Wednesday, September 7, 2016

2016 NCAA Football Rankings (Week One Update!)

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:
Everything Goes EXACTLY as Planned

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 (1-0)
Next Opponent: Western Kentucky (Sept. 10)

Well, if there were any doubts as to whether Nick Saban's 800 pound gorilla in Tuscaloosa is in reload mode instead of rebuilding, they sure as shit answered it in their regular season opener, absolutely crushing USC 52-6 down in Jerry World. Granted, it took the Tide a good 15 minutes before they could get into their rhythm, but when they found it, the Trojans paid dearly. Receiver ArDarius Stewart had two TDs on four hauls for 114 yards (including a 71-yard scorcher for six) while new Bama QB Jalen Hurts hit end zone twice on six passes, additionally scrambling for two more on the ground. And the defense looks as good as ever, holding the high-flying Trojans to just 130 yards by air and just 64 rushing. 

Houston (1-0)
Next Opponent: Lamar (Sept. 10)

Tom Herman pretty much guaranteed the Cougars will be a Big 12 school this time next season. In their impressive 33-23 win over the no. 3 nationally ranked Sooners, Greg Ward racked up 321 passing yards and two touchdowns (plus another six on the board with his legs), but really, it was the efficient kicking of Ty Cummings - whose four field goals and three extra points represented nearly half of the team's point tally - and the kick six heroics of Brandon Wilson that really propelled the defending American Athletic Conference champs to victory. Still, Houston nonetheless gave up a ton of yards in the air, allowing Baker Mayfield, in a losing effort, to still post 323 yard and two touchdown passes.  

Wisconsin (1-0)
Next Opponent: Akron (Sept. 10)

In a weekend with no shortage of upsets, perhaps none rang louder than the unranked Badgers bumping off the no. 5 nationally ranked LSU Tigers at Lambeau Field. Granted, it wasn't easy - it took Wisconsin a fourth quarter field goal to steal the W - but the Badgers nonetheless looked like an entirely different team, offensively and defensively, from last year's underwhelming squad. The numbers may not sound like it, but even allowing 138 yards, the Badgers did a pretty good job shutting Leonard Fournette down, keeping him out of the end zone all day despite getting the rock 23 times. With 205 yards and two INTs, Wisconsin QB Bart Houston definitely needs to work on his game (the defense definitely bailed him out against LSU), but he certainly has some good weapons to work with in the backfield, including halfback Corey Clement (86 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries) and receiver Troy Fumagalli (100 yards on seven catches.) 

Florida State (1-0)
Next Opponent: Charleston Southern (Sept. 10)

At one point losing 28-6, the Seminoles managed to surge back by improbably scoring 33 consecutive unanswered point en route to a rousing, come-from-behind 45-33 victory against Ole Miss last Monday evening. While dual running and receiving threat Dalvin Cook (91 yards on the ground and 101 in the air) and standout wideout Jesus Wilson deserve plenty of credit, the lion's share of the success can be solely attributed to FSU QB Deondre Francois, who posted an absurd 419 passing yards, with two of his 33 completions resulting in scores. That said, the Seminoles' defense is a tale of two teams; while they were very effective at stopping Ole Miss' running game (only allowing the Rebels to rack up 67 rushing yards), they nonetheless allowed Chad Kelly ample room to lob four touchdowns and collect 313 aerial yards on the day. Granted, even that little statistic has a silver lining for the FSU faithful, seeing as how Seminole defenders also intercepted the heavily touted Heisman candidate three times. 

Texas (1-0)
Next Opponent: Texas-El Paso (Sept. 10)

Judging by the Longhorns' 50-47 double overtime victory over Notre Dame, one of two things must be true: either the Irish are a vastly overrated team (ND, being overrated at the beginning of the season? A shocker, I know) or this Texas team - with playmakers like D'Onta Foreman (131 yards and a TD on 24 carries) and John Burt (111 yards and a touchdown on six receptions) - might actually be worth a toot. Although it's always a stretch to guesstimate an entire team's comprehensive worth after one game, methinks both of those qualifiers addressed earlier are more than likely true. And don't be surprised if Tyrone Swoopes - whose three rushing touchdowns included the game-winner - doesn't become a dark horse Heisman candidate by year's end. 

