Wednesday, September 21, 2016

2016 NCAA Football Top 25 Rankings (Week Three)

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:
You ain't nowhere near as good as you think you are (unless your name is Lamar Jackson)

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.

Louisville (3-0)
Next Opponent: Marshall (Sept. 24)

We here at the Internet Is In America have been singing the praises of Louisville QB Lamar Jackson all season long, and over the weekend, everybody got an up-close look at what we've been ranting and raving about. Sure, Jackson's one-to-one touchdown-to-interception ratio doesn't sound that impressive, but when you factor in his 146 rushing yards and additional four scrambling scores in with his 216-yard passing day, suddenly, it becomes more than understandable why people are declaring the standout sophomore a Heisman lock just three weeks into the college football season. And don't overlook the Cardinals defense, either; in their crushing 63-20 win over FSU, they held the high-powered Seminoles offense to a relatively low 113 passing yards and 171 rushing yards. 

Alabama (3-0)
Next Opponent: Kent State (Sept. 24)

After two years of futility, the Tide finally managed to break the Oxford curse, as they overcame a 24-3 deficit to beat Ole Miss 48-43 on their home turf. Granted, Alabama's defense gave up a ton of aerial yardage (421, to be exact) but they did manage to get their run game, well, running, resulting in 334 yards and three end zone visits. And give plenty of props to defender Jonathan Allen, who took a wayward Chad Kelly pass 75 yards to pay dirt and special teams expert Eddie Jackson, who returned a Rebels punt 85 yards for six on the board. 

Ohio State (3-0)
Next Opponent: Rutgers (Oct. o1)

J.T. Barrett was a damned pimp in the Buckeyes 45-24 victory over Oklahoma. By the end of the game, he was 14 for 20, with four of those passes - all to receiver Noah Brown - resulting in touchdowns, for 152 yards (plus another 74 scrambling.) Ohio State's defense also held up pretty well, holding the Sooners' rushing attack to 177 yards and picking off Baker Mayfield twice (with Jerome Baker returning one of the errant passes for a defensive TD.) 

Houston (3-0)
Next Opponent: Texas State (Sept. 24)

For the first three quarters of last Thursday's game against Cincinnati, the Cougars played like anything but a National Championship contender. Granted, a deluge of fourth quarter scores (culminating in 28 points) ultimately lifted the Cougars to a 40-16 win, but even in a super-late display of dominance, the team's overall lethargy cannot be considered anything but concerning. Still, you have to admire the defense; despite letting Cincy rack up 277 yards of aerial offense, Houston nonetheless managed to hobble their AAC rivals to only 30 yards rushing ... with two of the three interceptions lobbed by Bearcats' QBs ultimately being returned for touchdowns. 

Clemson (3-0)
Next Opponent: Georgia Tech (Sept. 22)

After two much closer than anticipated outings, the Tigers finally looked like the dominant team of 2015 in Saturday's crushing 59-0 shutout of South Carolina State. Dehsaun Watson was 12 for 15, with 152 yards and three touchdowns by air. Meanwhile, Clemson's running game chewed up the field, posting 227 total rushing yards and two end zone visitations. But the big story of the game was Clemson's defense, which absolutely neutralized South Carolina State; by the time the clock hit triple zeroes in the fourth, the Bulldogs had only collected 54 passing yards and 48 rushing yards. 

Michigan State (2-0)
Next Opponent: Wisconsin (Sept. 24)

The Spartans waltzed in to Southbend and showed up the Irish 36-28 over the weekend, with the ironically named Tyler O'Connor putting up two touchdowns and 241 aerial yards for the victorious Michigan State. Clearly, the running game was the key to the Spartans' win. While Notre Dame struggled to put up 57 yards, Michigan State utterly mowed the lawn, with Gerald Holmes and LJ Scott combining for 198 rushing yards and three end zone trips. Alas, not all is well in Spartans-land; even with the "W," you have to be concerned by the secondary, which allowed DeShone Kizer to put up two touchdowns and 344 total passing yards. 

Michigan (3-0)
Next Opponent: Penn State (Sept. 24)

After a slow start, the Wolverines came alive in the second half, ultimately ironing out a firm 45-28 win over Colorado. Wilton Speight was solid, going 16 for 30 for 229 yards and a solo TD pass, while no less than three Michigan backs managed to run the rock in for points on the board in a cumulative 168 yard rushing day for the boys in blue. Defensively, Harbaugh's kids remain a mixed bag: holding Colorado to 64 rushing yards all day, it's obvious they have a solid gameplan against the run. Alas, allowing the Buffaloes to rack up 261 yards and three aerial touchdowns, it's also apparent that this is a team that is highly vulnerable when it comes to pass defense. 

