Tuesday, November 22, 2016

2016 NCAA Top 25 Rankings (Week 12!)

Tell the Associated Press to take a hike ... these are the only college pigskin rankings you ought to pay any attention to.

By: Jimbo X

This Week's Episode:
"Hello again, friend of a friend..."

The A.P.? 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.

Alabama (11-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Auburn (Nov. 26)

As expected, the Tide absolutely beat the shit out of Chattanooga over the weekend. Following the 31-3 win, the only thing standing in the way of a National Championship playoffs berth - if not the No. 1 seed overall - is a one-two in-conference swing against Auburn in the Iron Bowl and against Florida two weeks out in the SEC Championship Game. 

Western Michigan (11-0)
Next Opponent: vs. Toledo (Nov. 25)

That's right, the Broncos undefeated season continues via a dominant 38-0 win over Khalil Mack's alma mater Buffalo. With just two games left on the docket - including a way better than it sounds clash this weekend against Toledo - there's a very strong chance Western Michigan can finish the season with no losses on their record. And in that, who knows? They might just earn themselves a play date with a team from a "real" conference on New Year's Day, which in turn could give W.M. an opportunity to prove all those snobby critics in the playoff selection committee they definitely erred by not giving them a shot at the final four. 

Michigan (10-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Ohio State (Nov. 26)

Even with some guy named "O'Korn" playing quarterback, the Wolverines still managed to top Indiana 20-10 last Saturday. With their backup QB likely starting over Wilton Speight in the road trip to Columbus, though, you really, really have to second guess Michigan's chances this Saturday - and with it, their National Championship aspirations. 

Clemson (10-1)
Next Opponent: vs. South Carolina (Nov. 26)

Of all the teams gunning for the playoffs, I reckon Clemson has the path of least resistance ahead of them. Following a facile 35-13 win over Wake Forest, the Tigers now have what should be a pretty easy game against South Carolina and a tougher - but still winnable - outing against North Carolina or Virginia Tech left on the schedule. Simply put, there's no excuse for Clemson to not win the ACC and tap dance their way into the four-team playoffs. Although - as the last couple of weeks have demonstrated - you really can't rule anything out this late in the college football season.

Ohio State (10-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Michigan (Nov. 26)

Ohio State just barely got by Michigan State 17-16, but hey, a "W" is still a "W" ain't it? Pretty much the whole bag of marbles is on the line this weekend, as the victor in the Wolverines/Buckeyes clash is guaranteed a spot in the Big 10 Championship game. But surely, whoever wins that game won't go on to lose to Nebraska or Wisconsin two weeks ago and really fuck up the playoffs picture, right? RIGHT?!?

Washington (10-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Washington State (Nov. 25)

Following a 44-18 beatdown of Arizona State, the Huskies - pardon the cliche - control their own destinies. Following a regular season closer against Washington State (which, right out of the gate, is anything but a gimme), Washington will then do battle against one of three very tricky opponents in the PAC-12 Championship Game: Colorado, USC or Utah. If they can stay unbeaten over the next two games, this squad is pretty much a lock for the playoffs. But if they drop just one, though ...

Boise State (10-1)
Next Opponent: vs. Air Force (Nov. 25)

Running back Jeremy McNichols had four rushing touchdowns in the Broncos' 42-25 win over UNLV last Saturday. That ought to be enough to solidify the Blue Turfers a slot in the Mountain West championship game. And a win there? Well, I, for one, would love to see the team take on yet another overperforming, non-power-five team nicknamed the Broncos somewhere down the line...

Oklahoma (9-2)
Next Opponent: vs. Oklahoma State (Dec. 03)

The Sooners' 316 rushing-yard day (complete with five separate touchdowns on the ground) pretty much put the kibosh on the Mountaineers slim (read: never existent to begin with) playoff dreams. Following the 56-28 win, 'Homa will square off against Oklahoma State in what is essentially a proxy for the Big 12 Championship. Whether a victory there will be enough to propel either team into the four-team playoffs, however, remains to be seen. 

Florida (8-2)
Next Opponent: vs. Florida State (Nov. 26)

Florida won in typical Florida fashion over the weekend, besting LSU 16-10 in a fugly ass defensive struggle. The win, by default, coronates the Gators as SEC East champs ... but is this team even remotely ready to throwdown with 'Bama in two weeks time?

Oklahoma State (9-2)
Next Opponent: vs. Oklahoma (Dec. 03)

An effortless 31-6 win over the corpse of what was the TCU football program puts the Cowboys in a horse race with the Sooners for control of the Big 12. And hey, what do you know, these two motherfuckers are going to clash in two weeks time for the rights to hoist the conference's (technically non-existent) championship. The bigger question, however? Whether or not enough freaky stuff will happen this week to put the winner of the Okie Bowl in a potential playoff predicament. 

Colorado (9-2)
Next Opponent: vs.  Utah (Nov. 26)

After knocking off Washington State 38-24, the Buffaloes find themselves one more win away from a trip to the PAC-12 Championship Game. Alas, that road to glory ain't exactly going to be an easy one to hoe - Colorado's final regular season skirmish is against a tough Utah team, no doubt seeking retribution for a two-point loss to non-contender Oregon last weekend. 