Texas A&M (1-0)
Next Opponent: Prairie View A&M (Sept. 10)

Am I overrating the Aggies after one upset performance? Maybe, maybe not. That said, it's hard to not be impressed by Trevor Knight's play, having produced 239 passing yards and a TD in tandem with two additional scrambling scores in his team's 31-24 overtime win against no 16 nationally ranked UCLA. Granted, the team did allow Josh Rosen to put up a ton of aerial yards (343, to be exact,) but the Aggies' D did a pretty good job stopping the run, allowing the Bruins to only collect 125 rushing yards on the day. 

Georgia (1-0)
Next Opponent: Nicholls State (Sept. 10)

While Georgia's two-headed quarterbacking situation remains a cause for concern (especially considering neither Jacob Eason or Greyson Lambert played particularly well in the season-opener at the not-long-for-this-world Georgia Dome), with a healthy Nick Chubb in the backfield, this Bulldogs team is going to be competitive. In UGA's 33-24 win over North Carolina, the Heisman hopeful recorded 222 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries, including a 55-yard saunter, while up-and-coming receiver Isaiah McKenzie registered 122 yards and a score on six hauls. That, and the Dawgs defense, for a change, looked pretty solid, allowing the no. 18 nationally ranked Tar Heels just 159 yards passing and 156 rushing. 

Ohio State (1-0)
Next Opponent: Tulsa (Sept. 10)

Say what you will about Bowling Green being substandard competition, but dropping a 77-10 win is impressive, no matter who you are playing. The most impressive aspect of the Buckeyes' 67-point-margin victory? It's gotta' be QB JT Barrett, who recorded 349 yards and six touchdown passes in Ohio State's mudhole stomping. Oh, and by the way, he had one rushing TD, too, because fuck not-showing-off, that's why. Also some names you should probably take note of? Running back Mike Weber (136 yards on 19 carries) and receiver Curtis Samuel, who reeled in two touchdowns and finished the day with 177 yards on nine receptions. 

Michigan (1-0)
Next Opponent: Central Florida (Sept. 10)

So beating up on a team nicknamed "the rainbow warriors" probably isn't something you should be proud of, but come on - if you can pound a cream puff to the tune of 60 points, I say let 'em have it. In their merciless 63-3 mauling of Hawaii, Harbaugh's boys posted 306 yards rushing, while the Wolverines' D held their foes to 81 yards on the ground and 151 by air. Quarterback Wilton Speight had three touchdowns on the day, going 10 for 13 for 145 yards, while back Chris Evans (no, not that Chris Evans) finished the game with two touchdowns and 112 yards on eight carries. Considering the next team on their schedule features a Pegasus as its logo, it's probably a safe bet to assume Michigan will post similar numbers this upcoming weekend

Stanford (1-0)
Next Opponent: Southern California (Sept. 17)

No team in college football is as reliant on a single player as the (always singular) Cardinal are upon Christian McCaffrey. He certainly looked in top form when Stanford sailed past Kansas State 26-13, racking up two rushing TDs and concluding the win with 126 yards on 22 carries (plus another 30 receiving yards, for good measure.) Questions abound about the team's quarterbacking and defense (Stanford, after all, let KSU out-gain them, 243 aerial yards to 167), but as long as the great white galloper remains healthy? Yeah, this is a team that's virtually a lock for a Pac-12 championship berth.

TCU (1-0)
Next Opponent: Arkansas (Sept. 10)

Apparently using a playbook culled from the pages of NFL Blitz, the Horned Frogs, as they are oft-prone, racked up a TON of aerial yardage in their season opener against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. In fact, the great Boykin-fill-in Kenny Hill posted 439 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions (plus another three rushing touchdowns) en route to TCU's 59-41 win. Alas, plenty of defensive questions remain, seeing as how TCU also somehow managed to allow SDSU QB Taryn Christion to put ip three touchdowns and 333 passing yards of his own. 

