Monday, November 30, 2015

2015 NCAA Football Top 25 Rankings (Week 13)

For all the marbles...

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. 

Clemson (12-0)
Next Opponent: vs. North Carolina

The Tigers wrapped up the regular season with a 37-32 win over arch rivals South Carolina. While Deshaun Watson looked all right passing (279 yards, 20 for 27 and a TD) where he really shined was in scrambling mode, as he collected 114 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. 

Iowa (12-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Michigan State

It was close, but the Hawkeyes still closed out the regular college football season undefeated with a 28-20 Thanksgiving victory over Nebraska. While Iowa's run game - powered by back Jordan Canzeri, who had two scores and 140 yards on 17 carries - looked decent, the passing game and especially the pass defense looked anemic. Iowa wrapped up the game with just 97 aerial yards on nine completions, while the Cornhuskers finished the contest with 296. Thank goodness for Tommy Armstrong's four interceptions, no?

Oklahoma (11-1)
Next Opponent: vs. T.B.D.

In one of the biggest statement games of the weekend, the Sooners absolutely rocked Oklahoma State, pounding them 58-23 with a rollicking run game that posted five scores and 344 yards overall. Alas, even in victory, Oklahoma's ineffectiveness against the pass glared like a blinking "hit-me-here" weak spot on an NES end boss; at the final horn, they let the Cowboys drop 325 aerial yards on them, a sum nearly doubling their own cumulative passing yardage (180.) 

Alabama (11-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Florida

Defense and a solid run game has carried 'Bama all season long, and their strategy was no less effective in one of the more lop-sided Iron Bowls in recent memory. The Crimson Tide had 286 rushing yards - with 271 of them racked up by Derrick Henry - in a 29-13 win over the 6-6 Auburn Tigers. As expected, the U of A's D kept a tight lid on Auburn's production; they finished the game with a measly 91 rushing yards and just 169 in the air. 

Michigan State (11-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Iowa

Connor Cook looked terrific in Michigan State's 55-16 throttling of Penn State, tossing the rock 248 yards for three scores and concluding the affair going 19 for 26 on passing attempts. The Spartans' run game was also tight, as the squad's running back corps combined for 188 yards and three trips to the end zone. 

Ohio State (11-1)
Next Opponent: vs. T.B.D.

If you ever wanted to know what was more important in college football - sound rushing or sound passing - the Buckeye' 42-13 win over arch rivals Michigan tells you loud and clear. While the Wolverines had 307 yards passing (compared to Ohio State's 113), the Buckeyes absolutely smoked Michigan on the ground, outrushing them 369 yards to 57 - with Ezekiel Elliot and J.T. Barret galloping for a combined five touchdowns. 

North Carolina (11-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Clemson

The Tar Heels had little problem getting past NC State, as the 11-1 ACC dark horse ran past the Wolfpack 45-34. While NC State did outpass UNC, the Tar Heels easily took the upper hand (err, cleat?) when it came to the ground attack; NC State finished the contest with 308 yards and two scores on 52 carries, while UNC wrapped up the contest with 374 yards and four touchdowns on 41 rushes. 

Houston (11-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Temple

Greg Ward, Jr. had a career day against the Midshipmen over the Thanksgiving break, as he led the Cougars to a 52-31 win over Navy. Houston's QB wrapped up the game with 308 yards on 26 completions for three touchdowns - plus another 83 yards on the ground, with an additional end zone visitation.

Stanford (10-2)
Next Opponent: vs. USC

While it is going to take nothing less than a miracle for the (singular) Cardinal to wind up in the playoffs, their 38-36 win over the Irish certainly boosts their bowl stock. Kevin Hogan absolutely drubbed Notre Dame's secondary, goign 17 for 21 and lobbing the rock 269 yards for four touchdowns. Especially noteworthy? Wideout Devon Cajuste, who accumulated a TD and 125 yards on just five receptions.

Florida State (10-2)
Next Opponent: vs. T.B.D.

In a completely meaningless game, the playoff-ousted Seminoles pounded the SEC championship-bound Gators like a gong, 27-2. Dalvn Cook was certainly the MVP of the Sunshine State showdown, as he concluded the contest with 183 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. Going 14 for 28 with 160 yards and a TD pass, Sean Maguire, theoretically, was OK ... just as long as you take out those two god awful scrambling attempts, which combined, resulted in negative 40 yards

Notre Dame (10-2)
Next Opponent: vs. T.B.D.

Their 38-36 heartbreaker loss to Stanford pretty much eliminates Notre Dame from playoff eligibility, but at least they can take some solace in playing a pretty good game overall in the final week of regular season play. DeShone Kizer had 234 yards passing (plus another 128 scrambling) with two touchdowns, while talented up-and-coming back Josh Adams wrapped up the affair with 168 yards and a TD on 18 carries. Too bad their defense couldn't stop those four touchdown passes from Kevin Hogan, though...

TCU (10-2)
Next Opponent: T.B.D.

In a rain-slicked season finale, the Horned Frogs managed to outlast Baylor 28-21 in a double overtime thriller. Trevone Boykin had two touchdowns and an interception, going 18 for 33 and racking up 148 passing yards, collecting another six points with his legs and averaging out to 16 yards on 14 rushing attempts. With 148 receiving yards overall, TCU bested Baylor's aerial production by 86 yards - now who'd thunk these two would have combined for only 234 passing yards back in this particular tilt back in August?

Florida (10-2)
Next Opponent: vs. Alabama

The Gators didn't even bother showing up for their contest against FSU, as they let the Seminoles roll all voer them to the tune of 27-2. Treon Harris averaged just 3.5 yards per pass, going 19 for 38 for 134 yards. Kelvin Taylor played quite a bit better - 136 yards on 24 carries - but as the score indicates, this is a team with some serious problems finding their way into enemy end zone. 