Penn State (9-2)
Next Opponent: vs. Michigan State (Nov. 26)

With a 39-0 throttling (dare I call it "a molesting?") of Rutgers, Penn State claims their seventh consecutive victory of the 2016 regular season. While they're going to have to stand on the sidelines for the Big 10 Championship, the team does find themselves in a pretty good situation as far as bowl games are concerned. Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised one iota to see the Nittany Lions playing in primetime come New Year's Day. 

Wisconsin (9-2)
Next Opponent: vs. Minnesota (Nov. 26)

After pummeling Purdue 49-20, the Badgers need two things to happen to get them in the Big 10 Championship Game. First - obviously - they've got to bump off Minnesota. That part shouldn't be too difficult. Secondly - and this is where things get iffy - Nebraska HAS to also lose to Iowa. And with that in mind, the biggest Hawkeyes supporters this weekend might not even be in Iowa City!

Nebraska (9-2)
Next Opponent: vs. Iowa (Nov. 25)

With a 28-7 win over Maryland, the Cornhuskers pretty much control their own destiny. A win over the Hawkeyes this weekend - no small task, mind you - gives them a pretty good shot of appearing in the Big 10 Championship Game, where either Michigan or Ohio State awaits. And if Nebraska manages to score the upset there, will the selection committee slide them into the four-team playoffs? Looks like we will just have to wait and see, folks. 

Houston (9-2)
Next Opponent: vs. Memphis (Nov. 25)

The Cougars pulled off quite possibly the biggest upset all year when they not only beat Louisville, but positively rekt their asses 36-10. While the team remains a loooooong-shot for the playoffs (and when I say "looooooong-shot," I mean "they have no fucking chance whatsoever") they should still be in contention for the AAC crown. Of course, that also means the team is one week closer to Tom Herman bolting for Texas, so ... uh, it's a bittersweet symphony called life, ain't it? 

Louisville (9-2)
Next Opponent: vs. Kentucky (Nov. 26)

Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse after allegations the team stole Wake Forest's plays, the Cardinals - in one of the biggest shockers of the NCAA football season - got their asses annihilated last Thursday by Houston, 36-10. The unexpected loss all but eliminates Louisville from the National Championship hunt - although, it's probably not enough to keep Lamar Jackson from winning the Heisman. 

West Virginia (8-2)
Next Opponent: vs. Iowa State (Nov. 26)

Yeah, that 56-28 loss to Oklahoma pretty much eliminates WVU from playoffs contention. Still, with a solid enough win against Iowa State, there's an outside chance the Mountaineers might find themselves in a bowl game people actually give a shit about watching. Well ... maybe.

Navy (8-2)
Next Opponent: vs. SMU (Nov. 26)

Will Worth galloped for 159 yards and four touchdowns in the Midshipmen's 66-31 win over East Carolina. With what should be an easy win over Southern Methodist, Navy wraps up their regular season with an intra-military skirmish against Army; a win there would send them to the AAC Championship Game, where they would most likely face either South Florida or Temple.

San Diego State (8-2)
Next Opponent: vs. Colorado State (Nov. 26)

The Aztecs dropped a heartbreaker to Wyoming Saturday, falling 34-33 to the Cowboys. Running back Donnel Pumphrey, however, remains a long-shot Heisman candidate - at the week 12 mark, he has accumulated more 1,800 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns.

Troy (8-2)
Next Opponent: vs. Texas State (Nov. 26)

The Trojans suffered a huge setback over the weekend, as they were absolutely creamed by Arkansas State 35-3. The Red Wolves controlled the run game on both sides of the ball, pounding the rock for 208 yards and three scores, while limiting Troy to just 56 yards and no trips to the end zone.

Toledo (9-2)
Next Opponent: vs. Western Michigan (Nov. 25)

In a super foggy affair, the Rockets nonetheless managed to best Ball State 37-19. Quarterback Logan Woodside - easily the most porno-rific name in history, by the way - launched three touchdown passes in the outing, finishing the contest 25 for 39 for 325 yards.

South Florida (9-2)
Next Opponent: vs. UCF (Nov. 26)

After whopping Southern Methodist 35-27, alls the Bulls gots to do is beat UCF - yes, the "university" immortalized in Miami Connection - this weekend and they are a lock for the AAC Championship Game. They best get their rest, though, since their presumptive opponent two weeks from now will be either Houston or Navy.

USC (8-3)
Next Opponent: vs. Notre Dame (Nov. 26)

Believe it or not, the Trojans actually have a shot at participating in the PAC-12 Championship Game this year. Well, as long as they can get past the Fighting Irish this weekend. And Colorado loses to Utah. Which can totally happen, ya'll. For real. 

Stanford (8-3)
Next Opponent: vs. Rice (Nov. 26)

The singular Cardinal are way out of the playoff race, but they're at least attempting to close out the regular season on a high note. In the team's 45-31 win over Cal, star halfback Christian McCaffrey rushed for 284 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries; if they close strong against Rice this weekend, these kids might just find themselves playing in a big(ger) bowl game come New Year's Day.

Auburn (8-3)
Next Opponent: vs. Alabama (Nov. 26)

After losing a game to Georgia they had no excuse whatsoever to lose, Auburn got proxy revenge in the form of a 55-0 ass walloping of Alabama A&M on Saturday. Of course, all eyes are on the Iron Bowl, where the Tigers have a shot at derailing Alabama's perfect season and really fucking up the already convoluted playoffs picture this weekend. And before you smarmy little shits right this one off as a no-contest, I've got three words for you: Chris motherfucking Davis


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