Iowa (1-0)
Next Opponent: Iowa State (Sept. 10)

In their season opener, the Hawkeyes won in typical Hawkeyes fashion, pounding out Miami (the Ohio one) 45-21 with a relentless ground-based assault. By the time the clock struck triple zeroes, Iowa put up no less than five rushing touchdowns, with backs Akrum Wadley and LeShun Daniels, Jr. teaming up for four scores and 204 yards on a combined 22 carries. With 192 yards and a solo TD pass, quarterback C.J. Beathard's play was decent, but unremarkable; that Iowa allowed a substandard QB like Billy Bahl to put up 266 yards and connect for two touchdown passes, however, should give the Hawkeyes faithful plenty of concern about their defensive outlook this season. 

Oklahoma State (1-0)
Next Opponent: Central Michigan (Sept. 10)

Winning a game 61-7, you'd think the most remarkable thing about the Cowboys' performance would be their offense. Alas, while their four touchdowns and 250 yards on the ground and Mason Rudolph's two-touchdown, 188 passing-yards day are impressive, it was their defense that really shined in their throttling of Southeastern Louisiana. Thanks to Oklahoma State's stingy D, the hapless Lions wrapped up the game with just 97 yards of rushing offense and only 106 passing yards. 

Louisville (1-0)
Next Opponent: Syracuse (Sept. 09)

An early nominee for performance of the year, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson posted eight touchdowns in his team's 70-14 obliteration of the Charlotte 49ers. Jackson finished the game with six aerial scores and 286 yards on 17 completions, with another two touchdowns - and 119 yards - mailed in via the ground. Oh, and one more thing ... did I mention this motherfucker did all that in just the first half of the game

Michigan State (1-0)
Next Opponent: Notre Dame (Sept. 17)

Out goes Conor Cook, in comes Tyler O'Conner. The new Spartans quarterback looked very good in his team's 28-13 win over Furman, mailing in three aerial touchdowns and collecting 190 yards on 13 completions. Back LJ Scott (105 yards and a touchdown on 20 touches) and receiver Monty Madaris (80 yards on five catches) also played solid, but it was the Spartans' defense that was the most impressive - they only let the Paladins chalk up 139 receiving and 87 rushing yards all day-long. 

Baylor (1-0)
Next Opponent: Southern Methodist (Sept. 10)

While Baylor has some, ahem, unfortunate off-the-field issues undergirding the season
(coughEVERYBODYONTHETEAMISPROBABLYARAPISTcough), on the field they had their way with Northwestern State during their home opener. Bears QB Seth Russell really stuck it in the Demons, posting four touchdowns and 146 yards on 14 completions, while running backs Shock Linwood and Terence Williams didn't ask for consent en route to combining for two touchdowns and 169 yards on the ground. Holding steady for an easy 55-7 win, I guess you could say Baylor could have spiked the drink ... I mean, the ball ... and just have costed through this one. 

Washington (1-0)
Next Opponent: Idaho (Sept. 10)

There was little drama to be found in the Huskies' 48-13 route of Rutgers. Quarterback Jake Browning had three touchdowns and 287 aerial yards in the victory, while Washington's defense held the Red Knights to 168 yards passing and 136 yards rushing. A reason to be concerned, however? Washington had no luck getting their own run game up and going, finishing the game with a surprisingly low yardage count of 91, with zero touchdowns ran in. 

Oregon (1-0)
Next Opponent: Virginia (Sept. 10)

The UC Davis Aggies never really stood a chance in their 53-28 loss to Oregon over the weekend. New Ducks QB Dakota Prukop looked very good, lobbing the rock into the end zone three times and accumulating 271 yards on 21 passes (oh, and also had one more touchdown on the ground.) Back Royce Freeman (two touchdowns and 87 yards on 11 carries) and receiver Darren Carrington II (one TD and 117 yards on 7 receptions) also put on good showings for Oregon, but their defense, clearly, has some deficiencies: while the Ducks were able to hold their foes to only 89 rushing yards, they also allowed the Aggies to collect an absurd 303 yards in the air. 