Baylor (9-2)
Next Opponent: vs. Texas

Although Baylor outrushed TCU 273 to 154, they just didn't have enough juice in their passing game to win a war of attrition. Chris Johnson went seven for 24 for a TD and an INT a piece, as the Bears fell to the Horned Frogs 28-21 in double O.T. Although Devin Chafin looked good - 119 yards and two end zone trips - the receiving corps just blew it (as indicated by no-name KD Cannon leading Baylor in receiving with just 28 yards on three catches.)

Oklahoma State (10-2)
Next Opponent: vs. T.B.D.

Talk about a late season collapse! Undefeated as of three weeks ago, the Cowboys suffered their second - and playoff dreams ending - loss of the season on Saturday, as Oklahoma drubbed 'em 58-23. Strangely enough, OK State actually outgunned OU 325 yards to 180, but since the Sooners outran them 344 yards to 132 - with five touchdowns, no less - I guess you can figure out why the Cowboys wound up dropping this one. 

Northwestern (10-2)
Next Opponent: vs. T.B.D.

Illinois may have outpassed Northwestern 241 yards to 146, but the Wildcats had the last laugh with their far more potent run game. In their 24-14 win over the Illini, NW had 204 rushing yards on 54 carries, with two of them resulting in end zone cruises. Keep an eye on back Justin Jackson; the talented rusher had 172 yards on 37 carries, a sum doubling Illinois' entire rushing offense. 

Temple (10-2)
Next Opponent: vs. Houston

The Owls had no difficulties whatsoever pummeling UConn en route to the AAC title game this weekend. In the 27-3 victory, P.J. Walker went 19 for 29 for 160 yards and a solo TD, while underrated back Jahad Thomas rolled for 119 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. Equally impressive was Temple's defense, which limited the Huskies to 129 yards passing and just nine yards rushing. 

Navy (9-2)
Next Opponent: vs. Army

Houston got the best of the Cougars over the break, as they dropped a tough one 52-31. Alas, Keenan Reynolds did look pretty good in the losing effort; he went 13 for 16 on pass attempts, producing 312 yards and a touchdown, while picking up another 84 yards - and and additional TD - with his legs. 

Western Kentucky (10-2)
Next Opponent: vs. Southern Mississippi

The Hilltoppers are winners of four in a row, last seen pummeling Marshall 49-28. Quarterback Brandon Doughty had a hell of a game against the Thundering Herd, as he racked up 370 yards and FIVE touchdown passes on 27 attempts. The run stats are pretty impressive as well. Back Anthony Wales had 131 yards and a TD on 24, while WK's defense limited Marshall to just 31 yards on the ground. 

Toledo (9-2)
Next Opponent: vs. T.B.D.

The Rockets put their best foot forward over the weekend, but they still succumbed to Western Michigan 35-30 on Saturday. QB Philip Ely had 280 yards and two touchdowns on 16 completions, and Kareem Hunt looked stellar on the ground with 139 yards and a solo TD on 20 carries. Alas, the defense never came through, as Toledo let the Broncos rack up 268 yards in the air and another 148 rushing.

Appalachian State (9-2)
Next Opponent: vs. South Alabama

There really isn't a whole to say about the Mountaineers 28-7 win over Louisiana Lafayette over the weekend. Sure, the Ragin' Cajuns may have had more overall aerial yards (although App State had more aerial touchdowns), but there is no denying who won the run game: Saturday's final tally? Mountaineers, 230 yards with three touchdowns, and LL? A measly 42 yards and a solo excursion into the end zone. 

Michigan (9-3)
Next Opponent: vs. T.B.D.

Jake Rudock's 263 yard day wasn't enough to help the Wolverines survive Ohio State, who utterly thrashed the the blue and gold over the weekend, 42-13. Sure, Jehu Chesson looked good with 111 yards and a TD on eight receptions, but the run game was rotten; not only did Michigan put up a low 57 yards with their own rushing attack, they let the Buckeyes pound them with theirs for 369 yards and five scores. 

Memphis (9-3)
Next Opponent: vs. T.B.D.

The Tigers didn't just beat SMU, they massacred them. Tigers QB Paxton Lynch set a new NCAA Division I record by tossing seven touchdown passes against the Mustangs ... in the first two quarters alone. In the 63-0 slaying, Memphis absolutely shut down Southern Methodist: at the final whistle, they had only 64 yards passing and a miserable 35 rushing. 

Oregon (9-3)
Next Opponent: vs. T.B.D.

Vernon Adams, Jr. looked all shades of Mariota in the Ducks 52-42 shootout win over Oregon State. The Oregon QB wrapped up the contest with three touchdowns and 366 yards on 28 completions - and he got plenty of assistance from the solid rushing corps, who combined for another 308 yards and four touchdowns. Leading the quack pack was Royce Freeman, with two touchdowns and 167 yards on 27 rushing attempts. After a disappointing start, this young team really has all the makings of a stellar offensive unit next season. 

Georgia (9-3)
Next Opponent: vs. T.B.D. 

The Bulldogs may have bested Georgia Tech 13-7 to wrap up their season, but nobody in the Peach State is talking about that. Rather, it's the fate of the perennial underperforming squad following the departure of long-time head coach Mark Richt, who hung up his clipboard just hours after the Dawgs' final game of the regular season. With inconsistent quarter backing and a seemingly cursed halfback position, rebuilding UGA next season probably won't be an easy task for whoever ends up taking over the red and black in the offseason. 


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