Separate, and unequal
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. Syracuse (Nov. 14)
The Tigers' D propelled them to a win over much-hated divisional foes Florida State Saturday, in what was effectively the unofficial ACC Championship Game. Clemson held FSU to 164 yards in the air and while they couldn't necessarily restrain Dalvin Cook, they at least managed to prevent him from scoring more than one touchdown. Deshaun Watson looked solid at QB for Clemson, racking up 297 passing yards and 107 on the ground en route to the team's 23-13 victory. With tilts against non-factors Syracuse, Wake Forest and South Carolina ahead, the Tigers pretty much control their own destiny at this point; of all the Power Five conference leaders at the moment, no team in college football appears to have an easier road to the Playoffs.
Oklahoma State (9-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Iowa State (Nov. 14)
Ohio State (9-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Illinois (Nov. 14)
The Buckeyes' rushing definitely saved the day (or more accurately, late afternoon) in the team's 28-14 win over Minnesota. Backup QB Cardale Jones was unremarkable tossing the rock (187 yards, a TD and 12 for 22 on passes), but he did manage to scramble for a much-needed rushing touchdown. Ezekiel Elliot was also impressive, posting a 114-yard, solo TD performance on 26 carries, and the team's rush defense all but shut down the Golden Gophers on the ground; Minnesota finished the game with a measly 33 rushing yards.
Next Opponent: vs. Oklahoma (Nov. 14)
Seth who? Backup Baylor QB Jarret Stidham looked excellent in the Bears' 31-24 Thursday night win over Kansas State, as he accumulated 419 yards and three touchdowns on 33 passes. Of course, Baylor's run game also looked a little anemic in the much-closer-than-it-should-have-been affair; with 258 yards on the ground, the Wildcats more than doubled Baylor's rushing production in the contest.
Next Opponent: vs. Minnesota (Nov. 14)
The Hoosiers made it close, but the still-undefeated Hawkeyes managed to emerge from Saturday's conference battle against Indiana victorious, 35-27. While the two teams' rushing numbers were practically identical (meaning, in a roundabout manner, that Iowa's run defense needs a lot of work), you really can't say anything bad about the Hawkeyes' aerial production. Although they mustered just one passing TD, their total 233 receiving yards outstripped Indiana's aerial numbers by more than 50 yards.
Next Opponent: vs. Memphis (Nov. 14)
Next Opponent: vs. Mississippi State (Nov. 14)
The Crimson Tide CRUSHED LSU on Saturday, limiting the Tigers to an outstanding 54 rushing yards, despite having this year's probable Heisman Trophy winner in the backfield. At the end of the day, it was another running back who made his impression felt the deepest; that would be 'Bama back Derrick Henry, who posted 210 yards and three touchdowns on 38 carries.
Next Opponent: vs. Oregon (Nov. 14)
Christian MacCaffrey has to be a Heisman candidate at this point. In the (singular) Cardinal's 42-10 slaying of Colorado, he had 147 yards on 23 carries; while that didn't result in any touchdown rushes of his own, it nonetheless gave Stanford the ability to punch the ball into the endzone with three other backs, resulting in 275-yard rushing grand total.
Notre Dame (8-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Wake Forest (Nov. 14)
DeShone Kizer had arguably his best showing of the season in the Irish's 42-30 win over Pittsburgh. He wrapped up the game with five touchdown passes, going 19 for 26 for 262 yards. Top target Will Fuller brought in three touchdown receptions, producing 152 yards on only seven catches, while Notre Dame's run game - marred by a late injury to top back C.J. Prosise - still managed to finish the contest with 175 yards on the ground.
Next Opponent: vs. Arkansas (Nov. 14)
The Tigers were just overwhelmed by the Crimson Tide in their 30-16 loss over the weekend. With just 31 yards on the day, Leonard Fournette was a non-factor, and QB Brandon Harris could only muster 128 yards on 19 passing attempts ... of which he only connected on six. While their D kept Alabama's wideouts out of the endzone, they couldn't do anything to stop the run, as 'Bama mulched the field for 250 unencumbered yards.
Next Opponent: vs. South Carolina (Nov. 14)
The Gators may very we have had their toughest game of the year Saturday, against a Vanderbilt team that, to put it mildly, sucks the big one. Treon Harris had no touchdowns, one INT and just 158 yards in Florida's narrow 9-7 victory, as their D allowed the Commodores to outrush them by almost 50 yards. Sure, they held Vandy's passing attack to just 30-some-odd yards, but considering how close the game was despite that, you really have to start asking some serious questions about this team heading down the stretch.
Michigan State (8-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Maryland (Nov. 14)
While we will be arguing about the eligibility of Brandon Reilly on the game winning drive for some time to come, the fact of the matter is that -- by hook or crook -- the Cornhuskers defeated the Spartans, 39-38. Michigan State, of course, is far from finished; with an upcoming tilt against Ohio State, the team very feasibly could find itself starring in the Big 10 Championship if they manage to take the Buckeyes off the rolls of the unbeaten. You know, pending something fluky doesn't happen along the way against Maryland or Penn State, of course...