Wisconsin (3-0)
Next Opponent: Michigan State (Sept. 24)

There's no reason for the Badgers to put on a showing as lackluster as the one they put in against Georgia State over the weekend. In their 23-17 win, Wisconsin did a very good job at stopping the Panthers' run, but how in the hell did they manage to let some dude named Conner Manning throw the ball for 269 yards? Making matters worse, neither Bart Houston or Alex Hornibrook looked particularly good at quarterback - and with a murderer's row of Big 10 adversaries coming up on the schedule, methinks the wheels on this bandwagon may be dangerously close to flying off the axle. 

Stanford (2-0)
Next Opponent: UCLA (Sept. 24)

The always singular Cardinal defense held up very well against Southern Cal, with Stanford holding on to a 27-10 intraconference win over the weekend. While QB Ryan Burns put up fairly weak numbers (109 yards and a touchdown on nine completions), Stanford's rushing game looked as bad ass as ever, with Christian McCaffrey alone collecting 165 of the team's total 295 rushing yards. Still, Stanford did let USC get a lot of air out of the ball, as the Trojans' aerial attack concluded the game with 236 yards - more than double Stanford's passing production throughout the entirety of the contest. 

Texas A&M (3-0)
Next Opponent: Arkansas (Sept. 24)

Frankly, the Aggies have looked much better than they did in their 29-16 win over Auburn. While Trevor Knight's 247 yard day eclipsed Auburn's passing production by a good 80 or so yards, A&M did indeed let the Tigers run all over the field, with Auburn racking up two touchdowns and 236 rushing years on the day. Aggies' back Trayveon Williams, however, did look like a stud, posting 127 yards and a solo TD run on eight carries.  

Baylor (3-0)
Next Opponent: Oklahoma State (Sept. 24)

If you asked me, Rice deserved it over the weekend when Baylor took advantage of them to the tune of 38-10. Seth Russell had three touchdowns and 337 total passing yards, but since Rice's defense didn't tell him to pull out, he probably assumed he had their consent to keep on sticking it in. While the Bears muffled the Owls passing game to a meager 31 yards, Baylor nonetheless let their prey run wild, as Rice collected 234 yards on the day. Whether the baptist university's strict religious regulations prevented Rice from contacting local authorities, however, has yet to be seen. 

Washington (3-0)
Next Opponent: Arizona (Sept. 24)

Portland State never had a shot in their 41-3 mauling at the hands of Washington. Jake Browning lobbed the rock for 163 yards and four touchdown passes on 12 completions, with the Huskies' combining for 213 total rushing yards. And you have to be impressed by that rushing defense - even against a team as lackluster as Portland State, it's nonetheless a feat to hold a collegiate football squad to just 34 yards on the ground.

Nebraska (3-0)
Next Opponent: Northwestern (Sept. 24)

The Cornhuskers bumped off the Ducks over the weekend in a 35-32 upset. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong, Jr. had 200 yards and three touchdowns on 17 completions, plus another scrambling TD and 95 rushing yards on the day. Alas, as good as Nebraska's offense may have looked in this game, there is no denying their defense remains sucktastic, having allowed the Ducks' average-at-best run game to rack up 336 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. 

Miami (3-0)
Next Opponent: Georgia Tech (Oct. 01)

No upsets here - the Hurricanes easily dispatched Appalachian State 45-10 on Saturday, with QB Brad Kaaya lobbing the rock for 368 yards and three touchdowns. Factor in the impressive showings from running back Mark Walton (130 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries) and receiver Ahmmon Richards (142 yards on four receptions) - plus a Canes' D that limited the Mountaineers to 126 yards passing and 115 rushing - and it's easy to see why the U's stock is rising, and rapidly

Arkansas (3-0)
Next Opponent: Texas A&M (Sept. 24)

Don't look now, but the Razorbacks are slowly but surely turning into an SEC powerhouse. Their 42-3 annihilation of Texas State proves the team is talented, defensively, having held their foes to just 83 yards passing and 22 yards rushing. And yes, Arkansas does indeed have some offense to complement the D - quarterback Austin Allen finished the game with two touchdowns and 241 yards, while back Rawleigh Williams wrapped up the contest with 121 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. 

Florida (3-0)
Next Opponent: Tennessee (Sept. 24)

Can we just hurry up and call the Gators the BEST defensive team in college football? In their 32-0 blowout of North Texas, Florida held the "Mean Green" to just 66 yards of passing offense, while their secondary held their foes to an absurd -13 yards rushing. Oh, and offensively, Florida can still get shit done, as apparent by Luke Del Rio's 186 passing yards and the Gators' combined 255 yard, four-touchdown rushing day.  