Florida (1-0)
Next Opponent: Kentucky (Sept. 10)

The Gators, last year's most surprising overachiever in the SEC, started off the 2016 season right where they left off, bruising UMass 24-7 in a game that was surprisingly close up until the fourth quarter. Luke Del Rio, yes the son of Raiders' head coach Jack Del Rio, did all right as the new Florida QB, putting up 256 yards and two touchdowns in 29 completions. The real highlight, however, was the Gators' D, which held the Minutemen to 141 passing yards and a paltry 46 on the ground. 

Clemson (1-0)
Next Opponent: Troy (Sept. 10)

Is this too low a ranking for the team that was dubbed second best in the entire nation in the much-ballyhooed preseason polls? Considering how close the unranked Auburn Tigers came to upsetting Clemson over the weekend, I'd argue to the contrary. Yes, Deshaun Watson looked solid with 248 yards and a passing TD on 19 completions, but the defense let Auburn hang in there much longer than they should have. If the bottom-dwellers of the SEC are going to prove this problematic for the defending ACC champs, what kind of headaches will top-tier teams like Alabama pose?

Tennessee (1-0)
Next Opponent: Virginia Tech (Sept. 10)

The highly touted Vols came this close to getting done in by Appalachian State in their season opener, requiring overtime to facilitate a 20-13 comeback victory. The three J's (quarterback Joshua Dobbs, running back Jalen Hurd and receiver Josh Malone) each had at least one touchdown, but sweet Jesus, did it take this team forever to get things rolling. Factor in the surprisingly lackluster defensive showing and even the most hardcore Tennessee fans have to be second guessing the overall quality - and expectations - of this year's squad. 

Miami (1-0)
Next Opponent: Florida Atlantic (Sept. 10)

The Hurricanes might be a sleeper now, but if the hurting they put on the hapless Florida A&M Rattlers is any indication, the fabled "U" might just be a team to keep an eye on. Quarterback Brad Kaaya had four touchdowns in Miami's 70-3 annihilation of A&M, with no less than three separate running backs for the Hurricanes collecting 100 yard days. And then, there was their impressive defensive showing: they held the Rattlers to 175 yards in the air and a mind-numbingly low 22 on the ground. 

Boise State (1-0)
Next Opponent: Washington State (Sept. 10)

Yep, the blue turfers are the same Boise State. Crushing Louisiana Lafayette 45-10 in their season opener, Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien had 347 passing yards and two touchdowns, with receivers Thomas Sperback, Cedrick Wilson and Jeremy McNichols combining for three scores and 341 yards all by themselves. The defense looked good, too, holding the Ragin' Cajuns to 186 receiving yards and only 81 rushing. 

Army (1-0)
Next Opponent: Rice (Sept. 10)

Are you ready for quite possibly the flukiest stat of the entire first week of college football? The Army Black Knights managed to defeat Temple (remember, a team that was challenging Houston for the AAC crown last year) 28-13 ... and they mustered an almost unfathomably low 15 yards of aerial offense the entire game. If you're wondering how they managed that, you can probably thank Army's 329 yards and four touchdowns on the ground - not to mention Owls quarterback Phillip Walker lobbing three interceptions into the wide open arms of Army defenders. 

Navy (1-0)
Next Opponent: Connecticut (Sept. 10)

You know, I can overlook the fact that the Midshipmen let the woefully undermanned Fordham Rams accumulate 302 yards of aerial offense - a tally that more than doubles Navy's entire receiving yardage count - in their 52-16 season opener win. Why? Because Navy also put up 427 yards of rushing offense, with Chris High and Tago Smith combining for four scores and 273 yards. By the way ... did I mention the team literally pulled some kid out of the stands to play quarterback when their starter went down


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