Next Opponent: vs. Baylor (Nov. 14)
The Sooners annihilated Iowa State over the weekend, pummeling the Cyclones 52-16. Baker Mayfield finished the game with three touchdown passes and 342 yards, while backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon combined for close to 200 yards and two TD catches. Next up for Bob Stoops and the boys? A Big 12 showdown against Baylor, which very well could propel Oklahoma to the top of the conference.
Next Opponent: vs. Arizona (Nov. 14)
The Utes had few problems getting past Washington, besting their Pac-12 foes 34-23. Devonte Booker had another stellar showing, chewing up the field for 150 yards and a touchdown run, while QB Travis Wilson scrambled for two scores of his own to pad his 155-yard passing day. However, Utah showed some clear holes in their pass defense, as the underpowered Huskies offense was still able to out-gun them in the air, 257 yards to 155.
Next Opponent: vs. Kansas (Nov. 14)
Boykin had big numbers as always (445 yards and a TD), but my goodness, was his arm ever off; in the Horned Frogs embarrassing 49-29 loss to Oklahoma State, he chucked no less than four interceptions, one of which Chad Whitener returned for six on the board. The rushing attack (which resulted in three touchdowns and outpaced Oklahoma State by 150-or-so-yards) looked great, but the loss demonstrates the team's over-reliance on the passing game; when their receivers aren't on, not only is TCU beatable, they're easily beatable.
North Carolina (8-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Miami (Nov. 14)
The Tar Heels beat the crap out of arch rivals Duke 66-31 over the weekend, as Marquise Williams slung the rock for 494 yards and four touchdowns (and yes, he even managed to produce a fifth score while scrambling.) Despite a fairly low 167 total yards rushing, UNC made certainly got a lot of mileage on the ground; they finished the game with five rushing touchdowns, with Elijah Hood turning in three on 17 carries.
Next Opponent: vs. SMU (Nov. 14)
Midshipmen running back Chad Swain took the motto "be all you can be" to heart Saturday, as he ran roughshod over the formerly undefeated Memphis Tigers for 108 yards and three touchdowns. Sure, Navy finished the game with just 85 receiving yards, but their 374 yards on the ground, which resulted in five touchdowns, was more than enough to earn them their 45-20 win.
Next Opponent: vs. (Nov. 14)
The Tigers tasted defeat for the first time this season, dropping a tough loss to the Naval Academy 45-20. The passing numbers were wildly diametric (Memphis had 305, Navy had 85), but the Tigers just couldn't convert those aerial yards into points on the board. Meanwhile, Memphis just couldn't get their run game going, nor could they find a way to stop the Midshipmen on the ground, as they pounded them for 374 yards and five touchdowns in the trenches.
Next Opponent: USF (Nov. 14)
The Owls bounced back from their first loss of the season by besting SMU 60 to 40. P.J. Walker finished the game with four touchdown passes and 268 yards (plus another rushing TD of his own), while the combined Owls rushers put up three touchdowns and 268 yards total on the ground.
Next Opponent: vs. Central Michigan (Nov. 10)
The Rockets tasted defeat for the first time this season, as they dropped last Tuesday's game against Northern Illinois 32-27. Although Toledo outran the Huskies 291 yards to 124, they also got out-passed; Toledo finished the game with 136 yards and one touchdown, while Northern Illinois finished the contest with two aerial touchdowns and 277 receiving yards.
Next Opponent: vs. Washington State (Nov. 14)
The Bruins murder-death-killed Oregon State on Saturday, crushing the Beavers (that's what she said) 41-0. Josh Rosen tossed two touchdowns and wrapped up the contest with 333 yards, with Thomas Duarte leading UCLA receivers with two scores and 116 yards on six receptions. Also noteworthy? UCLA's running back committee combined for three touchdowns and 284 yards on 55 carries, a sum that more than doubles the rushing production put up by Oregon State.
Next Opponent: vs. Indiana (Nov. 14)
The Wolverines pounded Rutgers like a gong Saturday, defeating the Scarlet Knights 49-16. Quarterback Jake Rudock had two touchdowns and 337 yards, while the blue and gold D held their conference foes to just 128 yards rushing and less than 100 yards receiving.
Next Opponent: vs. Northwestern (Nov. 21)
The Badgers bested Maryland over the weekend, 31-24, in a contest that saw defender Tanner McEvoy reel in two interceptions and Natrell Jackson score on a kick return. Joel Stave's 188-yard, one-TD-and-one-INT day wasn't that impressive but to be frank ... you really don't have to play at your best level to beat the Terrapins, anyway.
Mississippi State (7-2)
Next Opponent: vs. Alabama (Nov. 14)
In what may be the last Missouri football game involving black people for the foreseeable future, the Bulldogs ripped the the Tigers a new one, 31-13. The awesomely-named Dak Prescott finished the contest with four touchdown passes and 303 aerial yards, with receivers Fred Ross and De'Runnya Wilson combining for three scores and 217 yards on the ground.
Florida State (7-2)
Next Opponent: vs. NC State (Nov. 14)
Dalvin Cook did his damnedest, but even his impressive numbers (194 yards and a TD on 21 carries) weren't enough to lift the Seminoles past Clemson on Saturday. The Seminoles definitely got beat in the air in their 23-13 loss; Deshaun Watson nearly doubled Sean Maguire's passing yards, while no receivers for the 'Noles were able to convert said yardage into points on the board.