Tennessee (3-0)
Next Opponent: Florida (Sept. 24)

Another week, another just sorta' OK performance from the Vols. In a 28-19 win, Joshua Dobbs had two touchdowns and 203 yards, while the Tennessee run game combined for 201 yards and two trips to the end zone. Defensively, the Vols were a mixed bag; they did a pretty good job stopping Ohio's rushing attack (limiting the Bobcats to 88 yards), but they gave up a shit ton of aerial yards - 231, to be exact. 

Georgia (3-0)
Next Opponent: Ole Miss (Sept. 24)

The Bulldogs, yet again, barely walked out of Saturday with a victory against sub-par competition, this time engineering a late fourth quarter come-from-behind victory against Missouri, 28-27. While Jacob Eason is looking much improved (he finished the game with 308 yards and three touchdowns on 29 completions), the UGA faithful have to be concerned by Nick Chubb's low-yardage and the porous defense, which allowed Drew goddamn motherfucking Lock to throw 376 yards against them. 

Arizona State (3-0)
Next Opponent: California (Sept. 24)

The Texas San Antonio Roadrunners gave 'em a scare, but Arizona State nonetheless came out on top in last Friday's 32-28, back and forth affair. Sun Devils QB Manny Wilkins put in a solid showing, collecting 264 yards and two touchdowns on 15 completions, while the Sun Devils, collectively, put up 205 yards of rushing offense. The passing defense, however, remains suspect; although able to hold the Roadrunners to just 93 rushing yards, the Sun Devils also let future insurance salesman Dalton Sturm post 229 aerial yards and three passing touchdowns against them. 

Boise State (2-0)
Next Opponent: Oregon State (Sept. 24)

The blue-turfers took a breather in week three. Boise State emerges this Saturday, when they go toe-to-toe with 1-1 Oregon State. Expect this one to be very pass heavy; Broncos QB Brett Rypien already has 646 throwing yards two games into the season, while Beavers quarterback Darell Garretson has 400 aerial yards with two games under his belt. 

Navy (3-0)
Next Opponent: Air Force (Oct. 01)

Will Worth really didn't have to lob the rock around too much to lead Navy to a 21-14 win over Tulane. At the final horn, he only had 59 yards on five completions, but seeing as how he recorded another 111 yards and a TD scramble with his feet, yeah, I guess you can overlook the Navy's oh-so-fitting aversion to aerial offense - which is doubly ironic, seeing as how the next team on their schedule is Air Force.

Army (3-0)
Next Opponent: Buffalo (Sept. 24)

The Black Knights absolutely destroyed UTEP over the weekend, racking up 426 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the ground en route to a facile 66-14 victory. Worth singling out for Army? Carriers Andy Davidson and Chris Carter, who combined for 200 yards and two touchdowns, and back Darnell Woolfork, who finished the game with 71 yards and three touchdown runs.

Utah (3-0)
Next Opponent: USC (Sept. 23)

Are the Utes for real? Even after a commanding 34-17 win over San Jose State, doubts still remain about how good Utah actually is. Troy Williams (20 for 28, 257 yards and a one TD) is a solid quarterback, to be sure, and the Utes rushing attack - which combined for 201 yards and three touchdowns - is certainly potent. But that pass defense is unquestionably atrocious. I mean, how crappy is your pass coverage when guys named Josh Love and Kenny Potter are throttling your secondary for 249 yards? 

Air Force (2-0)
Next Opponent: Utah State (Sept. 24)

It's a good time to be a fan of patriotic football, with all three branches of the military currently undefeated. The Falcons sat the weekend out, as they look to continue their winning ways against Utah State this Saturday. While the passing stats are pretty much equal, there's one very big discrepancy when it comes to the run game - while the Aggies are putting up an impressive 225 rushing yards a game, Air Force is mulching the field for an astounding 432.5 yards per contest. 

Georgia Tech (3-0)
Next Opponent: Clemson (Sept. 22)

The Jackets had no problem getting past Vanderbilt, as Georgia Tech pummeled the Commodores 38-7 last Saturday. Running back Dedrick Mills was clearly the hero of the day, collecting 58 yards and three touchdowns in Tech's blowout win. Still, the team definitely has some questions at the quarterback position, with neither Justin Thomas or Matthew Jordan really looking like ACC Championship-caliber signal callers. Which means, yes, not only is Georgia not the biggest quarterbacking clusterfuck in the NCAA, it's not even the shakiest QB system within the Peach State itself


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