running back corps combined for 198 yards and four touchdowns. A special mention goes out to back Kareem Hunt, who collected two rushing touchdowns and 153 yards on 29 carries.
Next Opponent: vs. Ohio State
The Wolverines has no problem getting past Penn State, as they walloped the Nittany Lions 28-16 on the road. Jake Rudock went 2-1 in his TD-to-INT ratio, ultimately finishing the game with 256 yards on 25 completions.
Next Opponent: vs. Notre Dame
In a 35-22 victory over in-state rivals Cal, the (singular) Cardinal collected three touchdowns and 260 yards on the ground, with Heisman-worthy back Christian McCaffrey racking up 192 yards on 29 carries plus a touchdown reception (and with, it another 49 yards on the day.) Alas, the secondary was about as porous as a piece of Swiss cheese, as Stanford allowed the Golden Bears to lob the rock for 386 yards.
Next Opponent: vs. Baylor
The Horned Frogs made it close, but they just didn't have enough oomph to take out the Sooners in a tough 30-29 road loss. With Trevone Boykin sidelines, quarterbacks Bram Kohlhausen and Foster Sawyer combined for 229 yards and three touchdowns; however, the TCU defense absolutely crumbled against the run, allowing Oklahoma to post 333 yards on the ground.
Florida State (9-2)
Next Opponent: vs. Florida
In a 52-13 anti-contest, the Seminoles stomped the Chattanooga Mocs, putting up no less than five rushing touchdowns. Sean Maguire had two additional aerial scores, both of which fell into the more than capable hands of Kermit Whitfield, who finished the game with 91 yards on five receptions.
Next Opponent: UConn
The Owls derailed Memphis over the weekend, besting the Tigers 31-12 at home. P.J. Walker had a two-and-one TD-to-INT ratio, ultimately lobbing the rock for 261 yards (and running it for another 49.) Temple's defense utterly shut down the Memphis O, preventing them from scoring any touchdowns and limiting them to just 156 yards receiving and 76 rushing.
Next Opponent: vs. Illinois
In a defensive struggle, the Wildcats surmounted the Badgers on Saturday, winning the road contest 13-7. Although Northwestern let Wisconsin rack up some huge yardage in the air (229 to their own 60), there is no denying that the Wildcats had the better day running the rock; they posted 149 yards, while their adversaries finished the game with -26 yards rushing. Yes, as in negative twenty-six.
Appalachian State (8-2)
Next Opponent: vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
The Mountaineers took the week off, as they next face the Ragin' Cajuns of L of L. Averaging 478 yards a game, they have the 23rd ranked offense in Division I college ball; allowing just 321 yards per game, they also possess the 15th best FBS (I-A) defense.
Western Kentucky (8-2)
Next Opponent: vs. Marshall
The Hilltoppers - perhaps best known for having a mascot that is basically a rose-red palette swap of the Grimace - completely throttled Florida International over the weekend, pounding the Panthers 63-7. QB Brandon Doughty had three scores and 224 yards, while the running back corps combined for 253 yards and five end zone visits. Meanwhile, the W.K. defense effectively shut down FIU's operations, holding them to 95 rushing yards and just 73 passing.
Next Opponent: vs. Western Kentucky
The Thundering Herd took the week off, last seen beating FIU like a gong to the tune of 52-0. posting 413 yards per game, they are the 58th ranked offense in division uno, while their 357 yards allowed per average ties them with Notre Dame for college ball's 39th best defense.
Southern Mississippi (8-3)
Next Opponent: vs. Louisiana Tech
Probably the best-playing team in Mississippi right now ain't one of the SEC schools. Over the weekend, the Golden Eagles beat the Old Dominion Monarchs 56-31, in a game that saw Southern Miss score six rushing touchdowns - four of which were signed, sealed, and delivered by back Jalen Richard, who finished the contest with 161 yards on 22 carries.
Northern Illinois (8-3)
Next Opponent: vs. Ohio
The Huskies bested the Western Michigan Broncos last week, improving to 8-3 on the season via a 27-19 win. Running back Jordan Huff averaged 20 yards per play on eight carries, as he scrambled like mad for 159 yards and a touchdown. Alas, even in the silver clouds, there is a big, black streak; the team also gave up an absurd amount of yardage - 353, to be exact - in the air.